IF YOU GO
' What: Nick Lutsko Etc.
' When: 6:15 p.m. tonight
' Where: Chevy Stage
' Admission: Riverbend 9-day wristband ($55); one-day wristband ($25)
Riverbend 2015 online
Visit timesfreepress.com/news/riverbend to get complete coverage of the 2015 Riverbend Festival.
One of the reasons that Riverbend is able to field such a huge lineup of music, enough to fill nine evenings to the brim, is because of the wealth of local talent Friends of the Festival can call on to help buttress its schedule.
It is a longstanding assumption for a lot of people that being a local act is tantamount to being second-rate, a throwaway artist whose purpose is to serve as filler between "serious" out-of-town acts. People who believe that clearly don't frequent many local shows, however, because Chattanooga artists have been setting the bar pretty high of late.
One of the most interesting artists this community has produced in the last few years is Nick Lutsko, formerly a guitarist/vocalist in high school indie rock trio Infinite Orange. Lutsko's second solo album, "Etc.," is a typically poppy, occasionally psychedelic project he recorded entirely — painstaking layer by painstaking layer — within the confines of his parents' home in Hixson. Practically every element, from the beatboxing and the bass to the percussion and vocals were entirely of his creation.
The album's best song — or at least the one that dominates my Spotify playlist these days — is "All Shook Up," which lifts off with a kick-drum beat laid underneath jangly keys, slowly introducing a funky guitar riffs and rapid-fire vocals that flow like a chocolate fountain.
For a better idea how his music combines catchy hooks and funk whimsy with outright trippy imagery (also puppets), check out his second — slightly unsettling — music video for the song "Predator." It's as weird as it is likely to get stuck in your head.
Assuming you haven't done so already, tonight is your final chance to see the level of talent local artists can bring to bear when given access to the top-notch equipment Riverbend can offer. Even if he's competing with the likes of crowd-favorite funk act Here Come the Mummies, I think you'd be well served (and entertained) seeing a great artist who you can appreciate year-round.
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow his Riverbend coverage on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.