#WMS 2012 recap: La Rumba
Brandon Marshall Tin Horn Prayer performing at La Rumba during the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.
Every year, for the Westword Music Showcase, we enlist our army of Backbeat wordsmiths to host various stages, and, in addition to their emcee obligations, we ask them to pull double duty (or triple-duty in some cases) and also write up the acts that appear on their individual stages. Dutch Seyfarth hosted the La Rumba stage. Page down to read his thoughts and see some photos.
Brandon Marshall Kentucky Street Parlor Pickers performing at La Rumba during the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.
Kentucky Street Parlor Pickers started things off at La Rumba just after noon. The string band plays with a confidence not often seen with young bands. After a few old standards including ole Hank's "Hey Good Looking, Whatcha Got Cooking," which the outfit soundchecked with, the sound system was dialed in things got started with the Pickers jumping into the first few bars of "Why Don't We Go Out Tonight."
Having the first slot at any music festival is never the optimal prospect, but a good band can make the best of it and this is certainly one band that did. These guys kill it with the old timey string band sound. Making vocals a priority, this band basically gave a master class in how it's done with everyone singing and harmonizing. Drawn by the Pickers' powerful sound -- which includes Randy Ramirez from the Heyday on mandolin -- people started spilling into the venue, and by the third song there's a solid forty people with more coming in by the minute. It made for a great start to the day.
Brandon Marshall 4H Royalty performing at La Rumba during the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.
Zach Boddicker of 4H Royalty knows his way around a stage and knows when to let his playing do the talking. You gotta love a band that doesn't bother to ply the crowd with boring small talk and stupid jokes. On that note, 4H Royalty opened with a two-minute blast of Kentucky Fried southern rock that worked like a magnet to draw the crowd from the back of the venue towards the stage.
The band is obviously centered around the guitar athletics of frontman Boddicker, and man, oh man, can this guy play the guitar. Pure American rock and roll. It also helps that the band's songs are tightly structured around something resembling a catchy pop rock formula, which is to say the songs are memorable and easy to sing along with. To top it off, 4H even did a love song dedicated to BMX bikes.
Brandon Marshall The Hollyfelds performing at La Rumba during the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.
At this point, La Rumba was filling up nicely between those waiting to hear the Hollyfelds and other musicians slated to play later in the afternoon. The Hollyfelds opened with their trademark up-tempo brand of down home, shit-kicking music and smooth, high harmonies. The Hollyfelds played to the largest crowd of the day at that point, and they had everyone front and center near the stage with about half the crowd dancing in some form of bluegrass-meets-squaredance hoe-down foot stomp.
Brandon Marshall New Ben Franklins performing at La Rumba during the 2012 Westword Music Showcase.
With the venue filled with about 150 or so people, the soundman put the finishing touches on the stage mix and the New Ben Franklins immediately launched like a drag racer into their set. With a very different vibe than any of the previous bands, the New Ben Franklins, armed with an array of Telecasters, recalled R.E.M. from the time when Reagan was president. Or maybe the Replacements? The most impressive thing about this band is their command of knowing when to play and when not to.