Grassroots Festival 2014

‘It’s that time of year again!’ is what I say to myself around mid July every summer when the Trumansburg Fair Grounds transform into a festival.

For the past
..wow I think it’s been 10 years, the Grassroots Festival has been more than a time to party, listen to awesome music¬†and dance for four days straight. For many who once lived in upstate New York, its the time of year they come back to visit, a chance to reunite and let loose with old friends. That’s why I was so happy when Diwas invited me to play guitar during his set. The crowd was filled with so many friends and it felt amazing to share that musical experience with everyone. I’m crossing my fingers that next year The Rungs will get accepted to play!! Even though we weren’t on the schedule this year, we managed to squeeze a few songs in during the Diwas Gurung set ūüôā

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Interview w/ Azltron Music Blog

Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of meeting the man behind the¬†Azltron Music Blog at the Ithaca Festival.¬†Today he shares an interview covering the formation of our band, how we write songs and what’s in store for us this summer. Check it out¬†here!

Hailing from Oswego, Azltron is a major supporter of the upstate NY music scene. The blog covers photos and reviews of live shows in nearby cities, band interviews, and music reviews. June marked the beginning of a music series organized in partnership with ZINC Shirts, a screen printing shop and live music venue in Oswego. We will be heading up to Oswego to participate in the series this fall and we are super excited!

Now, since I’m a plant science nerd, let’s say that music blogs today are the soil and all of the unsigned indie bands are the plants. Without the support of blogs like Azltron, we¬†would just be shriveled seeds!

That is why we are super thankful for this interview and the other bloggers that¬†have supported us since the release of our EP in January.¬†(aka nurtured our root growth, if you know what I mean – winky winks ūüėČ )

Now where you come in –¬†you can be the water. Tweet this interview, or support Azltron music blog however which way you desire, and let’s keep this little music ecosystem alive!

Photo of Mandy by Azltron
Photo of Mandy by Azltron

 

Stage Bouncing at Ithaca Festival 2014

The Rungs at Ithaca Festival 2014 - photo by Yuko
The Rungs at Ithaca Festival 2014 – photo by Yuko

A clear sky, warm sun and cool breeze combined to form the perfect¬†weather for this year’s Ithaca Festival. The annual summer celebration is notoriously hit with downpours, but that never stops the town from enjoying the festivities. With our set scheduled for 2 PM on Saturday, I was thrilled to see such a positive forecast! No rain boots needed?? Yay!!

So many friends came out. Some folks I haven’t seen in a while and even some from out of town! It was mega fun to see everyone. I always get a little tickle of happiness to look up after singing a song and see someone smiling.
Diwas had an exceptionally busy day. Right before our set, he joined Luke G & The Candy Hearts to play guitar.¬†¬†Luke is known around town for his performances of classic doo wop songs. He is such an energetic performer and the addition of a full band to back him up took the catchy doo-wop renditions to the next level. The crowd was a’dancin left and right!
Luke G & The Candy Hearts
Luke G & The Candy Hearts
After our set, Diwas raced over to the beer garden stage to join Gabe Taveras and Sisu Powder the Moon. He played the madal, a tradition Nepalese drum. The specific sounds he can get out of it¬†blend well with¬†Gabe’s unique folk guitar style.
Gabe Tavares & Sisu Powder The Moon
Gabe Tavares & Sisu Powder The Moon
While Diwas ran¬†around the stages swapping instruments, I ran back to help my sister and good friend move out of their apartment. Music day plus moving day. And that it is¬†only part one of our Saturday! Part two was all the way back down in Brooklyn for a launch party at the Greenpoint Gallery, which I’ll cover¬†in my next post ūüôā

Ithaca Festival is Here

What do the residents of Ithaca NY do after the Cornell students leave? Celebrate!! With an annual weekend festival featuring a lively parade, lots of live music, dance, delicious food, craft vendors, and summer craziness. Our set is Saturday May 31st 2:10pm at the Cayuga St Stage. Lots of other great musicians on the schedule this year! Check it out:

2014 Ithaca Festival Program

Diwas will also be playing with Gabe Tavares and Sisu Powder The Moon at 4pm on the MLK Junior St Stage.¬†Then, it is straight¬†back down to Brooklyn for the Launch Party ūüôā (see previous post)

Two gigs in one day? OH YES!

Loads of fun

Attention Ithacans! Your new music venue, The Dock, is awesome! Saturday night, Diwas and I joined Gabe Tavares and Lora Pendleton for a Rungs and Sisu Powder The Moon show. Lora opened the night with a lovely surprise solo set. I’ve seen her perform multiple times with PTM, but it was my first time seeing her originals and I absolutely loved them! Her smooth guitar playing paired with her captivating voice inspires a sense of comfort and ease. It makes me want to get in my car and drive across country with the music blasting through my speakers. As a female vocalist I’m always on the lookout for other female vocalists to listen, to learn from, and get inspired by, so this lady is definitely added to my list!

As for Diwas and me, the amount of fun we had at this show, measured in units of loads, was approximately 10 loads of fun, which is a lot!

all smiles on stage
all smiles on stage

¬†Thank you to our friends for coming out, it was so great to see everyone and we can’t wait to return to The Dock!

Ithaca’s New Music Venue

About three years ago, one of my favorite places to go to see live music in Ithaca was Castaways. It was a large enough space to accommodate big bands, but at the same time small enough that it never felt empty no matter how small the crowd. I think it might have been the big stage, low ceilings, and lay out including the bar and pool tables opposite the large dance area. It was notorious for being run down, but I liked that about it.

