Mittenfest 2008 at the Elbow Room, Ypsilanti, MI

Post Author: Bianca Garza

Friday Night of Washtenaw County, Michigan’s coldest festival brought together the Greater Mitten’s budding talent and Brooklynite refugees.

Mittenfest is a fundraiser for 826Michigan and my only reason to stop in Ypsilanti, MI in my eight years of scouring in the Northern Ohio/Southern Michigan area for the best local musicians. I did not attend, nor know of, the first two Mittenfest celebrations, but I feel comfortable in noting the attendance Friday night was probably the largest showing the festival has seen.

No one arrives early as my photographer and I arrived mid-set of Patrick Elkins, a silly local outfit who tried to convince the few who came earlier that it was warm enough for sunglasses and basketball shorts. Elkins did its best to get the early birds to feel safe standing within five feet of the stage, but everyone kept their cautious distance. The band eventually had to spray themselves with squirt guns because they couldn’t reach the crowd.

Fields of Industry bored the hell out of my photographer by playing shoegaze, which is understandably dull to watch without any psychedelic visuals or high-powered light show. She truly captured the moment with this sullen guitarist photo. Fields of Industry impressed most with its song “Fiction Writer.” It may translate verbatim as Lou Reed drenched in reverb, but where’s the problem in that? Fields of Industry seems to be toying with a few styles, trying to pinpoint what type of band it is, but on the strength of “Fiction Writer” the band proves to be conceptually solid songwriters.

Lightning Love was the first band to feel the warmth of an increasingly dense crowd. Lightning Love sprinkles its bashful whimsical words over