Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Five performers to see at Arts Fest who aren't named Jeff Tweedy - Three Rivers Arts Festival - June 6-15, 2014

Settle down, Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy is the headliner of Arts Fest this year, and in some ways the Wilco frontman's kinda-country alt-rock embodies the majority of acts you'll hear at the ten day festival this year. Tweedy's band Wilco, they of the Great American Album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (never really got that one), headlined Arts Fest twice before, most recently in 2004. He will still, however, play with a backing band. He performs on the Dollar Bank Stage Friday, June 6, at 7:30

There are plenty of other worthwhile acts deserving of a trip downtown. Here, in no particular order, are five that stand out to us:

Trixie Whitley:
Trixie Whitley has a powerhouse voice and a powerhouse pedigree. Born in Belgium, Whitley is the daughter of American bluesman Chris Whitley. She's prolific on both the guitar and piano, and while there's blues at the heart of her music, she's a joy to listen to. She plays Sunday, June 15, 6pm, on the Dollar Bank Stage.

Jake Bugg: 
One of the other big names this year is young British singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. He released his first album in 2012 at age 18, and he's since garnered comparisons to Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. You'll probably recognize his skiffle-inspired hit "Lightning Bolt." Catch him after Trixie Whitley Sunday, June 15 at 7:30pm on the Dollar Bank Stage.  

Meeting of Important People:

Pittsburgh's Meeting of Important People have become mainstays of the local indie rock scene, with three LPs to their name. The trio play an upbeat style of power pop and recently sold out the Warhol Museum for a gig with the Nox Boys. They open for The Smithereens on the Dollar Bank Stage Thursday, June 12 at 6:30pm and are always a good time live. 

 Curtis Harding:
Curtis Harding hails from Atlanta, where's worked as both a writer and backup singer for Cee-Lo Green. He's also in an excellent band called Night Sun with members of fellow ATLiens The Black Angels and psych-rock outfit Night Beats. His first solo album, Soul Power, came out last month and is a more stripped down and, uh, soulful affair. See him Friday, June 13, at 7:30pm on the Dollar Bank stage.

 Arlo Aldo:

photo (c) Brian Taylor.

I haven't personally seen this band live yet but they should fit in well with the festival's focus on folk and alt-country acts. The quartet has one album to date, 2013's Zelie, but unfortunately no videos on Youtube to share. Expect lush male and female harmonies, acoustic guitar, and lots of xylophone. Also, the lead singer has amazing sideburns. Or are they muttonchops? Judge for yourself Wednesday, June 11, at 5pm on the Second Stage.
-- B. Conway