Our journey in Saint Charles, IA has come to a close. The final day of Hinterland was a satisfying conclusion to a weekend that was worth the sweat. Here are our favorite sets and some words about them, followed by some points about Hinterland’s festival culture (if you get what we’re saying).
Written by Jessica Spottek
Dan Tedesco performed Sunday morning at the Hinterland Cafe. Even with the hot, rising sun to the East, the solo guitarist played a great set for the morning risers. I don’t quite remember the names of his tracks, but Tedesco’s lyricism hit hard with myself. I loved his voice and his guitar skills were incredible. I would recommend Dan if you’re looking for an underground indie folk artist! Great set!
Written by Lynette Kwaw-Mensah
Iowa’s own Elizabeth Moen brought a rousing presence to the stage to kick off the third and final day of Hinterland 2019. Moen opened up her set with “Tell Me When”, a song from her sophomore LP titled That’s All I Wanted. Right off the bat, it became very self evident that Moen’s music tests out various genres. With a mix of soul, folk, rock, and jazz, Moen’s sultry and raspy voice showcased her phenomenal voice control while delivering her lyrics.
In a phone interview done with KURE (https://soundcloud.com/885kure/elizabeth-moen-interview), Moen discussed where some of her inspiration comes from. Some of these artists include Alabama Shakes, Brandi Carlile, Courtney Barnett, and Julia Jacklin. The likeliness of these artists could be found in songs that she performed Sunday afternoon such as “Time Is A Shitty Friend,” from her LP, A Million Miles Away, and her singles “Emotionally Available” and “Where’s My Car.”
Even if you didn’t know the words, each of her songs have the ability to transform listeners into a melodic trance. Moen’s backup singer, Elly H, was also one to watch for. Brining a sort of jazzy, grunge vibe to the stage, Elly H did not hold back in showing the crowd her chops. Her insane harmonies and small solos truly brought that extra edge to the entire set. Overall, Elizabeth Moen wasn’t shy about being vulnerable and letting the audience in. She is definitely one to watch for in the following year.
The Nude Party
Written by Kyle Guerttman
The Nude Party took the main stage at Hinterland at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon. At this point in the weekend, the sun was beating down on us, and all of us at KURE were exhausted. It had been two days of makeshift showers and very little sleep. I had not listened to them before the show, so I had no idea what to expect. That being said, The Nude Party gave an energetic performance that really captivated me.
They had a great psychedelic sound that we hadn’t heard all weekend. It was a nice change in pace from all of the folk-country that we had been used to hearing here. The band members were all in on giving a great performance that exceeded all of my expectations. Their ability to entice the crowd at this time during the weekend speaks for their charm and originality.
The War and Treaty
Written by Lynette Kwaw-Mensah
The War And Treaty really brought the fire to an already blazing third day at Hinterland on Sunday. The band truly pulled out all the stops for their performance. The War And Treaty is fronted by husband and wife Michael and Tanya Trotter. Their infectious chemistry was hard to hide and came through in every song that they performed. The duo tested out songs from their debut EP, Down To The River, and their first full studio album, Healing Tide. Songs such as “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow” and “Jeep Cherokee Laredo” really dived into the bands roots, folk, gospel, and soul vibe. The entire crowd, including myself, could not stand still for one song. Their funky and rhythmic melodies immediately got the crowd on their feet grooving for the entirety of their set. The War And Treaty’s out of this world aura sent a powerful energy through the audience that was still felt after they had exited the stage. The band’s trumpet and saxophone accompanists’ were the perfect touch to the jazzy soul brought by the Trotter’s. Michael Trotter’s soul grabbing falsetto matched with Tonya Trotter’s insane range continually sent goosebumps and electricity through the crowd.
Throughout their set, the band continually reminded the audience to take the time to understand and acknowledge the idea of difference. They touched on how difference is important because it helps us realize that not everyone’s walk of life mimics our own. They continued by reminding the audience to lead everything that we do with love while having an open mind and heart, because taking the time to do so helps us understand and realize that EACH experience is valid. Their music felt like so much more than just music because of the powerful messages behind each song and the genuineness of the duo. The War and Treaty used their voices to rock Hinterland and to also speak up for those who are continually silenced. The band was by far one of my favorite acts of the entire three day festival. I had never heard of or listened to their music prior to their performance, and it is safe to say that The War and Treaty is definitely one of my new favorites that I will be grooving to.
Written by Jonathan Free
The band came blasting out onto the stage with a pop tune. Then, they quickly switched gears to country, then to rock. This genre-hopping performance by Dawes left some of us wondering what we were listening to. The band played “Roll with the Punches” off of We’re All Gonna Die and my favorite Dawes song, “Living in the Future”, off of Passwords. The song features a great, jamming guitar riff as the theme, but also a dynamic hole where lead singer Taylor Goldsmith fills it in with lyrical genius. The song then crescendos into a refrain, filled with sweetener sounds and a powerful vocal performance.
