Sum Fest Featuring: Former Champions
Nautilus, Cannonball, Airiel Down (acoustic), Mary Jennings, Brian Jones All Stars, Jason Damico & the New Blue
224 S. Blount
Raleigh, NC, 27601
Doors 3:00 PM / Show 3:30 PM
Former Champions are an electro rock band based out of Richmond, Virginia. Their music showcases vocal led compositions intermixed with an array of instrumentally driven electronic pieces. A sonic blend of synthesized keys mixed with sub-bass, distorted guitar, harmonized vocals, samples, and a multitude of drums, cymbals and percussion combine to create what the band describes as "street music."
2011 has been an exciting year for Former Champions as they released their self titled debut album and made appearances at several festivals including Camp Bisco, FloydFest, and Camp Barefoot. They have shared the stage with artists including The New Deal, Perpetual Groove, Conspirator, EOTO, Zappa plays Zappa, Papadosio, Brothers Past, Hackensaw Boys, Tea Leaf Green, and many others. FC is now gearing up for an extensive touring schedule for 2012 and are currently working on their second studio album targeted for a mid-year release.
For fans of: Phish, Umphrey's McGee, The Grateful Dead
Nautilus is an ever evolving sound rooted in progressive jam and plain ole’ feel good music. The band is comprised of Jonny Rienerth on drums, Evan Bost on keyboards and vocals, Connor White on guitar and vocals, Andy Blair on bass and vocals, and Brian Smith on guitar. Forming in the fall of 2010, Nautilus started when five students at UNCW banded to form Heavy Living. The band’s lineup and name has since changed, but the unanimous spirit to create passionate music moment by moment has not. Their influences are broad, ranging from classic rock, such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Halen, to more progressive sounds like Umphrey’s Mcgee, Weather Report, and Steely Dan. Their original song structures can be characterized by catchy melodies, altering time signatures and volume dynamics, vocal harmonies, and tightly crafted lyrics. In a live setting, the band plays these songs with a large degree of improvisation, always keeping the music and set-lists unique.
Although Nautilus is still young, they has been able to play several festivals and shared the stage with major artists, including opening for Rusted Root and playing an Umphrey’s Mcgee after party with Snarky Puppy. The band has also found a home base of sorts at The Whiskey in downtown Wilmington, consistently packing the venue every time they play. Nautilus’ growth in the Wilmington music scene is due in part to an ever growing and cohesive group of friends that continue to support the band show after show. This playful and positive attitude has become a cornerstone of the Nautilus experience and has guided the growth of the band to where it is today. Looking into the future, Nautilus plans to further develop their sound and spread the positive message that is so easily found in their music.
An instrumental version of the band Sometimez…Why? that allows for the experimental and jammy side to be explored.
Airiel Down (acoustic)
Airiel Down is an internationally touring, independent rock band based out of Raleigh, NC. Having played over 300 shows in 30 states and 17 countries in the past 2 years from the east to the west coast and gaining radio airplay in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, the band prides themselves on their hard work, relentless attitude, and high energy live show. Many critics, such as Benjamin Ray, claim “Airiel Down is one of the hardest-working indie bands in the country”, many times playing 2 to 3 shows in the same day in different cities, from dirty, hole in the wall rock clubs to large scale events, and opening for national acts in arenas as they tour constantly.
A true independent, taking on numerous responsibilities such as, song writing, marketing, booking, public relations, web design, updates, finances, videos, and Beaux got his CDL to drive the tour bus and save on expenses.
Airiel Down tours to entertain the men and women that serve as well as opening for bands such as Buckcherry, KISS, Shinedown, .38 Special, The Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Helmet, Plain White Tee's, Three 6 Mafia, O.A.R., The Lost Prophets, Saliva, Saving Abel, Foreigner, Better Than Ezra, and the list goes on.
The old adage “big things come in small packages” has perhaps never been more fitting for an artist than in the case of Jennings, the one-name moniker of New York based siren Mary Jennings.
Standing just a shade over five feet tall, Jennings delivers a robust and heartfelt sound that is anything but small-scale. Her music reflects an enormous strength and drive that is uniquely hers, combining a deep range of rock and pop influences with an unabashed sense of vintage style that few, if any, could ever pull off. “I believe that the difference between an artist and the average person is a fearless and relentless willingness to expose their quirks, oddities, secrets, and passions for all of the world to see and hear.” says Mary.
Mary’s surge in musical expression started after the sudden death of her mother in 2001. “This tragedy rocked me to the core, but there is so much beauty in what it allowed me to do,” she says. “All of my emotions came pouring out in the form of melody.” At the time, her father, a former musician himself, gave her the option to go through therapy or record an album. He knew both would be equally helpful to her, but by recording her music, she would be able to have something to hold on to and share with others for a lifetime.
It was on that first album that Jennings’ established her creative foundation, crafting music that bonds her to the listener in a genuinely honest and relatable way. That openness, and the raw emotion that she has shared on subsequent records, has attracted praise from fans and press alike. "Jennings' music is sweet, lush, powerful, full of great hooks, intelligent and meaningful to boot! I love it!" said Heather Miller-Rodriguez of 100.1FM KRUU. Platinum award winning producer John Rowe agrees, calling Jennings’ music “creative and original... A breath of fresh air!"
Recent years have seen Mary’s musical aspirations starting to take shape. She has worked with Billboard-charting songwriters, toured with national acts and has had a number of her songs placed on popular television shows. While the professional growth and the accolades that have accompanied it are nice, it is still the simple act of connecting with a live audience that she values the most. “Live performances give me such a rush. It is one of the best parts about being a musician. To me, it was what really brings the music to life. To know that you only have a few moments to capture and audience and keep them engaged long enough to fall in love with you and your music is a difficult task, but one that I wouldn't trade for any other profession.”
Now, that growth continues with the release of Jennings’ latest album, Collapse, Collide. It’s a project that reflects an artist, and a woman, who has confidently found her voice over the course of a long, and at times, heart-breaking journey and the beginning of what many have already predicted: a bright and promising future for a truly one-of-a-kind talent.
For fans of: Imogen Heap, Sarah McLachlan, Florence and the Machine
Jason Damico & the New Blue
Influenced by music greats B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jim Morrison this young artist has a mission to keep real, organic blues and classic rock alive with a passion and positive message for the next generation. Beginning formal piano lessons at three, drums at four, guitar at nine (self-taught) and composing at ten, now at nineteen, Jason Damico continues to build his fan reach both locally and in Myrtle Beach performing at the House of Blues. He is already racking up awards and credibility: Consistently ranked in the top 3 local blues charts on Reverbnation, voted Carolina Youth Artist of the Year and recipient of the Best Overall Musician Award from UNCW Music, Jason became the youngest member of the Duke University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of John V Brown at fifteen years of age and was the lead singer and guitarist in the first Bull Durham Blues Festival Youth Band. He is currently in the studio working on his, soon to be released, EP with Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, music producer and bassist, Chip Shearin. Backed by seasoned musicians Clint Chesson on bass and Kevin Boxell on drums Jason Damico and the New Blue are taking on blues classics with a youthful eye.