Split Lip Rayfield headlined a raucous second day of MoonRunners, which included Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Joseph Huber, Black Eyed Vermillion, and Black Actress.
Reggies was the sight of the fourth annual MoonRunners Music Festival, a celebration of Americana music. The festival included a sampling of many music genres, Americana, bluegrass, outlaw, punk, and more. The wide variety of music gave this day something for everyone. Day two saw 23 bands play the two stages, the Rock Club being the bigger stage, and the Music Joint providing a more intimate setting.
Black Actress from Chicago blasted onto the Music Joint stage to provide a high-energy garage rock tornado of a performance. The lead singer, Bobby Goodworth Miller, dominated the stage alternating between serpent-like movements and hyper rock star poses. The rest of band also moved throughout the set, interacting with fans. Black Actress delivered a performance to which Iggy Pop would be proud.
Another standout artist was Austin, Texas-based Black Eyed Vermillion, supported during this set by Rock Bottom String Band. The Texas super band left no one disappointed, as the crowd enjoyed their mix of hillbilly punk infused with Bluegrass and roots music. Lead singer Gary Lindsey’s gravelly voice married well to the accomplished sound of the supporting super band. The singer brought the roadhouse to Chicago, as he sang and surfed the crowd.
Next on the stage was Joseph Huber and his band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The three-piece band brought the volume down but not the intensity. This band took the crowd to a different place, underground folk and bluegrass set that reflected the fine introspective lyrics which every member of the audience could relate.
Next up was Colorados’ Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, which transformed the stage to a revival tent of raw Americana music. The crowd became willing converts to the church of Cessna with Slim Cessna and Munly Munly as the high priests. The co-singers could not be contained on the stage as they brought their punk-like preaching into the crowd, including having the crowd kneel in a circle as Slim lead them in song. The energy emanating from the stage could have matched any punk show. Rip-Roaring tracks like “A Smashing Indictment of Character” and “This Is How We Do It In the South” wound up the crowd, who responded with dancing, singing, and waving arms in the air.
The headliners for this second night of the fest were the three-piece outfit from Kansas, Split Lip Rayfield. The first thing you notice about them is the unique bass called “Stitchgiver,” made from a gas tank from a 1976 Mercury Grand Marquis, and its one string from a weed wacker. It was created and masterfully played by Jeff Eaton adding to the band’s punk bluegrass sound. Eric Mardis’ manic banjo playing matched well with Wayne Gottstines mandolin and guitar work. The fast tempo and aggressive play style gave their three-piece bluegrass sound a rock beat. The choice of Split Lip Rayfield as the headliner proved wise; the audience loved their unique blend bluegrass, imbuing the traditional sound with a modern feel.