Year 2. Bravo, Fort Wayne and the Middle Waves Good Vibes Tribe. After the success of the inaugural Middle Waves, year two was back and it was funky as ever. I take great pride in returning to my hometown for something as creative and amusing as this. Honestly, I never knew or saw this side of the city, but grown up me revels in it. The community has gotten behind this innovative fest and that was reflected in our experience for sure.
We arrived late Friday (we had to work, ya know) but hurried downtown to Headwaters Park for Flint Eastwood. I had watched Flint Eastwood on the Lolla snapchat story back a couple of months ago and was intrigued by the Detroit artist. Y’all, she co-owns an old church that is used as a studio. That’s rad. Anyway, we caught the last half of her set at one of the free stages and were very glad we did. Beaver thought she was great, especially at getting the pretty substantially sized crowd into her music. She called the crowd out for not being present and dared us to put our phones away for the last three songs. She got on her soap box a lil bit, but it forced an in-the-moment kind of experience that, in retrospect, we definitely appreciated. It has had an affect on subsequent concert experiences: be present bitches.
The only other band we caught Saturday was Thao and The Get Down Stay Down. Beaver was surprised by this band a lot. He had no reference beforehand, besides his trust in me (I said he’d like them.) Thao is an impressive lady with many talents. She played a variety of instruments throughout the set and her distinctive voice made each song unique. I missed them when they came through Headliners last year (spring break, I think?) so it was finally great to catch this eclectic band in person.
We got down to the festival plenty earlier, but missed Bloomington’s Sleeping Bag – sorry, Beaver, we’ll get to them some other time.
It was a beautiful day and in the sun, the festival grounds looked great. Many in the city had donated $$ (Aubrey included) to support art installations all over the festival, both in the paid section and the free section. The VVIP area was lovely again, with evening snacks included this time (FOR THE WIN). There was even an area for ping pong, lounging and A FREAKING GLITTER STATION. They thought of everything.
For the day leading up to the closer, MGMT, we saw Diarrhea Planet, The Lemon Twigs, and Sidewalk Chalk on the main stage, as well as Left Lain Cruiser, Love Hustler, and Sam Evian at the free stages. I wasn’t surprised that Beaver felt Sidewalk Chalk was far and away the best show of the festival. I mean, Sidewalk Chalk always slays, especially in Fort Wayne, a place they have ties to and that has continually shown love for this Chicago band. They played a lively fun set (like always) and I’m glad Beaver finally got to see what we had been talking about for years. The Lemon Twigs were the big winners for me though. This strange brother duo was so different and refreshing, even though their music has a nostalgic air to it. It was impossible to tear your eyes away from the retro dressed band as the D’Addario brothers flip-flopped instruments and lead vocals nearly every song. Their voices are uncommon and almost haunting. I got way too excited when one of their songs popped up on a Spotify playlist the next week. They definitely gained a fan.
The biggie for the evening was MGMT, though. It was a good time and like most of the crowd, we were there for nostalgia of the late 2000s. They thankfully played all of their big-hitters, as the audience was obviously there for that. The new music was fine, but it was yelling and jumping to “Kids” and vibing hard to “Electric Feel” that did it for us.
Beaver had some thoughts about this free/paid festival thing, which honestly is a strange concept for me, too. Literally this is the only place I have ever seen/heard of a set up like this. “For the festival itself, while I liked the idea of having free stages for the community to attend I think it might devalue the festival a little bit. Maybe they need a setup of two pay stages and one free? Make the free stage purely local acts. Try to boost more demand and then drop the price slightly. Is LML ready to blog about business models?” No, probably not, but that is why I left it to you, Beav.
We hope year three happens as more and more of the city (and state) catch wind of this gig in Fort Fun.
-Aubrey & Beaver
For the full set of photos from the weekend >> go here or click on the photo below!