by Matt Kelchner
With Labor Day Weekend and this year’s Made In America Festival quickly approaching, we are here to help give a little help when it comes to dividing up your time each day. Sure the headliners are great and all, but there are also a lot of great local artists gracing the stages in front of the Art Museum steps. Out of all the amazing acts on the bill that call Philly home, there is one long haired, bearded individual who we think is a can’t miss on Saturday.
“I miss playing Philly because we’re playing everywhere else,” Timothy Showalter explains. He performs as Strand of Oaks and has had a crazy hectic summer of jumping from one festival to another. In just a few days all of that will change as Showalter takes the Skate Stage this Saturday. After weeks of jetsetting around the world, Showalter he tells me, “it’ll be nice to just drive down Kelly Drive.” He then stops almost mid sentence after remembering just how close the festival is. “Actually, I think half my band is planning on riding their bikes to the festival.”
Nestled right before indie rock stalwarts Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie, Showalter will be competing for fans with another local who has seen his fair share of national attention as of late, Meek Mill. Both go on from 6:30PM to 7:30PM.
Showalter and company are still riding strong on their breakthrough album from last year, HEAL. Their continued success has help to grow the experience of the entire band. Now, when it comes to a major gig like this in front of the city they call home, Strand of Oaks takes every challenge head on. “I think at this point pressure is relative to doing a good job. I always want to do my best every time I play no matter what size [the venue is],” Showalter says. “What’s nice is I think as a band we’re kind of like sportsman in a way where pressure is a good thing. We accept it and rise to it.”
As the sun begins to set on the first day of the Made In America Festival, it will be tough to not hear the wailing buzzsaw guitars of Strand of Oaks. “Well, we like to turn our amps really loud so we can play full force.” It’s one of the tricks that they have picked up from playing festival after festival.
Another is playing to every person in the crowd, no matter how far back they are. “I want people in the back row to feel like they’re getting the same show as the people in the front row,” Showalter details as he lets me into his game plan. “I think it’s just a matter of projecting our energy and trying to blanket the entire audience with it.”
Strand of Oaks may not be the biggest or most well-known act on the lineup this upcoming weekend, but we think it’s safe to say they will be one of the most entertaining. Showalter proudly tells me,“There’s no slacking off with this band. It’s just like ‘Let’s kick some ass today and take care of it.'” Be sure to make your way over to the Skate Stage come 6:30PM to get a taste for yourself.