Sensory Overload: Independents' Day

Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

Columbus did Columbus proud Saturday. Our city is now home to innumerable festivals combining local music, art and food. Once again, Independents' Day was the best.

That's not to say Saturday's fourth annual installment was perfect. Delays on almost every stage made it impossible to know when bands would perform, and if I was playing I wouldn't be happy about so little supervision for my instruments behind the Athens Business Remixed Stage. (Also: Athens Business Remixed Stage?)

Such administrative gripes seem minor stacked against a lineup this strong (and genuinely diverse!), an agreeable Downtown venue and beer service so efficient that I never had to wait.

Saturday's music schedule boasted no shortage of highlights - a multi-band country renaissance led by Apple-Bottom Gang, a volume blast from The Kyle Sowashes, a jam-band genre redemption by Bum Wealthy, a punk-rock restatement of purpose from Exwhites- and headliners roeVy and The Receiver proved they were well-chosen.

That said, I was especially impressed by three bands with three completely different sensibilities.

Sundown, which is former New York singer-songwriter TK Webb backed by a Columbus psych-rock all-star team, validated the hype. Imagine a rustic Dinosaur Jr. channeling Crazy Horse's ragged glory and you're close. Bonus points for actually playing while the sun was setting.

I ditched that set just in time to get fully immersed in The George Elliot Underground's shameless glam-rock party. There's a vast scene of Columbus bands who subscribe to a booze-and-boobs philosophy of rock; I haven't paid many of them mind because I've felt like their approach was more cliched than classic. But watching the parade of guest singers having the time of their lives standing in for GEU frontman Hank Zaborniak - he's serving in Afghanistan - I came to realize that stadium anthems aren't born out of modesty. Rock on, bros.

My trifecta of top talents completes with Twenty One Pilots, a schizoid pop duo that combines genres I would normally despise (glammed-up emo, nerd rap, rave music) into a non-alcoholic cocktail engineered for teenage attention spans. Josh Dun's errorless drumming held everything together so frontman Tyler Joseph could morph from mild-mannered nice guy into a frantic whirlwind of positivity pumping. Even those who hate this band can see they're headed for stardom.