DIG Fest finished out its 2014 run with a range of local and regional performers ranging from electro-soul and folk acts to indie-rock and Americana. Here’s a recap of a few of the sets that made up the second night of the festival:
DEBRISSA & THE BEAR KING performed at One Stop. The cavelike atmosphere was a good fit for the duo’s darkly dancy sound. Equal parts melodic and meditative, the collaboration between Oso Rey and Debrissa McKinney was both a journey through sonic explorations and a culmination of influences and well-honed styles. There’s little about the blurry, strobing club-ready sound of Debrissa & the Bear King that recalls Rey’s former project, Soulgrass Rebellion. But there is a kind of DIY craftsmanship that marries the electronic backdrop of Rey’s compositions to McKinney’s soaring, velvety vocals. Plus, the obvious passion that both performers brought to the stage further buoyed the performance.
BLUSHING ROULETTES are Angie Heimann on guitar and vocals and Cas Sochacki on dobro and vocals. They call what they play, “old-time tunes with a modern twist.” In fact, they could have been directly transplanted from Northern California, circa 1972, to the rooftop stage at The Social. Not that the couple sounded like a throwback act — instead, it’s that they’re so authentically a folk duo. Their quiet, acoustic songs were, at times, almost overpowered by street noise and by the full-octane blues rock of Leigh Glass & the Hazards coming from 5 Walnut’s open windows. But, singing in tandem, eyes closed, on a John Prine cover, the Blushin Roulettes presented the musical equivalent of a still-warm homemade peach pie. Rustic, wholesome, soulful and sweet. They ended with the crowd-pleasing humorous duet, “Salty Mama.”
SIDECAR HONEY also played The Social. Formerly Dave Dribbon & the Stompin Rain, that band has been rebuilding its sound around the shared songwriting of Dribbon and vocalist/mandolinist Jeff Honeycutt. The band played a combination of new material and Stompin Rain favorites and, even as a recently hatched project (just debuted at Highland Brewing a couple of weeks ago), the performance was polished. Bryan White played bass with a lithe, jazz-informed style, Kent Spillman rounded out the formidable rhythm section on drums and Randy Dzielak added to the melody on pedal steel, banjo and tambourine. But it’s the songwriting that makes this band something special — thoughtful Americana with pop hooks and rock propulsion, they manage to feel at once fresh and familiar.