AURA Music & Arts Festival, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, FL- 2/15-17
Sunday: February 17
Sunday opened up with a Brock Butler acoustic set billed brunch with Brock. He delivered a bunch of covers including, “If I Wanted Somebody,” by Dawes, “Come Talk to Me,” by Peter Gabriel and “Big Country,” by Bela Fleck. Emily Carrol sat in for the majority of Brock’s set adding her own flavor and life into these songs.
Lingo played the porch stage next delivering a tight and melodic set to a growing crowd as the late risers finally made their way to the stages. One of the musical highlights was when Butler sat in with Lingo for a beautiful rendition of “The Weight” by The Band. This resulted in a full-fledged sing along with the audience and the band.
The Lee Boys played an impressive set over at the main stage amphitheater-combining gospel with funk, all while staying true to their roots as a religious group. This family band is composed of three brothers, Alvin Lee on guitar, Derrick Lee and Keith Lee on vocals along side their three nephews: Roosevelt Collier on peddle steel guitar, Alvin Cordy on 7-string bass and Earl Walker on drums. Hailing from Miami, each member in the band has been making music since they were about seven or eight years old, often playing music at The House of God Church they attended in Perrine, Fl. The band brought their joyous sound to the stage featuring astonishing versions of “So Much To Live For,” “On My Way” and “Superstitious,” where Roosevelt Collier took an extended solo and really opened things up by showcasing his talent on the peddle steel guitar.
Rob Compa from Dopapod sat in with the Former Champions on the Porch Stage for their track “Funkapod.” The Former Champions are set to release a new album early this year so they came prepared with an army of new tunes blended with a special effects machine. It was evident that the band was excited and very pleased to be playing this year’s AURA.
The Heavy Pets played an afternoon set at the main stage amphitheater to a large crowd ready to see what they had in store after their amazing set from the previous night. The band seems to be extremely comfortable in such high profile situations as they’re either destined to reach superstardom one day, or they carefully plan their next move so intricately that it always seems to land in their favor. Either way, it’s abundantly clear that the band works very hard to put out the best sound they possibly can. That energy was directly reciprocated to the crowd and everyone seemed to be feeling really good. The momentum was shifted when the band went into “Slow Down,” a blissful feel good number with a sharp reggae tempo. Much like its cousin, “Help Me, Help You,” this song features Wuest singing the lead vocals that are perfectly harmonized by Lloyd and Garulli. The band then went into “When You Love Somebody,” a cover originally recorded by The Fruit Bats. Roosevelt Collier, long time friend of the band, sat in for “Pass it Down” and “Jackie Bones,” providing some strong and rich fills on his covenant peddle steel guitar. It seems that the sky is the limit for this band. Their fan base has multiplied in the past three years and they’re showing absolutely no sign of slowing down.
Robert McConnell from Papadosio sat in with Dopapod on the Porch Stage. Dopapod provided a high-energy dance party that went well into the night. The crowd was showing now sign of fatigue as the band was in full swing. Highlights included a nice version of “Barindead” and “Black and White.” Papadosio closed out the festivities on the main amphitheater and the band opend up with “The Plug,” which also featured Roosevelt Collier on peddle steel guitar. After it was all said and done, the band encored with “Stick Figures,” dedicated to Daryl Wolff, the founder and mastermind behind AURA and AURA Music Events. Wolff works hard with Brotherly Love Productions, a production and PR agency based in Florida. Brotherly Love Productions also manages The Heavy Pets and handle PR for Kung Fu and Jimkata. Matt Beck and Destiny Spang as well as Erica Bernal run the company. This quartet behind the scenes are one of the many reasons AURA has reached the level of success it has four years after its inauguration. Fans can expect AURA to return to The Spirit of the Suwannee music park next year, according to Wolff. Just remember your AURA is purple…it’s purple man.