Written by Kailyn Warpole // Photos from Jessica Pham
The Brooklyn Arts Center was proud to host the opening night of the 2nd Carolina Pine Music Festival on Friday, November 22, 2015. The event was also a celebration of the release of The Midatlantic’s first full-length album. A courtyard party featuring local vendors kicked off the event late in the afternoon, and attendees flocked to the historic church as the live performances began in the early evening.
Mike Blair and The Stonewalls provided the perfect opening set with their relaxed and rocking Americana/folk-rock sound. The band members themselves were entertaining as well, sharing good-humored banter with each other and joking around with the crowd between songs.
Next up was Rebecca Todd & the Odyssey, a five-piece, self-described “blues, rock, and soul” band. Of all the acts at the festival, Todd and her band are newest to the local music scene, but observers hardly noticed, as they took the stage like seasoned professionals. With a bold voice and a lively stage presence, Rebecca Todd & the Odyssey got everyone dancing. Fans of the show can expect to see more from the 5-piece group in the near future. “We are going to be in the studio working on some demos for our album, which is really exciting,” says Todd. “We’re about to do our first step of the next album, which I’m hoping to put out in the summer or fall. It shows our growth, and it’s cool. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Following Rebecca Todd & the Odyssey was Beta Radio—a much-anticipated performance, as the Americana/indie-folk musicians had not played together as a full band in four years. Though the band itself consists of just two musicians, Benjamin Mabry and Brent Holloman, the band’s live sound requires several musicians since Mabry and Holloman typically record their performances of different instruments in the studio and then mix them together during production to create their recorded sound. “It’s fun to get up there,” says singer/guitarist Mabry. “This is the first time we’ve played as a full band in four years, so it’s a little bit nerve-racking because I never have to play to a drummer—Brent and I just stay in time together. But, it’s fun to play as a full band. I’m excited about that. Hopefully it comes off well.” The crowd certainly enjoyed the performance, singing along to familiar tunes like “Either Way” and enjoying the easy-flowing melody of songs like “The Man Grows,” which the band wrote for the show Hart of Dixie.
When it finally came time for the featured act, the 400-plus fans that packed the BAC went wild. And The Midatlantic gave that energy back to them ten-fold. The band has taken giant steps forward over the last few years in every regard—songwriting, musicianship, live performance—and they seemed more than ready to rock.
Part of the excitement, no doubt, was the release of their first, full-length studio album, Sound over Water. Lead singer and mandolin-player extraordinaire Jason Andre shared personal feelings on the night that seemed to resonate with everyone in the band. “I’m just most excited to have this album out and done and released to the world and to get to share it with everybody. I hope it goes out into the world and is accepted with open arms among our peers and other professional musicians in the music community and the listeners, especially, obviously.”
It was one of the biggest and best nights of local live music of the year and The Midatlantic was thrilled to share it with other talented bands. “It means a lot to have three other of my favorite local bands playing with us,” says Andre. “It’s just a perfect storm, a perfect marriage of bands, and being able to share a really special night like this with them is exciting.”
Exciting? Oh yes. When the cheering and singing and dancing finally came to an end, the crowd was left with one big, communal thought: When are we doing this again?