Talk about a complete 180 from last year.

This year’s Lawrence Field Day Fest is already one for the books, and we’re only halfway through. While having to battle the downtown crowds that tend to plague the Final Fridays art walk and the Tour Of Lawrence, fans pushed through and found themselves at both the Jackpot and Bottleneck for the third installment of the annual festival.

Unlike years past, the event featured multiple venues this time around. Thursday night’s shows brought live music to some unconventional venues, so by Friday the fans were ready to rock.

The evening began with impressive sets from Karma Vision and Haunt Ananta, who took a few weeks off to dramatically improve their sound. The night took a bluesy turn with Yocemento and Katy Guillen and the Girls. The latter of those two is a band that should definitely be on your radar.

Katy Guillen and the Girls pack a punch with some of the best guitar work in Lawrence and Kansas City. It does not matter if you don’t like blues music. There is a high probability you will be wowed by the talent these three bring to the stage. There isn’t a single misstep, and the chemistry between all musicians involves translates well into the audience.

As promised, Destory Nate Allen got up in everyone’s business and shook things up good and proper. The band has a disdain for stages, and constantly darts around the floor, twirling throughout the crowd, and interacting within inches of the audience members’ faces. Fans who are familiar with them by now adore this aspect of their act, and welcome the intimacy with open arms.

Oils continued the wacky vibe with an intensely artistic set. We were thrilled to see Rolf, the head honcho over at Whatever Forever, back onstage with his saxophone for this set.

Meanwhile, at the Bottleneck, All Blood performed under blood red lights and considerably upped the volume in that venue for the night. They were followed by Major Games, who emerged out of hiding after nearly two years. This was possibly the most anticipated set of the night, and it paid off in spades.

The band spent those two years locked away recording their next album, and played it in full from start to finish at the festival. Their sound is richer and (if you can believe it) even louder than before. Judging by the audience’s reaction, this was well worth the wait.

Rooms Without Windows and Loose Park both brought some serious sass to their performances at their respective venues.

The night closed out with two sets that couldn’t have been more different from one another. Over at the Bottleneck, the lights dimmed until the venue and stage were nearly completely in the dark while Ebony Tusks delivered one dramatic set of lyrics and rhymes after another. Despite the mood lighting, this rapper had the audience’s full attention. They heartily interacted with him, obeying his every command and demand for collaboration.

The Jackpot however, had the lights thrown up as high as they could go while the dynamic duo known as The Sluts gave the perfect closing performance. From the very moment they took the stage, that audience was wild.

They threw themselves as hard and as far as they could across the dance floor, their sweaty skin and pounds of flesh slapping against one another. They came up with an endless amount of ways to relate to The Sluts’ songs. This included clapping in unison at very specific moments, simultaneously punching their tight fists into the air, and screaming the lyrics back at the band. It was poetry in motion, and The Sluts were the conductor of this mad orchestra. Nobody really backed up against the wall; every fan threw their mind, body, and soul into the show. Pretty soon, we bet that you won’t even be able to hear the frontman singing. You’ll just hear a screaming audience buzzing in a rock-infused frenzy.

You simply must watch the audience in this clip every time the band gets to the chorus:

Night two continues Saturday night. For the complete schedule, click here.

Words and photos by Fally Afani

Editor’s note: I Heart Local Music is a sponsor of this year’s festival.