At the 2016 Appaloosa festival, the Accidentals wowed the crowd on the Ranch stage. Katie Larson and Sav Buist, the two women who make up the Michigan-based up-and-coming super talented female indie-pop-bluegrass band, first started making music together in 2011 for a school orchestra project at the tender age of 15 and 16, respectively. By the time they were only 16 they had a full-length contemporary album, the 13-track Tangled Red and Blue. During the next few years they garnered plenty of attention, becoming SXSW’s breakout band in 2015. They’ve since opened for names like Andrew Bird, Dar Williams, Sixto Rodriguez and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The ladies play about 14 string- and wood- based acoustic instruments between them, often switching frequently both within and between songs. They are often joined by percussionist and vocalist, Michael Dause.
During The Accidentals’ set on the ranch stage at Appaloosa, the sound was as clear and crisp as the mountainous open air setting. Harmonies flowed clearly on Parking Lot thanks to the uber compatible, easy-to-use console Soundcraft UI Expression mixer. This state-of-the art portable miracle produces the best sound and offers the flexibility needed for multi-instrument shows. As The Accidentals would switch up instruments—sometimes even mid-song—techs had to be right on the sound levels, controlling balance and EQ and ensuring an organic range without making it sound overly produced. The Soundcraft mixer handled accordingly.
The Accidentals performing on apex mobile stage (copyright www.klassicsound.com)
The Accidentals know how to keep things tight, as they showed in their upbeat charmer The Silence. While their songs are simple, their style is that of seasoned professionals, and the sound has to reflect this—there’s just no substitute for bad gear! Bands with this type of soft and open sound have a lot of movement, and what the audience hears must be a perfectly-pitched balance of stability and flow. The NPR music article gives you a good look into how they approach performances and their on stage mind set. Klassic’s’ VRX stage setup caught this just right. Sixth Street is a song strung together by a coffee-cream-smooth cello line, with those rich open long frequency low tones distortion-free thanks to the JBL VRX 918s Subwoofer. With so much experience working with professional musicians, nothing would get by these guys anyways.
Klassic’s EAWS flying speakers were placed in perfect, feedback-free position to hear the Accidentals open and deep sound and catchy and diverse range. The JBL VRX monitors held out well through all sets, laying low and letting the crowd connect in this small stage, intimate outdoor setting and supporting clean and open sound for these masterful instrumentalists and vocalists. The monitors are built low just for that purpose but what they lack in size they don’t compromise in sound quality. It was a good learning experience for the Sound Shack live sound engineers; getting to see how everything is done really put things into perspective.
As the Accidentals moved through their set, wowing the crowd with the upbeat and catchy Michigan and Again and the slightly moodier Epitaphs, it was clear that the crowd was in for a treat. These folks might be young, but they know how to work the audience, asking for singalongs and checking in regularly. Judging by the smiles on the crowd’s faces—and the band’s—it’s easy to see why the group has gained such critical acclaim. Don’t sleep on this up and coming band, check out www.moreaccidentals.com for tour dates and merch!