Locally owned radio station, Go 96.3, hosted their annual Go Fest at Cabooze Outdoor Plaza last Sunday, July 2nd. The all-ages event featured three local artists: Jeanne Taylor, Whosah, and Step Rockets, as well as The Unlikely Candidates, MUNA, The Naked and Famous, Mutemath, and Bleachers.
Jeanne Taylor, daughter of local legend, Paul Peterson, kicked the day off with a memorable set. Though the 22 year old has a more pop-music vibe, it’s clear that her debut EP, Jeanne, was influenced by her funk family roots. Taylor showed extreme promise as an up-and-coming performer; her stage presence was natural and her vocals charmed the arriving crowd. Her songs “L.A. Night,” “Adderall,” and “Easy,” were slightly cliche and not very distinguishable from any other 20-something musician, but she definitely has the potential to grow and break through to mainstream listeners.
Indie pop group, Whosah, were the second act on the bill. The lively quintet took the stage with an energetic performance, engaging the audience with songs like “Ghost Town,” “Forget About It,” and “Perhaps We Were.” Concertgoers reflected frontman Spencer Grimes’ remarkable energy, which established the tone for the rest of the day.
The final local artist, Step Rockets, brought an electronic, indie-rock feel to the stage. The three-piece band delivered a noteworthy set, despite only having a twenty minute time slot. Regular Go 96.3 listeners could easily recognize their frequently played tracks “Money,” “Turning Tides,” and “Kisser,” which hit #1 on the Hype Machine charts upon it’s release last year.
Texas natives, The Unlikely Candidates, raised the bar with their dynamic showmanship. Lead singer, Kyle Morris, utilized the entire stage space and heavily interacted with the audience throughout their set. The alt-rockers recently released their second EP, Bed of Liars, in February and made sure to include new songs “Ringer” and “Violence,” as well as older ones “Follow My Feet” and “Trampoline.”
Hailing from southern California, MUNA hit the stage with dark, electro-pop vibes. Vocalist Katie Gavin, guitarist Naomi McPherson, and bassist Josette Maskin perform with raw, undisguised emotion, and aren’t afraid to be outspoken through their music. The trio all identify somewhere under the “queer” umbrella term and have been advocates for the LGBT+ community. They added an extra verse to their song “I Know A Place” singing: “Even if our skin or our gods look different/I believe all human life is significant/I throw my arms open wide in resistance/He’s not my leader even if he’s my president,” which a vast majority of the audience seemed to resonate with.
Kiwi band, The Naked and Famous, were the final set before headliners Mutemath and Bleachers. Their synth-pop tunes “Higher,” “Punching In A Dream,” and the iconic “Young Blood,” had fans dancing along to Alisa Xayalith’s sharp, brassy vocals.
NOLA rockers, MUTEMATH, opened their set with “Changes,” off of their eponymous remix album, released in September of 2016. The quartet have been commonly regarded as one of the best live acts and they proved it at Go Fest. Frontman Paul Meaney, alongside drummer Darren King, guitarist Todd Gummerman, and bassist Jonathan Allen, all perform with incredible, unparalleled passion.
Meaney’s notable vocals and impressive range rang crystal clear throughout their ten-song setlist which included fan favorites “Light Up,” “Used To,” and their most recent single, “Hit Parade.” While some drummers act as simple metronomes- keeping time and getting lost in the background, King is capable of completely stealing the show. His technical, intricate fills captivated anyone within earshot. King even took to the crowd for their song “Reset,” and had the front row hold individual drum heads for him to play on and still managed to sound spectacular.
Although MUTEMATH was a tough act to follow, the final headliner, Bleachers, did not disappoint. The former Fun. bassist, Jack Antonoff, has been making waves in the music industry for years, producing and writing with high-profile artists such as Lorde, Sia, and Taylor Swift. Antonoff launched straight in to his set with his anthemic single, “Shadow.” He continued to transition between 2014 album Strange Desire and his latest album, Gone Now, playing “Wild Heart,” “Everybody Lost Somebody,” “You’re Still a Mystery,” and a Fleetwood Mac cover of “Go Your Own Way.” His entire set was full of positive, radiant energy and left fans with a feeling of catharsis after belting out his final two songs “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take the Money.”
Go Fest is a gift for alternative and local music fans. Hip-hop heads have Soundset, indie kids have Rock the Garden, wine moms have Basilica Block Party, and country fans have We Fest, but there was a serious lack of solid alternative shows; Go Radio continues to supply Minnesota with amazing live music.