When planning your weekend at Independents' Day, start with this realization: You can't see everything. With five stages and well over 100 artists performing, the festival is seemingly designed to create conflict. Do you catch the Sidekicks or Digisaurus? Garbage Greek or Speedy Ortiz? Envelope or the Girls!? Our best advice? Relax. Wander the sprawling Franklinton setup and see what musicians, artists and vendors catch your ear and/or eye. That said, here are 10 acts we recommend you make a special effort to see.
When planning your weekend at Independents' Day, start with this realization: You can't see everything.
With five stages and well over 100 artists performing, the festival is seemingly designed to create conflict. Do you catch the Sidekicks or Digisaurus? Garbage Greek or Speedy Ortiz? Envelope or the Girls!? Our best advice? Relax. Wander the sprawling Franklinton setup and see what musicians, artists and vendors catch your ear and/or eye. That said, here are 10 acts we recommend you make a special effort to see.Pink Reason
4:45 p.m. Saturday, Retropolis
In 2013, Kevin DeBroux said he was ending Pink Reason, the Wisconsin band he started as a necessary outlet for voicing the anger and anxieties of his early 20s. (The band's 2007 Siltbreeze LP Cleaning the Mirror is an underrated gem of noise-soaked pysch-folk.) Even though Pink Reason has played shows here and there since 2013, they're rare enough that this set is one to circle with a Sharpie, even if it might be a little jarring to hear the dark sounds of Pink Reason in afternoon daylight. (DeBroux will also play a DJ set as Kevin Failure at 6:45 p.m. on the Sideshow stage.)A Tribe Called Columbus
7 p.m. Saturday, Cover My Stage
We lost a hip-hop legend way too soon this year when A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg died as a result of complications from diabetes at age 45. The Five Footer left a legacy that local rappers Copywrite and the Catalyst will pay tribute to on Saturday night with "A Tribe Called Columbus." (Also catch Copy's alter ego Powerbar Ernie for a 15-minute Sunday set at 4:30 p.m. on the Gritty City stage.)The Lost Revival
8:15 p.m. Saturday, Retropolis
This Saturday night set will mark the Lost Revival's first show since going on hiatus nearly three years ago. Singer Kevin Collins' songs, which start with folk-rock foundations but often explode into colorful swirls of guitar fuzz, spacey synth, parlor piano and saxophone solos, have always worked best in a live setting. The band also plans to work some new songs into the set, which should make for a welcome Lost Revival revival.Rashad
10:45 p.m. Saturday, Gritty City
On The Quiet Loud, released in 2015, R&B/soul man Rashad traced his history in music, working in lyrical references to legends he heard spinning on the family turntable (Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye), as well as more modern influences like Blackstreet, which garners a mention on "Slow Jam." The singer landed his first major label deal with RCA Records at age 13, later inking similar deals with Columbia and Universal. Now fully independent, Rashad is free to pursue genre-blurring songs like "Mountain," which melds hip-hop, gospel and soul and finds the musician singing, "I'm gonna play it how I feel." Here's hoping he continues to do so.Earwig
12:30 p.m. Sunday, Retropolis
It's been a long wait for new Earwig music, but trust us when we say the wait will be worth it. Arrive early on Sunday to catch songs from Pause for the Jets before the album's October release. The record retains all of Lizard McGee's weirdo lyrical proclivities and his inability to write a song without a huge hook you'll be humming for days. Earwig is now a family affair, too: McGee's daughter James McGee-Moore contributes vocals alongside her reptilian father.Funerals
3 p.m. Sunday, Retropolis
On SoundCloud, producers Mollie Wells and Casey Immel-Brown describe Funerals' sound by writing, "These songs … sound like gray oceans and the terrible waiting for the sun." Considering the early afternoon set time, attendees probably have fingers crossed hoping this won't double as a weather forecast. Tracks like "Liceu" are dark and rhythmic, building around a steady electronic patter and ominous synth waves. Clipped vocal samples ("I saw you eating ice cream!") only increase the menace. Listening to these songs at home in the evening, it's impossible to escape the sensation someone is watching you from under the cover of night. At least here a crowd - and hopefully the sun - will have your back.Speedy Ortiz
5:45 p.m. Sunday, Fantasy + Folklore
One of a handful of out-of-towners playing this mostly local fest, Speedy Ortiz returns to Columbus after visiting Double Happiness in June. Expect Sadie Dupuis and her crew to play plenty of tracks from 2015's excellent, riff-heavy Foil Deer, but don't be surprised if they also road test some new material from a batch of songs the band ironed out at a friend's Massachusetts beach house in April.Envelope
6:15 p.m. Sunday, Gritty City
There's something about the way Tony Collinger aka Envelope's self-deprecating, lackadaisical flow pairs with DJ Detox's beats that makes the rapper's music perfect for festival settings. For some reason Envelope's Runnin' Out of Time to Die Young LP flew under the radar - maybe because he released it as a digital download packaged with the annual Envelope calendar on New Year's Eve last year? Whatever the reason, if you're not hip to Envelope, go download his entire catalog for free at enveloperaps.com.Human Cannonball as the Beach Boys
6:15 p.m. Sunday, Cover My Stage
If you only know Jesse Remnant as the harmony-singing brother of Adam Remnant in beloved (and sadly defunct) Athens band Southeast Engine, you're missing out. Human Cannonball's 2012 album, Let's Be Friends, is a masterpiece of pop-rock songcraft and proof that the Beatles never go out of style. Neither do the Beach Boys, for that matter, and this Dayton band's knack for harmony should be perfect for Brian Wilson's layered pop nuggets.Mary Lynn
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sideshow
Fresh off the heels of new record My Animal, Mary Lynn Gloeckle's band is in peak form. At the Anyway Records 25th anniversary performance, guitarist Joe Camerlengo wrangled loud, nasty sounds from his Frankenstein-ed Strat while Gloeckle sang her heart out behind the keys. Every song was a should-be hit. Don't sleep on this Band to Watch.