Unless you call Long Island home, Great South Bay Music Festival was likely not on your radar this past weekend; but it should have been. The three-day festival returned to Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY. The waterfront affair included over 45 artists performing on three stages, a variety of local food vendors and a beer tent serving seven beer selections from Patchogue’s own Blue Point Brewery. Live for Live Music was in attendance for this sunny, breezy Saturday installment of the festival.
Shorefront Park sits on the Great South Bay just over a mile from the Patchogue LIRR station. Parking was readily available and the festival site was a laid back mix of families, locals and improvisational music fans of all calibers. What was largely a camping chair laden, main concert field during the day gave way to a decidedly more raucous crowd as the sun set opposite the main concert stage. GSB Music Fest is poised to be must-hit festival. They have built a solid foundation with waterfront views, a relaxed atmosphere, stellar beer selection, and a new main stage with great sound. The final piece of the puzzle is crafting a line-up capable of making the journey out to Patchogue an afterthought.
Overall, it was a great day of music and beer drinking, right on the water. Organizer Jim Faith has found an awesome location for this festival that has been under the radar for a few years now. With a little tweak here and there, the Great South Bay Festival is one that could, and should, prosper for years to come.
Here is a rundown of the bands that we caught on Saturday:
The energy that this band has on stage is palpable. Despite playing a fairly early set, these guys had people smiling, dancing, and just having a good time. They really set the stage for the rest of the afternoon, with their cross-genre style of rock/ska/funk/hip-hop. “Set the Tone” has driving guitar-work, and uniquely blends in a reggae vibe that got everyone in the crowd moving early in the set. A cool take on White Town’s “Your Woman” was a pleasant surprise, with the horn section really standing out. Ending the set with “Hair Down” brought back memories of Reel Big Fish, with its ska-flavored overtones. Their set showed exactly why they recently won the “Battle of the Bands” contest for a chance to play at the All-Inclusive Equifunk Music Festival in the Poconos August 17th-19th.
The youthful, Long Island based quartet known as Tauk hit the main stage at 5:00 p.m. Tauk is extremely adept at creating a variety of emotion within a single composition. Dreamy, Rhodes piano jazz melodies emerge into driving, syncopated prog-rock hits.
Melded throughout the band’s genre hopping repertoire is some terrifyingly astute breakbeat drumming and punchy five string bass work that got the daytime crowd moving Odd-meter time signatures and creative harmonic interplay between guitar and keys are hallmarks of this impressively tight band. Also worked into the set with extreme precision, was an instrumental cover of The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, that had the crowd singing along to the music.
Tauk is currently flying under the radar with recent performances at Summer Camp, Hangout Fest, and Bonnaroo. Don’t miss their free upcoming show August 3, at the Jones Beach Band Shell in Wantagh, NY (opening for the Grateful Dead tribute band Reckoning). Tauk will also be performing August 11 at the Allman Brother’s Peach Music Festival in Scranton, PA.
Tea Leaf Green took the stage for a sun down set in front of an increasingly dense crowd. Feeling the pressure of a single, festival set, TLG kept high energy throughout, only slowing down for the bluesy ballad “Pretty Jane”.
Bassist Reed Mathis was feeling loose on the GSB main stage as he clicked on a synth-effect pedal and took a wailing bass solo at two separate times during the set. At first listen, it sounded as though guitarist Josh Clark was taking the reigns, but upon further inspection it was indeed Mathis, head back, digging in. Situated next to Mathis’ bass cab was what appeared to be a 1970′s Fender Silverface Twin Reverb amp. It is possible that Mathis is running certain effects through the guitar amp to achieve his crunchy, synthy lead tone.
Recent addition to the band, drummer Chochrane McMillan, added a tasteful mix to the rhythm section with a second drum kit. Easily synchronizing his snare work with drummer Scott Rager, McMillan complements Rager with intertwining fills and impressive touch on the cymbals.
A 10 minute warning was called from the side-stage monitor board to which bassist Reed Mathis receptively shouted “plenty of time!” TLG proceeded to tear through “Germinating Seed” and “Incandescent Devil”, peppered with signature, all-over-the-stage blues harp solos by keyboardist Trevor Garrod. This was arguably the “set of the day”, as Tea Leaf Green let it all out on stage, and left many in the crowd wanting more. This set was simply too short.
Ex-drummer and current percussionist Jim Loughlin took over duties on the kit in what will be one of moe.’s few summer performances due to a string of cancellations while Vinnie Amico recovers from what is rumored to be mononucleosis.
Donning full NY Yankee’s regalia, Loughlin stepped up to the kit to deliver a solid set of music with only a few minor hang ups that went relatively unnoticed by the crowd and that were easily shrugged off by the band. The absence of percussion and clear focus on Loughlin’s driving, rock style was a rhythmic departure for the band but provided a fresh, stripped down take on the legato guitar fest that is moe.
By Jon Gonzalez
Check out our pictures from the festival here: