Photography by Jesse Gagne
Written by Kelsey Prillman
From the moment people walked into the Brooklyn Arts Center on Friday for the opening night of the Carolina Pine Music Festival, their feet never stopped moving. All through the night on Friday, May 27, the crowd was up and dancing to the various styles of music from the talented artists who took the BAC stage by storm.
The Carolina Pine Music Festival is a locally based event that promotes the growth and exposure of local artists. With each new band, the iconic church was filled with the sounds of blues musicians, big band swing style, and classic R&B hip-hop.
Blues group Randy McQuay Trio started off the festival with their traditional, soulful riffs, setting the tone for the evening with their bluesy-folk sound, the relaxed, improvised feel to their set. Skillful solos on the keyboard and harmonica blended to form the signature rhythm of classic blues musicians.
The concert continued with The Coastal Collective, a local R&B hip-hop group, and the crowd surrounded the stage and moved as a unit to the rhythm of the songs.
And then The Phantom Playboys took the stage...and all hell broke loose.
Dressed in bright colors and patterns, the local band embodied the look and sound and feel of the rockabilly thing they do so well. From a pure music point of view, the band is flat-out superb. And as far as showmanship, The Playboys blew the doors off the BAC, sometimes even leaping into the crowded dance floor to join the audience. With the type of mood and mantra that the band itself lives by, it’s not hard to understand why the crowd goes crazy. “We just wanted to play the type of music we grew up listening to and have fun doing it,” says Maaike Brender, trombone player and vocalist of the band, “play fun places and fun gigs, party.” Mission accomplished.
The headliner of the evening, Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey, blasted into their set and let everyone know it was time to rock. This was Todd’s second appearance at the Carolina Pine Festival, and this year she was announcing the launch of her Kickstarter Campaign and tour for her new, upcoming album. “We have all kinds of stuff on this new album,” says Todd. “We have a little bit of blues, we have soul, and a little bit of funk as well. It’s going to be fun.” Earlier in the evening, the audience heard Todd perform a bit of soul and funk in a collaboration number with The Coastal Collective. During her own set, Todd again performed with members of The Coastal Collective, and played several other new songs from her upcoming album.
Todd’s blend of folk and blues and rock never let up to the final song of the festival. As the night ended, everyone left the BAC still dancing to the music that echoed in the church.