SHOW GALLERY + RECAP: Here and There Fest at MASS MoCa
Another month, another fest!
Here and There fest, which I’ve lovingly been calling Warped Tour for sad people, made a stop at MASS MoCa in North Adams this weekend, and I was lucky enough to check it out! Here’s a little bit of what went down, and a few shots from the fest!
Starting off the day was DIY singer-songwriter Hana Vu. The first of her two dates on this tour, Vu took no time to show the audience exactly why she was there. Hana Vu and her band immediately had the audience's attention with a healthy mix of dreamy guitars, fuzzy bass, and cleverly-written lyrics taking over the space.
Next up, Bartees Strange. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t listened to much of Bartees’ catalog before the fest, but that immediately changed after seeing his set. Strange and his band took the stage by storm, and played an all encompassing set including some of his hits like “Heavy Heart” and “Boomer,” as well as a cover of “Lemonworld” by The National (a sweet homage as Strange jus t wrapped up a support leg with the group earlier this summer). What stood out most to me was Strange’s vocal presence, and his ability to blend a more indie/alt sound with slower and more introspective lyricism.
Caroline Rose’s set was a delightful surprise. After Men I Trust had to back out due to unforeseen illness, Rose, originally slated to finish her run with the festival in Harrisburg the night before, stepped up to the plate with acoustic guitar in hand. Without her band by her side, Rose played a stripped back acoustic set consisting of “More of The Same,” “Love Song for Myself,” and an unreleased early work “Goodbye May.”
While her musical performance was outstanding, what shined most during Rose’s set was her personality. Rose took time to connect with the crowd and speak candidly between each song, bringing her own brand of humor, wit, and introspection to the set (even joking with the crowd that her set was more “practice for her stand-up career” than anything else). Covering her newfound ability to cry at almost anything, a rekindled love of acoustic guitar, and how making art is an act of self care, the crowd got an intimate look into the artist behind the music. Rose’s impromptu set has to be one of my favorites of the day, and after getting the chance to speak with her briefly post-set I can’t wait for her next trip to New England.
Next up to the stage was The Beths. The Beths deliver all of the best of indie pop with their catchy choruses, shredding guitars, and abundant energy. They make you feel like you’re the protagonist in an early 2000s coming-of-age movie, or out for a joyride on a particularly sunny day. They’re just that good. The group played a jam-packed set, with some of my favorites like “Future Me Hates Me,” “Expert in a Dying Field,” and “Happy Unhappy.” Though they’re Auckland natives, The Beths felt like they were perfectly suited to play on a sunny day surrounded by mountains in western Massachusetts, and brought so much light to the lineup.
Rolling into late afternoon, Faye Webster took the stage. Faye was first introduced to me through her collaboration on Coin’s track, “Sagittarius Superstar,” and her warm vocals made me an immediate fan. Her performance at Here and There had an effortless cool about it; it was all smiles from Webster and her band as they played through the set, fitting her sweet and carefree sound. Webster played some of her bigger hits like “Right Side of My Neck,” “Kind Of,” “Jonny,” “In A Good Way,” and my personal favorite “Kingston.”
Lucy Dacus has been on my concert wishlist for a long, long time.
With the festival being the final stop of a lengthy stretch of touring, Dacus held nothing back. Much like Bartees Strange, Lucy’s vocals took center stage. Her devastatingly beautiful lyricism, paired with her clear and smooth vocals immediately won over the crowd. While much of her work has a somber undertone, seeing Lucy perform feels like an entirely different experience. Dacus has a warm and kind presence, dancing across the stage and smiling to her bandmates and the crowd as she plays. She comes off less as a singer-songwriter superstar, and more like one of your closest friends. It was an incredibly special set to watch; Dacus was fully in her element and exactly where she was meant to be.
Her set had some of her best, including “Triple Dog Dare,” “Hot and Heavy,” “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” “Night Shift,” and a cover of Cher’s mega-hit “Believe.” I truly cannot put into words how much I loved Lucy’s set, and honestly think anything I could write on it would be an injustice, so I’ll just leave it there.
Closing out the night was festival curator, rockstar, and resident cool girl Courtney Barnett.
Courtney Barnett shreds. Kicking across the stage with her hair whipping wildly, stomping her boots, and at some points folding over herself to play, she owned every inch of the stage. This, paired with her deadpan delivery of witty and cutting lyrics made her set an immediate standout of the festival.
Her performance was an exploration of every album cycle (though mainly focused on her 2021 album Things Take Time, Take Time), playing “Avant Gardener,” “Before You Gotta Go,” and “Write a List of Things To Look Forward To.” The set also featured cameos from both Faye Webster for “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York),” and Bartees Strange, who joined her for both “Pedestrian at Best” and “Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party.”
And just like that, Here and There was off to their next stop. If you have the chance to catch any date of this festival, I highly recommend checking it out! There are still quite a few dates and a lot of super cool artists who will be joining the bill.