Mayfest NY Review

Mayfest

Cold Spring, NY

May 27-29 2016

Photos and review by Miles Hurley

 

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In only its second year, Mayest is already a well-settled, amazing weekend festival event, and I’ve never been happier that I went to something. Featuring a huge blend of all types of music, and most importantly a huge list of classes centered around everything from health and wellness to nature to fun activities, it was a wonderful as it was unique for me to experience.  

Trevor

Friday afternoon I head to the main stage to hear the band I was actually anticipating the most, Mike and Ruthy, husband and wife folk duo extraordinaries. I’ve seen them before when it was just the two of them, but here they were performing with a full band, and I was ecstatic to see that the group sounds so awesome—its a sound definitely in line with their biggest influence, The Band, but with a freshness for sure. Mike and Ruthy, at least to my taste, share an incredible gift for songwriting, and its a strength that has helped them to secure a big, loyal following not only in their home of Woodstock, but across their travels on tour. 

Check out the full gallery of photos from this weekend here.

Pink Talking Fish had a real nice set right after, bringing some of the rarer tunes from their three tribute acts into what were sort of laid back, but still air-tight jams. They found a great addition in performing, for the first time, with special guest singer Elise Testone. She’s got a real Amy Winehouse vibe going on—so a splendidly rich and silky voice, but one that she could malleate to quick tempos and rhythm changes, important if singing with a band doing material like this. “Nothing But Flowers,” and “If I Could,” for example, really benefitted with the addition of her voice, the latter of which was also morphed into a truly sweet groove. Even Testone herself vouched into the mic after it finished that it was beautifully played. “Burning Down The House,” and “Tweezer,” never bad choices, were the heaters for sure, and saw the band stretch themselves farther down the improvisation line for some downright danceable material. 

Saturday was when I really took the time to check out the true heart of Mayfest, the yoga. Unfortunately still yet a stranger to it myself, I didn’t partake too much. But for everybody else, Mayfest was quite the sanctuary for being able to either practice, perform, or teach it day and night. I don’t think I could have found a sense of negativity or a bad vibe if I tried. The atmosphere felt at all times at this truly special event is one of openness, appreciation, and general interest from everybody to either learn from or inspire other people. And their was a welcomed, and shared, spiritual presence to much of the crowd, something that for many is an essential component to Yoga. 

There were even a number of yoga and meditation-inspired sets of music, such as from Adam Bauer, a seasoned performer and teacher who calmed Sunday morning air with his band’s delicate, pretty meditation singing and playing. 

For early morning Saturday music we couldn’t get better than Hayley Jane and the Primates and The Primate Fiasco. The former, a new group led by the female name in title, seemed to appear out of nowhere recently but have blown up in popularity among festival crowds, and deservedly so. Their songs groove without losing their fun, whimsical appeal. And the latter, the Fiasco, they’ve been debuting a whole pallet of new material on their tour, and its sounding great. The flowed up to rage things to the next level like they always do. 

Trevor

Trevor Hall, many people say, is one of the most beautiful souls walking among us on this earth. Listening to and hearing him perform his music, you might be tempted to also take that esteemed notion. In the vein of his inspirations of Michael Franti, Ben Harper and Nahko Bear, Trevor Hall’s music shines extremely bright with some of the most beautiful melodies, and with definitely the most inspiring and wisest lyrics penned today. He came out Saturday night, to the biggest crowd of the festival weekend, and bowled over this huge amount of people with his rocking band, putting giant smiles on the faces of everyone present. He played a bunch of music from his latest record, “Chapter Of The Forest,” a more meditative effort that in general matched the spirit and essence of Mayfest perfectly.

Sunday morning, Mayfesters got a few doses of Funky Dawgz Brass Band, the UCONN started dixieland type jammers that are definitely seeing a rise in popularity. After this, I watched the entire set of Will Evans, formerly a frontman of the band Barefoot Truth, who have recently gone on hiatus. But Evans seems to be doing great on his own, because he’s one hell of a solo artist. These are serious words to speak but—if you want to see someone perform acoustic looping jams as well as Keller Williams, Will Evans is your guy. Seriously, his talent for it is at that level. 

RMB

Kat Walkerson and Mik Bondy of The Garcia Project were special guests and backed up Ryan Montbleau for his “Eyes of The World” yoga session – it was a beautiful, moving experience for all. Those who were lucky enough to catch Ryan Montbleau during this Dead Yoga set seemed to collectively agree he rocks Jerry stuff as well as anybody. If you ever see Ryan in person, ask him to sing you “Black Peter.” But then later on the main stage, he backed by a full group of players, and two talented back up singers—and one of his strengths as a seasoned musician is that he’s as formidable a band leader as he is a solo performer. Staples like “Songbird” and “75 and Sunny” that I’ve heard countless times at many Montbleau shows over the past years, were played this weekend in different, inventive ways, which is amazing when you think about. Heavy on the reggae this weekend, with a touch of soul and fraught with great solos all around, Ryan and co. know how to do it right no matter setting or circumstance. 

‘Twas a real bummer that Turkuaz, the nine-piece funk-rock extravaganza that came on stage Sunday night to close this year’s Mayfest, was just finding some real jamming steam when a danger of impending rain brought things to an abrupt close. But their roughly half a set was something of a beauty. If I was allowed to recommend only one of these Mayfest performing groups to go see, it has to be these guys. They too have been taking new material from their latest album, Digititonium, to the stage this year, and its as suavely and danceably potent as ever. They managed to rip through a couple like “Digitonium,” “Nightswimming,” and “Chatte Lunatique,” all which featured unbelievable playing from every single band member.

 

Check out the full gallery of photos from this weekend here.

 

To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.