Updated Sat, Jun 2, 2012 4:54 pm
Mindy Braasch was the first, as well as the youngest, performer at last night’s ACRN-sponsored Lobsterfest show at Casa Cantina.
Besides recently wrapping up her high school career, she also won Best Acoustic Act at the Athens High School Battle of the Bands in March.
On Friday, Braasch moved seamlessly through originals and a few covers, most notably Train’s "Drops of Jupiter." While the songs were expertly executed, renditions of Train songs were not quite what the Lobsterfest audience was expecting.
Regardless, Braasch displayed enormous talent and range, with a mature, self-assured voice and charming stage presence.
After Braasch, Indigo Wild took the stage. Initially, the echo-y harmonies that flow through much of the band’s material prompted comparisons to Fleet Foxes. However, as the set progressed, it became clear that Indigo Wild had their own sound.
Bassist Chris Carter’s rock-solid performance kept the band’s sound grounded, plus the sound was excellent. Either the sound guy was spot-on or the bendable Pokey, (Gumby’s orange equine pal) perched on one of the amps, was helping the Columbus/Cinncinnati band sound so clear.
It was pretty evident that the crowd really enjoyed Indigo Wild’s set, and by the time the band blasted into "Rowboats" from their latest release, If By Sea, the front of the audience was shuffling and bopping along with the music.
Up next, Columbus band The Kyle Sowashes took on Casa’s enthusiastic crowd. Right away, it was clear that these guys were down-to-earth punks, joking along with the audience during the sound check.
"Make us sound like GOD!” yelled guitarist Justin Hemminger, just before the band blasted into their first song. The Kyle Sowashes are downright impressive, sounding like a band that should have been signed to SST in the '80s, along with The Minutemen and Hüsker Dü.
During the set, a couple of die-hard fans made their way to the edge of the stage to stomp and howl along with Sowash’s every word. Unlike Indigo Wild’s inherently clean sound, there was something delightfully rough and ragged about the Kyle Sowashes' performance.
"Blast from the Past," a track from their 2010 effort Nobody (recorded by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley) was definitely a highlight; a perfect mix of thick, punky guitar riffs, dynamic thrusting drums and goofy lyrics.
The final band of the night was former Athens band She Bears, playing vaguely lo-fi pop-rock tunes with a definite Stephen Malkmus influence.
The band has a long history of playing at Lobsterfest, sharing the stage with the likes of Jay Reatard in 2009.
She Bears kept the crowd bopping late into the night, even making time to debut a couple of songs from their upcoming, yet-to-be-titled release.
Vocalist Stephen Pence has a voice that resembles Modest Mouse’s frontman Isaac Brock’s, and it is pretty safe to say that the band draws some inspiration from Modest Mouse’s earlier work.
Lobsterfest draws to a close today with an enormous all-day line up on South Beach, featuring Cop Hugger, Sujol, XRay Eyeballs, Scubadog, Evolve, Sign Off, Fat History Month and Reading Group.