Words & Photos by Joey Buttram of Hidden Relic
This past weekend we headed down to Madison, IN for River City Rock & Roll Festival. The festival itself was by far the most organized local festival I've been to all year. We took the promo/vending booth down, and had a great response. I haven't received official numbers, but I'd guess around 1,000-1,500 fans showed up throughout the entire weekend.
We arrived on Friday, and with help of HRP Productions Manager (and Mellow Fellow Factory bassist) Jeremy Ochs we set up shop, and began listening to the tunes. The festival started with smooth rock work of Andrea Davidson, we then heard the bluesy shredding of Jimmy Davis Band. The third band to take stage was a straight funky jam-rock outfit called The Flavors. Headlining Friday night was Devon Allman's Honeytribe, and I'll tell you the apple doesn't fall far from Daddy's tree... Friday night we raged the campsite, and enjoyed a few brews until nearly daylight.
Saturday we woke up just in time to catch Nikki Gill perform her soulful acoustic set covering bands like Maroon 5 and Deana Carter. The day progressed with a couple more acoustic acts that were perfect for this early afternoon setting. Michael Kelsey came on with a spacey set of some AMAZING acoustic guitar work.
Following Kelsey was an HRP favorite Mellow Fellow Factory. MFF tore into a funky set full of originals, and it didn't take long to move the relaxed acoustic crowd into an all out dance party. After MFF was Local Villains with an almost indie sound that was real good. Shaggy Wonda took the stage with a (like usual) nasty set of some great songs. Shaggy Wonda always leaves me satisfied, and I was nothing less on Saturday. Rusty Bladen & Designated Drivers came up after Shaggy, and played a great set of almost John Melloncamp-like songs. Rusty's lyrics described hometown parties, run-ins with the law, and leaving a few secrets at Cumberland Lake, KY. I could tell the local Madison crowd sure loves Rusty.
After Rusty came Samesoul, and it was my very first Samesoul show. I was completely BLOWN away by this array of talent. They came on confident, and swayed the crowed into a bluesy, jammy, southern, and overall chilling set. I have yet to watch a local band that has sent chills down my spine so many times. After their set Joe DeVito (bassist) gave me a handful of their album "The Orange Album." I have yet to take that CD out of my player. Get with me or Samesoul if you'd like to purchase their album.... You wont regret spending the money.
After Samesoul, Ekoostik Hookah took the stage with a wonderful mix of jammy songs of their ever-growing catalogue. Hookah is always a good headliner, and they sure through down in Madison. Clear Sound and Light did a great job, and I would definitely consider them for future events. Herm Productions also added a nice touch to the stage with their fantastic light work.