Although I'll be showing up later in the evening than usual, Thursday is still shaping up to be a fantastic kick-off to what's sure to be another incredible weekend out in Pittsboro. Although I'll sadly be missing the festival's opening act The Brand New Life (a stellar act from Greensboro that you should definitely check out--we ran a piece on them last week), there's still plenty of incredible music to be checking out on Thursday evening. I'll be bouncing around between Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands' mystifying carnival-esque pop music and the tried and true folk-rock sounds of Birds & Arrows. With a chance of rain possible during Thursday I'll liekly pass on seeing The Old Ceremony at the Meadow Stage in favor of keeping dry under the tents. However one of the festival highlights for me comes just after The Old Ceremony, as Virgins Family Band takes to the Cabaret Tent at 8:00 pm. Virgins Family Band produces tantalizing psychedelic pop music that will fit in perfectly at Shakori. Their powerful harmonies and attention grabbing jams will surely draw in flocks of roaming attendees and I for one can't wait to see their reactions.
After Virgins it's a safe bet to post up in the Cabaret Tent to check out Morning Brigade at 10:00. This brilliant folk-rock group from Chapel Hill caught my attention late last year and has continued to pick up steam throughout 2013. This six-piece crew produces swelling songs filled with unbridled passion, and with two sets this weekend I wouldn't be surprised if they end up becoming Shakori main stays. I for one would have zero problem with that. After Morning Brigade I'll be checking out the sounds of the Haitian rock outfit Compa at the Dance Tent. Though I've got minimal knowledge on the band, they had me sold at Haitian rock. Plus they're closing out the Meadow Stage on Saturday night so they're surely a riotous live act that will be stellar to see in a tightly packed Dance Tent. After Compa I'll head over to check out the DJs at Carson's Grove and probably pop into the Vinyl Lounge, a new edition to this year's festival. But it's important to treat Shakori like a marathon rather than a sprint, so I'll make sure to be well rested for Friday's day of ridiculously awesome music.
In terms of evening shows though, Peter Lamb & The Wolves will have my full attention. This swingin' jazz group from Raleigh left me speechless after a late-night set a few years back so there's no way I'll miss their set in the Dance Tent. From there I'll pop in and out of shows periodically, including sets from Bret Harris and an incredibly rare performance from Auxilary House one of the first Trekky bands formed. After that it's off to check out Bombadil at the gorgeous Carson's Grove Stage for a bit. I've yet to see them since the release of their incredible album Metrics of Affection, so I'll definitely need to soak in some of these new songs. However, much like last time they're conflicting with a ridiculously high energy act that I'd be a fool to turn down, so I'll leave Bombadil early to check out Orgone on the Meadow Stage. Orgone comes as a recommendation from the folks in The Brand New Life, and quite frankly I can understand why. The words 8-piece funk band make this band a shoe-in for the highlight of the night. I'll surely be sweating my intoxicated ass off to this jaw-droppingly talented group from Hollywood and I'd imagine that this is how I'll end my Friday evening. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up migrating over to the drum circle though after all is said and done. Don't judge me.
I'm immensely excited to see the Yonder Mountain, I've heard plenty of fantastic things about this progressive bluegrass act. Maybe it's the wake of IBMA, but I'm hankering for the banjo-pickin' sounds of Shakori, so Yonder will surely fill my needs. After that I'll make a fool of myself by attempting to dance to Elastic Bond's ridiculously raucous Latin based dance music. After that I'll indulge my inner African music fanboy by checking out dub Addis. Their unique blend of reggae and African music will be an excellent way to transition from the high-paced sounds of Elastic Bond. After dub Addis I of course have to see Holy Ghost Tent Revival. These Shakori favorites will most definitely have an incredible crowd filled with die hard Holy Ghost fans. Depending on the vibes I may head over to check out some of Compa, but I could easily see myself ending the evening with the local favorites.
While I always try to provide a comprehensive list of bands to check out throughout the weekend, I also strongly encourage you to not listen to a damn word I say. Shakori is as much about planning a fantastic weekend as it is stumbling upon a band that you've heard nothing about. Those unexpected gems are the ones that usually have the strongest and longest lasting effect on me. I can't wait to find this year's diamond in the rough, it's always one of my favorite parts of the festival. So go out and treat yourself to something you wouldn't usually see. If you're anything like me then you may have found a new favorite genre.
Happy Shakori to you all!