The distance from Detroit, a city known for its wide variety of concerts, to Kalamazoo is 136 miles (approximately two hour and nine minutes on a good day). That is 136 miles most music fans have to consider if they want to see their favorite bands. Detroit, known for its luscious history of music, usually brings in most of the bands performing in Michigan. While Kalamazoo is known as a college town, home to Western Michigan University. But in a city full of music fans, most have considered the long two hour car drive to Detroit. Or even a more closer city, Grand Rapids, which doesn’t always bring in their favorite artists. All that has changed now, thanks to an artist discovery platform called Audiotree.
Audiotree, based in Chicago, helps up and coming artists get recognized for their talented work. They promote different genres of music ranging from Alternative Rock, Rap, Indie, and many others. Audiotree posts live performances of bands in studios, local businesses, and at live concerts on their website and youtube channel. With all of the amazing artists they have promoted, it’s no wonder that they would create their own music festival.
Most of the bands that were on this year’s lineup have been promoted on Audiotree’s platform in the past. Doing what Audiotree does best, for the third year in a row at Kalamazoo, they have introduced a lot of people to some amazing bands. While out on the field, Nick Sapounas and I, were able to interview some of these attendants. We asked who they were excited for, suggested some artists to consider seeing, and got their thoughts on the festival. Some were already educated on most of the lineup and were excited that a platform like Audiotree provided that entertainment. Others were not so knowledgeable or experienced. They did not know of Audiotree’s platform, or had not been to a music festival, let alone a concert. Audiotree has successfully helped theses music fans, by bringing a lineup fans will never forget.
This year, Audiotree Festival 2017 was two days. Friday’s lineup consisted of hip hop acts. Most notably Superduperkyle, Lizzo, Noname, Smino and more. While Saturday’s lineup consisted more of alternative/indie rock artists such as King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Twin Peaks, BadBadNotGood, Chon, Pinegrove, and many more. Morris Choice was only able to make it out for Saturday’s line up, but got a lot of good material to work from.
Most of the people that we talked to, were excited for the modern day hip hop jazz group BadBadNotGood. Their incredible performance had many people blown away. BadBadNotGood came in hard and strong performing many new songs from their latest album “IV”and still managed to get the crowd involved. Their drummer, Alexander Sowinski, rallied up the crowd to keep the beat alive by clapping along. There was not a soul in their crowd that was not enjoying the performance.
Following BadBadNotGood was Chicago’s garage punk band Twin Peaks. The multi-singer band brought more energy to the crowd by wailing on their guitars, dancing to their own grooves and joking and laughing with the crowd. Their stage presences, exuberated confidence and energy, keeping fans excited throughout the whole set. Songs from both “Wild Onion” and “Down In Heaven” were sung and moshed along to. Still, with the second to last headliner putting on a damn well good show, they had the crowd trying to muster up enough energy for the final act of the night.
Finally the headliner, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard took the stage. The Australian psychedelic 7 piece rock band took the crowd into a psychedelic adventure. Their set list was composed of songs from two of their five albums that have been released thus far in 2017. The first album from 2017, “Flying Microtonal Banana”, had songs with mesmerizing drum patterns and eerie swampy guitar sounds that put the crowd in a psychic trans state. The second album from 2017, “Murder of the Universe”, had songs with kick ass garage rock sounds that drew chaos into the crowd, most notably the mosh pits. The band ended the night on a monstrous jam giving the fans a performance like no other.
By the end of the night, the crowd was yelling for more music. Hearing from some attendants after the final act, many were full of excitement from the incredible music they had just witnessed and were excited for next year’s lineup. Most of these attendants will go home and listen to a band they had just discovered and even start discussing with their friends who they think will be at next years Audiotree Festival. Needless to say, whatever acts Audiotree brings to Kalamazoo, fans will always be grateful for their service.