Music & Nightlife

Reverb Fest brings in best in underground indie acts – again

The Coathangers
The Coathangers Jeff Forney

Homegrown music festivals aren’t new to Charlotte, but they don’t all make it. Reverb Fest – a gathering of national and local independent bands of varying genres (all under the big indie-rock umbrella) – has carved out a niche over five years.

Instead of centering it at one venue – where eight hours of constant live music can stagnate – organizer Phil Pucci booked four different ones and staggered the lineup so concertgoers can see at least some of all four shows. That means fans aren’t spending more than three or so hours in one spot, and if you only want to see Of Montreal, for instance, you can buy individual tickets to that show.

“I like the idea of having folks who might be unfamiliar with Charlotte’s music venues hit important spots like Lunchbox Records and Snug Harbor,” says Pucci. “Maybe they will find a new place to see live music, buy records or have fun.”

The festival starts at 5 p.m. at Lunchbox Records, moves to NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre at 7, then Plaza-Midwood’s the Station and Snug Harbor, whose later schedules do overlap.

Stephanie Luke of the Coathangers, who headline the Station on Saturday, says it’s a format the female punk trio is seeing more often.

“That’s what we’ve started to notice,” she said calling on the way to Toronto Tuesday. “We just played one in Boise on our last tour. Instead of one big festival, it’s a bunch of different venues around the city. It’s nice to be able to get out of the same place and wander around – kind of like a hunt.”

Larger N.C. festivals like MoogFest and Hopscotch use the multi-venue approach. In some cases, using existing spaces (with their own lights, sound systems and staff) reduces the risk of renting stages, equipment, and port-a-pottys, hiring a crew and obtaining permits for a large outdoor festival.

The Coathangers have an established fan base in Charlotte, but wouldn’t necessarily headline a bigger outdoor festival, even though the band had its most successful year with its 2016 Billboard Top 200-cracking album, “Nosebleed Weekend.” Its most varied and polished record to date was recorded with Nic Jodoin at Valentine Recording Studios in North Hollywood. Next up is a European tour and the release of the “Parasite” EP in June, some of which is already on their set list.

Its Reverb Fest show, with Paint Fumes, Alright, and MyBrother MySister, leans toward the punkier side of indie rock.

Pucci didn’t plan it that way.

“Most of the shows are a mixed bag, genre-wise,” says Pucci, who paired N.C. countrified songwriter Sarah Shook with experimental art rockers Of Montreal and the left-of-center R&B/hip-hop artist JMSN, for instance. “I wasn’t aiming for anything specific with the scope of the festival. I wanted to bring more nationally known acts to Charlotte and put on a live music event with the freshest and most exciting music possible.”

Reverb Fest

When and where: 5 p.m. Lunchbox Records, 825 Central Ave.; 7 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.; 10 p.m. The Station, 2131 Central Ave.; 10:30 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.

Tickets: Festival pass $20-$25; tickets are also available for individual shows.