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Funkhouser’s Bunbury Music Festival Recap: Best of Day One

 

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Fans watch The Wombat’s perform.

Summer is officially here and that can only mean that music festivals will be taking place all around the country.  One such event close to Kentucky, is Bunbury Music Festival, a three day event held along the waterfront in downtown Cincinnati between Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove.  This is the fourth year for Queen City festival and this year it was held from June 3-5.  Funkhouser had a chance to attend a couple of days and even interview some artists.

The Mowgli’s are as cool as they sound.

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Me with The Mowgli’s.

Formed in 2010, The Mowgli’s are a California based indie rock collective with a super-chill sound, complete with infectious melodies, harmonious choruses and encouraging lyrics.  Their song “San Francisco” is featured in the upcoming Cameron Crowe Showtime series, Roadies, starring Luke Wilson.  I sat down with members Colin Dieden, Josh Hogan, and Katie Earl shortly after their performance on the main stage to talk about their music, message and upcoming album.

This is your second time at Bunbury Fest, do you like coming here?
CD:  Oh yeah, the people are great! But did you say Kentucky Sports Radio, like Kentucky basketball right?

Yes, why?
CD:  I’m a Kansas guy and I’ve never gotten over that loss, where Kentucky killed us!

This interview was going so well.

So your music has a common theme running through it and that’s love. Can you talk to me about that?
KE:  Yeah, love is a powerful force and we believe it’s for everyone, and when we say everyone, we’re talking about everyone and everything, people, nature, animals, etc.

There’s also a really positive energy and message that comes across in your music, is that intentional?
KE:  We want our fans to know that whatever they’re feeling, they’re not alone and hopefully our music can help them in some way.

How’s the new album coming along?
KE:  We just finished it and it’s coming out this fall and we’re kicking off a west coast tour after this to promote it.

If you could see any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
CD:  Whitney Houston
JH:  George Harrison
KE:  Prince

Funkhouser would like to thank The Mowgli’s for their interview and we wish them all the best on their upcoming tour.

Charles Bradley’s story is as powerful as his music.

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Charles Bradley feeling overwhelmed with the love from the crowd.

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Charles Bradley before seeing him perform at Bunbury, but as soon as he finished his set, I bought every album.  At 62, Bradley’s musical journey began and his life as chronicled in the 2012 documentary, Charles Bradley:  Soul of America, is one of the most awe-inspiring stories you’ll ever see.  His music is raw, soulful and his stage presence is equally as powerful.  Bradley’s deeply personal cover of the Black Sabbath song “Changes” shook me to my core, and now I’m a believer and a fan.

Tom Petty is an institution.

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Legendary rocker Tom Petty walks on stage.

With his laconic sound and a career spanning nearly forty years, there isn’t a time in my life where I don’t remember being surrounded by the sounds of Petty’s music.  Despite being 65 years old, Tom Petty is widely considered to be an elder statesman of Rock n’ Roll.  He’s played alongside musical legends like:  Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash and by the looks of his Bunbury performance, he clearly shows no signs of stopping.  Petty performed with Mudcrutch, his pre-Heartbreakers band, comprised of:  Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Tom Leadon and Randall Mash.  While I desperately wanted Petty and co. to break into “Refugee” and “American Girl”, they played songs from both of their self-titled albums, including “Scare Easy” and “Orphan of the Storm”.  Regardless, seeing and hearing the rock legend live made my night and many others, drawing one of the largest crowds.

The Killers closed out the night with help from the Reds.

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Fireworks explode over The Killers performance.  Photo courtesy of Aaron Huff.

Living up to their name, the Las Vegas rock band The Killers closed out the day with a bang.  As I watched Petty, I asked fellow Bunbury attendee, Aaron Huff, a big KSR fan and longtime-listener and concert-goer of the band to share his experience with me: This show, thanks to the timely Friday night fireworks from the Reds, was simply fantastic.  The Killers took the stage and launched into their set with hits, “Spaceman” and “Somebody Told Me” followed by a string of other memorable songs.  When the band started into their song “Dustland Fairytale”, the Cincinnati Reds’ Friday night fireworks started just behind the stage during the escalation of the chorus.  Lead singer Brandon Flowers joked, ‘I think the Reds won!’ and, when the fireworks kept going, he laughed.”

While this isn’t my first time at an outdoor music festival, this was my first experience with Bunbury Music Festival, and overall I was impressed with the selection of various musical acts, vendors, overall feel, and multiple stages despite experiencing minor frustrations with cell service and a cashless payment system.  If you’re looking for venues located in the greater Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati area, Bunbury is one to check out.   Some notable music venues coming up in Kentucky are ROMP 2016 held June  22-25 in Owensboro and Forecastle Festival in Louisville held from July 15-17.  Thanks to all the folks at Bunbury Music Festival and Funkhouser’s own Josh Juckett for coordinating everything from scheduling to the interviews, all from the master control room.  Stay tuned for day three’s recap from Funkhouser’s Richmond Bramblett.

 

Article written by Matthew Mahone

Follow me on Twitter @M_E_Mahone