The lineup at Nelsonville Music Festival is always ripe with both big names and up-and-coming artists, so to help sort things out, I thought I’d share with you a preview of per-day picks you can’t miss for this year’s lineup! Here’s the “don’t miss” for Thursday!
Michael Hurley The true kickoff of NMF begins on the main stage with Michael Hurley, as it should. Michael Hurley is an American folk singer who was essential to the Greenwich folk music scene of the 1960s and 1970s, and though he’s a regular act at the Nelsonville Music Festival, it’s for the best of reasons. Every single time I’ve seen him it’s been varied, comic, moving, and exceptionally fun. There aren’t many originals left, but Michael Hurley is certainly an exception. Sunflower Bean NY chill rockers Sunflower Bean blend indie, pop, and lovably chill elements into an upbeat sound that you will love if you are fans of Bully, DIIV, or Camera Obscura-esque floaty vocals behind a strong backline. Fans of Inhailer. will recognize “Easier Said”, which was an immediate grab for me, but the whole record is solid, smart, energetic upbeat and fun. They are touring on their second release, Twentytwo and Blue, and hitting the festival circuit this year, including their first appearance at Nelsonville Music Festival.
Antibalas Daptone Afrobeat legends Antibalas from NY are high on our list of can’t-miss-this shows on Thursday, and there is a 0% chance of us not bringing our dancing shoes for this one. Antibalas is like a powerful and joyful conversation of instruments, playing together with an air that lives and breathes Latin, jazz, and funk influences through driving riffs. They’re a firebrand, not just a band. They are kicking off a busy summer tour at NMF, touring on their critically acclaimed fall of 2017 LP Where The Gods Are In Peace.
Black Angels Austin psych-rocker stalwarts, Black Angels should need no introduction, but just in case, I’m just going to tell you that if you are a fan of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Wooden Shjips (playing Friday at NMF), and Dead Meadow, this is another one not to miss. The band is touring on last year’s Death Song, their first release in four years. Their 2018 tour is alongside the Black Lips for most dates, but you can catch them kicking off their tour season with tons of other amazing acts in an intimate setting at Nelsonville Music Festival. EYE Fans of prog/psych/rock won’t want to miss EYE. From Columbus, Ohio, this will be their first appearance at the Nelsonville Music Festival but are no strangers to festivals, including Cincinnati’s own Northside Music Fest, which they have played twice previously. Signed in 2016 to Lazer’s Edge, not only are they playing the Porch stage on Thursday night, but they are also doing a late-night campground set on Friday night. Both promise to be an amazing time (where you will probably see a bunch of us Inhailer kids rocking out). Blueprint Blueprint is an underground hip-hop musician, emcee, producer, and legend from Columbus, Ohio. Founder of Weightless Recordings, Blueprint is one half of the duo Soul Position, along with producer RJD2, and has been signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment since 2011. His collaborations are a who’s who in hip-hop, R&B, and rock: to date, he’s collaborated with Illogic, Aesop Rock, Ill Poetic, Atmosphere, and Sage Francis. Blueprint is playing on the super-intimate Porch stage just after Antibalas, so I’m genuinely looking forward to this amazing back-to-back. Shannon Lay Fans of Julie Byrne, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, take note to catch LA’s Shannon Lay on the Boxcar stage. You can’t tell if she’s old or new, as she has a sound that is said to transcend space and time. Last year’s critically acclaimed release Living Water has been getting some pretty great buzz,and Nelsonville Music Festival is the best shot you have to brag to your friends that you got to see her on a small stage made out of an old train car under the stars before she made it super big. That wraps up our recommendations for Thursday. Stay tuned for the remainder of the days of the 2018 Nelsonville Music Festival lineup!