Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first-ever City Pulse Common Ground Music Festival awards, the Commies! (Oh, that’s a terrible name. Well, don’t worry about that. We’ll think of something better.)
Anyways, we went to Common Ground last night, and here are some random observations dressed up as silly awards. We’ll be going to the festival every night this week, and we’ll carry on this theme through our daily updates. (Or maybe we won’t. We probably won’t.)
Regardless, here are this year’s winners:
Band that probably played a great set that no one heard: Michigander played 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Pavilion Stage while many people, myself included, were still getting out of work, driving to Adado Riverfront Park, finding a parking spot and checking in to the festival. I’ve heard good things about this band and was hoping to catch this set. I bet it was a pretty good.
Band whose name sounds like a Google Translate error: Finish Ticket, a California-based rock band, also sounds like a poor translation of the word “receipt.” As in, “Pardon for me. Dinner was much enjoyed. May you supply the finish ticket?”
Band that is trying to put touring bass players out of business: German indie folk duo Milky Chance — singer/guitarist Clemens Rehbein and percussionist/DJ Philipp Dausch — were assisted by guitarist/harmonica player Antonio Greger. Bass tracks and most of the percussion tracks were supplied by Dausch’s laptop; the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Sorry, bass players. (Dausch did pick up the bass for one tune.)
Worst volunteer job: Common Ground must have an overabundance of volunteers because it is using volunteers as tent stakes. One poor volunteer was tasked with standing and holding one end of a massive balloon arch — sorry, let me get the branding right — the Case Credit Union Balloon Chain. How bad do you have to be at volunteering to get that job? That’s the kind of job you give to a toddler when he’s annoying the crap out of everyone at your cookout. “Timmy, it’s very important that you hold these balloons right here, and don’t let them get away. We’ll be back in an hour.”
Best impression of the Killers: Grizfolk, my favorite band of the evening, peddles in the soaring, anthemic rock music that the Killers have perfected. The band doesn’t really sound like the Killers, but it has that same vibe. It’s a shame the band got stuck playing in the covered Pavilion Stage; the sound could easily scale up to the main stage.
Most likely to give women of a certain age the vapors: Speaking of the main stage, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers opened the stage, performing Hertler’s signature brand of funk-infused rock. The charismatic singer worked the crowd — which, unfortunately, was still trickling in — with his smooth vocals, winning smile and boyish good looks.
Longest day: Holding down the bass for the aforementioned Rainbow Seekers was Kim Vi, who also led his own band, Kim Vi and the Siblings, in an 11 p.m.-to-midnight set to close out the evening. With four hours between the two sets, Vi could have left after his first set, caught a movie at NCG and still gotten back in time to play the closing set.
Best matching rompers: It takes a certain level of confidence to rock out in rompers, but AWOLNATION came out guns blazing, ripping through an opening set of surprisingly heavy tunes dressed in matching onesies.
BONUS CONTENT: I forgot a few things.
Least likely to be seen on stage: Women. It's like, how much more male could this lineup be? And the answer is none. None more male. I didn’t see one female artist on stage the whole night, and the gender balance doesn’t look much better for the rest of the week. I realize that rock music is dominated by male acts, but we can certainly do better than none.
Band that makes me into the worst type of fan: It’s another win for AWOLNATION! Here was my inner monologue during the set: Have they played “Sail” yet? When are they going to play “Sail?” Hurry up and play “Sail” so I can go get a corndog! The band (smartly) saved the hit song for the end so that people like me (dummies) would have to sit through the whole thing. The band finally played “Sail” at the end of its second encore. Well, it might have been the third encore. I dozed off for a bit during the completely unnecessary drum solo.