With Electric Forest opening to early campers today, Local Spins asked two Michigan performers at the festival and an electronic music guru to pick this weekend’s must-see acts. Listen to their playlist.
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With way more than 200 performances on seven main stages — as well as other smaller spaces — over four days, getting the most out of Electric Forest 2019 in Rothbury can be a daunting challenge.
So, with many campers arriving early today (Wednesday), Local Spins asked two Michigan performers at this year’s festival — Joe Hertler of Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers and John Nowak of Desmond Jones — to choose their must-see bands and artists for the weekend.
We also asked DJ, Local Spins columnist and electronic music maestro Todd Ernst to lay out his recommendations for Electric Forest, which always leans heavily toward the heavy beats of electronic glory.
Here are their picks, with a Spotify playlist of songs from the featured artists below. And check out Local Spins’ Guide to Electric Forest, along with more picks for the weekend online here.
ELECTRIC FOREST: THE MUSICIANS’ PICKS
(Frontman for Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers which will play Sherwood Court at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Grand Artique at 7:30 p.m. Saturday)
As a fan of both the live band and the EDM world, it’s pretty darn hard to pick just three. So I’m gonna pick two of each – and each of these are artists who I specifically do not have a relationship with … as in, I’m simply a fan!
Knower (w/ Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi), 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jubilee Stage – Louis Cole is the spirit of music personified. He gained notoriety by making rather humorous, tongue-in-cheek music videos on YouTube. But in 2018, he released an incredible full-length that really showed off his talent and depth as not only a musician, but as a songwriter. He’s one of the hottest names in the players club right now and his live shows are incredible.
Tierra Whack, 5 p.m. Thursday, Sherwood Court – She’s a creative visionary — a a true genius in hip hop that is turning the creative norms of hip hop into dust and casting them to the wind. Most of her tracks are rather short, like 90 seconds long, but they are full songs in spirit and pack a punch.
Yotto, 11 p.m. Sunday, Tripolee Stage – For years, he’s been my favorite producer — someone at the forefront on the melodic deep house scene. His tracks are refined, atmospheric and lush. He’s like the house music answer to those who love Tycho. I’ll be interviewing him for my tba podcast right before his set, too. I’m stoked!
Amtrac, 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Carousel Club – Super groovy, atmospheric, deep house. His tunes put you back in your seat, yet have a way of lifting you up. One of his songs is currently bound to my alarm in the mornings.
(Drummer for Desmond Jones, which plays the Grand Artique Stage in Sherwood Forest at 5:45 p.m. Friday)
Ghost-Note, 5 p.m. Friday, Jubilee Stage – This funk, hip-hop, jazz fusion group is one of the most impressive outfits touring the country right now. A supergroup created by Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth of Snarky Puppy, Ghost-Note features MonoNeon on bass, a tight horn section and funky guitar. Their most recent album, “Swagism,” is an impressive piece of work guaranteed to make you dance.
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, 6:45 p.m. Sunday, The Observatory – In a weekend full of electronic music and jam bands, H&HG will provide one of the few bluegrass sets in the Forest. From Wisconsin, this band has been touring hard for seven years and has impressed audiences across some of the biggest bluegrass and folk festivals in the country. This will be a great change of pace in music and the only bass you’ll hear is an upright.
Lee Fields & The Expressions, 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Carousel Club – Lee Fields has been making music since the late ’60s but is only now enjoying his greatest success with The Expressions and their newest album, “It Rains Love.” Fields is in the middle of the retro-soul return to the live music scene and doesn’t disappoint with his smooth ballads and upbeat R&B. At the beginning of his career, he was called “Little JB” in tribute to James Brown. Get down!
(Electronic music DJ and promoter, half of the duo DiscoBrunch)
Jellybean Benitez, 9:45 p.m. Friday, Carousel Club – When I first saw this booking, I had to make sure I was reading it right. This guy is as close as it gets to a DJ that was literally there at the beginning of it all. Jellybean was a huge fixture in the NYC club scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s and has charted remixes with just about every major artist you can think of, including Madonna, Whitney Houston, Sting and Michael Jackson just to name of few. He is now the executive producer of SiriusXM’s Studio 54 Radio.
Horse Meat Disco, 9 p.m. Saturday, Carousel Club – As disco has made a resounding coming back in recent years, it’s easy to see why this group is at the forefront of the movement. Horse Meat Disco is fairly unique in that it is a party, a DJ foursome, and always champions of LGBT nightlife. These guys are going to be the ‘hands in the air’ set that people will be talking about for months to come, a perfect sun-down set deep in the Forest.
Yotto, 11 p.m. Sunday, Tripolee Stage – It’s rare to see DJ/producers receive cross-genre coverage like this guy, but with support from the likes of Carl Craig, Eric Prydz and Danny Tenaglia, it is the norm for Finish born Yotto. I first saw him at the County Club Disco Movement after-party in Detroit in 2018, he is just as good live as in the studio. You can check out a great Anjunabeats live set here. I honestly can’t think of a better act to close down Tripolee than this.
ELECTRIC FOREST 2019: THE LOCAL SPINS PLAYLIST
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