Tank and the Bangas, one of the many acts headed to the Nelsonville Music Festival highlighted in the article below. (

NMF ’18: Artists to Watch

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The Nelsonville Music Festival brings a flurry of exciting acts to Robbins Crossing on the Hocking College campus every year, so often it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety and multitude of the line-up.

Although we couldn’t write about every single act we are excited to see (because that would be an awfully long list) Emily Votaw, WOUB’s Arts and Culture editor, as well as Xan Spalding and Jacob Morgan, who are serving as the 2018 Gladden House Sessions artist relations team, picked 12 acts that you really ought to consider taking a peek at during the 2018 Nelsonville Music Festival. 

Headed by funk legend George Clinton and made up of an ever-changing roster of musicians, this is one act you can’t miss. Combining Funkadelic’s upbeat rock vibe and Parliament’s smooth R&B funk style, the band puts on a unique show. They’re sure to put a smile on every festival-goer’s face, no matter their music preference. Before you see them on Saturday, June 2 at 9:45 p.m. on the Main Stage, be sure to check out the band’s semi-surprise album drop, Medicaid Fraud Dogg (C Kunspyruhzy Records Inc.), the outfit’s first full-length release in 38 years. – Jacob Morgan 

The Gories
The Gories are bringing garage rock to Nelsonville. This Detroit garage outfit creates an atmosphere with ’80s style rock with blues and rock ‘n’ roll influence that blends well with the folk roots of the Nelsonville Music Festival. Reunited in 2009 and having released the single “Be Nice” (Third Man Records) in 2015, The Gories will perform Saturday, June 2 at 9 p.m. on the Porch Stage. Learn more about The Gories by taking a listen to WOUB’s interview with vocalist/guitarist Danny Kroha. – Xan Spalding

Nick Waterhouse – Saturday, May 2, 6:30 p.m. (Main Stage) 
Nick Waterhouse has been executing nearly perfect R&B influenced by the likes of both widely recognized greats like Bert Berns and John Lee Hooker and lesser known, but equally laudable acts, such as Little Willie John and Titus Turner, for over 16 years. Waterhouse isn’t a simple musician, and shouldn’t be readily categorized as only a sort of retro homage act. He hails from Huntington Beach, CA, one of the Orange County American hardcore hotbeds, a scene that spawned the likes of Black Flag, Agent Orange, The Vandals and many others. Although Waterhouse’s punk rock roots may seem surprising given the polished nature of his work, one should consider how authenticity serves as a major tenant of his music, much the same as it did for American hardcore before it was Hot Topic-ized. In 2016 Waterhouse released Never Twice (Innovative Leisure) and fans have been waiting for another full-length ever since.  – Emily Votaw

Alvvays, formed in 2011, will be bringing their dreamy, melancholy indie pop to the Nelsonville Music Festival. Coming off the recent release of Antisocialites (Polyvinyl), Alvvays is a way to bring the traditional Nelsonville audience together with their college-age audience. Find Alvvays Saturday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. – Xan Spalding

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Merrill Garbus and bassist Nick Brenner are the powerhouse duo behind Tune-Yards, an eclectic musical project with a distinctive sound. The outfit’s latest release, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (4AD), is intriguing, honest, and emotional. Don’t miss out, they’re playing on Sunday, June 3 at 4:45 p.m. on the Porch Stage. Listen to WOUB’s interview with Garbus right here. – Jacob Morgan

Ron Gallo – Saturday, June 2, 11 p.m. (Porch Stage)
If you were lucky enough to attend the 2017 Nelsonville Music Festival, you may have heard a blazing, hair-raising cover of The Stooges’ “TV Eye” echoing over the festival grounds late at night, a visceral sound that originated at the Porch Stage. That sound came from none other than the Ron Gallo, fresh off the 2017 release of Heavy Meta (New West), a record that combined art rock and punk sensibilities in an entirely new and extraordinarily palatable way. Earlier this year Gallo released his experiment in bizarro comedy rock, Really Nice Guys (New West), so perhaps we can look forward to some weirdo conversations about Kroger during Gallo’s return to the fest. Check out his 2017 performance right here. – Emily Votaw

