CINCINNATI -- While I’m not recommending it, hardcore music fans could theoretically carve out a schedule to see at least 10 minutes of all 54 bands at this year's Bunbury Music Festival.
It’d involve a lot of running to and fro between the festival's four stages over the 28 hours of play time Bunbury will see this Friday through Sunday.
If this sampler style is your jam, tell me your secrets to infinite stamina. Otherwise, WCPO Lounge Acts is on your side, beaming four Bunbury acts straight into your living room this weekend. Fog machine and light show not included.
10 a.m. Saturday: Frenship
There are big ships and small ships, but the best of all is Frenship! This Los Angeles-based electro-pop duo met selling stretchy ladies’ garments at Lululemon and experimented with their sound before honing in on the ’80s-inspired, high-energy dual vocals that now define them.
James Sunderland and Brett Hite’s single “Capsize” went viral in June 2016, streaming more than 18 million times on Spotify within a month of its release and earning a nod as a contender for Spotify's Song of the Summer.
“Once the song came out and we started playing concerts, we realized how big it had become because the houses were packed and everyone was singing along,” Hite told The Fairfax Times. “We had this big song and we weren’t really prepared for it.”
By the time Frenship released its debut EP “Truce" and dropped the video in September, Capsize was (unfortunately) on its way to being named among Billboard’s 20 most underrated pop songs of the year. Going platinum just two weeks back, though, may bring some consolation.
Catch Frenship with co-host Austin Fast on WCPO’s Lounge Acts at 10 a.m. Saturday on Facebook or in person at Bunbury at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Nissan Stage near U.S. Bank Arena.
Mid-afternoon Saturday (TBD): Tech N9ne
Even if you’re not into hip-hop, anyone who’s put out 18 albums has to earn your respect. Tech N9ne, aka Aaron Yates, has done just that while also building Strange Music from the ground up into the world’s No. 1 independent rap music label.
"We would have sold out by now for money if that’s what we wanted to do,” Tech N9ne told The Washington Times. "But the object is to make beautiful music for people to have forever. Music that stays — not just becomes a ringtone. Longevity.”
Don't miss WCPO.com reporter Lisa Bernard Kuhn with Tech N9ne in the WCPO Digital Lounge Saturday afternoon. He'll also perform live at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Bunbury's Nissan Stage near U.S. Bank Arena.
7 p.m. Saturday: Cobi
Our Bunbury Lounge Acts extravaganza again digs into Spotify’s viral list with Minnesota-born singer/songwriter Cobi, whose debut solo single “Don’t You Cry For Me” hit No. 1 last June.
With a bluesy sound and inevitable Hozier comparisons, Cobi croons “Please help me chop this tree down/Or hold me from underneath/Words never once cut me down/Oh don’t you cry for me.”
The emotionally charged black-and-white music video concludes with the hanging of a black man after a white policeman gets shot in a scuffle.
“The song was written around the time when Michael Brown was killed, Baltimore was uprising and people around the country were protesting,” Cobi told Huffington Post. “There’s no denying the epidemic of police shooting unarmed black people. I hate seeing my friends living in fear and just had to speak what was in my heart and say what I felt needed to be said.”
Oscar Wilde thought “life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” but this is a seemingly clear case of the latter. Cobi has said he feels his job as an artist is to reflect the times we are living through.
Cobi followed up with an equally soulful second single “Prophet Story” in January.
Watch us chat with Cobi at 7 p.m. Saturday on Facebook or see him in person at Bunbury at 3 p.m. Saturday on the Sawyer Point Stage near the “Big Mac” bridge.
TBA Sunday: VHS Collection
This New York City trio rounds out Lounge Acts' Bunbury trifecta hot off the May 25 release of their synthy smooth single “So I Met Someone.”
“After a lot of dark, synth heavy disco-rock numbers, we wanted something with a different kind of energy,” VHS Collection told Billboard. “Our sound naturally evolves every few months, and we don't see any need to fight that.”
Members James Bohannon, Connor Cook and Nils Vanderlip have released two EPs since forming VHS Collection in winter 2014 and are looking forward to dropping their debut LP later this summer.
The group subscribes to a solitary confinement strategy of weeklong bouts at a cabin in upstate New York to hash full songs out of the bits and pieces they’re constantly shooting back and forth digitally.
“During these sessions, the three members collaborate on every element of the song, with each member playing various instruments on the tracks. The band then weeds out the best of these home produced tracks to bring into the studio,” the group’s biography reads.
"So I met someone/ Cause you drove me away," VHS Collection sings in the chorus of its new song, but their buoyant sound is sure to pull in Bunbury festival-goers when they play the CVG River Stage near the Purple People Bridge at 4:45 p.m. Sunday.
Tune in Sunday on Facebook for your front-row seat with co-host Austin Fast as VHS Collection plays a few songs in the WCPO Digital Lounge.