That was one hell of a music festival, eh? Independents’ Day went off with a few hitches Saturday — power outages, occasional wonky sound, disarray regarding set times — but boy did it go off. Logistics be damned, rarely did an hour pass without something awesome, which is impressive even with 35 bands on four stages.
I was there from start to finish, and I did my best to see everything. Great conversations and gripping performances kept me from doing it all, but I did manage to glimpse 27 musical acts (plus three comedians and a crowd dancing barefoot on paint and canvas). Here were my 10 favorite moments — though trust me, there were more.
10. Path/Hafrican (tie): I first encountered both of these rappers in their musical infancy. It was awesome to see them flexing hard-earned maturity.
9. Reverse the Curse: These recent northeast Ohio transplants approached post-hardcore with the requisite fury, offering short, striking bursts of melancholic aggression.
8. The End of the Ocean: So loud, so huge.
7. Petit Mal: Best guitar tones in Columbus, and with such alluring psych-pop songs to deploy them. Bad news: Their singer is moving to Portland. Good news: They’re going to make more records long-distance.
6. The Black Swans: Can’t think of a better way to ease from afternoon to evening than listening to this band’s idiosyncratic folk-rock drifting easily through the alley, bathed in spillage from a basket of light.
5. The Saturday Giant: I was literally screaming for joy watching Phil Cogley unfurl a nonstop musical highlight reel. His album’s going to rule.
4. Miranda Sound: Reliving the greatest hits of one of the best Ohio bands of the past decade was a rush.
3. EYE: The only sound more punishing than EYE’s psych-metal eruption Saturday...
2. Struck By Lightning: ...was Struck By Lightning’s hellish torture-chamber sprints.
1. P Blackk: The young rapper’s succinct set was mesmerizing. P. Blackk’s talent has been obvious since “Chicken N’ Waffles” in 2010, but this was different, like watching somebody stepping into stardom. Even the people waiting for COTA decided to stick around until the next bus. He left us wanting more, but thankfully he doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.