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley could be considered a sort of epitome of the Nelsonville Music Festival. Hurley broke out on the folk music scene in the ‘60s and continues today through his 2016 LP release, Bad Mr. Mike (Mississippi Records). He attracts an audience interested in so-called “outsider folk” and has subtle traditional folk rock influences. Hurley will be performing on every single day of the festival, so you will have plenty of chances of experiencing his set. He will be performing: Thursday, May 31 at 4:30 p.m. on the Porch Stage, Friday, June 1 at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage, Saturday, June 2 at 6:45 p.m. at the No-fi Cabin, and Sunday, June 3 at 2:45 p.m. on the Boxcar Stage. WOUB’s captured one of Hurley’s Nelsonville Music Festival performances in this 2017 video. – Xan Spalding

The Black Angels
Psychedelic rock group The Black Angels became an underground sensation in 2005 with their inclusion on Northern Star Record’s Psychedelia Vol. 1 dual-disc compilation in combination with the growing popularity of their MySpace page, and it’s no surprise why. Their timeless sound is unique, one that both older and younger generations can enjoy. Check out their latest album Death Song (Partisan Records) before they hit the Main Stage on Thursday, May 31 at 9:45 p.m. – Jacob Morgan
Charlie Parr – Saturday, June 2,  5:30 p.m. (Boxcar Stage), Sunday, June 3, 1 p.m. (Main Stage), 4 p.m. (No-fi Cabin)
The sincerity and depth of Charlie Parr’s music could only really come from one place: the American Midwest. Parr is base out of Duluth, MN, a surprisingly hip city nestled against the icy cold, crystal clear waters of Lake Superior. Parr has the ability to deliver true verbal spars in his music (the biting “Cheap Wine,” from the 2013 Chaperone Records release I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night, serves as a fantastic example,) and would he really be a contemporary blues and folk great if he couldn’t craft emotional potency into his tunes like that? Last year Parr released the critically lauded Dog on Red House Records, an album that allows one to ponder what real division lies between an untrained dog and it’s desire to do what nature pushes it to and a human being grappling with their bestial impulses. – Emily Votaw 
Middle Kids
Rolling Stone named Middle Kids one of their top 10 up-and-coming bands to watch in 2017, which is why festival-goers should make it a point to see their show. But that’s not the only reason. Their wide variety of styles, from indie rock to moving piano ballads to pop anthems, are sure to please everyone. Audience members will walk away with raised spirits and music stuck in their heads. Catch them playing on Friday, June 1 at 5 p.m. on the Main Stage, and check out their brand-new album Lost Friends before the show, released on Domino/EMI Records earlier this month. – Jacob Morgan
Tank and The Bangas – Saturday, June 2, 8:30 p.m. (Main Stage) 
Winners of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest with their tune “Quick,” Tank and the Bangas are a New Orleans-based outfit that specializes in all things lively, spoken word, eclectic, and sincere. You might know them if you’re a fan of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, as one of their more poignant, tunes, “Oh Heart,” was used as the outro music to a particularly heart wrenching installment of the series during it’s fourth season. Founder and front woman Tarriona “Tank” Ball first found notoriety as a slam poet, which makes sense when you consider the band’s efficacy in touching a wide range of human emotions within the context of a single tune. The effervescent yet melancholy “Smoke.Netflix.Chill,” released as a standalone tune on April, 20, 2018, is a prime example. – Emily Votaw 
The Decemberists
The first headliner announced for this year’s festival is none other than Portland-based outfit The Decemberists. The band released their seventh full length, I’ll Be Your Girl (Capitol/Rough Trade) earlier this year. Listen to WOUB’s interview with the band here and don’t miss their performance at this year’s festival on Friday, June 1 at 9:45 p.m. – Xan Spalding