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Review: Apache Lake Music Festival

Apache Lake Music Festival event, Apache Lake Music Festival review, Arizona music festival

I had two wonderful surprises this weekend: My boyfriend, Dustin Chaffin (co-founder of Jivemind in Glendale) whisked me away to the Apache Lake Music Festival and my podcast’s event Saturday night at the Trunk Space was packed. This wasn’t an assignment, but I had such a blast at Apache Lake, I had to share it with Spec readers.

The only bad thing about the weekend was that I was only able to see shows on Friday night. With three stages and noon-to-midnight concerts, it was still worth every penny of the $40 tickets and REI rental camping equipment. The event was much smaller than I expected, which made for a much more intimate atmosphere than most of the festivals I’ve been to. The two bands I hadn’t seen prior to this weekend that really left a lasting impression on Dustin and myself were Yellow Minute and The Woodworks. Yellow Minute walks proudly on that line where great musicianship and great entertainment are in perfect balance. The group sometimes channels Vampire Weekend without actually sounding like Vampire Weekend. This could be that they too have dabbled in incorporating world music into their music… or not. Either way, it sounded great.

The Woodworks are from Tempe, and display a tight combination of loud, fun rock and in-your-face blues. The Acoustic Lounge was in the small bar nestled by the Apache Lake shore, and The Woodworks literally had the whole bar dancing by the end of their set. Their next show is at The Rogue Bar on Oct. 23. I did catch Super Stereo playing on the Inside Stage. This fun, future-pop group has all the sounds I like to hear topped with a myriad of intriguing vocals.

I was able to catch some of my go-to bands like the newly formed Some Magic Animal. Lead vocalist/guitarist Jake Greider represented the group in the Acoustic Lounge on Friday. I missed Sun Ghost on Saturday, but you can read my review of a previous concert of theirs here. Dry River Yacht Club and The Sugar Thieves were their usual bad-ass, chop-busting, ear-pleasing selves.

In talking with band and audience members who were in attendance last year, audience numbers were down. Although vague statistics such as this can be discouraging, the level of musicianship and enthusiasm of those that were at the festival, in my honest opinion, were off the charts. Three days of endless drinking, dancing, and impromptu drum circles surrounded by fireworks didn’t dampen this crowd.

Ending remarks: I’m going next year. The music and camping sampling I experienced were amazing. I can’t wait to see what new and old AZ bands will bring to the stage. I’m also going for all three days and bringing a lot more beer.

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