When the venue closed a few years ago, it was a huge loss to the local music scene. Sure, other venues gained new shows, but in my opinion, nothing could quite replace the feeling of seeing live music at Castaways!

Now, the same building is under new ownership, and has just opened as The Dock. With a completely new look and atmosphere, The Dock is beginning to book live music and guess who will be playing there at the of this month.. ūüôā

the dock

 

A Musical Marathon

The benefit was a success! We raised over $1000 for women’s and children education programs in Nepal, and attendance at the door was just over 100.

Diwas rode the bus in from New York City late Friday night arriving only a few hours before setting up for the 4-8pm Saturday evening benefit. After not seeing each other for a couple of weeks, it felt so good to play our songs together on stage! Much of our set is dependent on bouncing spontaneous ideas off of each other, so it’s a little different each time. ¬†Sometimes being a little less rehearsed makes for a fun energy on stage and after being under the weather for practically all of January, it felt good to just let the songs take me away.

Mandy & Diwas @ Rock for Himalayas
photo by Local Shakes

 

Gabe Tavares and Sisu PTM followed The Rungs opening set. It is usually just Gabe Tavares and Powder the Moon, but Diwas¬†played drums with them for the first time, hence the addition of ‘Sisu’ in the name. I loved the sound of the trio!

Gabriel Tavares & Sisu Powder the Moon
photo by Local Shakes

 

 

Following their set, Diwas joined the drummer from his old band Ayurveda to play some popular Nepali songs. Those two can really rock together and I enjoyed jumping up to play bass on a couple of songs with them.

Mike the bad-ass drummer!
photo by Local Shakes

 

Closing the evening was one of our favorite Ithaca bands, Boy With a Fish. We were so happy they agreed to volunteer their time for our event, it was really very special! The crowd just lit up when Boy with a Fish began to play, everyone danced and cut loose to the music.

Boy With a Fish
photo by Local Shakes

 

After breaking everything down we had to hustle over to another venue, the Haunt, where the Sutras were opening up for the Fly Rod’s CD release.¬†I’ve been singing with the Sutras since July and I just love it! I feel so lucky to be a part of this band.

The Sutras!

 

The Fly Rods are good old rock ‘n roll and they capped the night with just that. My sister and I got our groove on the dance floor while they rocked on stage. Overall I’d say they had a successful CD release, but I do wonder what’s going to happen to CDs as the Internet continues to influence music. The amount that people are willing to pay for music seems to decrease. I know these guys put a lot of hard work into putting their album together and it sounds fantastic. Definitely a staple in my car cd collection (since long drives are when I really enjoy my cd collection!)

fly rods haunt local shakes jan 2014
Fly Rods CD Release
photo by Local Shakes

Lots of pictures and videos were taken at the events by local music promotion team, Local Shakes. Artists can just be the worst at promoting themselves and local shakes is doing something really important for local musicians, promoting and spreading the word about music and events. If you are in the Finger Lakes region, get in touch with these guys!! All (but one) of the pictures in this entry are by them and more videos are available on their facebook page.

I just wish every Saturday was filled with back-to-back shows like this!!!

Photoreal / The Rungs / DJ Diwas at The Gates

So many overdue updates!!

We’ll have to begin where I left off, the Photoreal show at The Gates in Ithaca’s college town, all the way back on the weekend before Thanksgiving. It was definitely a cold night, something in-between rain and snow was coming down and icing the ground. Still, despite the unpleasant weather, a great group of friends came out to support the bands. Photoreal is Diwas’s main musical project with his good friend Dan. These guys have been playing music for years together, touring and recording with the former psychedelic rock band Ayurveda. Since the band split ways, they’ve been redeveloping their sound and live show as Photoreal! ¬†It is electronic, poppy, and straight rockin’, something like Chromeo meets Skrillex with intricate live guitar throughout.

It was our first time opening for them, so of course I was super excited! Photoreal uses these bright floor lights that change colors throughout the set, and since we were right before them, the lights were set up for our set too. This was my first time playing in front of such bright floor lights, and boy I was just like a little kid staring into the sun. Every time I looked down, my eyes locked right into the lights in a weird trance. I completely forget where we were at mid song a couple of times! Oh stage lights and your trickery!

Following The Rungs, Photoreal put on a great show, and Diwas, after already pulling a double by playing in two bands in a row, made it a triple and performed a DJ set for the last hour of the night!

The guys right before their set!
The guys right before their set!

Playing Gigs – Be Flexible!

at lot ten

The LOT 10 show went magnificently well!¬† The guys from the touring act, Sool, had some old friends in the Ithaca area, so there was a nice little vibe of reunion in the air. I also learned a surprising lesson in flexibility. These guys are of a slightly older generation, and it seemed to be a later than usual night for some of their friends. Although they were scheduled to play last, they asked us to switch with them so that they could play earlier and relieve their friends of staying up super late. Diwas and I didn’t really think much of it. Here it was their show, they were only in town for one weekend, and they hadn’t seen some of these friend in many years, so of course we were like, ‘hey guys, its your show, whatever you want!’ From their response, it was evident that they were not used to playing with bands that were so flexible. Man, imagine how¬†awkward and rigid¬†the night would have been if we were like, ‘No guys, sorry, the line up has already been discussed, we can’t change it.’ Ha! That would have taken the fun right out of it! So anyway, the lesson learned is that when it comes to gigging with other bands, the key to having fun and ensuring a smooth event is flexibility. Things are constantly changing and you’ve just gotta roll with it. That night, with such good attitudes all around, the music was that much better. Both The Fly Rods and Sool rocked it! And here is a little home video from the first song of our set, BFF.