Bella Ruse By Brianna Klapperich
Bella ruse stopped by the KQAL studio this afternoon for an interview before their show tonight for MWMF.
Identifying as a cute rock duo from Minneapolis, Minn. this group balances teaching with their music endeavors and hope to start a music studio of their own in the Fall.
They feel strongly about a clean environment and travel in a van run on used vegetable oil from any chinese restaurant willing to part with their used supply.
Bella Ruse and their team of unique instruments like the toy piano, kazoo and typewriter can be found tonight at the Masonic Temple at 8p.m.
Michelle Lynn and the Bad Passsengers By Samantha Luhmann
Michelle Lynn kicks off Winona’s Earth Day celebration Saturday afternoon with a live performance for the Mid West Music Fest.
Amid the many event booths and family-friendly activities, the singer-songwriter begins her set on an outdoor stage made of stone at Unity Park. The sky is leaden with overcast, but peeks of sunshine creep through the clouds.
The open field facing the stage is the perfect resting ground for families to relax, and many use the space to watch Lynn play. Her music is fitting for the event’s crowd, as it’s both upbeat and catchy.
Her soulful voice resonates throughout the park.
Though she’s been performing for years, Lynn admits this is only her third time playing electric.
“I play so much I have to change it up,” she laughed. “If I did either one a lot I’d go nuts.”
Winona resident Tom Fassbender said he’s been a fan of Lynn’s music since he was first introduced to her at the Boats and Blue Grass festival. He remembers her live acoustic set, but said he likes the electric sound, too.
Mary Beth Thesing, a good friend of Lynn’s, agrees.
“It sounds great outside,” she said. “It was meant for a large space.”
Thesing made the trip from Decorah just to watch Lynn perform. She said that she loves Lynn’s music because it’s inspirational and real.
“It’s music that connects with all of us,” she said.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo By Dave Ferber
Children responded to the high-energy patter from this dynamic duo, and adults were drawn to the heavy beats emanating from a pre-produced digital media player full of Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s own musical creations.
“We’re not really, like, singing nice songs, we’re kind of yelling and rapping,” said Olstad. “The subject matter is still goofy, like rainbows and the crust on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
Unicorns, pirates, friendship bracelets, alligators, rainbows, dinosaurs, robots, ninjas, and mini-vans all became lyrical hooks for the evidently over-caffeinated pair.
“We like dance moves, and we like the idea of putting on costumes and putting on a show and just goofing off and not having to worry about looking cool or whatever,” Olstad offered.
Some wondered where the name Koo Koo Kanga Roo originated, and so the question was posed.
“We just thought it’d sound real goofy, but we don’t have any kangaroo elements in our show,” said Olstad.
What Koo Koo Kanga Roo did have was the rapt attention of most in the immediate area who could not avoid the hyperactivity.
Don’t let their name fool you. Koo Koo Kanga Roo was much more silly and energetic during their live performance in Winona’s Unity Park during Earth Day celebrations.
“A lot of the show is predicated on, like, dance moves that we teach you,” said Neil Olstad, one of the two Koo Koos wearing matching black outfits, logo shirts, and recently painted gold shoes.
“You have to be able to comprehend the dance moves and do them with us. I guess you don’t have to, you can just mindlessly boogie around. That’s fine, too,” he admitted.
And boogie they did. Unity Park held dozens of spectators, shoppers, and Earth Day participants, and many wandered over to the bandstand to either observe or to dance wildly with Olstad and his performance partner Bryan Atchison who are the self-described “craziest act you have ever seen.”
Adja Gildersleve and Oliver Fox By Sydney Swanson
“I can’t just sit down and write a song, I have to have inspiration, a muse,” said Adja Gildersleve about her original songs. She sings about the midwest, zombie apocalypses and “Minnesota Nice” while plucking away at her guitar.
Jase Ginkel, Ryan Bunke, Kelly Mason, Matt Wagner, and Alli Lafferty accompany Gildersleve and they all make up “Adja Gildersleve & Oliver Fox.”
Gildersleve’s inspirations include Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Lauryn Hill. The feel-good nature of these artists emerges in Gildersleve’s music. She sings with the audience and not at the audience. She talks about feeding off the energy that the audience brings and reciprocates in the relationship with all of the audience members.
