Headstash's AURA III Review Guide
- By Evan Gorman
- Published on March 15, 2012
2012 Lineup: Papadosio (2 sets), Brothers Past (2 sets), The Heavy Pets (2 sets), Zoogma, Dr. Fameus feat. Allen Aucoin of The Disco Biscuits, Biodiesel, Kung Fu (2 sets), The Malah, Dopapod, Cope, DJ Craig Heneveld, Damn Right!, The Werks, Brother Bean, Aquaphonics, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Former Champions, Bang Bang!, The Mantras, FLT RSK, Fusik, Sonic Spank, El Groundscoro, Ketchy Shuby, J2K, Newton Crosby, Saltwater Grass, Nick Noyes, EP3, The Resolvers, Third Nature, Sounduo, The Fritz, Green Sunshine, Artofficial, ElephantGun, The Short Straw Pickers, Sosos, Marc Paper Scissor, Ancient Intelligence, The Funky Nuggets, Psychedelphia, Spontaneous Underground, The Merry Franksterz
Fesitval Website: http://www.auramusicfestival.com/
Rain, rain and then more rain. There was a torrential downpour that rained out most of the Friday evening music. The rain stopped in time for the late-nights, but not without leaving everything sopping and muddy.
On Saturday there was a slight break in the rain, allowing the day's acts to have an uninterrupted chance to play. If anyone was optimistic after Saturday, that hope was dashed again on Sunday morning when the rain resumed in full force.
Eventually, it let up and left Sunday night free of rain. Usually, rain isn’t as common in March, but Aura never really dried up.
Third Nature's make-up set. After getting rained out by an awful downpour on Friday, Third Nature and Nick Noyes were able to come back and put on a great set first thing on Sunday.
It rained again during this set, but having been moved from the BLP stage to the Main Stage, it wasn’t necessary to cancel again. Despite all of these setbacks, Third Nature came through and burned the house down. Groovy synthesizers and thumping rhythms make this band one that appeals to all crowds.
Dopapod. This Brooklyn, New York-based band came out and brought the noise for two different sets during the weekend. The first set showcased a much heavier and more experimental side with aggressive transitions and deep grooves.
The second set was decidedly more lighthearted, started off with skillful and hilarious Led Zeppelin medley. The guitarist showed his own talent and versatility by sitting in with numerous bands across the weekend.
Damn Right! Never failing to disappoint, this electronic trio melted faces just as everyone hoped they would. Their set was a particular highlight to the weekend, as the crowd saw some great new material as well as an awesome appearance from Johnny Rabb on the drums. The energy that they give off during their performances is unparalleled and they always look like they’re having the best time in the world.
The Malah. Having recently relocated to Denver, CO, The Malah has built a reputation for crafting a great performance in all scenarios and venues. Each member of the band seamlessly integrates their unique style into the tasteful dance party. Their drummer in particular resembles a computer with his mechanistic style of drum and bass. These guys have an action-packed year planned and should not be missed when they come to your town.
Rain. The rain wound up setting a definitive tone for the weekend. The schedule was completely interrupted with many bands getting either rained out or unexpectedly rescheduled. The entire grounds attained an almost Camp Bisco-like level of muddiness, making the entrance road virtually unmanageable.
Late-night Earthcry set. After all of the music stopped on the Main Stage area on Friday, Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio set up his equipment in front of the Tribal Council Tent and played a DJ set.
These Earthcry sets are rare events and are always great fun to attend. He started this impromptu set after Dr. Fameus closed out the Main Stage music and continued to play well after sunrise.
Sit-ins. The entire festival had such a familiar vibe for all of the bands and it showed during their performances. The jams got totally shaken up and taken to new places with so many musicians rotating in and out. Rob from Dopapod brought some shred to too many shows to name. The Bang! Bang! Show got totally gnarly with the guys from Sonic Spank, featuring Eli from Dopapod and Sam from Papadosio all improvising together on keyboards.
All Systems Glow. The black light and glow-paint art installation was an incredible sensory overload. Their use of light design gave you a distinct feeling of being transplanted to the future.
Even with the rain, everyone in attendance stayed positive. It’s always nice to be at an off-season festival, especially one that is located in Florida. It never got too cold and all of the bands and attendees were happy and thankful to be there. The rain could not put a damper on the love that everyone was feeling.
I sat down with artists from various bands and asked them about their time at AURA and upcoming music projects. Check out what they had to say below:
Brandon Maynard, The Malah
AURA Festival: "Aura is great because lots of the bands that are here are in our genre, our size and good friends of ours. The crew that runs this thing is people we know and have worked with in the past, so there's a huge family vibe."
Upcoming Projects: "We're finishing up the final twerks on our new album that will be coming out mid-Spring. We're definitely going to come out guns slinging for fall. We're getting ready to hit up the Southeast, North East, Midwest and West Coast and do what we can."
Unknown Influences: "People know the typical ones with our genre, but I personally am a big Del McCoury fan - a big bluegrass guy. Our bass player has been loving Mumford and Sons lately. He's making heavy trance in the studio and then getting in the car and listening to that."
Dream Gig: "Red Rocks. Oh yeah, Red Rocks."
Neil Evans, Dopapod
AURA Festival: "Mad homies! I looked at the lineup every month or so leading up to this and I was like, 'Oh yeah, all those guys, too!' I knew it was going to be a fun hang. I like the environment, it's extra chill. The venue has a way cooler vibe than something like Bonnaroo and I'm just stoked to get out of New England."
Upcoming Projects: "The first thing we're going to do is work on another live album and then follow that up with another studio release real quick."
Unknown Influences: "We've been giving a lot of time to Danny Elfman lately, in particular 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' soundtrack and Oingo Boingo."
Dream Gig: "Evening sunset set at Red Rocks."
Johnny Fissinger, Damn Right!
AURA Festival: "We tour around and meet all these bands, but most bands we see on the road congregate there. It's great to hang out with all of our friends at the same place."
Upcoming Projects: "We're playing with Lotus at the 9:30 Club [in Washington, D.C.] and then Conspirator after that."
Unknown Influences: "I would say Rage Against The Machine" is definitely a primary influence. I love those simple chord progressions with hard-hitting rhythms. The other side of the spectrum would be The Postal Service and other electronic rhythms of that type."
Dream Gig: "An Aura type thing at The Gorge."
"Don't worry, guys. The DJ is just buffering but the Internet is great over here." – A production guy sarcastically describing why a small computer glitch had caused a DJ's music to stop momentarily.
For more information about AURA III, check out the festival's official website.