Death Cab for Cutie Sounded Better than Ever at FestivALTAZ

The first thing I have to say is that Quail Run Park is a pretty cool venue and has the perfect layout for many festivals to come (I hope), as it hosted two festivals this weekend. It's also conveniently located immediately off the 202. The entire setup was a pretty great experience, from the food vendors area, the stage area, and even an amusement area that had a giant slide and a Ferris wheel.

My experience at FestivALTAZ began with Family Of The Year, who I had initially written off as a neo-folk band and little else. That impression, mainly from their hit "Hero," couldn't be farther from the truth. Granted, there are definite folk elements to the band's music, but much of their music is just pure indie rock, especially their new material, with only some folk flourishes. They opened with "Carry Me" as I entered the gates, and the follow up was equally compelling. It was the third song, a new song from their forthcoming summer release, that really tripped my trigger -- there was no folk in this gem at all, it was just great indie rock with a summertime theme. Their entire set was a delicious display of a band with fantastic musicality on the verge of breaking out. Whether it was "hits" from 2012's Loma Vista, like "Buried," or the exciting new material, their set was solid from start to finish. They finished, of course, with the heartwrenchingly beautiful "Hero," and it couldn't have sounded sweeter.

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Mitchell Hillman