Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival: Off The Radar

The highly reputable Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida may be getting its biggest event yet this weekend. The hype for 2011 Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival has been building since they announced the initial lineup during last year's installment. A pre-party kicks off today while a frenzy of ticket trading, schedule swapping and last minute travel arrangements have the Florida and South East music community buzzing about what should prove to be a five day party featuring some of the most talented musicians in the land.

Any festival vet will tell you that a top heavy event like this creates the Scylla and Charybdis scenario of choosing who to see during overlapping time slots - tough life, eh? Even more brutish is rolling the dice on an act that no one in your crew has heard or heard of, but yet you have that feeling they might be the one you talk about all year as a jackpot find. Consider this your cheat sheet on what could be that up-and-comer you saw on the side stage with a handful of other fortunate souls.

Zongo Junction 
Campground Stage - Thursday - 2:00 PM
Big IV Amphitheater - Friday - 11:30 AM

Boiling up from Brooklyn's already vibrant Renaissance of sorts, it is no coincidence that world music in the vein of afrobeat is among the many genres being represented by the borough. These guys are as tight as a square knot and can bang out a Feli Kuti cut as good as anyone. If you like layered horns (if you're at Bear Creek, you like horns) and meditation-driven feel good funk music with the uber-pro grit that the Big Apple commands, this is what you need in your life.

The Pimps of Joytime 
SOS Music Hall - Thursday - 9:15 PM
Uncle Charlie's Porch Stage - Friday - 3:15 PM
Instantly danceable and transcending their funk roots to reach into the world of psychedelic synthesis and groove pop, the Pimps prove that it may not be easy, but bringing the friction to the soul of dance shoes is what they are all about. Oh, and don't be surprised when they slap a little smooth calypso or latin rock sensibilities on your face. Whose got the baby powder?

Anders Osborne Trio
Big IV Amphitheatre - Friday - 4:30 PM
No, he of no relation to the half-dead rocker, but certainly has a propensity for shredding and raising hell on stage. Anders Osbourne has been making a name for himself all year, especially on recent ventures out West with a life changing sit in with moe. at Telluride Blues & Brews and a killer collaboration with legend Karl Denson (who will be playing the fest too, so look out for some sit in action) covering the Stones on Halloween. Truth be told, Os may be the most slept on secret the jam rock scene has in its arsenal, but the gig is up and the man is ready to show you how a guitar can scream. I would say don't miss it, but the whole park is going to be blasted by this one. 

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
Full Sail Stage - Friday - 5:45 PM 
With all the hybrid takes on the spectrum of funk that fulls the gaps at Bear Creek, sometimes visitation rights to the core of the genre is necessary. Lead by a sibling tag team, Arleigh and Jackson Kincheloe mix their soulful superpower of friends and family to produce a cross-coast sound that is a showcase of Arleigh's soaring vocal range and Jackson's elite harmonica efforts. Much like their grandparents, these New Yorkers are ready to take over the Sunshine State.

The London Souls 
Purple Hat Stage - Thursday - 3:15 PM
SOS Music Hall - Friday - 7:00 PM 
Raw, hard and heavy is not just a questionably suggestive statement, but really the best way to paint the picture of what a take no prisoners approach to gritty rock might be for the London Souls. Fittingly named, the band reincarnates that missing bit of heaviness that came across the pond and changed the world. That might be the only thing they fit as their sound switches from blues to punk, and will be a welcomed change of pace for the musically attention deficit.

Of course, you could just chase the headliners and you won't see one less than stellar note of music all weekend. See you on the front lines! 

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