Wakarusa: 2014 | Day 2 on Mulberry Mountain

Article Contributed by Michelle Mi | Published on Monday, June 9, 2014

When the threat of 50 MPH winds and impending heavy rain don't get you down - you know you're in the right place. And for a lot of people, that place was Wakarusa on Friday. Luckily, the 50 MPH winds passed us by, but our day did start off with a pretty heavy amount of rain. We're used to that by now, though.Because of the rain, several shows were cancelled, including a show I was really looking forward to seeing, Rusty Shackle. The band is from Wales and it's really unfortunate they didn't get the opportunity to perform for more people this weekend. However, I did get to see lots of great shows, especially later on in the day.One of my favorite sets so far happened Friday afternoon. In an interview I'd had with Spoonfed Tribe earlier that day, one of the members recommended I go see Robert DeLong. I had considered going, but after a rave review of his innovative music I made it a point to be there. Although the audience was a bit small, DeLong's music was everything but that. Mostly, the DJ's set consisted of high energy, happy dancing, live instrumentation and vocals. Everyody in the audience was having the greatest time, and the music inspired a tent full of people to dance and sing and sweat together. By the end of the show everybody was exhausted but walked away with big, bright smiles plastered on their faces. I left that show tired but energized, and I'm thankful to Spoonfed Tribe for recommending I go see such an excellent DJ.Next I checked out Murder By Death, a band I'd been thrilled about seeing since the day they were announced on the lineup. Unfortunately, I wasn't all that impressed by the show. Perhaps the stage was too large and audience too small, but there wasn't a lot of energy coming from the band. Their gothic folk music, complete with beautiful cello, sounded a little too similar to their recorded music for my taste. While consistency is good, I don't think it's favorable when the band's energy is low. I feel like there's a fine balance to achieve a go show, and if your music sounds just like the record, the band must compensate with performance stile. The band played some of their more popular tracks and a few 'rowdy' songs...very good for drinking and dancing. Although the audience was small, there were lots of fans there singing along with the tunes. Although I didn't enjoy the set as much as I'd hoped, I'm happy to get to cross that band off my list.After leaving Murder By Death I wandered over to Main Stage to check out Dr. Dog. Once again, I left the show feeling like their performance was lacking. Many of their songs sounded grating and sharp. But again, another band I can cross of my list, I guess.After two disappointing shows I had high hopes for Nahko and Medicine for the People on their second set of the weekend. This show took place in the picturesque Backwoods Stage - my favorite on the grounds. The first time I saw this band it was on this stage 1 year ago. They've changed a lot since then, but their heart and foundation are the same. They give positive, uplifting, encouraging music that we can take home with us and give to our friends and family. I'm so glad this band exists, and I'm so glad I have had the opportunity to see them so many times. It's always enjoyable and I love seeing the small changes the band's sound goes through.After Nahko I slowly made my way back to Main Stage, wandering to a friend's campsite and meeting people along the way. I posted up at Main Stage for the rest of the STS9 show, which was alright. I'm not a huge fan but I've heard a lot about their new female bassist. The reviews were right - she tears it up onstage!A show I'd been dying to see since I first came to Wakarusa a few years ago was slated to happen after STS9. Ever since I first came to this beautiful place, I imagined The Flaming Lips here. I pictured the mountains in the background with the band playing their most beautiful songs Instead, what I experienced was something altogether different and strange. The show 'started' 3 times: first with Wayne coming out and encouraging us to cheer, which we did; second with Andy Frasco announcing The Flaming Lips and Wayne coming onstage with a 'Fuck Yeah Wakarusa' balloon; third with the band coming onstage and actually playing music. All of these entrances happened 3-5 minutes apart, leaving the crowd in an strange mood. Once the band did start playing, of course it was a glorious spectacle: seemingly endless amounts of confetti streaming through the air and giant blowup aliens thrown into the crowd. But after that the show kind of fizzled out for me. They sounded good, but the show seemed all magic tricks and no magic.Next I checked out the first few songs of The String Cheese Incident, which were great. The Revival Tent hosted the band last night, and it was packed. The guys played with lots of energy and there was a nice exchange between the band and the audience. I didn't stay long enough to find out if there were any special guests at that show, but I imagine there were, and I'm sure there will be at their long show tonight. This is my first time seeing SCI, so I'm really excited to check out their entire set tonight after Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I plan to post up at Main Stage, get comfortable and settle in for the night.Since SCI plays Saturday as well, I decided to visit the Infected Mushroom set. And boy am I glad I did! Their visuals were impressive and the show wasn't what I imagined it would be. I thought I'd experience a lot of borderline creepy visuals and some sort of intense journey. Instead, I happily danced and stared at the visuals as the band played what I decided is the electronic music version of a metal concert. It was loud and grating, but somehow danceable and fun!By the time I left the Infected Mushroom show it was about 4 hours past my bedtime...so I went to one last show: The Floozies. I've heard so many great things about this Lawrence, Kansas band but for some reason hadn't ever seen them perform. I regret every show I have missed of theirs, because it was so much fun. The 2-piece electronic duo features a guitar, live mixing and drums, but the sound is dynamic and huge. The drops they throw at the audience are perfectly timed and easily danceable. The Revival Tent was packed with sweaty, dancing zombies and almost every single person in that tent must have been having the greatest time. I sure was! Next time The Floozies are in my area I'll be there for sure - I'm now convinced of their greatness.Today the wind is blowing hard, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a storm thing. I guess we'll find out! On my must-see list today is: Xavier Rudd, Reignwolf and The String Cheese Incident. Other bands I might check out are Dirtfoot, Uncle Lucius, Phutureprimitive and Bassnectar. If you could again, send some sunshine thoughts our way today. We may need it!