When I arrived at Arts, Beats & Eats on Saturday afternoon, the sun was beating down and, as Jason Stollsteimer’s Hounds Below took to the Soaring Eagle stage, the organizers’, biggest problem would have been how to stop thousands of people getting sunstroke. The Hounds didn’t have any such issues to think about, and they were absolutely spectacular today. Stollsteimer recently told me that, when he drastically changed the lineup and brought in band members that now feel like real band members as opposed to hired guns, he also changed the style of music that the band plays somewhat. Gone are the ‘50s style rock ’n’ roll songs in favor of anthemic, Arcade Fire-ish beauties. His band is duck’s-ass tight, and the former Von Bondies man’s voice has never sounded better.
Over at the Budweiser Rock stage, Rachel May introduced this festival crowd to her new band, the Difficulties. The Broadzilla girl rocked it too, belting out bluesy hard rock crowd pleasers for all she’s worth. May’s voice remains one of Detroit’s best kept secrets. Her set was complimented by the sight of regular festival dancing loon the Spaghetti Man. He might look a bit odd as he contorts around the front of the stage, but he’s having a blast and fair play to him.
I’m not gonna lie – I just had to see Lou Gramm of Foreigner on the main stage. And I did.
My next stop was to be to see Metro Times cover star Eliza Neals but, just as I got there, an announcement was made that high winds were imminent and that the festival was going to have to pretty much shut down for a while, for the sake of crowd safety. Here’s where it gets serious. Following a few tragically fatal incidents at festivals around the world of late, including one at a state fair in Indiana last month, no chances can be taken. So hats off to each and every member of staff and all the volunteers at the Arts, Beats & Eats for getting control of the situation so quickly. The winds blew but, thanks to the fast actions of those behind the scenes, to my knowledge there was nothing unpleasant to report. I went home after that – the music was just starting up again but the forecast said more rain. Well, there’s a whole two days to look forward to.