Kalamazoo’s Moss Jaw Cultivates First Festival Experience at Audiotree on Saturday

Kayley Kerastas, Russ Wagner, Max Murray and Evan Asher of Moss Jaw

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a multi-part series this week previewing the Audiotree Music Festival and profiling artists from the lineup.

Last year, four Kalamazoo pals decided to cultivate their own musical experience.

Together, Kayley Kerastas, Russ Wagner, Evan Asher and Max Murray planted the artistic seeds for Moss Jaw, a dark, dreamy post-rock project, and watched it flourish throughout the DITKalamazoo scene.

A year later, that musical sapling grew into an opening slot at this weekend’s Audiotree Music Festival. The Kalamazoo quartet will take root with a 12:25 p.m. set Saturday on the WIDR-FM Discovery Stage in Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

Moss Jaw will join nearly 30 other artists, including Father John Misty, Local Natives, Khruangbin, Basement and Real Estate.

They’re also one of several West Michigan-based artists featured in the Audiotree Music Festival lineup along with Michigander, Lushh, Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and Major Murphy.

Founded in 2013, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

This year, Audiotree has joined forces with WIDR (89.1 FM), Western Michigan University’s college radio station, to plant the festival’s new Discovery Stage and feature 12 additional bands throughout the weekend.

WIDR invited Moss Jaw to perform at Audiotree after they won second place in a local Battle of the Bands contest earlier this year.

“Wonderfully enough, they wanted us on behalf of Audiotree, and we are just so stoked,” said Kerastas, Moss Jaw vocalist and guitarist. “We’ve been eyeballing that (Audiotree Live) session for a while, and we’ve been trying to reach that someday, and thankfully enough, we get to play the festival.”

Continue reading “Kalamazoo’s Moss Jaw Cultivates First Festival Experience at Audiotree on Saturday”

Grand Rapids’ Major Murphy to Enlist New Fan Base at Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday

Major Murphy’s Jacki Warren, Jacob Bullard and Brian “Bud” Voortman

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a multi-part series this week previewing the Audiotree Music Festival and profiling artists from the lineup.

Major Murphy will enlist a battalion of new recruits at Kalamazoo’s Audiotree Music Festival this weekend.

The Grand Rapids nostalgic rock trio will conquer the crowd Sunday with a 12:50 p.m. set on the main stage at the two-day festival in Arcadia Creek Festival Place. Major Murphy will join nearly 30 other acts, including Father John Misty, Local Natives, Real Estate, Diet Cig and Blitzen Trapper.

They’re one of five West Michigan-based artists featured in the Audiotree Music Festival lineup along with Michigander, Lushh, Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and Moss Jaw.

Founded in 2013, the Chicago-based, Michigan-born Audiotree Music Festival celebrates new and emerging artists and is curated by the popular web music series Audiotree Live.

Major Murphy’s Jacob Bullard (vocals, guitar), Jacki Warren (vocals, bass) and Brian “Bud” Voortman (drums) will share their 1970s-inspired radio rock with Audiotree festivalgoers during a much-anticipated set.

They’ll be performing laid-back, catchy songs from their full-length debut album, “No. 1,” which dropped in March on Winspear. Those new to Major Murphy will hear jangly guitars, shimmering riffs, synth-sheened grooves and dreamy, commanding vocals.

“When we perform as a trio, there is a more immediate sound and energy that I think we all enjoy. It boils down and reveals the really important parts of the songs,” Bullard said. “When you’re in a festival setting, there’s generally a big stage with a big PA so you can push the crowd a little bit, and it’s super fun. Live music is powerful, and it’s important to let loose sometimes.”

Continue reading “Grand Rapids’ Major Murphy to Enlist New Fan Base at Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday”