Written by Carmen Mueller
It's the summer time, which means that festival season is upon us. Despite the buzz that always surrounds the larger events like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Warped Tour, let's not forget about the incredible talent that could be just around the corner. I had the chance to check out the Winnetka Music Festival that took place on June 17th and 18th. Despite the blazing heat that could put an oven to shame, the crowds that turned up for the talent was truly remarkable. From my time there, two acts really caught my attention: Seratones and Ashe.
When I was walking around the festival, I heard Seratones playing from behind me and had to leave my family in order to check them out. What attracted me to them was the energy that I could feel bursting from the stage. Powerful guitars and drums provided lead singer AJ Haynes the perfect opportunity to completely rock out. She has an incredibly strong voice that somehow got the audience to dance even if the risk of heat stroke was a threat. All throughout their set, I couldn't help but feel an almost Nirvana-esque quality to their sound. They definitely have a strong rock presence, but the lead's voice is so smooth and clear, which makes it both intense and beautiful. The groove was catchy and their ability to connect with the audience is admirable. Towards the end of their set, AJ jumped down from the massive speakers, climbed over the guardrail, and began dancing in the middle of the street. A little girl, no older than four, began mimicking AJ's dancing, and the two jammed out together. This band was such an awesome discovery; they literally stopped me in my tracks and drew me in with their sound, energy, and charisma. Their latest project "Get Gone" is available, so if you are looking for a great new band, check out Seratones.
The other act that really caught my attention was Ashe, a female artist from San Jose who originally got her start in Chicago. She also had a great connection with the audience; she would crack jokes whenever she could and had a really open and welcoming personality while waltzing across the stage. I would describe her sound as a mixture between Halsey during her Room 93 days and the Canadian artist, Lights. Ashe's voice is so powerful while the electronic and piano centric songs are really playful which made for a really fun performance. Another strength that she had was she was reinventing current well known songs so that they would work for her set. She performed super popular songs such as a mashup of Michael Buble's "Feeling Good" and Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness". Her song "Real Love" which focuses on the connective force that is genuine love and happiness, flowed beautifully into Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". What I can really appreciate is the risks that Ashe took in her song choices; she was able to fuse entirely different songs into something new and unique. I got the chance to listen to some of her new songs from her album "The Rabbit Hole" during the festival, and I would highly recommend them to someone who is wanting a new indie act to binge.