So this last weekend I see an ad on Facebook that reads “Upstart Music-Arts Brewfest and Fleamarket” and what caught my eye was the font in the word Upstart was the same as Upstart Fest and the Upstart Antisocial Campout two of my favorite punk festivals/tours so I went to the page that was linked on the ad and sure enough the good people from Upstart Fest had put together a street festival in the little town of Catskill NY which is maybe an hour and a half north of where I am from in Poughkeepsie.
And with nothing to do on this fine end of summer day I grabbed two friends and we made the drive up to Catskill NY which turned out to be a really cute little town right on the Hudson River and an easy drive from where we lived. Upon arrival at about noon it appeared the Fest was already in full swing and the street was filled with people, my friends and I grabbed a beer from the Rip Van Winkle Brewery tent and caught the last two songs from a set done by Danny Stitches who looked and sounded like a dead Waylon Jennings, and before you think I’m making fun of Mr. Stitches I’m not, he was done up in rather professional makeup to look like Frankenstein’s Monster with a black cowboy hat and he sang country songs, and from the little I heard was quite good.
Next followed a poppy band called Ramona Lane, whose front man had a good voice, they weren’t bad and with some polishing and more stage presence may be able to gain some recognition down the line in the new alternative scene. The set after that was by a young looking band called Frances Dean, fans of Nirvana rejoice these guys brought back the dead with this set, the front man stood out as the omnipresent grunge master with a permanent scowl on his face as the rhythm guitarist kept the frantic momentum going as they entertained the growing crowd and local fans.
We shared some delicious spinach and potato pierogis bought some ear rings and another craft beer this time from Keegan Ales which was also really delicious, and then returned to the stage to see Mr. Danny Stitches back up there with a different front man and a full band who called themselves Casanova Frankenstein And The Voodoo Machine. Dressed in black and red bowling shirts and all done up like corpses they rocked out a set of creepy rockabilly songs that got us all thinking that we needed to start getting ready for Halloween. And as it happened they did a really great job and were a lot of fun.
The next three bands slated to appear were a surprise, a very good surprise for me as I know and love them all, Dr. Beardfacé And The Spaceman, Pitchfork Militia, and Kyle Trocolla and his full band The Strangers. I was surprised because there was no mention of any of the performers I could see on the Facebook Ad other than “Bands” so obviously once I read the whiteboard with the full list of bands the day got a whole lot more interesting for me.
Dr. Beardfacé And The Spaceman hit the stage hard, opening the set up with Teenage Runaway, one of my favorite songs off their latest album, and then just rolled into song after song in an almost panicked pace hitting us with one song after another Ramones style for at least 45 minutes the crowd growing as they played and jumping when they layed into their cover of Dramarama’s anything anything.
A band who I haven’t seen in years was up next, Hudson Valley legends Pitchfork Militia got up and after their first song announced that this was their 23rd year as a band which garnered cheers from their fans and other show goers as they played their infamous brand of “Cow Punk” with front man Peter Head playing his guitar with a toy fire truck to the amazement of onlookers who were unfamiliar with the bands onstage antics.
And finally Kyle Trocolla of Two Fisted Law fame showcased his solo work with the backing of a full band called The Strangers. I was, or am I should say a big fan of Kyle’s solo work, his song writing and his musicianship are on par with contemporaries like Tim Barry and Chuck Regan I believe. And I had heard he occasionally performs his acoustic songs with a full band but have never seen him do it. Let me state for the record he blew us away, I will stand as a firm fan of his solo acoustic stuff and think his last album The Stranger was one of the finest albums of 2016 but hearing those songs played by a full band with all the additional instruments and intricacies a full band can bring was absolutely phenomenal and a really great treat.
So from three Poughkeepsie girls thank you Upstart people for giving us another fine day of music, food, beer, and really interesting vendors and artists…Yes let me not forget to mention the very interesting vendors, artists and craftspeople who made up the bulk of this fine fair as I ramble on about music. There were vendors manning booths selling canned and jarred foods, fruit and vegetables, cool punk clothing, not so cool mainstream clothing (a girl needs that too) vinyl records, really great and interesting artists, jewelers etc. everything and more you could want or ask for in a street festival of this type.
Upstart Music-Arts Brewfest And Fleamarket, We loved you!