She believes that her musical talents are in part, genetic.
“My dad never told me he played guitar, I don’t know why,” said Gildersleve about her parents’ backgrounds in music. “My mom can sing so I feel like I got some of that from her.”
She has been playing guitar for about 7 years and has been singing just as long.
“I never used to be a good singer,” said Gildersleve. “In elementary school I was always good at imitating teachers so I started imitating artists.”
“It was something that evolved, my voice just developed over the years.”
Kensington Stone By Alexandria Fisher
Preview for 10p.m. show
Breakaway By Sydney Swanson
Breakaway, the one man band, sets the scene at the Masonic Temple with his "freak folk" music style. He puts his all into each song and sings with energy and emotion.
My Private Eye By Alexandria Fisher
The squeal of a guitar blares out of the monster speakers beside the stage in the upstairs of Dibs Café Saturday night during Mid West Music Fest.
The “pop-punk” band My Private Eye plays catchy tunes with a harmonizing combination of high-pitched soprano and tenor vocals.
“It’s catchy,” said drummer Zachary Barbier. “People really seem to like it.”
Today marks the band’s one-year anniversary. Their first performance as this set of musicians began at Mid West Music Fest 2011.
A row of nodding heads and bobbing bodies fills the floor in front of the stage as the band performs their original songs. The music is anything but quiet and the low bass is penetrating the audience’s bodies.
Joe and Vicki Price By Stephanie Brost
Joe and Vicki price got some of the audience to their feet for a standing ovation after their performance in the Somsen Hall auditorium on the Winona State University Campus.
The two used their powerful soulful voices, energetic, joyful stage presence and their twangy, old-school guitar blues melodies to get the audience instantly hooked on their performance.
Joe Price got the audience laughing at the beginning of performance as he guzzled down a glass of red wine.
“They said something about having a beer up here,” said Price after he had finished the glass. “I don’t see it yet.”
Almost instantaneously a Mid West Music Fest staff member found his way to the stage with the dark brown bottle Price was seeking. Intermittent giggles were heard as the couple took short breaks to sip on their cool, frothy beverages between songs.
Vicki said the couple is celebrating 25 years of marriage and they are working on a new record.
i.like.you By Alexandria Fisher & Stephanie Brost
From kazoos to ukuleles to whistling and acapella harmonization, i.like.you. is pulling out all the stops at the Acoustic Café Saturday night during Mid West Music Fest.
Many strangers shared tables as they munched on their sandwiches and bobbed along to the bubbly beat of the band’s tunes.
“I’m really glad that they have the chance to have a real audience,” said Ross Blondell, a Winona resident and regular attendee of the fest. Last year the band was stationed at the Earth Day festival where they performed for mostly parents and children.
The three-year-old band, which has performed at Mid West Music Fest since the festival’s birth, is a combination of folk and indie original tunes off their first ever recorded cd, released on March 3rd.
They are different from most because of their unusual combination of instruments. Their songs contain music from an acoustic guitar, a ukulele, drums, a violin and an upright bass.
“I get incredibly ecstatic whenever I play music and get to share all of the cobb webs that are in my brain and cut them out musically and watch people’s reactions that become like the magic of creating and co-creating,” said O’Sunshyne. “I feel overjoyed.”
Wendy O’Sunshyne, lead singer and ukulele player, stands on stage with multi-colored dreads and neon orange glasses and facepaint mezmorizing the jam-packed café. From audience members swaying as they stand throughout the café to heads lightly bobbing, there is not a still body here.
Bomba de Luz By Brianna Klapperich
The lead singer Lydia Hoglund of Bomba de Luz jokes with the audience about the "grimy" hotel the band is staying at during their set at the Masonic Temple.
Jonas Taghavi (Drums), Evan Slack (Lead Guitar), Gavin Taylor-Stark (Bass) and Lydia Hoglund fuse into a jazz infused rock group.
As Bomba de Luz finishes up the crowd grows steadily in preparation for the Emmy award winning Kimya Dawson.
Kensington Stone By Stephanie Brost
Kensington Stone, a Winona-native band, performed for a crowd of mostly 20-somethings at Jefferson’s Event Center for Mid West Music Fest.
