OFF Festival Day One: Woods, Mikal Cronin, The Smashing Pumpkins, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Mikal Cronin, Mitch & Mitch, Woods, The Smashing Pumpkins, Zbigniew Wodecki, OFF Festival 2013, OFF Festival 2013: Day 1

OFF Festival Day One: Woods, Mikal Cronin, The Smashing Pumpkins, and More, August 2nd, 2013

Aug 03, 2013 OFF Festival 2013 Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

The OFF Festival is held in Katowice, Poland’s Dolina Trzech Stawów. In English, the name translates to “Three Ponds Valley,” a location that is, perhaps even prettier than the name would suggest. (Fairytale greenery abounds. At one point a rainbow actually appeared. ) On track to become some of the best weather the festival has ever experienced, the sunny day featured performances from Mikal Cronin, Woods, Zbigniew Wodecki (featuring Mitch & Mitch), and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Surf-punk singer/songwriter Mikal Cronin might be the ultimate festival act. Breezy enough to enjoy in a causal setting, his Smoking Popes reminiscent songs are the kind that everyone feels like they instantly know. The set also included a few newer songs that point in a less noisy, more folk direction. Also picking up the folk vibe was Woods. Falsettos, harmonicas, and summery harmonies, the chipper band turned Poland into a tiny slice of Northern California cool.

Later that evening, the festival provided a major cultural-specific treat when Mitch & Mitch (not actually two guys name Mitch but rather a whole fleet of jazz musicians) joined Polish violinist/bossa nova king Zbigniew Wodecki to perform the musician’s self-titled debut album, first released in 1976. These names may mean very little to those who didn’t grow up in Poland. But for those who did, Wodecki is a staple of nearly everyone’s childhood, having performed the theme song to weekend cartoon classic, Maya the Bee.

Musicians with a capital “M” the sixteen-piece orchestra thrilled an audience comprised from people across the social/age spectrum (Hipsters and their parents? Quite likely.) Wodecki, a remarkable performer, not only sang, but played piano, violin, trumpet, and percussion. One of the few bands to perform an encore (a ear-worm riddled sing-along, whose name escapes this non-Polish speaking journalist), the blended band earned their final bows.

The Smashing Pumpkins needed no introduction. Remaining original member Billy Corgan stomped through the set, looking sullen but determined. Sure, he wasn’t terribly engaged, but the band still managed to sound on point—particularly when trotting out old favorites from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. (A surprise to none, “Tonight” still holds up.) Judging by the number of fans dancing in the grass, the set—and the day as a whole, is likely to spark a few more treasured memories.

Check out a gallery of day one photos here.








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