Chill on the Hill 2014 Part I: Bristol Street, Sleeper Agent, and My Goodness

Chill on the Hill may be part of the reason I got the worst sinus infection of my life but I have to say that it was worth it. Two days filled with bands that I had been waiting years to see along with some surprises. There were a few things that I wasn’t happy about but nothing that had to do with the actual performances which were pretty amazing overall. We managed to find a nice, shady spot under one of the trees by the small stage and waited for the first band to come on. And we waited. And waited. It wasn’t until almost an hour after the first band was supposed to go on that we were told that one of the bands (Smashing Satellites) had to cancel at the last minute and had pushed back the rest of the set times for the day. I wasn’t too upset about the delay in notice, after all I was already inside and it was nice to get to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather while we waited.

Up first was Detroit’s own Bristol Street, who had competed in 89X’s battle of the bands to open up the event. We had seen numerous people sporting Bristol Street t-shirts while we waited for the show to start and judging by the roar of the crowd when they took the stage, quite a few people had come out to support the hometown band. It was obvious from the start how the band managed to take the battle of the bands competition. The guys brought a lot of energy to their set, tried to get the crowd involved as much as possible, and just really showed a lot of appreciation for the people that had gotten there early to check them out. It was great to kick the day off with a high energy show from one of Detroit’s own.

Brisol Street’s overall sound is something I usually don’t seek out, post-rock blended with funk, a little bit of reggae and hip hop, but the live show was entertaining enough to grab my attention. Lead singer, George Aneed’s voice airs on the side of Kid Rock at times and a lot of their songs match his early sound. The funk infused guitars of “Thrills” and Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe I got from “On The Run” especially caught my attention and had me moving along with the rest of the crowd gathered in front of the stage. Most of all, I really enjoyed seeing an enthusiastic band that was truly appreciative of the chance to get to open for an event like Chill on the Hill.

The first band over at the large stage was Sleeper Agent out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The band has been all over TV (ads for Taco Bell and Nike) as well as splashed across radio airwaves with their hit single “Waves”. I hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to their new album, About Last Night, yet but had heard great things about their live show so I was excited to get to the main stage to catch their set.

I was happy to hear that they sound great live. Their danceable beats filled the amphitheater and got the already semi-packed floor moving along. Singer, Alex Kandel, had a bit of a Stevie Nicks vibe going with her dance moves and flowing outfit for the day. She didn’t have much stage to move around on as all the bands performing that day had their gear already there to make transitions easy, but she used what little room she had to really get the crowd’s energy up. And man can that girl head bang.

My favorite track of the set had to be “Eat You Up” which featured some Nintendo-esque synths and a lot of great energy from Kandel and crew. And of course the crowd went crazy when the band played”Waves”, singing as loud as they could at the chorus. Seeing Sleeper Agent live definitely had me making a note to go back and check out their album and I’ll definitely be catching them the next time they’re in the area.

It was back to the small stage as Sleeper Agent finished out their last song so that we could catch Seattle based My Goodness. It was the band’s first time in the mitten and I really hope they had a good time because I would love for them to come back. Imagine if The Black Keys went a bit darker and maybe threw in just the right amount of 90’s grunge and you’d have the sound of My Goodness. They were definitely my favorite find of the weekend and I’m happy that I now have the time to check out their new album Shiver + Shake.

The guys played the title track off the album and it had me forgetting to take some notes (with 10 bands that day it was kind of a must) and moving to the music. Even the vendor holding up drinks was drumming to the beat which I found pretty entertaining. I really loved the dark sound along with Joel Schneider’s unique vocals and the crowd seemed to be enjoying them as well. “Sweet Tooth” was one of the more upbeat tracks in the set. The track is poppier during the verses before transitioning to a grittier rock sound for the chorus and it works pretty well.

I was very happy with the first three bands and couldn’t wait to hear more for a few bands that I had waited years to see. Stay tuned for more of our Chill on the Hill review coming your way (hopefully) very quickly.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Chill on the Hill reviews:
Part II: Portugal. The Man, Sycamour, Grouplove, and The Bots
Part III: Bad Religion, A Day To Remember, and The Offspring
Part IV: Hollow & Akimbo, Kyng, The Orwells, and Skaters
Part V: Brick + Mortar, USS, Taking Back Sunday, and Silverstein
Part VI: Chevelle, Awolnation, and Rise Against