After what can only be called a “trying” Winter and early Spring, Upstate NY was more then ready for a weekend that didn’t suck monkey balls. Enter Statewide Music’s second annual Spring Revival. With forecasts only showing a few storms and weather ranging into the 80’s, the timing couldn’t have been better for a revival of the Spring we had yet to receive. This three day fest entered it’s second year in a brand new venue: Macedon, NY’s Carey Lake. Situated perfectly between Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Ithaca, the venue was easy to find and flat, with plenty of space for car camping, surrounded with enough trees, streams, gardens, and woodland creatures to satisfy the even the most Ranger Rick loving hippies. A bar and restaurant fronted the head of the property and also held the late night bands with a heaping dose of small town hospitality (Not to mention a pretty kick ass brunch!).
Thursday night kicked kicked the festival off with a nice group of early arrivals with the new improv-heavy Rochester trio, Underground Funk. Headliner and ‘s March Madness Winner, Lucid, (who also have the coolest tour bus ever) held the main stage expertly, and Rochester’s Haewa, whom would play two blistering sets over the weekend, kept things going until 1AM. It’s often when the music is done at small festivals when you really get to wander and meet new and interesting people and many were up til the sun rose. The night time revealed travelers from at least four different states had come to share in the groove, some who lived life from festival to festival, and many others that came to see the specific acts. Acoustic guitars, joyful conversations, and a small drum circle carried the festival until the morning.
Speaking of sun, Friday came with a ton of it. Temps soared into the 80’s by the time Personal Blend kicked off and no one was complaining. The first truly glorious day of 2014 also inspired all the bands that day as everyone was delivering their A-game sets. Albany’s Formula 5 won the afternoon crowd over with an inspired set and their brand new bassist (not to be confused with movie and television star) James Woods. The fun was given an exhilarating short break late in the afternoon as a short but fierce storm, henceforth named Hurricane EZ-Down, gave everything a nice soak and showed whose tents were truly “wind-friendly.” After a short break and a slight schedule change, Ithaca’s Solaris and Vermont’s Flabberghaster paved the way for the first of two headlining nights for Buffalo’s hottest export, Aqueous. The foursome whose genre, dubbed “groove rock”, but was more like “everything is awesome rock”, played an energy filled set anchored by a spot on first time cover debut of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Funky Monk”. Closing down the evening, Rochester’s nocturnal psych-rock-animal Ocupanther, kept the night owls going ’til last call.
Revival’s Saturday schedule was loaded with bands straight through from 11AM until 2AM. Many bounced between the two stages with a seemingly endless supply of dancing fuel, while others played Frisbee or explored the grounds. This was a great time to check out many of the great vendors on site as well, and I picked myself up some organic homemade deodorant and a brisket taco that can only be described as freakin’ delicious. Straying from the music didn’t last long though as Albany’s Mister F blew up a cover of Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat”, made famous in Napoleon Dynamite. Warming up the stage for Aqueous’s second night, a full two set show, were Rochester’s Roots Collider and Haewa’s second set of the weekend.
Aqueous wasted no time getting into two blistering energy filled sets with the pairing of fan favorite originals, “Complex Part II” and “Origami”, with Solare Flare’s Hank and Margo spinning fire stage left. Concluding the set with a debut of The Cars “Just What I Needed”, the band took a short break while the audience refilled their beers. Never short on surprises, the band re-entered with bassist Evan McPhaden dressed in a full Tigger costume and a set of music that truly defined the amazing weekend as a champion. The newly re-finagled Universe Shark closed the festival down in style in the Carey Lake bar.
Carey Lake will hold three more Statewide Music events this year with the next being the bluegrass/Americana/folk based Fiddler’s Picnic (June 12-15). Wish you had made it? No worries. Spring Revival 3 has already been announced for May 14-17th 2015.