A wrap up of the daytime lineup at Indie Fest 8's Craig Yerkes Stage Saturday August 17, with Lyrical Groove, Steve Grand, Beach, The Morgan Leigh Band, Kevin Wood and Michael Bowman
Crowds were light but enthusiastic at the daytime portion of the eighth edition of Indie Fest. Held at Liberty Station NTC, August 16-18, the three day event showcased film all three days, with the Saturday addition of music on five stages. Performers included Cake, Gilbert Castellanos, Taleb Kweli and Josh Damigo.
The Craig Yerkes Stage, named for the late guitarist who passed away in 2008, was slightly detached from the rest of the festival, across a two lane road and fenced off with a chainlink fence and green tarp. While it didn’t look too welcoming, once inside it was an oasis. Basically a large area between buildings with lush green grass, the setting was framed by sidewalks, trees and benches but unusually, no vendors. That last fact gave this spot a more relaxed feel than the rest of Indie Fest, with concert goers laying in the grass and taking full advantage of the tree shade on a warm afternoon.
Daytime artists included stage openers Lyrical Groove, who in addition to some funk edged originals also turned in a nice version of Roberta Flack's immortal tune, “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” Others performing that day included Long Beach based keyboardist Kevin Wood, local singer-songwriter Michael Bowman and country popster Morgan Leigh with her band. Leigh pulled the first real crowd of the day. Having taken part in American Idol Season 12, she had a vocal following. The first part of the program wrapped up with an eclectic new duo, Beach, which included songwriter Bitch, best known for her albums on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records, as well as visual artist/ video maker Billie Joe Cavallro.
However, the afternoon’s clear highlight was singer-songwriter Steve Grand. Playing his first show ("ever!") outside of his native Chicago, his music sounded like a cross between Jason Mraz’s more anthemic numbers and Elton John’s early pop rock, in fact covering the latter’s “Your Song” to good effect. He drew a sizeable crowd thanks to an internet hit (and set closer), “All American Boy.” Since being posted to Youtube on July 2, the video has scored nearly two million views, with a good portion of this day’s crowd singing-a-long. Notably, for this song he teamed up with Kevin Wood, who he met just before his set. Grand borrowed Wood’s keyboard for his show and asked him to sing harmony, which went down a storm. While all of the performers brought merch, Grand was the only one to have a line dozens long waiting to meet him after his performance.