“The high point of the weekend was booking half a dozen or more acts that had never played Birmingham and hearing from SO many festival goers that loved them.” – Travis Morgan

 

Tedo Stone, Secret Stages 2013,-photo - Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone, Secret Stages 2013,-photo – Brad Hardisty

Secret Stages beat the odds by finally lifting off this sultry wet last weekend in Birmingham with a new central location down on the cobblestone Morris Avenue backed by the trains going by on the upper deck above the Miller Lite Stage with food trucks lined up selling everything from gourmet Tacos to Hawaiian Ice or Snowballs depending on what coast you are from.

 The buzz had been building with bands on the bill from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio and points around the Southeast.

Das Haus, loud, experimental out of the box venue, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Das Haus, loud, experimental out of the box venue, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

One of the main additions over last year was an official Hip Hop venue – Matthews with a two day fest of rocking the microphone that kicked off with Mic Militia on Friday night and finished with Supastition  after midnight on Saturday or Sunday morning however you look at it.

Lazer/Wulf, Secret Stages 2013, photo _ Brad Hardisty

Lazer/Wulf, Secret Stages 2013, photo _ Brad Hardisty

 Most of the venues changed from last year with the exception of Das Haus returning with the ever permanent smell of Brats and a floor lamp that seems to always be turned on and perched a little awkward onstage which featured the loudest most punk sounds of local band The Dirty Lungs while Saturday offered more varied fare from Tedo Stone, the acoustic singer/songwriter styles of Jazzmine Garfield followed by the extreme experimental metal of Lazer/Wulf from Georgia playing in the set time of last year’s Georgia heaviness Black Tusk. It seems that Mastodon started in some fertile ground of a loud and proud scene.  This would be the perfect venue for Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream to play, okay; maybe it is a little smallish.

Silver Tongues at Pale Eddies, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Silver Tongues at Pale Eddies, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Lindsay Garrett- Volunteer Coordinator:

 “One of my favorite things this year was running into JazzMine Garfield on 2nd Ave in between her two sets while she was playing a few songs for people passing by.  She basically just stopped on a corner, sat down, and started playing.  She had fan girls taking video and snapping photos while she played her guitar and sang, totally unaffected.  And the entire time she had a smile on her face.
She’s a little gem.

 The reason this is a high point for me is because it was definitive of the Secret Stages energy.  Artists are thirsty to play for people who want to listen…  And fans feel like they have gained some sense of bonding/closeness with the musicians they love.”

 

JazzMine Garfield, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

JazzMine Garfield, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Jazzmine Garfield – Birmingham, Alabama

“They just saw me playing out and about and I got here with Secret Stages with Courtney.  I play anywhere and everywhere.  I will be at The Metro later and Iron Bar on August 15th.”

Most of the bigger Birmingham bands played Friday night sets like one of the longest running bands Through The Sparks, last year’s buzz band The Great Book of John on the Miller Lite Stage as well as The Grenadines who also signed to Birmingham label Communicating Vessels this last year releasing a 7 inch as well as a proper release for the well-produced first album that was available at shows over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, Model Citizen with one of the greatest songs ever to come out of Birmingham, “The Inner Fool” were nowhere to be seen this year.

Belle Adair, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Belle Adair, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Travis Morgan- Head Of Artist & Music Production:

“The high point of the weekend was booking half a dozen or more acts that had never played Birmingham and hearing from SO many festival goers that loved them.  The sweet synergy of music discovery.  We get to discover bands and then showcase them for folks in Birmingham to also discover and it’s a special bond.  Also, seeing everything coalesce was very special. Between the art installation from Joe Minter (featured in the New York Times in April), the graffiti, the amazing performances and the positive energy between bands and music fans, we soared like eagles.”

“I loved The Log Ladies, Adron, Healing Power, Amasa Hines and Ponychase.  The Great Book of John sounded great. I really liked Ante Meridian and Supastition was really solid too.  W. Stewart and Looksy performed great sets. Foreign Fields were terrific but I didn’t get to see them long enough.  Through the Sparks is (bias) one of my favorite bands of all time, so there you go.  Always good.”  

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Rain was hard and heavy on Saturday afternoon and threatened to make things interesting like Saturday night last year when festival goers danced in the rain in front of the main stage, but as luck would have it, the rain stopped before things started up on night two. Although, the steam off the cobblestones didn’t stop until late into the evening leaving everybody as damp as the produce section at Publix.

Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Joey – Healing Power from Cincinnati, Ohio:

“We were invited and couldn’t turn it down. It’s an honor to be here. It’s a lot of fun.”

Wussy, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Wussy, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Matthews and M-Lounge were connected by a couple of hallways and a set of stairs that put one in the midst of a rap throw down before climbing a long staircase ending in the middle of a set by Wussy while The Parthenon (VIP Lounge) was just across the street and featured three sets each night.

Tedo Stone at Das Haus, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone at Das Haus, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone from Atlanta, Georgia:

“We had talked to Travis back in the spring about playing and it got pro-longed and he ended up making it happen in the fall we are just stoked to be here with all our friends. I have never played Birmingham. This is our first time so we were stoked. It was an awesome crowd.”

There were a couple of secret shows which fit one of the main themes of musical discovery.  One of those sets was the final late night set at Pale Eddie’s which featured Adam Guthrie as his latest incarnation, ADAM ADAM. 

Adam Guthrie on Bajo Sexto, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Guthrie on Bajo Sexto, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

As Adam was setting up, voices were asking who he was, if anybody had any idea where he was from.  It’s nice to know a well-established Birmingham guitarist who has played with everybody from Rick Carter; Heath Green to The Backrow Baptists could still find a new ear filled with intrigue and amazement. Truth be told, Adam is amazing just by his sheer ability to riff on anything from the aforementioned guitar, to his masterful Ukulele stroking, Bajo Sexto turned punk bass to playing a one stringed electric beer can.

Adam Guthrie – ADAM ADAM, Birmingham, Alabama:

Adam Guthrie, Secret Show at Pale Eddie's, Secret Stages 2013, photo- Brad Hardisty

Adam Guthrie, Secret Show at Pale Eddie’s, Secret Stages 2013, photo- Brad Hardisty

I am so proud to know Brad Hardisty. Travis and Tym, I’m not making sense. It was Travis, it was kind of a last minute thing so I called the people I knew, which were myself and Tym and I’m enjoying the camaraderie of the musicians to be honest.”

Isaac Karns of Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Isaac Karns of Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Secret Stages of 2013 found crowds of all ages and color mingling like it was a pub crawl in heaven with plenty of smiles and solid grooves especially from the last two sets at the Miller Lite Stage by the soulful alternative pop psyche of Healing Power fronted by son of Julian Assange look-a-like Isaac Karns and the last set by Amasa Hines with a full horn section.

Amasa Hines, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Amasa Hines, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN   thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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