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Solid Sound Festival 2017 Review

Solid Sound Festival

June 23-25, 2017

MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

Photos by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Review by: Belinda Vasquez

Full Gallery: Solid Sound Festival 2017

The fifth biennial Solid Sound Festival featured three days of music, art, comedy, and activities for kids on the grounds of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. MASS MoCA was once a factory complex that was transformed into one of the largest centers for contemporary art in the United States back in 1999. The large mill buildings with their history of fabrication and spacious courtyards all nestled in the Berkshire Mountains provided the perfect setting for the festival.

June 24, 2017, Day two of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

The museum staple exhibitions ranged from the Wall Drawing Retrospective by Sol LeWitt to the Tree Logic by artist Natalie Jereijenko, which is on display prominently outside the main entrance. Also on display over the weekend included works by James Turrell, Tanja Hollander, Robert Rauschenberg, and Chicago artist Nick Cave. Cave’s work entitled Until was astounding in scale to witness in person.

June 23, 2017 Day one of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

The weekend’s musical lineup included two headlining performances by Wilco, their side projects, and a variety of acts hand selected by the band. Friday was kicked off with Nick Offerman introducing Nancy and Beth, which included his wife Megan Mullaly and Stephanie Hunt. Brother’s Dave & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones followed them on the main stage on Joe’s Field.

The crowd could be heard all afternoon conversing about the special evening that was in store. The band has made it a staple of doing something special on the opening night of the festival. In 2013, they performed an all-cover set of songs that were submitted by fans, and in 2015 the band did an entire acoustic concert. So keeping in tradition, they performed the band’s 1996 sophomore release, Being There, which was audience chosen. As if that wasn’t special in its self for an encore they played the critically acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in its entirety.

June 23, 2017, Day one of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

Saturday was the most heavily attended day of the sold out weekend. Festival goers had plenty to choose from which helped the overall experience. There was a full lineup of comedians at the Hunter Center along with Pop Concerts occurring at various locations within the galleries if someone wanted to cool off from the heat.

June 24, 2017 Day two of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

Jeff Tweedy collaborated with Darin Gray and Chris Corsano of Chikamorachi in the new building 6 for an experimental noise session. Pat Sansone and John Stirratt had play dates with some lucky children on the Gunnar Schonbeck’s instruments. Kacy & Clayton and Joan Shelley both had an intimate pop-up concert in the art galleries.

June 24, 2017, Day two of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

Kurt Vile and the Violators performed a great opening set before Wilco took the main stage. Their Saturday night set started off with “At Least That’s What You Said” off of the Ghost a Born. Tweedy joked that the band wasn’t going to play the whole album, but that they did play that song on purpose to make the audience wonder. Unlike the first night, Tweedy was way more talkative which provided some great banter moments. The band played a more standard set with a few rarities such as “A Magazine Called Sunset,” “Can’t Stand It,” and “Candyfloss.”

Sunday was a heavy lineup of Wilco’s side projects. The Nels Cline Four performed a stimulating set in the outdoor courtyard. Drummer Glenn Kotche’s group On Fillmore played with a sextet. The band blew away the mostly standing crowd with “Illusionismo da Arvore da Cerebracao” off their new album Happiness Of Living. The Autumn Defense played the album Circles in its entirety ending their set with an epic Love cover of “A House Is Not A Motel.” Mikael Jorgensen performed in the Hunter Center with James Merle Thomas as Quindar. The group’s audiovisual performance, which included film archive footage from NASA, was a mesmerizing electronica experience.

June 25, 2017, Day three of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

The day concluded with a performance by Tweedy and friends. It started off with the band Tweedy, and then a solo performance with Jeff. Then the entire Wilco band and friends joined the stage to perform various covers. The special set included Sammy Tweedy’s Solid Sound debut, which he sang Graham Nash’s song “Military Madness.” The conclusion came with a Band cover of “I Shall Be Released.”

Wilco and MASS MoCA have created a unique festival that goes beyond the music. Its theme is rooted in a community which encourages us to inspire one another.

June 25, 2017, Day three of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Photo by Tony Vasquez.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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