Show Review – Blossom Blast (ekoostik hookah & The Macpodz), 4/30 – 5/1/10, Nelsons Ledges, Garrettsville, OH

the macpodz
Brennan Andes from The Macpodz

Article and Photos by GRETCHEN GREGORY – [email protected]

NELSON LEDGES — Happy-go-lucky with a hint of jazz infused music and improvisational rock could describe the Macpodz as they played to a decent-sized crowd at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park last weekend, and they’re hoping to bring the same excitement to Cincinnati’s Mad Frog Thursday night, May 6.

From the start of their set Saturday afternoon, it was clear these guys are happiest when on stage, playing to a crowd. Nick Ayers (percussion, vox, and flute) Griffin Bastian (drums), and Ross Huff (trumpet) got people up on their feet dancing to some upbeat songs filled with jumpy melodies, and Saturday’s perfect weather just added to the mix.

Never mind the short five-minute rain shower in the afternoon cause it didn’t even matter; it’s just not a true music festival without a little rain.

Bassist Brennan Andes’ fast-paced bass lines kept the music trucking throughout Saturday’s lively set, while Jesse Clayton’s keys kept bouncing right along to “You Got Me,” a personal favorite.

The band originally blew up in the Ann Arbor area, and now sells out Michigan venues by way of pre-sale tickets before the doors even open. And they’re starting to emerge in Ohio’s scene as well, bringing with them a happy, eclectic crowd full of energy and a strong desire to boogie the night away. Some of the most popular shows are in the Cincinnati area, all the more reason to check them out Thursday.

I hadn’t been to Nelson Ledges in a couple years, but I was so relieved to see the spirit of the place hadn’t really changed. The vibe over the weekend was great, and it was fun to hang out with old friends and meet some new ones along the way.

Bastian of the Macpodz said that other than the music, his favorite part of the weekend were the vendors. “The vendors were really good and the food was awesome. Out of all the festivals we’ve been to, Nelson Ledges had the vendors with the coolest stuff.”

“It’s always good to see Ekoostik Hookah play, and getting to know people is exciting,” he continued.

“And I got a new tent,” he laughed.

“Great energy, great crowd, great shows,” is what Dave Katz of Ekoostik Hookah had to say.

Just when I thought the music couldn’t get better, it did. Ekoostik Hookah’s 20-minute “The Viper’s Drag” on Friday was great, but it didn’t surpass Saturday’s show, especially when they encored with my personal favorite, “Slipjig Through the Poppy Fields.”

Every time I hear the band teasing that song shortly before playing it, I grow ecstatic. My senses are heightened and I hope and wish that’s what I’m about to hear, and if you’re near me up front – I usually try to bet someone $10 that’s what they’re playing next. Sometimes I’m wrong, but as soon as the fingers of Dave Katz light up the keys of that scaling melody, I go completely wild and the music takes over.

And I’m free once more.