Balkan Beat Box

One of the most energetic acts you’ll ever see and few in the crowd had ever heard of – BBB kicked off the entire festival into high gear.  Their set included many of my favorites including Bulgarian Chicks, Digital Monkey and Part of the Glory.  Of course they played several songs from their new album “Shout it Out” dropping November 11.  Tomer on lead vocals and percussion is a non-stop kinetic machine.  Ori Kaplan on sax is blows a super clean tone.  I totally agree with their self-proclaimed assessment from their website –

Hailing from New York and Tel Aviv, Balkan Beat Box (aka BBB) blend Balkan brass, earth shattering bass, hip-hop and dub electronics to exhilarating effect. Their live shows are explosive affairs, with singer Tomer Yosef delivering his sometimes politicised lyrics with passionate performances always sending audiences into a frenzy. The result is an intoxicating and intense sonic assault which takes no prisoners and makes no apologies for its outspokenness.

Mayer Hawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne was the biggest surprise of the day.  Another silky soul singer with L.A. polish, he had the early evening crowd pumped, dancing and singing along and brought old school soul music with 21st century style.  Check out this cut –

Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges was an act I’d never heard of but pre-scoped out to be checked out and he didn’t disappoint.  His up-to-date brand of southern soul is reminiscent of the legendary Sam Cooke.  He’s got a great voice, stage presence and terrific backing band, especially Jeff Dazey on sax.  Will be definitely watching for when he comes to Atlanta as a headliner.