On May 25th, 2013 (i.e. this coming Saturday) over 65 bands and hundreds of music lovers will pack themselves into the Hartland Performing Arts Center in Howell, MI for one of the area’s largest and best music festivals. Fusion Shows’ annual Bled Fest has been showcasing some of the nation’s best alternative/hardcore/emo acts, as well as giving Michigan locals a place to perform to a larger audience for the better part of a decade. However, with so many bands playing the festival every year, it can often feel daunting to have to sort through such a stellar lineup. Fortunately, we at Mind Equals Blown are here to make the task a little less overwhelming, highlighting ten of our favorite acts that’ll be gracing the festival this weekend.
Andrew WK – Landon Defever
Of course, the most obvious recommendation comes first. The master of everything party, Andrew WK will be performing a solo set, and it’s without question one of the strongest flashes of brilliance found within the Bled Fest lineup this year. The performer / TV host / motivational speaker / bloody-nosed party-starter has been cranking up amps and getting crowds moving ever since his fantastic album I Get Wet was first released back in 2002. Fresh off a reissue of the classic record, WK’s performance is sure to be brilliant.
Cerce – Jason Gardner
As far as smaller acts go, the classroom stage performance of Cerce is going to be one you’ll want to take in. The female-fronted hardcore act will be gracing Bled Fest with pummeling riffs and a vicious brand of hardcore that just seethes with emotion. Don’t sleep on this band.
Flint Eastwood – Landon Defever
Born and bred in the heart of Detroit, indie-dance rock quartet Flint Eastwood are quickly making a name for themselves in the alternative local scene in their home state of Michigan. As local heroes to anyone who’s had the chance to check out any of their exciting live sets, they have quickly hit their stride over the past few months. With a midday spot on Stage C at Bled Fest (supposedly to be attended by Bled Fest co-headliner Andrew WK), as well as a gig opening up in Common Ground for the almighty MGMT, things are looking happily optimistic for this exciting act.
Giraffe Attack – Landon Defever
In a lineup chock full of the scene’s best and brightest hardcore, emo and pop-punk bands, there’s one genre represented on the Bled Fest list that many wouldn’t expect coming: hip-hop. However, one band stands alone in showcasing this genre in 2013, and that would be Brighton, Michigan’s Giraffe Attack. Though they are well-known in their neck of the woods for the equal parts politically charged social commentary and lunacy-driven self-referential humor they include in their songs, the quintet is setting their sights on spreading the word of their music as well as their spirited, energetic live show.
Masked Intruder – Landon Defever
Don’t be alarmed by their masks or threatening demeanor – the fellows in Madison, WI’s Masked Intruder are some of the most charming criminals you’ll find around. With a debut album full of lovelorn fantasies and questionable behavior, they take what could have easily been written off as a gimmick and use it to their advantage, producing one of the tightest and most accessible pop-punk records of 2012. After their performance, you won’t be able to deny the charm that Masked Intruder provide.
Pianos Become the Teeth – Nick Niedzielski
As far as emotional intensity goes, it doesn’t get much better than Pianos Become the Teeth. Their jarring style of post-hardcore hits the listener like a sledgehammer, with waves and layers of distorted guitar rushing over you. Vocalist Kyle Durfey’s highly personal lyrics are tragic and heartbreaking, and his grating delivery creates an incredible contrast of melody and aggression. But as good as they are on their albums, it’s Piano’s live show that really cements their status as one of the top bands in the genre. Their live show showcases everything the band brings to the table and more, seamlessly translating that signature sound from their records while not losing a single ounce of the power that makes them so special.
Pity Sex – Jason Gardner
I remember someone mentioning Pity Sex on a social networking site in the lines of that we better enjoy them before they break up like most good emo bands. Well gang, we’re getting a full-length soon, and the band’s inclusion at Bled Fest is part of a stacked emo lineup. Ann Arbor’s rising stars are certainly starting to make a name for themselves, so be sure to check them out and get sad for a few minutes.
State Champs – Nick Niedzielski
For any unabashed lover of everything pop-punk, State Champs are an absolute must see. They are definitely a rising star in the genre, as exemplified by their stellar 2012 EP Overslept. Their simple, straightforward style of pop-punk is somewhat of a throwback but still feels fresh and new. State Champs’ infectious melodies, brought on by vocalist Derek Discanio, are what really make them stand out, as Discanio’s vocals are some of the strongest in the scene, equally balancing a truly remarkable singing voice with just a touch of grit. Having just finished recording their highly anticipated debut full-length with Sam Pura, the band will hopefully have some new material to show off. You will definitely want to check State Champs out now because these guys are poised to blow up in the near future.
Wilson – Landon Defever
Hometown heroes don’t come in much better flavors than the full-blast fuckery that Detroit’s own Wilson provide their audience. Sporting a Southern twist on a Midwest favorite, they flaunt the hardcore sound of acts like Every Time I Die and The Chariot with a live presence that’s just as excellent. Fresh off of a brief stint opening up for Gwar, the band recently signed to Easy Killer Records with a new record coming out in early July. Prepare yourself, Bled Festers – nothing can prepare you for the visceral onslaught that Wilson will give you.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Jason Gardner
We can have a collective sigh for the leak of TWAIBP’s debut full-length Whenever, If Ever. Now that that is done, can we talk about how awesome it will be that we’ll be hearing some of these jams live at Bled Fest? As much as I feel for the band and whatnot, the album is truly great – and having heard it has made me even more excited for my head to get lost in spacey guitars and noodle-y synths.
To see the full lineup and buy tickets, go to BledFest.com for more information.