I’ll be honest with you: I was going to make my life easy this week. I have known for at least a month now that Bombadil is playing at The Radio Room with The Excons opening things up. I am looking forward to this show so much that I did not even need to look at the iOnGreenville Concert calendar to see who else might be playing this weekend and I would just write my piece and move on to the next story or project.
I would have told you about Bombadil’s quirky brand of poppy folk (or folky pop?) and just how original and infectious their sound is. I might have mentioned how a lineup change has impacted their sound and the evolution of the band and just how great it all works on their most recent album, Fences. I definitely would have told you how much I enjoy local indie rockers The Excons and just how perfect a match they are for a band like Bombadil.
What I definitely was not going to do was search for other shows to talk about. But then I did anyway.
One glance at the music lineup for this weekend’s Artisphere made me realize that there is even more music that I really should see this weekend. Sixteen bands will take a turn on the main stage at this year’s event, combining local favorites with nationally touring talent. Of the bigger, touring artists, there is a surprising amount of music that you simply cannot miss.
Friday evening is headlined by two very different acts who both might steal the show for the whole weekend. Ellis Dyson & the Shambles brings a whiskey fueled version of old time party music to the stage, complete with banjo, upright bass, and horns for a set of music you will not be able to properly enjoy sitting down. This is going to dial up the Friday night fun factor up to 11 and things are just getting started.
Following Dyson will be The New Respects who have recently exploded on the national music scene and, frankly, I am surprised Artisphere was able to snag them. The rock & soul quartet is comprised of three siblings and their cousin, all with their roots deeply embedded in gospel and the church. Once they branched out into the world of electric instruments and good old fashioned rock, their star really began to shine. Lead singer Jasmine Mullen’s voice is a big one that has every bit of potential to stop Artisphere in its tracks as everyone heads to the stage to see what all the fuss is about.
Saturday sees a pair of Nashville artists visiting in the form of Sunset East (4pm) and Jill Andrews (7pm). Sunset East delivers an energetic alternative pop rock sound while headliner Andrews is a renowned singer songwriter that has built an impressive solo career since her original band, The Everybodyfields in 2009. Her voice is nothing short of angelic and perfect to close out the biggest day of Artisphere.
Sandwiched in between these two acts is Miles Nielson & the Rusted Hearts (5:30pm) which is the act that first caught my attention when I perused this lineup. Blending elements of driving rock & roll, 1960’s soul, and just a touch of pop harmonies, Miles Nielson & the Rusted Hearts is exactly the kind of band I, personally, never want to miss.
Not to be outdone, Sunday will feature legendary drummer Jeff Sipe with his band Jeff Sipe’s State Birds. All of this is supported by local favorites like Audrey Hamilton, Mourning Dove, and so many others. Check out iOnGreenville for a full list of performing artists over the festival’s three days.
My favorite part about all of this (Saturday especially) is that Artisphere’s shows end early evening before Bombadil and The Excons do their thing over at The Radio Room. That makes for three days of music and art in Downtown Greenville and one of my favorite shows possible Saturday night just outside of it. It is hard not to be a little extra happy with a huge weekend of music ahead.