Written By Jimmy Cummings
By the time I got this old body moving Saturday morning I had already missed some of the action; my apologies to Scott Lee and The Stillwater River Band. I was in time to see The Al Holbrook Band for the first time. The band from southwest Ohio got my day started off with a great blend of Blues, Rock, and Soul. Following Holbrook on the WYSO Stage was Soul Rebels from Yellow Springs, OH. Here is another band that has been making a lot of noise in the Miami Valley music scene. Soul Rebels have built quite a following as fans are drawn to the smooth reggae grooves the band has been perfecting over the past couple of years. The band has evolved into a family of talented musicians that bring an audience together for a celebration music that lifts your spirits. On the inside stage the band Paradijm Shift was gearing up for their set. Last year Paradijm Shift gave one of the most memorable sets of the weekend and this weekend was much the same. Lyle Runner and the band rocked the Inside stage with a blend of Rock, Blues, and Funk. This is a talented bunch and I’m sure we’ll hear more about Paradijm Shift in the coming months. At the same time out on the Charity Rocks stage, Groovestone Fusion was doing their part to get campers up and moving. I’ve wanted to catch this Columbus band for some time now. The six piece Jamband mixes together many influences that include Blues, Rock, Funk, and Bluegrass for a unique sound that makes you want to hear more. I can’t wait to hear a full set from these guys.
At around 3:30 another band from Yellow Springs took to the WYSO Stage. Grover, featuring the talented Jeff May on Guitar and Vocals are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. These guys take Funk, Rock, Soul, and Jazz and fuse them into music magic. May is joined by Terry Butts (Drums), Michael Bisig (Saxaphone), and Thomas Emmrich (Bass). This gifted quartet is primed to take the Miami Valley by storm so be sure to remember the name GROVER; you’ll want the see these guys live, trust me! Saturday provided festival goers a wide variety of music from almost every genre you can imagine; from Rock, Blues, Funk, Bluegrass, and Reggae. The next band I was fortunate to see continued the Reggae feel that Soul Rebels began earlier in the day. Demolition Crew took the Charity Rocks stage to the cheers of the crowd that had gathered to see the group that hails from Dayton and Columbus. Demo Crew has become a Miami Valley Music Fest favorite and the band has been a big supporter of this great organization as well. Danny Sauer’s and Stan “Skabone” Middleton had been busy all weekend sitting in with other bands and now it was time for the guys to kick it Demo Crew style. The band sounded better than ever and their energized set was just what the doctor ordered.
With so much great music going on four different stages it was hard to keep up with all the action and at times I felt like I was short changing some of the artist when I would have to leave their set to catch the next one. Such was the case when Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band played their set in the acoustic tent. I had been looking forward to seeing these guys so I made sure I was there when the band started their set. I was only able to stay for a couple of tunes before heading to the next stage but for those couple of tunes I was in heaven. I really like this band and I’m looking forward to hear more from them real soon. The guys from Blue Moon Soup were tearing up the WYSO Stage at the same time so folks had a tough decision to make; Daniel Dye or Blue Moon Soup? Many did what I did and went back and forth between the two. It was worth the effort, Blue Moon Soup did what they do best. The band takes Bluegrass to a whole new level; it’s Bluegrass that Rocks so I call it Rockgrass. These guys are still young and getting better and better; I can only imagine what the future holds for these gifted and talented musicians.
Mike Perkin was on the Charity Rocks stage just as the sun was beginning to set. Mike draws a crowd wherever he plays and today campers came from around the venue to see this special set of acoustic tunes. I have seen Mike a couple of times now I each time he offers kids in the crowd a free CD to take home and enjoy; I think that is pretty cool and a great way to get kids involved in music. This guy has a huge heart and it comes across in his music. The next band up on the WYSO stage was Buckeye Music Magazine’s August Artist of the Month SOL. These guys bring so much energy to the stage that I get exhausted just watching them. It’s not that the guys are that animated, it’s more the energy of their music. This band gives 110% every time they take the stage, just one reason SOL is one of the most talked about bands in the area.
SOL had to kill it on this night because up next was Jesse Henry and the Spikedrivers and I could tell Jesse was extra fired up as soon as he took the stage. These guys are also big supporters of the MVMF and they always get folks to the stage. Henry has a way with the crowd and is one of my favorite entertainers but I don’t think I have ever seen him as animated as I did on this night; I wasn’t sure the Charity Rocks stage was gonna survive to be quite honest. And talk about energy, no one expends as much energy on stage as Henry and his performance seemed to ignite the rest of the band as well, not that they needed the motivation, this group of guys has never disappointed. Guitarists Steve Sweney and John Boestler are two of the best and Bassist Steven Fox is incredible. Combined with Drummer Nate Anders and Henry, The Spikedrivers could be the most fun you’ll ever have at a show. Going on at the same time on the inside stage was Scotty Bratcher. While I didn’t get to see much of his I did walk in just in time to here the band’s rendition of the Govt. Mule tune “Thorazine Shuffle” my favorite Mule tune. After that it was back to The Spikedrivers where I got to see Henry break out his Kazoo, always a treat.
I had just enough time to catch my breath and grab a bite before it was time for Aliver Hall. The band from Akron followed the Spikedrivers on the WYSO stage and the guys wasted little time introducing themselves to the MVMF crowd. These guys have been a Buckeye Music Magazine favorite since we started and the band continues to impress. Tonight the guys would have to do a split set; in between, HOOOOKAH! The last time we saw Dave Katz and the guys was at Hookahville XXXVII where the guys shared the stage with Warren Haynes of Govt. Mule. Tonight it was all Ekoostik Hookah which was fine by me Last year the guys had to fight through the drama of one of the worst storms of the summer forcing the band to play inside after a very long delay. No such problem on this night, the sky was clear and we were all enjoying a comfortable night full of Hookah. The band was at the top of their game; I even remember hearing Chubby saying that this set was “Rockin.” You know it’s a good set when Chubby raises his fist in the air and lets out a big Hell Ya! The night wasn’t over, Aliver Hall finish their set with a bang and the Skeetones were shaking the rafters on the inside stage until the early morning hours.
Other bands on the bill for Saturday included the Accapella Group, Stillwater River Band, City of Kings, Slight Rebellion, M87, Tattered Roots, Megan Osman, Schwartz/Devore, and our good friend Kris Hanson. One thing is for sure; the 2012 Miami Valley Music Fest was bigger and better than ever. The good folks of the Miami Music Fest Association out did themselves this year. We want to send out a BIG thank you to Nick Christian, Brad Centers, Brad Denson, Matt Stump, and all the people who worked so hard throughout the year to make this happen. You guys are the best and we are proud to be a part of such a great family of folks.