Gonna Rock at the Bonnarock

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Hey kids, let’s put the show on right in the streets!

Didn’t get to Bonnaroo this summer? How about Bonnarock instead? After all, if you’re a Palm Beach music fan, Downtown Abacoa is a lot closer than rural Tennessee. This weekend the Jupiter community will host a 2-day outdoor music festival put on by the Palm Beach School of Rock, the local franchise of the national after-school music program. Since its Palm Beach kick-off in 2008,  this performance-oriented school has put on shows at venues all around the county, including multiple appearances at the area’s premier music festival, West Palm Beach’s Sunfest.

Fresh from a summer tour that took School of Rock “house bands” to the Northern locales of Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Woodstock and Toronto, this weekend’s art and music festival will feature 150 performers from the school’s two Palm Beach locations in Palm Beach Gardens and Lake Worth. Included amongst this number are three musicians who qualified for the national School of Rook AllStars program: 18-year-old bassist Angel Leiser, 16-year-old guitarist J.C. Hannon, and 17-year-old guitarist/vocalist/trumpeter Ben Rothschild. Angel and Ben are also bandmates in the group Jumbo Shrimp.The three local AllStars just returned from performances at the MoPop festival in Detroit and at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Rock School Scholarship fund. Total playing time will be 16 hours over the course of two days (Saturday, August 20th from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday the 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.).  So this weekend there’ll be plenty of time to rock…

Sunfest 2016: Watch The Duck, Bastille

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With a duck that large, it’s hard not to watch

[Typist’s Notes: While the Type Writer was taking advantage of the easygoing photo policy for the Joy Formidable show, his press partner Empress K of Reggae Reflection was busy taking pictures of dance group Watch The Duck. Later, while the Type Writer was watching Death Cab for Cutie, Empress K was shooting pictures of the indie-pop band Bastille. So all of the pictures in this post and most of the words are hers, along with a paragraph on Bastille by Yours Truly.]

 

 

Watch The Duck

As the band name suggests, there is indeed a duck figure in the band and on guitar at that.  Based in Atlanta, GA, Watch the Duck (WTD) features lead vocalist Jesse Rankins, Dj Eddie Smith III, and guitarist Oscar White aka The Duck.

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Guitarist Oscar White (The Duck) with lead vocalist Jesse Rankins

While the WTD trio has only been around since 2012, they have already made a big impact in the EDM / Trapstep world with powerful collaborations featuring the likes of  TI, Dj E Feezy, Pharrell and Steve Aoki.

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DJ Eddie Smith III

WTD brought a party like atmosphere to Sunfest and had the EDM crowd groovin to their Soul / Funk meets Dubstep unique style of sound.

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  Jesse Rankins and The Duck took full advantage of the main stage catwalk or should I say duckwalk to keep the party vibes ‘Poppin Off’ as they performed numerous selections from their two EP releases:  2012 debut  “Anatiadaephobia“ (the title referring to a fictional phobia made up by Gary Larson of Farside fame that describes the irrational yet humorous  fear that somehow, somewhere you are being watched by a duck), and 2015 “Trojan Horse” ( Epic  & Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records Release.)

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There’s much more to come from WTD including their recent song “Stretch 2-3-4” in a current Propel Electrolyte drink commercial, as they gear up to release their first full length album.  There’s no word on the name yet, however I am sure it will be another fun and clever title.

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“Everyone sees the Duck traveling smoothly on top of the water, but no one sees how hard he’s kicking under it to stay afloat.” — Watch the Duck,  describing how the band was named.

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Bastille

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Bastille front-man Dan Smith in mid-jump

This British band was playing at the same time as alt-rock group Death Cab For Cutie, in what seems like a classic Sunfest “split the vote” move, since there was surely an overlap of fans between the two acts. The quartet, best known for the hit single “Pompeii” from its 2013 album Bad Blood, played tracks from its upcoming release Wild World, due in September.

 

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Dan Smith doing double-duty on vocals and percussion
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T-Shirt commemorating the group’s “Hangin'” single

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Sunfest 2016: Death Cab for Cutie

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Guitarist-frontman Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard, guitarist-vocalist for this veteran alt-rock band, felt compelled to identify his group at both the beginning and the end of Death Cab’s Sunfest set, a good strategy for bar bands starting out but not one usually employed by festival headliners. Perhaps Gibbard had his own transformation in mind, though. Music fans familiar with the early years of the group’s existence might wonder what happened to its slightly pudgy, bespectacled frontman. But thanks to taking up running and losing the glasses, Gibbard now looks more like a matinee idol than the introspective songwriter that he still is.

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Ben’s makeover might be for the best, though, given how energetic the band’s stage show is.

When not singing, Gibbard would run around the stage playing guitar with his band-mates. Death Cab Guitar Trio

Songs like “Crooked Teeth” and “The New Year” are filled with guitars, so both touring members Dave Depper and Zac Rae play guitar in addition to keyboards.

The set featured several tracks from the group’s latest album, 2015’s Kintsugi:  the low-key “Black Sun”, the energetic “Ghosts of Beverly Drive”, and “Little Wanderer”, an introspective ballad with atmospheric guitar arpeggios. Older material performed included “No Sunlight” and “I Will Possess You” (from 2008’s Narrow Stairs ),  and “President of What? ” (from the group’s  1997 debut You Can Play These Songs With Chords ). The band closed the regular set with one of its best-known songs, the breezy acoustic-guitar rocker “Soul Meets Body”, but thankfully omitted its biggest hit, the hopelessly morbid “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.”

The two-song encore consisted of  “Marching Band from Manhattan” from its popular 2005 release Plans, and “Transatlanticism” ,  the title track of the group’s 2003 release. This was played solo by Gibbard, who abandoned his guitars to sit behind the piano to perform this ballad.

Gibbard on Piano

Death Cab Stage Shot

Drummer Jason McGerr

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