The crowd enjoyed many of the songs, and didn’t care that Dawes seemed to have trouble defining their sound in the set, with many songs making hard transitions of style. Dawes even premiered a new song to the audience; I can only describe it as “Feel Like a Kid”, as those lyrics were repeated for 4 minutes. We all agreed it should be shelved. The song had a foot-tapping beat, but not much else.
“When My Time Comes” saw the audience get into a great sing-along, and Goldsmith was hopping around on the stage while asking the audience to sing. The band closed with “All Your Favorite Bands”, which featured the last line in the refrain “Stay Together”. The line was repeated by much of the audience in a lighter-holding moment.
Overall, Dawes seemed to have a slow start into the set but figured it out about halfway through. The fire started burning after that, and the crowd took a seat next to it.
Written by Jessica Spottek
Maggie Rogers was one of my absolute favorite performances this weekend, and I’m trying my hardest not to be biased! I was lucky enough to take photos in the pit during the beginning of her performance. With the audience chanting “Maggie”, Rogers emerged with a southwestern fringe set and a necklace (possibly) made from the Hinterkids tent.
The 25 year old singer from Maryland has been on the rise quickly, with her newest release, “Heard It In A Past Life”. Her sound is very pop-like, but the word “indie pop” sounds like she might be a Kacey Musgraves….definitely not the same vibes. Rogers went to school at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and her set did not disappoint! Opening with “Give A Little” and ending with “Fallingwater”, most of the songs performed came from her newest album. Rogers was a crowd pleaser on Day 3 of Hinterland, and was one of my favorites of the entire weekend. Make sure to catch her on KURE!
Written by Rae Nervig
I had to sit and listen to Brandi Carlile’s songs in silence for a while before attempting to put into words how stunning her Sunday night headlining performance was. Carlile, a singer-songwriter and producer from Washington graced Hinterland to flawlessly blow everyone’s mind away.
Brandi Carlile’s music spans across multiple genres, from Americana to alternative rock; the versatility in her voice was shown in her Hinterland performance. After confessing her love and admiration for Joni Mitchell, Brandi covered an emotional love song from Joni’s 1971 Blue album, “A Case of You”. The covers didn’t stop there. Right after bringing the crowd to a silent sway, she lifted everyone back up by covering Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”. I don’t know of many artists who can flawlessly cover Joni Mitchell and Zeppelin back to back, but Brandi did just that.
I can’t talk about Brandi Carlile without mentioning her bandmates, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth. The two are identical twins – Phil plays the bass and Tim plays guitar. Brandi and the twins share a common passion for three part harmony. The three sang ‘The Eye’ off of Brandi’s 2015 album The Firewatcher’s Daughter in perfect harmony. The love and deep musical connection these three have formed over the years is very apparent on stage, Brandi and the twins are approaching their 20th year of playing in the band together.
One of the most tear jerking moments of the night was hearing Brandi perform “The Mother”, a song about her first born daughter, Evangeline, with her wife Catherine. Brandi touches on the beauty and the darkness of raising children in a nontraditional family, and how she and her wife deserve love just like everyone else. After finishing the song, 4 year old Evangeline ran on stage to give her mom a big hug and say hello to the crowd. Tears were shed.
Brandi Carlile encompasses all things folk and rock (and everything in between). She is powerful with her voice, and played each and every song of her set like it was her last. My favorite songs performed: Hold Out Your Hand, Hard Way Home, Mainstream Kid.
Observations from the Festival Grounds
Written by Brenna O’Donoghue
The best tattoo observed at the festival by no other than our beloved “Hinter-shower” expert Kyle, was simply “YEET” on the back of a woman’s neck.
A hot take by Jonathan “Elon Musk” Free: “I liked my musk feeling better than my post-Hinterland shower feeling”.
By the end of day three, the question we were all struggling with seemed to be “is this dark layer of grime on my body a nice summer tan or dirt”. We predict the latter. Side note, after taking a shower, the layer of mud still is ingrained within my pedicure. How, after minutes of diligently scrubbing? Unknown. We’ll brand it as “Hinter-polish”.
The amount of people that were not wearing shoes was mind-boggling. Let us discuss the terrain. It was rocky, uneven, muddy, barf and urine soaked with hay lurking, just waiting to stab your foot. Maybe the human race is slowly evolving a more hardy sole, because multiple people were walking freely in the festival grounds as our KURE team personally felt the foot’s pain.