Music conferences like LAUNCH are set upon the foundation of opportunity. Though more “established” bands certainly find their way onto the festival’s lineup, the majority of the names listed in the weekend schedule are more than likely going to be unfamiliar to you. These are bands, songwriters and emcees who are aspiring toward the proverbial Next Step, cutting their teeth on shoestring tour budgets and DIY merch as they swim upstream in an ever-growing river of talent.
On one hand, your buying a ticket or weekend wristband is an indirect message of support to the 200 or so acts playing this weekend. (Your buying a CD, t-shirt or vinyl record, on the other hand, is a direct way of supporting. This is called “gas money.”)
But for the music lovers out there – and we know you’re out there – this is the chance to see some raw performances from some seriously talented acts, to see them in their relative infancy before they go on and catch the attention of the right label rep or talent buyer and continue to grow.
Here at Fly, we know better than anyone that the Central PA region is a hotbed for musical talent of all genres. From folk to hip-hop, metal to ambient, it’s all on display year-round at music venues, bars, coffee shops, parks and street corners. But this weekend, your all-access pass is your opportunity to experience a wide range of local talent in one fell swoop. While we whole-heartedly encourage you to explore – try the “two song rule”, meaning you commit to seeing a new band for only two songs before moving along to the next venue – we also want to provide some direction on who you just simply cannot miss. Check out these acts tonight. We’ve even organized them in chronological order.
Lititz-based band The Skiffs self-describes their sound as both “advanced indie” and “stoner rock.” We actually kind of agree with both assertions – and expect to be hearing more from these guys in the coming year.
Playing: Chameleon Club (Main Stage); 6pm
Jason Mundok has made it his mission for the last seven months or so to give ambient/atmospheric rock a place in Lancaster as organizer of the monthly-held Lancasphere music series. Tonight, his own ambient-leaning project Here Inside will have a chance to shine. Check out the Starboard EP, which was released earlier this week on Bandcamp.
Playing: Chameleon Club (Lizard Lounge); 6:45pm
Hershey pop punk band Sink In is new on the scene, but if “The Lighthouse” – the single off the band’s forthcoming debut EP – is any indicator, these guys have a good thing going on. And if you like what you hear in the promo video, you can hear the full track here.
Playing: Lancaster County Convention Center (Galactic Room / Vine Street Stage); 7:30pm
If you were wondering where Lancaster band SEEDS disappeared to, here ya go. The band rebranded as Medusa’s Disco last July, but their energetic grunge sound has remained intact. These guys are as hard-working as they come and put on a hell of a show.
Playing: Chameleon Club (Main Stage); 9:15pm
Vulcans have broken out of their base in Mechanicsburg and have been performing their indie folk and Americana originals all over the region. The trio captured top honors in the Philadelphia Songwriters Project songwriting contest in 2013, earning them a spot on the lineup of the Firefly Music Festival that same year.
Playing: Tellus360; 10:45pm
Matt Wheeler & Vintage Heart
Another hard-worker, singer-songwriter Matt Wheeler has been active in the Lancaster music scene for a few years now. In that time, he’s grown from a solo/acoustic performer to add his band, Vintage Heart, complete with cello and violin. Pay attention to the lyrics as best you can – there’s some good stuff going on in there.
Playing: Federal Taphouse; 11:15pm
Singer-songwriter Olivia Farabaugh is based in Palmyra and makes her rounds at many a bar in the Harrisburg/Lebanon region. While her barroom sets usually include a smattering of covers from Nashvillians like Miranda Lambert, Farabaugh’s soulful country-tinged originals are standouts themselves.
Playing: Lancaster Dispensing Co.; 11:45pm