Friday night at The Winchester Music Tavern was filled with high energy, driving beats and positivity. Brought in part by Cumulus Entertainment and Groovehaus Cleveland, the venue came alive with the funky house rhythms from four different artists, the pinnacle being the innovative artistry of the legendary Mark Farina.
Chris/Tucker took to the stage first, adding live drums to the bass-heavy house coming from the mixing booth. While the venue was only sparsely populated at this juncture of the evening, the beats and melodies being woven on stage were intoxicating and the dance floor kicked into motion. These first two artists on stage laid the groundwork for the evening with power, artistry, and energy that never waned.
Blak on Blak took over the stage next with Stout XTC throwing down the mixes. It didn’t take long for the thumping beats and funky grooves to take over the crowd, with the DJ driving the party. Using more recognizable samples throughout the set, Stout XTC navigated through popular culture drawing to a close with Childish Gambino’s powerful piece This is America inspiring the crowd.
As Kevin Bumpers took over the booth the samples continued to play with the familiar and profound. Strong Motown and R&B sounds entered the mix, with an underlying feel of a narrative tied to meaning and perspective on our experience in life and society today. He started his set with samples that leaned themselves to Mark Farina’s own Remember Me, giving a musical shout out to the headlining artist. As the set continued, the happy house beats and driving leading lines took the energy of the night to the next level. Kevin Bumpers delivered a hypnosis of sound as he pulled lines of familiarity through clouds of beats, rhythms and ambient sound—sliding back and forth between the tangible and the abstract.
When the man of the hour finally took over the booth, the crowd was hyped and ready for the journey of rhythm and sound Mark Farina was primed to deliver. He shouted back to Kevin Bumpers with a little tease of Remember Me, then dove straight into some funky stylings—with James Browns samples morphing into heavy dance beats, the energy throughout the venue reached an explosive level. Every body was in motion; nobody was able to stand still. From a sway, to a bounce, to a full on groove; life and spirit coursed through the crowd with positivity and abandonment. On stage, Farina simultaneously delivered and received that powerful energy while he navigated the crowd through the ethereal, tangible and visceral experience of his unique manipulation of sound and music.
Mark Farina is known as an innovator in the world of electronic and dance music. Friday night definitely displayed those labels as truths. The breadth of samples he worked into a flow, led the crowd on a journey through sound and experience that can never be repeated. Transported to a world of sound and space where each individual possessed a unique and personal experience in relation to the music—the crowd was unified and connected; yet experiencing the night in their own divergent ways. The human experience was a direct parallel to Farina’s diverse samples spilling from the speakers, as he wove them into a cohesive and powerful whole.
Throughout the night, the beats were heavy and deep; enabling those in attendance to dive deep within their body and soul, where they could choose to feel their experience in a space of bliss, joy or even spiritual connection. Each artist on stage drove their set through places of entrancing sound and explorations of experience. The Winchester Music Tavern came to life on Friday with an energy of positivity and the delivery of a profound musical occurrence. Everyone in attendance will remember the night Mark Farina headlined in Cleveland.