The YMTS team enjoyed a beautiful summer Saturday night with co-headliners Ben Folds and Violent Femmes, joined by opener Savannah Conley at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park.
Savannah Conley played her one woman set to a sparse lawn, as the crowd was just beginning to arrive. Her sound was ethereal yet edgy, reminiscent of Mazzy Star and other 90's girl rockers. The audience trickled into their spots on the lawn and settled comfortably into her groove.
Violent Femmes took the stage with their smattering of instruments and were greeted by an eager audience. The band introduced songs off their new album and peppered in familiar jams to build the audiences' energy. Audience favorites included the 1983 hit, "Blister in the Sun", “American Music” and "Add it Up", which served as their finale.
Ben Folds and his iconic piano opened his set, his band joining in halfway through the first song. He shared stories of unlikely inspiration for songs and complimented the audience's crooning, with genuine warmth radiating from the stage. Despite the sprawling venue, he created an illusion of intimacy. See our gallery here.
Unsurprisingly, Rocking the Suburbs was a favorite of the overwhelmingly middle class and white audience; the self-deprecating bop ringing just as true today as in 2001.
Absent from the set were some well-known but darker songs such as “Brick", which help to keep energy and spirits high until about 10:45, when the band took a brief break before beginning their encore.
Ben played the sweet and simple ballad “The Luckiest” alone with his piano before setting up an interactive and upbeat finale with the full band. Ben instructed audience members to harmonize in three parts. Ben conducted the audience-turned-choir in a cadence of ohs and ahs, climbing atop his piano to match the audience's crescendo before ending the evening on a strong and satisfying note.