The group started in 2010 and has performed at Mid West Music Fest ever since. And it is obvious the band has gained a few followers.
At 10 o’clock, when the band started, many of the tables and chairs were abandoned and left littered with empty cups and beer bottles as the crowd cluttered near the bar.
But the rock, funk and blues music got the cluster of people to gravitate closer to the stage with only one song.
By the end of the performance the audience was dancing around and letting loose to Kengsington Stone.
Circle of Heat By Samantha Luhmann
No one is having more fun than Circle of Heat themselves during their performance at Jefferson’s Pub and Grill Saturday night for the Mid West Music Fest.
Lead vocalist Trevor Anderson jumps up and down as he slaps the keyboards on stage. An enormous smile is planted across his face and there’s no doubting that there isn’t anywhere else this musician would rather be than on stage.
Composed of a group of young, college grads, the players that make up Circle of Heat met at the University of Minnesota almost three years ago, as they were all music majors. After a successful “jam sesh,” it was unanimous that they become a band.
Their debut album “bigwheelin’hotstuff” hit the shelves only weeks ago and they happily announce its availability to the crowd in between songs.
Anderson classified Circle of Heat’s music as “slurpy rock.”
“If you say you’re a jam band a lot of people kind of right you off,” he said. “We put a little bit more effort into it than that.”
The quick rhythms and captivating instrumentals generate a feeling of excitement and enjoyment as the band tears it up on stage. Their sound is one-of –a-kind, full of energy and funk.
The audience grows larger and larger throughout the set. Their legs tap briskly to the beat of the drums and their bodies sway to the fast-paced tempo.
Hudson Eschelard, a sophomore at Cotter High School, cheered and danced to every song the band played. He said he’s been a fan of Circle of Heat since their first performance at the Mid West Music Fest last year.
“Their music is something different,” he said. “You never know what they’re going to do next.”
People Brother's Band By Samantha Luhmann
The dance floor at Jefferson’s Pub and Grill is overflowing with screaming fans as The People Brothers Band prepares for their set at the Mid West Music Fest.
The eight musicians that make up the rhythm and soul infused band emerged on stage at 11 p.m. and immediately got the crowd moving. Cheers erupt as they begin their first song.
“This is going to be a hard act to follow,” Winona resident Keith Zeller said.
The diverse range of instruments the band employs creates a funky, wholehearted melody that gets the audience dancing. Whether it is the smooth sound of the saxophone or the electric twang of the guitar, their music is strong and cohesive.
The People Brothers Band was founded in Madison, Wis. three years ago. They began their career by performing in downtown bars and have since grown to creating their very own grass roots festival.
John Jacobson, a fan of the Mid West Music Fest, traveled to Winona from Chatfield, Minn. to celebrate his 29th birthday with some tunes. Having never heard ofThe People Brothers Band, he was in shock by the end of the show.
“I’m a big fan now,” he said.
Throughout the performance, singer Teresa Marie engages the audience with her fervent voice all the while grooving to the beat of the bass. The energy the band produces is proof that these musicians not only love what they do, but one another, as well.
“They’re very much my best friends,” Marie said.
God Johnson By Samantha Luhmann
God Johnson gave both funk and soul at their performance Saturday night for the Mid West Music Fest.
The dance floor at Jefferson’s Pub and Grill is filled with eager fans as the band begins their set. Drinks in hand, they’re ready for a good night.
Cheers and hollers fill the room and not a single person stands still.
Comprised of a wide array of instruments, powerful solos were featured all throughout God Johnson’s performance. Kevin Sinclair got the crowd moving with the smooth sound of his saxophone and Jason Fladager impressed on his electric guitar.
Each of the member’s talents corresponds effortlessly as they play and keyboardist Tim Carrow said that a lot of their shows don’t follow a set list. Instead, God Johnson improvises their music, feeding off of the each other’s chemistry.
“There’s not a lot of rehearsal,” he said.
Before joining God Johnson, Carrow played with a band called The Sweet Potato Project who would often perform at the same venues as God Johnson. In 2004, he teamed up with the existing members of the band and now writes all of their songs.
At the end of their set, the audience erupts, screaming for more. The band walks off stage only to return to play a 13-minute encore.
“How long is this place open?”