Solid Sound Festival Day 3: Jeff Tweedy, Jonathan Richman & Wand Close Things Out On A High at MASS MoCA (FESTIVAL RECAP)

The final day of Solid Sound almost didn’t even happen. Apocalyptic rain, thunder and lightning nearly took over the day when it hit the area around noon, just in time for many festival-goers to be walking from their cars. Neither umbrellas nor ponchos could offer much protection, so it’s likely the weather deterred a sizeable chunk of people from finishing out their Sunday at Solid Sound. The staff seemed to be in panic mode, desperate to keep people safe from the unpredictable, but especially rough rain and wind, and moved all courtyard sets indoors to the museum. Unfortunately for the several food and drink vendors outside, this also probably meant no business for most of the day.


Still, the museum served as a fantastic backdrop for some bands. Festival-goers were abuzz about the early set from Rough Francis (spawn of punk band Death), and Wand, in particular, seized the opportunity and delivered one of the weekend’s most standout performances. The LA-based dreamy, garage rockers squeezed a lot of equipment onto what felt like a much smaller stage than they were used to, and many parked themselves on the floor just in front of the stage to watch. Lead guitarist and singer Cory Hanson had the room’s close attention as he played his electric guitar with a bow, creating a hauntingly beautiful dissonance made all the moodier by the cavernous room’s natural echoes.

Jonathan Richman

Later, in a magical clearing in the day’s on-and-off downpours, Jonathan Richman performed a minimalist set of songs like “That Summer Feeling” and “People Are Disgusting.” His songs, accompanied by his amazingly limber dance moves, toe the line between outright comedy and poignant depth, and served as the perfect pick-me-up, cheering people up after the gloomy morning. 

Tweedy’s final set of the weekend found him joined with family and friends in a mostly mellow set of songs of this past year’s Warm and Warmer, like “Don’t Forget” and “Some Birds.” The Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey helped out on a cover of Neil Young’s “The Losing End,” Doug Sahm’s “Give Back the Key to My Heart,” and Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” In the midst of it all, one final sun shower soaked us all. Tweedy took advantage by smartly soundtracking it with “Let’s Go Rain,” off Warm. By the time the music ended, the rain had cleared and a faint rainbow could be seen cresting over the field only for a moment, reminding us all of the bittersweet fleeting weekend in the mountains with one of our favorite bands.

Photos by Andrew Benedict

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