Better and Briter: Brite Winter Festival Brings Together 78 Bands for an Epic Day of Music

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Signals Midwest

11 p.m. at Joy Machines Bike Shop

With the capability of straight-out rocking while still playing compositionally intricate songs, Signals Midwest brings the best of both worlds. Not sacrificing energy for intelligence, their songs can suddenly change out of nowhere. On their newest album, Light On The Lake, "St. Vincent Charity" closes by unexpectedly switching to a breakneck speed, sending the song into a whirlwind of an ending. One of their best on the record, "In The Pauses" is a collection of musical chunks, placed next to each other in a cohesive manner with a variety of phrasing that keeps the song constantly interesting. The grungy guitars create a thick wall of sound.


8 p.m. on the Brite Winter Stage

Nashville imports and indie poppers COIN bring their explorations in dynamics to Cleveland. Employing super clean guitars, vocals and synths, their heaviness accrues from density. Their track "Time Machine" is an interesting blend of electronics and standard rock instrumentation. Synths sweep over strumming guitars, and drums become a combination of machine and man. Where the verses are largely happy and light, their excited choruses get loud and full, slamming catchy hooks into your ears. As a self-described "product of the ’90s," they embody so many of the let's-not-be-too-serious vibes of a generation with danceable beats and occasionally Nintendo-sounding synths.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

9 p.m. on the Brite Winter Stage

Music that dances with such intricacy without sounding forced is rare to come by. In a seemingly effortless fashion, the Lighthouse and the Whaler's music easily grooves with uncanny precision. The track "Venice" is a testament to the missile-like precision of their style. Unlike a lot of complex indie rock that's surfaced lately, the guys don't feel the need to fill every moment with sound. In the song, there's a distance between the notes that gives the melody a chance to breathe. The end result is a natural and emotive sound. The combination of heart-swelling lyrics, delicate orchestration and surprisingly bumping minimalist drumbeats makes for memorable music.


5:30 p.m. on the Ohio City Stage

Indie rock sextet Seafair makes a monster of a sound. The abnormally large number of well-utilized band members creates massive musical forces. Their song "Bird On a Wire" from the Photographs EP displays the utter power they put into their music. It often feels like members are playing for two, giving them the power of a small chamber orchestra. And, despite this power, they can still present a sense of melody and beauty in their music. Violin provides a melodic counterpoint to the vocals while the piano gives a clockwork-like figure amidst musical explosions.

Night Sweats

7 p.m. on the Chipotle Stage in the Campbell’s Alleyway

Punk rockers Night Sweats are relentless, intense and unforgivingly energetic. Overdriven guitars and fast, explosive drums outline their songs while lead singer Brandon Abate gives well-sung melodic vocals. Almost uncharacteristic of the genre, the vocals sit atop the heavy tracks with an abnormal amount of pleasantness. On their recently released album, New Sounds, they put together 11 tracks of non-stop punk. One after another, the album slams itself out of the speakers and never gives up.

The Ridges

9:30 p.m. at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasting Room

The band’s prim and proper attire makes the duo appear neat and tidy, though its music is anything but. On "The Insomniac's Song" off their self-titled record, cellist Taylor Smith provides many beautiful lines – but when she digs into the deep registers, the cello growls. Conversely, using artificial harmonics, she provides scraping textures that get launched into the atmosphere. Singer-guitarist Victor Rasgaitis provides the solid foundation for the song. Providing both involved guitar harmonies and subtle vocals, Rasgaitis blends into the sonic texture as opposed to fighting for stardom. Their music carries many traditional folk elements into it, but humility and community may be the strongest among them.

Brite Winter | 4-11 p.m., Saturday Feb. 15 |

About The Author

Patrick Stoops

Patrick Stoops joined Scene as a music intern in October 2013. He recently graduated from Cleveland State University with a B.A. in Music Composition. Patrick is strongly committed to promoting local musicians and artists. Alongside music articles, he also enjoys writing offbeat pop-culture humor pieces. Outside...
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