Nick Waterhouse brought his tightly wound R&B infused retro-styled pop to the Nelsonville Music Festival on Friday, June 1. (WOUB Public Media/Jordan Kelley)

Halfway Through NMF ’18 With Hiatt

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wow what a time that was! day 2 is in the books and- oh sorry, this is all lowercase. emily, can i get a little bit more in my monitor please? just a bit more?


Okay and… perfect!

Day two of Nelsonville Music Festival is in the books marking the halfway point of the weekend. While many of my other, harder working colleagues can’t believe how much more there is to go, I’ve found the experience has rushed by me faster than ever. I’ve never exactly been the optimistic type, but the buzz of the Friday night festivities has my glass half full with NMF ’18 goodness.

Caroline Rose performs at the Nelsonville Music Festival. (WOUB Public Media/Jordan Kelley)

Caroline Rose painted the porch stage red to kick the late afternoon off, bringing a distinct brand of surfy, synthy rock to the Hocking Hills. On top of capturing the dog day vibes with wallowing guitar, the crew packed a few curveballs- some synths straight out of a ’50s UFO feature first caught me off guard, but what floored me was Rose herself with the one-woman recorder solo. Blueprint’s surprise keytar has officially been topped by the harmonious and shocking sounds of the good old recorder screeching through the fest grounds.

If that doesn’t sell you, who knows what will.

On the main stage Nick Waterhouse brought comfort food for the ears with his effortless guitar licks and a sturdy brass section. Loaded with a commanding groove, Waterman easily had the crowd swaying to his familiar yet fresh compositions. There’s quite a versatility to the singer-songwriter, and this is almost a micro chasm of this Friday as a whole, with a number of twists and turns through the line-up taking fest-goers all around the labyrinth of musical genres.

This leads wonderfully into my favorite act of the night and of Nelsonville Music Festival 2018 thus far.

Combo Chimbata at the 2018 Nelsonville Music Festival. (WOUB Public Media/Jordan Kelley)

Combo Chimbita sound like an experiment gone horribly right. The Colombian quartet threw everything and the kitchen sink at their audience, from far-out electronic frequencies tuning into parts of my brain I didn’t know I had, to a bombastic canopy of rhythm and funk making even the worst dancers move their bodies (I would know, the worst dancer was me.) The sneaky grooves of their ambitious songs often hit me when I least expected it. The porch stage has garnered a bit of a show-stealing reputation, at least in the two years I’ve been here, and if that is the case than someone needs to report Combo Chimbita for gran larceny.


Rain rain went away, and hopefully won’t come again another day. In its wake, however, is the worst of the types of dirt: mud. Mud everywhere. As I was too busy being enamored by the massive set-up day two headliners The Decemberists use I found myself waste deep in a classic Nelsonville sinkhole.

Quicksand has long been a fear of mine, and so in a moment of clarity I was able to employ the proper escape procedure: panic and scream and writhe around until someone notices and helps you. Luckily the NMF volunteers are on the case and prepared for anything that comes there way. Not all heroes wear capes, folks.

After nearly avoiding the cold embrace of death, how fitting it was that winter-themed band The Decemberists closed the night, The Oregon indie legend’s music is timeless in every sense of the word: their songs seem to exist outside of any specific time period whatsoever. There’s so much weight to the words of singer Colin Meloy, and the naturalistic roots of the outfit’s anthems makes them tailor fit for the valleys of Nelsonville. It’s hard not to reminisce on all of the folks who have made southern Ohio their home, be it past, present, or future. It helps when there’s such a vivid and full sound to the music provided by the piano and numerous guitars making the both the music and even just the visuals of the performance larger than life.

There’s still so much more to go! Glass half full! I’m hoping my unrelenting positivity and energy will carry me through the remainder of NMF ’18 and not leave in a tired heap on the floor but hey, that’ll make good writing too.


Shout out to the person who shouted out “MILLER’S CHICKEN!” during a soundcheck. I think there was probably some context but I certainly didn’t catch it. Still, I’ll take any opportunity to represent the finest fried chicken restaurant in all of Ohio, so shout out to you, shout outer.

A new Kanye album dropped today and I STILL haven’t listened to it due to NMF coverage. You’re welcome, world.

Best band shirt time. Starting with an:

Honorable mention:
A “Key West” shirt that I thought for far too long read “Kanye West.” Person in said shirt, if you’re reading this: I’m sorry for staring at your shirt for so long. I thought it said Kanye West.

3.) Also not a band shirt, but close enough to get on the list: The Montreal Expos! Everyone’s favorite defunct baseball team was certainly far enough ahead the graphic design game that they can be lumped in here.

2.) It is a proven fact that while there are infinite universes, in every single one there is someone wearing a The Pogues shirt at NMF. I think I saw one every day last year, and it’s nice to know some things never change.

1.) The Shaggs. Because what else would it be?