MusicReview

Jamaica Plain Music Festival Was Anything But Plain

Jennifer Dill ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Hundreds of music fans flocked to Jamaica Plain this Saturday for the fifth annual Jamaica Plain Music Festival.

The free festival, hosted by Shamus Moynihan, former employee of Jamaica Plain’s own Midway Café, and Rick Berlin, a Boston-based musician, featured over 20 musicians and performances. This included a ballet performance from Tony Williams Ballet’s Youth Ensemble and a preview of The Footlight Theatre Troupe’s rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Footlight Theatre Troupe. Photo by Jennifer Dill.

By noon Pinebank’s field was full of food trucks, merchandise tents, and patrons, who were awaiting the arrival of some of Boston’s finest musical acts.

The wide variety of musicians included international artists such as Junko Oagwa from Japan, and jazz group The Alexei Tsiganov Trio, featuring members from Russia, Colombia, and Brazil.  Both groups helped to warm up the crowd with their unique styles and catchy tunes, helping to bring a bit of cultural flair to Jamaica Pond.

One such tune was Oagwa’s “Wally the Centipede,” which showed off both Oagwa’s vocal talent and piano skills. The song’s unusual lyrics caught everyone’s attention and had concertgoers bobbing their heads to the beat and singing along by the end of her set.

Daniel Winshall and The Walking Illusion were among the younger musicians that performed, and brought a lively jazz performance to the stage. The quartet featured Winshall on bass, his bandmates John on trumpet, JK on drums, and Brianna on keyboard. They all played with smiles on their faces, and displayed their talent with two original songs and numerous improvised solos.

From Left: John and Daniel of Daniel Winshall and the Walking Illusion. Photo by Jennifer Dill.
From Left: John and Daniel of Daniel Winshall and the Walking Illusion. Photo by Jennifer Dill.

Festival veterans Streight Angular also performed at the show, replacing the previously mellow jazz scene with a lively pop vibe.

Starting off with a song about partying, the band’s front man and lead vocalist Yoshi Walsh spent the set trying to pump up the crowd. At one point, he even took a dive off of the stage to join the audience on the ground.

He, as well as his drummer wife and four backup singers, were decked out in rainbow tie-dye t-shirts, making their presence known. They danced around, echoing these sentiments of fun and positivity. The group even encouraged younger audience members to work on self-esteem.

“Vote for yourself, believe in yourself!” Walsh shouted at one point, after instructing the audience members to embrace their “weird side.”

By the second song, the crowd was up on its feet, younger viewers joining in Walsh’s enthusiasm, dancing on the grass and letting their bodies move to the upbeat music.

Yoshi Walsh of Streight Angular. Photo by Jennifer Dill.
Yoshi Walsh of Streight Angular. Photo by Jennifer Dill.

The night rounded out with closing performances from Music Fest VP Rick Berlin, OLD HAT, LOVE LOVE, Cask Mouse, Trusty Sidekick, and The Upper Crust, leaving everyone in high spirits, eager for next year’s show.

The festival was a great source of exposure for lesser known Boston and Jamaica Plain-based bands. It allowed a large crowd of people to spend its day in the fresh air, enjoy some of Boston’s best local food, and get a feel for what Massachusetts residents are all about: jamming out and having a great time.

 

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