Your Bearstock Wrap-Up


Ocean is Theory’s Josh Williams plays at Bearstock.

Ocean is Theory's Josh Williams plays at Bearstock.

The night before Bearstock, Macon was threatened by a tornado warning that could have ruined the day. But we were lucky, and the storm passed over Macon with little commotion, leaving the day free for Mercer’s annual musical festival. This year featured a lineup similar to previous years, with rappers playing alongside established rock groups and local bands. It was a pretty great show all around.

I have to admit, I come from a bit of a different musical background than most of the bands that played at Bearstock. I spent my high school years in rundown venues, seeing mostly terrible local punk bands with the hope of catching the occasional gem buried underneath all the unoriginal acts I sat through. So I’ve grown to be a bit…discerning with my music. I tend to expect perfection or nothing at all, and I admit that while that attitude occasionally gives me a critical advantage, it doesn’t always make me fun at concerts.

Atlanta-based pop-rock act The Less delivered a set full of mostly cookie-cutter modern rock songs, including a cover of Coldplay’s hit “Yellow.” Just a thought, but if you’re going to rip off a band you probably shouldn’t cover their songs alongside your “originals.” It lets the audience know exactly how much better the first band is. I know I’m being harsh, but I was just hoping for more originality throughout their set. I guess you can’t always get what you want, especially when what you want is entertaining, downtempo rock. Still, what are you gonna do? The answer is: wait until the next band, Jubee and the Morning After, comes onstage and absolutely rule their set.
The crowd really gathered together around the time Jubee started their set. Before that I saw mostly high school kids and families looking for a relaxing time, but by the time Jubee started their set everybody seemed to show up. Jubee and the Morning After is one of the most overlooked bands in Macon, but they certainly weren’t overlooked at Bearstock. They delivered an exciting, genre-bending set that surprised anyone unfamiliar with their sound: a combination of rap, rock, funk and many more genres that, by all rights, should never work. And yet it does with this band. I suspect that they’ll have to be moved off the B stage next year, because the crowd was absolutely swarming them. I look forward to the band getting more publicity in the coming year. If you get a chance to see them soon, go. It’s an experience that no other band can bring, let alone any in Macon.

After Jubee’s set, Bearstock mainstay Ocean is Theory took the stage as they debuted songs from their upcoming full length on Razor & Tie records. I’ve followed the band since they were an up-and-coming local act in the Marietta area, and they get better every time I see them. After a few lineup changes, they seem to have found a stable roster that allows for an increased flexibility. I’m seriously excited for their upcoming record and you should be, too.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think of the headliners Roscoe Dash and 3OH!3 when they were announced, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by their performances. And, if I can add, they’re all pretty awesome dudes, as evidenced by my interview immediately to the right of this article. They really surprised me with the amount of passion they brought to their sets. In years past, some Bearstock bands have phoned in their performances, lip-syncing and generally making no effort to really engage the crowd beyond the level needed to secure their paychecks. It was really different this year. Both Roscoe Dash and 3OH!3 brought a tangible stage presence to the show

Roscoe Dash delivered an amazingly energetic performance, cycling through songs off his new record Ready Set Go!  as well as his well-known singles such as “All the way Turnt Up.”

3OH!3 isn’t exactly known for deep, introspective songs that explore the depths of the human condition. Instead they deliver some intentionally over-the-top party anthems that translate incredibly well to a live setting. When the beat to “House Party” is that loud, can you really concentrate on anything besides dancing your ass off? Their songs are infectiously catchy and, above all else, fun. All I can really say about my preconceptions is that I wasn’t expecting to be drawn into their set, and yet I was. I suppose the language of parties knows no boundaries, borders or genres, and in the end we all speak it fluently.

I always go to Bearstock expecting something different from what I get. Maybe I’m too used to seeing small punk shows where it’s possible to chill with the band afterwards. Maybe my adolencese full of death metal, hardcore and pretentious indie rock left me a bit jaded to other types of music, but no matter your musical background, there’s always something about a crowd chanting “One more song!” at the top of their lungs. In the end, isn’t that all that matters? That the fans had a blast? That the music was loud, energetic and, most importantly, fun? No matter what, the kids had a damn good time, and I’m not one to argue with that. If the music isn’t exactly your thing, don’t worry about it. People out there are having fun with it, and they’re most likely enjoying themselves more than any would-be critic standing in the corner with his arms crossed.

Sorry if this article turned out to be more of a confessional than you expected. At some point, objective journalism doesn’t quite cut it for entertainment stories. Everyone who hears a record, sees a concert or watches a film experiences it in his or her own way. This was mine.