The free Summer Music Festival (SMFN) at Northrop kicks off Friday, June 8 at 7:00 pm on Northrop Plaza with three hypnotic, indie-rock, girl-next-door bands who boldly resist classification with sounds from punchy-pop rock to intricate warm velvet to raw lyrical pop-folk.
Let’s go to a place where it’s just approaching dusk, the Minneapolis skyline glitters calm and vibrating with weekend anticipation, street lamps snap on under shadows, and a sound check of local music echoes over the fresh cut grass and energetic air of campus. Northrop Plaza will be accumulating an anticipatory crowd eager for a good concert, free food, and a night submerged in sound and summertime. There might even be some fireflies. This land of magical bliss is the Summer Music Festival at Northrop (SMFN) 2012, and it’s free for your indulgence this summer. Local female indie-rockers Haley Bonar, Brute Heart, and U of M student and recent graduate band Reina Del Cid and the Cidizens, launch Summer Music Festival at Northrop 2012 on Friday, June 8, 7:00 pm. These performers push boundaries, consistently surprise their rapidly expanding audience of listeners, and maintain a focus on the sincerity in their lyrics and their sound.
Haley Bonar, who has spent her lifetime writing and making music, initiated her professional music career and quickly forged the stereotype of a fragile, sensitive female singer – but she hated that label and still does. Frustrated with the inability to just be an artist but rather plastered with the label of female artist, she maintains heightened awareness of balancing both embracing the confidence of being a woman while avoiding being just an image. Like all of this concert’s artists, she resists predictability and definition. Appropriately, at the end of a west coast concert tour, she stayed in Portland, Oregon, and she wrote. The confident collection that arose formed her latest album, Golder; louder, faster, and more boldly mature. Her sound is pure emotion, tactfully thoughtful, and charismatic. There is an intense awareness of being alive and being physically and mentally tangible as a coexistent human in her music. Her recent transitions in music and family (she just had a baby last year!), powerfully minimalist ensemble, punchy pop band, and earnestness have produced her deserving intrigue and respect from the industry: “Bonar’s thoughtful lyricism pervades [Golder], counterbalancing intimate poetry with hints of folksy storytelling…the songstress has amassed an aural catalog bountiful beyond her years.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). City Pages says, “To watch Bonar perform is haunting and humbling; rarely is it so keenly obvious that an artist is doing precisely what they were born to do.” And those who are listening could not agree more, from her airplay on 89.3 The Current to the concert goers of her sold-out December show with Andrew Bird and another show backing Kevin Kling. Once regarded as fragile, Bonar now exudes control and possession of her attentive, haunting art.
With intricacies of entangled connectedness in the voices and instrumentals produced by this female trio, Brute Heart brings intensity to the sometimes too often passive act of listening. The local industry unifies on one classification of Brute Heart – their sound is unclassifiable. To even attempt to label their production would be to box in something so abstract it would be wretchedly inaccurate and claustrophobic to its potential. The inability of locals to pinpoint Brute Heart’s musical expressions truly attests to their extraordinary innovation in a current era saturated with unique sound. The depth, diversity, color, and emotional translation by Brute Heart has been attempted to be described as, “…[a] surrealistic and hypnotic experience that lacks any trace of rock bombast or overindulgence... mystic, Middle Eastern, psychedelic, kaleidoscopic, bathed in incense, sage, and hookah smoke… something so complete in their rhythms, all warm glow and velvet, mesmerizing and dreamy in the repetition.” (City Pages). The band themselves describe their auditory art as painting layers of sound. Their haunting vocal amalgamation results in sudden consciousness of time wasted in musical dehydration and a content awareness of having been part of an intimately complex performance.
Reina del Cid and the Cidizens
A U of M English major grad, Reina del Cid, the face of Reina del Cid and the Cidizens, is being described as the way-more-talented-than-your girl next door with voice and lyrics that are simple, raw, and ridiculously catchy. Reina Del Cid is primarily a resident of YouTube land, with their recordings done on at-home equipment in their attics, living rooms, and a miscellaneous parking lot. The band’s live performance schedule is steadily increasing along with the release of their first EP, Let’s Begin, with all songs written by Reina del Cid, and guitar and percussion by James Wetzel – and for good reason. Her songs make you feel as if you’re discovering something brilliantly on the verge of recognition – pure, stripped down to the core of untouched talent, and more than worth sharing with anyone who has an interest in upcoming music. And the band’s already-fans are no-short of obsessed by the magic of her refreshing honesty, impromptu originals, and easy charm. Her pop-folk music balances vulnerable and feisty with a fusion of memorable melodies, effortless lyrics, and a breadth of diverse considerations like beauty, camaraderie, the Salem Witch Trials, commitment, and the imbalances of love. She is young, distinctly talented, and deserves some of your web surfing time to be spent all over her YouTube channel.