The festival, although smaller this year, delivers on its expectations. Hosting a slew of unique artists on Benjamin Ave, Lamp Light lets hidden gems shine.
Lamp Light is the music festival you can take your grandmother to. Or maybe it takes place in your grandmother’s house. Either way, Friday night was our first exposure to Lamp Light. It began with Stef Chura at Bird House, a house which when entered feels like being transported to Greenfield Village, or a place in time when people and things were more intentional, like furniture and appliances built to last multiple lifetimes. The Murphy and Sage houses were aesthetically decorated as well—meticulous decorations of flowers and natural things, hand-stitched embroideries reading slogans including the repeated: “People peopling, music bringing us together, song: our way of belonging” and of course—lamps.
While the crowds that packed living rooms during the fest’s first day were mostly typical house-show-fauna, with Doc Martins and obscure band t-shirts abound, there were outliers interspersed among them. Wobbling toddlers, Generation Xers, college students, neighbors, and friends all crowded around sets by Stef Chura, Lando Chill, and a slew of interesting acts. As Lamp Light gains mainstream traction, it’s slowly changing the narrative of the tragically-hip house-show-goer, proving that great music doesn’t have to be culturally exclusive. The following are some highlights our crew gathered from the first night of the festival. Lamp Light continues Saturday from 12pm-11pm and Sunday, from 12pm-8pm.
Stef Chura opened the festival at Bird House to a packed living room, where wild flowers and strings of blossoms were hanging from the ceiling. Their songs were as alluring and tight as they are on their debut record, “Messes,” that came out earlier this year. This is surprising, you know, because with rough, unique voices, the transition from recording to live performance can be a disappointing one (Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse comes to mind). Stef’s voice was acutely precise on Friday, though, as was the rest of the band. The guitar was a bit quiet, which might be the audiences fault, as halfway through the set she asked, “can you hear the guitar when I am fingerpicking?” the crowd just cheered again, and she echoed “okay, I trust you, I trust you.” I guess the takeaway is to never trust a cheering audience.
It has been a minute since any of us have seen Glum, so seeing James, Sam, Tyler, and Lukas was a welcome return to the living room stage. For those that aren’t familiar, John Akers describes them as “If Sonic Youth made love with Modest Mouse and had a child that was obsessed with the Strokes.” Throughout the set James Sullivan sheepishly smiled through vocal lines and cautiously tapped and tweaked his peddles. Sam Hall is always taller than expected in person, their clunky white Fila shoes pointed together right behind a string of peddles, fingers occasionally slipping past intended notes, flubbing a line here and there. The first time, Sam grimaced, but the second and third time Sam grinned inwardly. They knew it was still great, everyone was having a great time.
A Midwestern duo who met in Tucson, Arizona, brought their Alchemist-inspired optimism back for the enjoyment of everyone who happened to see them perform. Their production defies categorization, but the new and old heads of boom bap and rap will surely find something they can get down to within their catalog or set list, which varies from performance to performance. Reworking the very definition of a hip hop performance, they performed a few A Capella pieces, and they ended the set with a poem that resonated throughout the room, and was met with snaps, claps, and daps. Watch out for our upcoming interview with them!
Pink Sky’s set was criminally underattended. Eclipsed by Divino Nino’s set, they still performed to a decent herd of viewers, but this 3-piece electronica group deserved all three floors of the house packed, amps cranked to eleven, light show and dance party in full swing. That’s how I see their ideal set going, at least. Lamp Light’s informational booklet imaginatively describes them as such: “Mirrored shapes reflect a vortex of floating memories, while beyond the windows a sky quickly turns dark and fireflies ignite in near frenzy.” It doesn’t sound too far off from the real experience, save for the musicians and their multitude of keyboards, synths, and other MIDI instruments.
Check out our interview with Lamp Light founders here, and keep an eye out for our upcoming interviews with performers!
Photo by Schyler Perkins
Written by Schyler Perkins, John Akers, and Dylan Tarr