Saturday at Green River Fest 2017

Green River Fest, Day 2

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield MA

July 15, 2017

Story and photos by Kelly D

Photos by Sue Paquet

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 more of Sue Paquet’s photos of the night.

Balloons aglow Saturday night

With the first night of the GRF wrapped up, it was time for Saturday’s events. Mercifully, the weather almost immediately cleared up and the temperatures skyrocketed from the day before, which was chilly and miserable. With sun on our faces and music on our minds, my sister Becca and I packed a cooler full of refreshments and headed into the festival grounds.

We saw that Hammydown was performing at the 4 Rivers Stage so we quickly headed down there to enjoy. I had heard good things about this female musician and I was not let down one bit. Now backed by a band, Abbie Morin plays relatable and quirky indie rock. Dancing to their set was a perfect start to the day, and I got to sing along with their spirited cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Back in Your Head” at the end of her performance.

Immediately afterwards we realized the Suitcase Junket was up next on the Green River Stage. We hoofed it up the hill and got a good spot in the crowd just as SJ, aka Matt Lorenz, took his seat at his cobbled-together bunch of instruments. What could easily have been a gimmick (upcycling bits and bobs to make musical instruments) has been turned into a truly “has to be seen to be believed” spectacle. Damn near all of Lorenz’s body parts are in play to create the one-man band’s tunes and the result is at

The Suitcase Junket aka Matt Lorenz

times soulful and others rocking. Lorenz’s onstage banter was hilarious too. Two bands in, and I was already having a blast. I resolved to see the Suitcase Junket’s second set under the tent at the Parlor Room later that day.

Afterwards, we wandered around the fields, enjoying the sights and scenes. It seemed like everywhere, despite the heat and relentless sunshine, the festival attendees were having a wonderful afternoon. I was super psyched to hear Tank and the Bangas after listening to some of their songs on 93.9 the River as well as Spotify, and it turned out to be the best set of the entire weekend! The band started just as I arrived at the perimeter of the crowd packed at the 4 Rivers Stage. Feeling my claustrophobia setting in, I ended up on the right side of the audience, with a fabulous view of Tank and Juicy, the charismatic singers. As I described later, the energy between us and the band was palpable. A rip-roaring rendition of their new hit “Quick” got the crowd moving. At times it almost felt like a theatrical production rather than just a festival set. As I looked around at the throngs of people, the majority was dancing and others at least were nodding along, smiling. The climax came as Tank and Juicy led the crowd in a series of follow-along dance moves where we all became greater than the sum of our parts. Corny? Maybe. But ask anyone who was there- I’ll wager they’d say the same. This is one band that I’m going to see again when they come up to our neck of the woods next.

Juicy (left) and Tank (right) of Tank and the Bangas

I needed a moment to recover from the sheer awesomeness of what we all had just witnessed at the Bangas’ performance so I took a breather on the hill near the Parlor Room stage until it was time to see Suitcase Junket again. A more intimate-sounding performance, it became a family affair when Lorenz’s sister Kate came up onstage to sing with him. As members of the erstwhile group Rusty Belle, they performed some oldies from their erstwhile band and charmed us all.

As the only stage that offered folding chair seating for some of the performances, I was a bit anxious that Workman Song’s set on the Parlor Room stage was going to be for those who wanted to sit. Thankfully, workers cleared the grass under the pavilion so people could rock out. Monte Arnstam, Sean McMahon, and Marc Seedorf make up a power trio that moves you and grooves you. The brainchild of McMahon, the music can range from straight up rock n’ roll to gospel folk. It’s always a pleasure to see them live.

After Workman Song’s set concluded, those in our group took advantage of the empty field adjacent to the college. The sun was setting, painting the sky a beautiful peachy golden hue. We took photos, ran around, did gymnastics, and essentially celebrated life in general. Even a little rain didn’t dampen our spirits. What a perfect day it had been and it wasn’t even over! The pieces de resistance were still to come. . .

Sean McMahon of Workman Song

I found Paul, my photographer friend, and stood on the hill with him watching the ceremony of the lighting of hot air balloons. A major attraction of the Green River Fest (as if the stellar lineup wasn’t enough), the glowing balloons’ pilots took turns lighting their fire as they lit up the crepuscular sky. The sight was so simple yet so beautiful- as the best things in life usually are.

Soon after, it was time for Lake Street Dive to headline the festival. With my photo pass I went with Paul to the pit to enjoy the show up close. The band, who got their big break after performing at the Rendezvous restaurant/bar in Turners Falls a few years ago, took the stage with confidence and style. Lead singer Rachael Price was radiant in a mustard yellow evening gown that fluttered in the evening breeze. They performed all their big hits- “Call Off Your Dogs,” “I Don’t Care About You,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “How Good It Feels,” to name a few. The end of the night saw Price strapping on a guitar and singing Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Let Me Roll It” with her bandmates. Looking around at the people by whom I was surrounded, gleefully belting, “I can’t tell you how I feel/My heart is like a wheel/Let me roll it/Let me roll it to you” summed the whole day up pretty perfectly.

From the YouTube channel of SunnyLowdownMusic

As Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “When words fail, music speaks.”

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 more of Sue Paquet’s photos of the night.

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