Bearstock Rocks Tattnall Square Park

Bearstock Rocks Tattnall Square Park
Bearstock's headliners Relient K, Timeflies and Electric Sons entertain Macon Locals
Bearstock’s headliners Relient K, Timeflies and Electric Sons entertain Macon Locals

As the 6th annual Bearstock began, Tattnall Square Park began buzzing with the life that comes every year with the free music festival. The mix of current and prospective Mercer students, as well as Maconites and high schoolers alike made for a diverse crowd that seemed more than ready to have a good time.

The crowd was energetic as the first band, local indie rockers Rewind Retry, took the stage, which was oriented facing away from campus for the first time, which made the crowd seem bigger and the aided in the general vibe of the event. The vibe would have been better from the start had one of the headliners not been soundchecking a good 15 minutes into their set, but we’ll save the complaints about Relient K for later.

Rewind Retry’s set was a perfect start to a fantastic string of day bands that would range from the more alternative Wire Method, to the folksy Charlie & The Foxtrots, to the pop punk of The Captain. The energy peaked mid-day though, with hometown favorites and recent 11th hour “Best Local Band” winners, Dalmatian. The band, consisting of Burgess Brown, Michael Suhr, John Ewing, and Sean Williams ran through a fantastic set and showed why they were picked as one of Paste Magazine’s “25 Georgia Bands You Should Listen To Now.”

Radio Birds put on a quality set with their unique classic rock spin and were followed by the band originally billed as the third headliner, Electric Sons. A Bearstock staple at this point, Electric Sons showed how a seasoned band can energize a crowd that’s ready to hear them. Their brand of synth-heavy alt-pop was perfect for the eager crowd and was one of the highlights of the day for sure.

Next up was Emily Earle, an up-and-coming country singer and last minute addition. Quadworks “wanted to keep a country artist in the lineup,” according to Devanshi Patel, and “since we had a lot of male leads, we wanted a strong female singer.” A former contestant on The Voice, Earle certainly lived up to that bill, with a beautiful voice and a lyrical quality that many country artists lack.

Then came the headliners, with early 2000s Christian pop punk band Relient K kicking off the night. After arriving late and soundchecking well into Rewind Retry’s set, Relient K proceeded to run through what they seemed to think was a set of their “greatest hits.” In order to have succeeded in that effort, however, they should have first thought to have written enough actual hits over their 17 years as a band to fill a full set. With minimal, pandering crowd interaction and a general air of a band playing a gig to get a check, Relient K was easily the weakest band of the day. Many of the day bands put in far superior performances and showed that they were far more deserving of a prime time spot than the washed up headliners.

Timeflies on the other hand were precisely what a Bearstock headliner is expected to be: engaging and generally a fun time. While not the most technically gifted duo, the half-rapped, half-sung vocals of frontman Cal Shapiro mixed with the fun dance beats of producer Rob Resnick were more than enough to get the crowd moving. Timeflies ran through a set of hits and their trademark “Timeflies Tuesdays” remixes of other popular songs with a large crowd hanging on to every word. The highlight of the set for many Mercer students was, no doubt, Shapiro’s “freestyle” about Mercer, which was wildly entertaining, even if it was painfully obvious how pre-written it was.

As the crowd dispersed, pleased with the nights music overall, the intent of Bearstock: to help attract new prospects already attending Make It Mercer and to bring the Macon community together for a fun day of live music, had definitely been accomplished.