Dr. Dog and Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, McDowell Mountain Music Festival, 3/24/13
The last day of a music festival is always an exercise in mixed feelings. The majority of the crowd is exhausted, sunburned, and dehydrated, but through it all, watching the headlining band is fun and bittersweet. As much as fans want to go home and soak up copious amounts of aloe vera, there are some lingering desires for the festival to continue for another day or two.
Yesterday was the final day of McDowell Mountain Music Festival. Fans got to celebrate one last time by rocking out to bands like Umphrey's McGee and Dr. Dog and flaunting their percussion skills in the epic drum circle.
Pennsylvania psychedelic rockers Dr. Dog was the stand out act of Sunday's line up. The band's sound was predominantly indie while flirting with Americana and blues, tying it all together with beautiful vocal harmonies and melodic synthesizer tones. Most fans appeared unfamiliar with the band's material but continuously danced and tried to sing along.
Songs like "The Breeze" and "Heart It Races" built on the band's blues and '60s pop influences for a fun and energetic performance. Dr. Dog attracted one of the most enthusiastic audiences of the day, but the band's encouragement of fans to play with beach balls may have had something to do with that.
Jared and the Mill
Taking the Last Exit Live stage just before Dr. Dog was the local stand out of the day: Jared and the Mill. This local folk outfit provided an energetic take on modern Mumford and Sons-inspired bluegrass by encouraging crowd involvement. Armed with an accordion, an upright bass, a banjo, and a couple guitars, Jared and the Mill captivated the crowd's attention with every ballad and upbeat love song. Some tie dye wearing gals sporting hula hoops danced to the band's sweet and innocent love songs.
Duo de Twang
The typical fan Primus seemed confused by Duo de Twang. Sure, Les Claypool's collaboration with Marc "Mirv" Haggard featured plenty of Primus songs, but the material leaned more toward hillbilly twang with a heavy dose of bass than Primus' trademark funky sound.
Opening with a stripped down "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver," the duo set the tone for its slap bass-meets acoustic guitar set, which often bordered on repetitive.
"The thing about this Duo de Twang project, aside from the opportunity to bastardize Claypool and Primus material is to dig into songs I love and grew up on," said Claypool, who covered the surf classic "Pipeline," The Bee Gee's "Staying Alive," and Stompin' Tom Connors' "The Bridge That Came Tumblin' Down." He introduced the later with a tribute to the late folk singer which by and large was lost on the audience. "We have about four Canadians in the audience," said Claypool, in what segued into a strange conversation about Limp Bizkit.
Duo de Twang's songs ran together, but the parade of giant puppets through the audience was surreal and broke through the monotony of the set.
Sunday at McDowell Mountain Music Festival didn't end on the same high note as either The Shins' masterful pop performance or The Roots' funky, genre-defying set. The final day of the festival was full of jam bands and a drum circle, though the majority of the crowd didn't seem to mind. After all, those long, flowy skirts are pretty much the perfect garb for grooving and getting in touch with your inner spirit animal.
Last Night: McDowell Mountain Music Festival featuring Dr. Dog, Duo De Twang, Jared and the Mill, and more. The Crowd: The shirtless guy in the broomstick skirt dancing with his ass crack hanging out summed it up pretty well. Better Than: Feeling like I'm coming down with heat stroke at Coachella. Overheard: Les Claypool's ramblings about being typecast as a redneck in Pig Hunt were pretty entertaining. Random Notebook Dump: Summing "Pipeline" up as "that one surf song that Agent Orange covered."
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