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Favorite ThisMagic on Mulberry Mountain: Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2010 (THURSDAY)

Published: June 8, 2010

Magic on Mulberry Mountain: Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2010

By Cole Epley


For many music fans, the festival scene is that elusive, other-worldly experience that gets talked about at the end of late nights and during bouts of wishful thinking (and indulgent drinking). Difficulties in travel arrangements abound, financial obligations restrict the brief vacation or maybe time constraints limit your abilities to actually partake… If you’re guilty of any of the above, begin kicking yourself now.

Simply put, there are likely as many excuses for not attending a summer music festival as there are blades of grass on Mulberry Mountain. So, note to self: make 2011 a year of no excuses. What you really can’t afford is to miss what Wakarusa will be certain to deliver after an incredible weekend spanning June 3 through 6, 2010. Here are the best parts.


Thursday Highlights:

The weekend started on the right foot with the full set of Somasphere (Outpost Tent), which may have been the biggest surprise of the weekend. The Nebraska natives did exactly what they came to do—put the groovy heat to the funky feet of those packing the Outpost and make them move. The crowd proved to be more than receptive as the tent quickly filled past capacity and throngs of electronic aficionados packed in around the edges to catch a better glimpse of the corn-fed, cascading rhythms in action. More impressive than the band’s sound and execution, however, was their stage presence: the way people were getting down in the heat of the Outpost Tent had one believing that these guys were a national act. Great energy, superb sound and a smart blend of drum & bass and livetronica make Somasphere one of the top acts to keep an eye on in the Midwest electronic scene. Check out their samples on their artist profile page, or check out to download their free More Shapes EP. Here is a video from their Thursday afternoon set:



Festival and livetronica staples The Disco Biscuits headlined the Main Stage spot on that same night and wowed a perpetually grooving mass of rambunctious festival goers with a tasty selection of jams both old and new. Graced by a sophisticated light setup, the Main Stage illuminated the thousands of ecstatic Bisco fans whose hands couldn’t reach high enough into the air to express their elation. However, it wasn’t long before the sky was alight with a neon bright, the result of roughly half of the estimated 15,000-18,000 total Waka attendees engaged in a full-out neon aerial assault of lime green, hot pink and bright orange light sticks throughout the set. And who could go wrong with a Gorillaz encore? Check this clip out, and you can be the judge:



The short trek from Main Stage to the Outpost Tent for Lotus was nearly as hot and sweaty as navigating the mobs dispersing every which way, but the reward was readily found at Outpost. Rock-driven movements through the funkiest and jazziest of sonic spaces lassoed in unsuspecting passers-by and compelled them to dance their asses off. Despite playing just around one and one half hour, the Philly-based five-piece livetronica act brought everything that was expected of them and then threw twice that on top of it—coming complete with an epidemic of upbeat and impossible-not-to-dance-to funk-based grooves, irresistible guitar jams and that signature never-ending bass vehicle to move everything along, it is without a doubt that Lotus played one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. The following video is the opening groove from this incredible set:



Just a hop, skip and jump away from the end of the Lotus set was the Revival Tent, which hosted The Machine (Pink Floyd Laser Show) at the same time as Lotus. As enticing as a Pink Floyd tribute may have been, perhaps the most exciting event in Revival on Thursday was Alabama’s finest, BoomBox. Chasing the fleeting remnants of darkness away, the duo laid down an extremely danceable, rhythmically pleasing, bass-riddled diatribe of their resonant and heaping dance floor tracks. Some of the hardest-hitting bass of the entire first day boomed through the bodies of the party-hardy hula hoopers and dance fiends in attendance before dissipating over the rest of Mulberry Mountain. Listening to BoomBox play a live set as opposed to hearing them on your stereo is akin to putting grape juice on your sandwich instead of grape jelly—their fluidity is expressed through a constant barrage of sonorous bass and when paired with the heady vocals and guitar work of Zion Rock Godchaux, you have something that can only be experienced. (Much unlike peanut butter and grape juice sandwiches…) A visual taste from the Friday morning BoomBox session:



2010 is sure to have been a memorable year for not only those in attendance at Waka, but also for those organizational wizards behind the scenes. The Untz would like to give huge thanks to John Gallup and the folks at Cicada Rhythm who facilitated our being there, as well as to offer our congratulations on an incredibly organized and breathtaking party at Interstellar Meltdown. We can only hope that Interstellar Meltdown will be returning to bring the fire to the mountain—long live Wakarusa!

Stay tuned for Friday Highlights coming soon!

Tags: BreaksDrum and BassDubstepElectroLivetronica