A Night of Pre-Party Before the Green River Fest Greenfield Energy Park/Hawks and Reed, Greenfield MA and Metropolis, Brattleboro VT July 13, 2017 Story and photos by Kelly D To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for more of Kelly D’s photos of the night. From the YouTube channel of Colorway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Oo_Nv6T8TE The Green River Fest, just wrapping up its 31st year, is ever-evolving. In addition to the three days of music, local vendors of crafts, food drink, as well as hot air balloons, 2017’s events included a “Pre-Fest Fest.” An appetizer of what was to come down on the grounds of Greenfield Community College, the gathering featured three bands performing at the Energy Park up the road in downtown Greenfield. Not only that, several local restaurants offered delicious treats and a beer tent boasted four of the area’s local breweries (Green River Ambrosia, Honest Weight, Lefty’s, and the People’s Pint). Have I mentioned lately that I love this town, my home for the past 28 years?
My evening could’ve ended there and I would’ve been eminently content, but wait- there’s more! After the Pre-Fest Fest concluded, Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center hosted Moon Hooch and Mammal Dap. These two iconoclastic bands packed the first-floor Arts Block Ballroom, at one point with a line out the door. I managed to stay for Mammal Dap’s set before I jetted up I-91 to see Funk Night at Metropolis in Brattleboro. The Pre-Fest Fest was outdoors at the Greenfield Energy Park and all day the heavens threatened to open up and pour down on the event. Mercifully, when I arrived a little after 5 PM, the rain was little more than mist and eventually it cleared up entirely. Trailer Park took the stage after a gleeful introduction by gal-about-town, Linda McInerney. I took refuge in the beer tent and listened to the band’s fun mix of twang and rock. A highlight was a train chugging down the tracks immediately next to the park, and Trailer Park launching into a rollicking version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” with its opening lines, “I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend.” Colorway came up next. I’ve seen/listened to them a few times before, notably at a “Reanimate the Bay State” show where I coerced a few members of Franz Ferdinand to come hang and see the bands at the Sierra Grille after their concert next door at Pearl Street. I enjoy Colorway’s blend of pop-rock and heavy guitar-slinging. By this point in the evening, the crowd had thickened and there were clusters of people dotting the park: dancing by the stage, enjoying lobster rolls and tacos at the food tent, and of course enjoying the local libations (including Local Libation by Green River Ambrosia)!
Lastly, the Fawns came on. Their power-pop sound borders on dreamy thanks to the sweet voice of frontwoman Lesa Bezo, as evidenced by their hit “Strong Arm of the Quiet.” I first heard the song when it was in heavy rotation on 93.9 The River (my favorite local radio station) in 2016. The crowd was up and moving, and I would wager no one went home disappointed- some even left with free soft pretzels from Green Fields Market. I scooted down Main Street to Hawks and Reed and came in just as Mammal Dap came on, opening with their trippy, industrial-yet-synthy version of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” As I love Tears for Fears (stay tuned for my review of them and Hall & Oates later), I closed my eyes and sang along in my head to the instrumental cover. What a way to start a show! I made my way through the crowd, meeting friends along the way, and snapped some shots of the guys. I’ve loved Mammal Dap for years and their brand of funky dance-pop is a gem in the Valley music scene. I grooved, as did many others, and was sad to miss Moon Hooch- but I had another show to get to! I was recently introduced to the glory of the Metropolis All-Stars, a cast of characters that’s been playing up in Brattleboro for years. (As I used to work in an educational setting, shows that get poppin’ at 11 PM aren’t the best for waking up at 6 or 7 AM.) Frontman Nate Martel recently turned Genuwine’s “Pony” into a space rock jam that literally had to be experienced to be believed. The group this time around featured axe-slinger Josh Hirst and the sets were yet another great blend of funky covers that featured each member’s musical talents. What other band can seamlessly go from Prince/Chaka Khan’s “I Feel 4 U” to a blistering version of “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers Band?
It was a fabulous night of music and it reinforced my deep affection for this area of the world. It was a perfect start to the festival weekend that was to come! To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for more of Kelly D’s photos of the night.