AURA Music & Arts Festival | Sunday 02.16.14

Finally, day three of the great AURA festival.  You know I am all about the music, but sometimes that is to the exclusion of friends, a failing on my part.  There have been suggestions in the past that TieYourShoes belonged in a category with the Loch Ness monster and Sasquatch – rumors without substantiation.

I determined this festival to do better, and my reward was time well spent with a bunch of brothers and sisters.  The list is too long, and I’m bound to forget a lot, but Winston, Capt Brian and the Gov’nah could help me compile a list!  Thanks to all who shared their wonderful hospitality.  THAT’S how we roll!

Day 1 started with an excellent set from Displace; Day 2 kicked off the funkin’ with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.  Could Day 3 match up?  Turns out, the answer was: ABSOLUTELY!  Lucky Costello, a Jacksonville band, came out blazing with a piano-driven attack and a tremendous opening set (and with a go-go dancer besides!).  It was another wonderful, beautiful afternoon in the north Florida woods, and Lucky Costello took full advantage of the set-up.  I’m looking forward to Round Two!

From the porch stage, we rolled down to the amphitheatre to check out Earphunk.  They knocked me out twice at Bear Creek 2012, so I was ready, and so were they.  More funky New Orleans boys, they had everybody dancing.  My favorite moments were when they hit some sweet Afropop.  What a blast!

I noted after Bear Creek that there wasn’t a single band I saw I wouldn’t want to see again.  I’d say the same about AURA, with ONE exception: Catfish Alliance.  You know, musically they weren’t bad, although nothing special.  However, if you’re trying to impress a mid-afternoon crowd of dancers, encouraging them to stay on their feet and get closer to the stage, you should probably reconsider babbling stuff like this: “I like the way y’all are dancing!  It makes my dick move.”  WOW.  Looked like a perfect opportunity to walk back to camp for a beer with Trevor and Harry.

The Werks had the next amphitheatre slot and had apparently recovered from their late-night romp in the music hall the previous night.  It was the perfect antidote for that earlier poison.  They were in perfect sync, driving us toward sundown and a second helping of Dopapod.  Both bands seemed to buoy those who had funked, danced and partied hard the past three days.  This was another great Dopapod show, and from there it only made sense gather together at the amphitheatre for Lotus one more time.

Lotus proved again that they were worthy of the closing slot.  Their sound is so clean and funky and sinuous and captivating.  It was the perfect end to a near-perfect weekend!  Except that it WASN’T the end!

Back at the campfire in Waneetopia, word came that the Funky Nuggets, who had one of the happy hour slots on Thursday for the early birds, were setting up their silent sirkus.  They have invested in a full set of silent disco headphones and equipment.  Scrogg and Ms. Scrogg and I tettered in the direction of the Funky Nuggets.  Right PAST them the first time, actually, but finally we were on location.  They were taking a while getting the band set up to play.  In the interim, two DJs were spinning their stuff on the two available channels.  I only know that the one guy (and I swore I would remember his name – NOT) started with a lengthy James Brown mix that just got tastier and tastier.  After an hour, though, and still no band, I’m blaming the Gov’nah’s ‘shine.  I was done baked.  Put a fork in me.  NIGHT NIGHT.

I will never miss Bear Creek or AURA.  Thank you Paul Levine and Daryl Wolff and your cast of hundreds making our lives just that much better!  [OK.  Never say ‘never,’ but I sure mean to try!]


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