You are asking yourself, what is a Star City Circus Jam? Glad you asked! Star City Circus Jam is a joint effort between The Revival (Kris Bentley’s (Sundy Best) band) and the Mountain Arts Center. The idea was to bring local and regional musicians and artist together for a day of music and arts. The Mountain Arts Center was the perfect place to host this gathering.
The festivities got underway at 2 pm with musical performances in the lobby by Waylon Ray Nelson, Brandon Campbell and Prototype. Tables were set up near the concession stand for a free community lunch provided by The Lunchroom Project. On the other side of the lobby you found craftsman, painters and woodworkers all with work on display and for sale. It was a great environment setting the tone for what was to come in the MAC’s main auditorium.
Performances by nine local and regional acts were what followed. Kicking off at 4pm and continuing for the next 8 plus hours the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a wide range of music. Mostly rock and roll with a little outlaw country some Americana a little Folk and even a killer Pink Floyd cover from Bedford. It was a night of music that everyone in attendance could find something to like.
Starting the night off on the right foot was Sean Whiting. Whiting hails from neighboring Paintsville, KY his brand of southern rock/outlaw country is not to missed! Kris Bentley hosted this amazing night of music, he took the stage between acts to talk about the Star City Circus Jam and introduce the next act.
That next act was Trippin Roots from Lexington, KY. According to a bio I read about the band they blend folk, rock, and Americana into a uniquely original sound. I’d say that’s a very accurate description. Not your typical 4 piece band, throw in a saxophone player and a keyboardist and you have a six-piece. As the night went on Kris would make his way to the stage during sets to perform and song or two with the bands. This was very cool to see how he interacted with different bands.
Luna and the Mountain Jets were next up. I’ve had to opportunity over the last couple years to photograph Luna and the Mountain Jets several times. They never disappoint! Their combination of rock and roll with a little folk and Americana are sure to have your toes a tapping! They describe themselves as an Appalachian rock band and well, that about sums it up!
Luna And The Mountain Jets:
Stanton Kentucky’s own Chelsea Nolan took the Mountain Arts Center stage next. I wasn’t familiar with Chelsea but it seemed everyone in the crowd was. Once she started singing I knew why those in attendance were so excited and why I should have known about her! Accompanied by her brother Josh Nolan on electric guitar throughout the set and Kris on the cajon for her closing song, Chelsea delivered a super performance and I am now a fan!
I was excited to see Short & Company, I had seen videos but seeing and hearing them live is where it’s at! My word Jeremy Short can play a guitar!! This trio doesn’t disappoint. From the first note to the last these guys brought the bluesy, soulful rock and roll! Their debut album drops on the 29th on this month, be sure and pick up a copy!
Short & Company:
If Birds Could Fly made the journey to the MAC from Appalachia Virginia. Personally, I’m glad they did! This is a very talented group of musicians (as were all the performers tonight) but for me the voice of Brittany Carter was one of many highlights of the night. Looking forward to seeing If Birds Could Fly again!
If Birds Could Fly:
Well the surprise of the night for me was Bedford. Kris said early in the night that he had a guest appearance from a Lexington bad and that they would play a short set. They did just that, played a short set, 4 songs to be exact. As I mentioned earlier Bedford opened their set with a KILLER cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time”. Then 2 original tunes and finishing their high energy set with a sweet cover of the Allman Brothers classic “Whipping Post”. Get out and support Bedford, you will be glad you did!
Another Lexington Kentucky band, Magnolia Boulevard took the stage next. While a completely different style of music than Bedford before them it was equally as powerful! Their music is a mixture of rock and roll, blues and funk which makes some super songs! The huge MAC stage gave Maggie Noelle plenty of room to dance and sing and she took full advantage! Another can’t miss band that’s touring around the region and beyond. Get out and support live local music!
Wesley Smith of the Brother Smith Band took center stage on a folding metal chair with his acoustic guitar he was soon joined by his brother Aaron on violin. The talent of these two was on full display but the talent didn’t stop with them, the rest of the Brother Smith band soon made their way to the stage. The musicianship and talent of the entire band was incredible. All though it was very late when they took the stage it didn’t hamper their efforts. As with everyone that performed tonight Brother Smith is not to be missed.
The inaugural Star City Circus Jam was a success in my book and had a little bit of everything. Kris Bentley and the Reveal played a new song that was accompanied by three dancers, the crowd interacted with the bands, there were dogs wondering around it really was a fun and interesting night at the MAC. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did and look forward to next time! Once again the Mountain Arts Center delivered! Light and sound was second to none!
Support all these bands they are touring in the region and beyond and as always get out and support live music!