Solid Sound wrapped up with a day of clear skies and bright sun. A last-minute opening performance by Daughter of Swords (in place of Le Ren) started things off easy and low-key, and later sets by Sun Ra Arkestra and Chicago stalwarts Eleventh Dream Day kept the energy up in the final moments of a busy weekend. A closing set of Jeff Tweedy’s solo tunes with special guests including his sons Sammy and Spencer on vocals and drums respectively, Liam Kazar and James Elkington, plus the one and only David Byrne, ended things on a high note, with Tweedy delivering one of the best Solid Sound finales in recent memory.
Here are some other standouts from the weekend:
- Cut Worms: Though Max Clarke’s music may have been on the radar over the past four years thanks to his two excellent albums, this could easily have been the first time seeing him perform live for many. The pandemic slowed the momentum of so many emerging artists, but this memorable set more than made up for lost time. Clarke and his band (one of the countless acts across the weekend to feature pedal steel guitar) delivered a thoughtfully chosen array of his retro, garage-twang songs including “Castle in the Clouds” and “Don’t Want to Say Good-bye.”
- Liam Kazar: Another artist making his solo debut at Solid Sound, Kazar and his band held the opening slot on Saturday, which can sometimes be overlooked by those wanting to roll into the fest slow and easy. Not on Kazar’s watch. He and his band (which also included Spencer Tweedy on drums) gave a receptive crowd a warm introduction to the day with danceable, soulful grooves off his 2021 release Due North. Kazar would later play alongside Sam Evian and Jeff Tweedy himself, but it was his own set of infectious tunes that will stick with festival-goers long after the weekend concludes.
- Terry Allen: The legend himself, joined by Byrne and Shannon McNally, was the cure for the late afternoon slump, turning the grassy lawn of Joe’s Field into a dancefloor. Fans old and new swayed and shook to classics like “Amarillo Highway,” “New Delhi Freight Train,” and “There Oughta Be a Law Against Sunny Southern California.” It was an unmissable opportunity to see a true legend still at the top of his game.
- Hand Habits: Meg Duffy played Solid Sound in the past as a member of Kevin Morby’s band, showing their skilled guitar-shredding back then. But to see them return to the festival on their own terms with their own songs and to come out of the gate with such confidence and swagger was truly rewarding to longtime fans. Duffy’s emotional songs and their excitement to be there playing them for such a game audience were something to behold. A supportive uncle who came to see them play was a nice added touch.
- Japanese Breakfast: Though this high-energy pop set just before Wilco’s Saturday evening closing set might have been unexpected for many who were new to Michelle Zauner’s effortlessly cool arena pop, her vocal love for Wilco and collaboration with Nels Cline on “Posing for Cars” no doubt endeared her to the crowd. With a voice that clear and pure, choruses that dreamy, and with her bounding across the stage so joyously, it was impossible not to get sucked in.