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Review: Bunbury Music Festival, Friday June 1st, 2018

Lift the Medium

One of the first bands to kick off this eventful weekend in the tri state area were local metal rockers and native Cincinnatians, Lift the Medium. The band played at the CVG River Stage for a 30-minute set and drew in a crowd of people. Their uplifting lyrics infused with the heavy bass and screams really elevated the audience. Some of the avid fans were head banging and singing along to every song. Everything from the wide vocal range of lead singer, Joey Vasselet, to the high-quality screams of guitarist, Joseph Bartone, really justifies the band’s potential. (Natalya Daoud)

Reo Cragun

Hip Hop and RnB singer/songwriter from Vancouver, WA, Reo Cragun, really brought the younger crowd to groove to his music. It started off when his DJ, Dj Kiero, who amped several of great hip hop hits with one including “Up In Here” by DMX. Kiero’s humble characteristic along with his sick beats really set the mood for Cragun and the rest of the set. Cragun later came out in a green hooded jacket in the 82-degree weather, which he then took off. Just by hearing him rap and sing, the sounds of Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean just fused out of him, making him stand out in this trap music society. (Natalya Daoud)

Welshly Arms

With a large crowd, the band put on a show to remember in just a one-hour set.  The amount of soul and blues that this 6-member band creates, really singles them out from every other artist. Their stage presence exemplifies their passion of performing. Every member put on a phenomenal solo. Each one of their sounds intertwined the other, making their entire performance passionately connected and in sync with the music. Lead singer, Sam Getz’s rich and raspy vocals mixed with Bri and Jon Bryant powerful blues vocals, Bret Lindemann’s skilled keyboarding, Jimmy Weaver’s bass shredding, and Mikey Gould’s thick and deep drum sounds really makes for this band to become “Legends.” (Natalya Daoud)

The Front Bottoms

This Jersey band knows how to turn up in the heat. The Sawyer Point Stage was packed with a crowd ready to sign along and get out some angst. “The Beers,” “Vacation Town,” “Peace Sign,” and “Twin Sized Mattress” were highlights of the show. Tom Warren (lead singer/guitar) exclaimed from the stage, “Last time I played Bunbury, I got so messed up, I had to get an IV, let’s do it again!” He also teased playing a Blink 182 cover, which led to requests screamed in by the audience, “Nope!” Tom replied. Very funny Front Bottoms… One of the best sets of the day in my opinion. Only one question… who was the guy on the loveseat? (Courtney Phenicie)

Lauren Eylise

Cincinnati’s own songstress performed on the Acoustic Stage, with mind blowing vocals and passion. Her vocals alone should make Cincinnati proud, but her songwriting and passion really make her the whole package. The passion she put into “Part Time Lover,” “Come Back to Me,” and “Karma” radiated into the crowd. She is part of the future of Cincinnati Music, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes her. The hype is real about Lauren. Get on board before it’s too late to say you say her before she got huge. (Ray Dietz)


A fan favorite of the evening was pop band, Lany. They drew in much of the younger crowd. The lead singer, Paul Klein, came on stage dressed like the bad boy out of a 90s boy band wearing a California hockey jersey and one drop earring. If Justin Bieber decided to do a pop/rock album, then it would sound very similar to what these guys sounded like on Friday night. The only exception was that, during “Flowers on the Floor,” Klein started to dance on stage. Every time Klein did anything, screaming girls from every side would go crazy. Overall, the band knew how to put on a performance with their catchy pop and electronic tunes, despite a short set due to the heavy rain. (Natalya Daoud)

Royal Blood

This rock-n-roll band straight from the U.K. tore up the stage Friday with hits such as “Figure it Out” and “Out of the Black.” Every song was a head banger and the endless crowd seemed to really engage with the music. The two members include Mike Kerr on vocals/bass and Ben Thatcher on drums. Despite Kerr’s foot injury last week at the Boston Calling Festival, they managed to bring their A-game to Bunbury. Their whole performance including a lot of guitar distortion and heavy drumming. The band engaged with the audience with a screaming contest. Despite the sprinkle of rain and in conjunction to Blink 182’s last minute cancellation, Royal Blood, put on over an hour performance that was one to remember. (Natalya Daoud)

Fitz and The Tantrums

Fitz and The Tantrums are one of the best festival bands of all-time. There, I said it. They know how to engage a crowd and get the party started. High-energy, singalongs, and handclaps…so many glorious handclaps. They knocked it out of the park playing such hits as, “Out of My League,” “Fool,” “L.O.V.,” and of course, “Handclap.” Fitz and The Tantrums knows how to perform. If this 6-piece neo-soul pop group ever gets tired of being the powerhouse of pop, they should consider opening a masterclass for other musicians on how to bring the party. (Courtney Phenicie)

Allan Rayman 

This soulful Canadian R&B machine left everything he had on the River Stage. I really didn’t know what to expect. Although he has a huge social media following, he doesn’t do interviews and it’s almost impossible to find a live video of him online. As soon as he hit that stage, he had the whole crowd in the palm of his hands. We were in his world for the entire set and there is nowhere else we would have rather been. His vocals on “Much Too Much” made the hair on my arms stand up. We are excited to see what Rayman does next. (Ray Dietz

Young The Giant

The perfect way to the start off the night was Young the Giant’s enriched indie rock set. The endless sea of people sang along to songs like “Cough Syrup” and “My Body.” Their rich sounds and instrumental variety really ignited the crowd. The crowd clapped to their favorite songs. Young the Giant announced that they were going to release a new hit single in July. They then performed, “Nothing’s Over” off of their 2016 release, “Home of the Strange.” It was when lead singer, Sameer Gadhia, put on a gold and glittery jacket that birthday cakes were brought out. The crowd sang happy birthday to bassist, Payam Doostzadeh. Then several of birthday cakes were shoved in his face. They ended their set with a banger, “My Body,” where the entire crowd were jumping and singing along. Their entire performance consisted of passion to every lyric and note. (Natalya Daoud)

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers closed out night one of Bunbury Music Festival. They knew it was time to make all of Cincinnati dance. They didn’t wait long to play a fan favorite, “Sick Boy.” To witness The Chainsmokers in their natural habitat was a treat. The crowd was dancing more than they were snapchatting, that says a lot folks. Machine-gun drums, earth shattering bass drops, and an electrifying light show filled the set. The Chainsmokers have built a career out of bottling moments of eternal youth and they are damn good at it. (Ray Dietz)