Friday, September 5, 2014

Weenie Roast `14 delivers bevy of up and coming acts Saturday

WEND's End of Summer Weenie Roast is back for its third year since taking a break earlier this decade. Headliners include Weezer, Foster the People and Fitz & the Tantrums, but the day long festival - which kicks off with Eyes Eat Suns at 12:30 - also features a great bill of up and coming acts that fall into that alternative rock category. It wasn't so long ago that Fitz and Foster the People were unknowns themselves.

Charlotte's own Flagship, who make grand, arena-ready rock in the tradition of U2 and Coldplay, represents the Queen City. Bands like Sir Sly and Wild Cub make similarly cinematic, yet anthemic, atmospheric rock. Bear Hands mixes those elements with demonstrative dance punk that has as much in common with Fitz and Foxy as anyone else on the bill.

Other notable acts are power rock duo Iamdynamite (whose drummer lives in Raleigh), Brooklyn-based electronic act Big Data, the Pretty Reckless (the pop-metal band featuring former "Gossip Girl" star and talented singer Taylor Momsen), Foxy Shazam (the Queen of indie rock), and current buzz band J. Roddy Walston and the Business.

While most people will undoubtedly turn up for Weezer, Fitz, Foster, and Fuel - the only other act besides Weezer that fits that `90s hard rock sound that makes up so much of WEND's playlist - I hope people will check out the bands earlier in the day.

I feel like music lovers fall into two categories. There are those of us that are always searching for new music. A lot of times those are younger fans, maybe because they have more time for such pursuits. Then there are those who at some point in their lives become satisfied with the music they already know and are happy to keep listening to it. I say this because many of my friends from high school fall into this latter category. Just this weekend flipping channels in a hotel room in Atlanta I stopped on Beyonce's VMA performance only to have my high school BFF look up from her book and say "Who's she?"


Now although my friend's obliviousness to a supermarket tabloid staple like Bey is beyond a lack of awareness of new music - it's pop culture - it did give me pause. If she doesn't recognize Beyonce on sight, she's probably not going to know who pretty much anyone on the Weenie Roast lineup is other than Weezer. Our other friends are much the same. I started making Christmas mix CDs for three of my West Virginia friends after hiring one to paint our house and finding his 20-year-old Beastie Boys and Ministry CDs next to the boom box. Nothing against those acts, but there's a world of music out there (including newer Beasties and Ministry).

With new music in mind, some of the Weenie Roast acts are the kinds of bands that make this job exciting. I remember hearing Iamdynamite a few years ago on the honest recommendation of their publicist ("I think you'll really like this" said with sincerity not in a press release). Their debut album blew me away and has become a staple in our house that my two kids know all the words to. They are currently doing a PledgeMusic campaign to fund their next record here. I did the vinyl
reward to get both the new album and the first one on LP and encourage others to do the same since they need a minimum commitment to press the vinyl.

Foxy Shazam is another live powerhouse. I feel strongly that if most people see either act live, they'll get it. I've heard similar praise for Wild Cub, Bear Hands, and J Roddy to name a few.

You may not love all the bands at Weenie Roast, but with 14 acts there is sure to be someone you've never heard of that grabs your ears and eyes. So why not show up early?

Set times are as follows according to WEND and LiveNation. Times are subject to change though.

Eyes Eat Suns 12:30 p.m., Iamdynamite 1:05 p.m., Sir Sly 1:55 p.m., Flagship 2:25 p.m., Big Data 2:55 p.m., Bear Hands 3:25 p.m., Wild Cub 4 p.m., the Pretty Reckless 4:30 p.m., Foxy Shazam 5:15 p.m., J. Roddy Walston & the Business 5:50 p.m., Fuel 6:35 p.m., Fitz & the Tantrums 7:20 p.m., Foster the People 8:35 PM, Weezer 9:55 p.m.