with audio: My Dear Disco to play Lollapalooza; other local bands book festival gigs
Talk about great exposure for Ann Arbor and its music.
The local band My Dear Disco will play at this year’s Lollapalooza music festival, one of the country’s largest such events, in Chicago Aug. 6-8. Although they aren’t among the annual event’s big-name headliners, Disco’s Tyler Duncan could care less. The exposure alone is priceless.
“Getting in the door is the hard thing, that’s the struggle,” said Duncan. “Once you’re in, it is so much easier to meet people and get people to give you a chance. The trick is having people really listen and watch and take some time to really understand what you are doing.”
Since the word has spread about the Lollapalooza gig, congratulations have been flowing in, and Duncan admits he and the other band members (guitarist Robert Lester, vocalist Michelle Chamuel, drummer Mike Shea and bassist Christian Carpenter) are riding a high right now.
“It’s like when you announce you’re getting married or you’re having a baby or something like that,” Duncan laughed. “The flood of response has been phenomenal.
“It’s crazy the amount of people coming out now interested in what we are doing there’s really been a noticeable change. A lot of people are coming to us and proposing to work with us. It’s really flattering. It’s definitely paving the way for us to have a lot of choices in front of us.”
Listen to My Dear Disco "All I Do":
This visit to perform at Lollapalooza will be Duncan’s first time at the festival. “It’s actually been one of the festivals I have always wanted to go to. More than Bonaroo, more than Coachella — of the massive national festivals, that’s the festival that had the artists I typically want to see most,” he said.
Not that Lollapalooza will be all work and no play for the band. Duncan said he is particularly excited to see electronic/pop singer Lady Gaga perform.
“There are varying opinions of her, but within the band we have an appreciation for what she does,” he explained. “She paves the way for music more like we make. We don’t sound like Lady Gaga, but she has definitely opened the doors.”
The group will also perform at the 10th anniversary Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Ill., May 28-29, as well as the Floyd Fandango Beer and Wine Festival July 3-4 in Floyd, Va. (Other MDD dates are listed below.)
But My Dear Disco isn’t the only band representing the Ann Arbor area at festivals this summer. Others will be busy nationally and regionally, with shows in Michigan and beyond.
One area group, Frontier Ruckus, will play the Wood Festival in the United Kingdom in May, prior to playing the Cafe Stage at the prestigious Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn. on June 10.
Listen to Frontier Ruckus "Dark Autumn Hour":
“It’s something we never pictured ourselves ever being able to do,” said Frontier Ruckus’ David Jones, who lives in Ann Arbor when he’s not on the road with the band. “I’ve been dreaming about Bonaroo since I was a teenager; the thought of us playing it never entered my mind. Maybe during a fantasy it did, but the reality of it happening — never.
“We try to look at it realistically. It’s our first time there, we’ll be playing on a small stage probably early in the day. Even so, it’s still really exciting,” he added. “We don’t let it inflate our egos too much, there’s a lot more work to be done for us before we feel like we’re big shots. I don’t know if we’ll ever be like that, you know what I am saying?”
Meanwhile, Ann Arbor native Mayer Hawthorne & the County just finished a gig April 18 at the Coachella Music Festival in Indo, Calif.
Listen to Mayer Hawthorne & the County "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out":
Macpodz will play the Spring Hookah/Blossom Blast in Garrettsville, Ohio April 30. Macpodz and The Ragbirds are also on the program with My Dear Disco at the aforementioned Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois.
Macpodz will also represent Ann Arbor at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, W.V. July 8-11, while My Dear Disco will perform at Blissfest in Harbor Springs July 9-11. Duncan said Blissfest is an event near and dear to his heart.
Listen to Macpodz "Followaduby":
“It was the singular gig that got the ball rolling for us two years ago,” he recalled. “It was our first summer of gigging, and we had just graduated. When we played Blissfest, it was some kind of crazy serendipitous moment where the crowd and the night and the weather just exploded. Very rarely have I felt that kind of energy with what’s happening on stage and what’s happening in the audience.”
In other appearances closer to home, the Beaver Island Music Festival on Beaver Island will welcome Ypsilanti’s Black Jake & the Carnies July 16-17, while Jackson’s Land of NOD July 23-25 will feature Macpodz, The Ragbirds and My Dear Disco.
Listen to Black Jake & the Carnies "No Diamond Ring":
The Hoxeyville Music Festival August 20-22 in Wellston, Mich. (between Grand Rapids and Traverse City) will also have The Ragbirds and Macpodz on the schedule.
Not to be left out, the Porcupine Mountain Music Festival in the Upper Peninsula community of Ontanogon will welcome The Ragbirds August 27-28.
Listen to The Ragbirds "Book of Matches":
Any festival, be it large like Lollapalooza, or local, such as the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, which has booked My Dear Disco for a return engagement on June 18, represents important exposure for a group.
“If you’ve had exposure at a festival, people have at least seen you and you’re not starting from scratch. A venue is a lot more likely to hire you, too,” said The Ragbirds’ Erin Zindle.
“From the very beginning of our band, festivals have always been very important,” she added. “They are great for breaking to new regions, eliminating much of that tedious groundwork of going and playing in small clubs over and over again building up a fan base slowly. (With festivals) we are getting access to a lot of people all at once. Also, we also get a chance to meet many other musicians and we do so much networking at music festivals.”
Zindle said she is glad there’s a strong local presence on festival bills.
“A lot of Michigan - and specifically Ann Arbor - bands are well-represented at national music festivals,” she observed. “I love it when we’re all thrown together on a bill we definitely get a chance to build up the Michigan scene.”