Experience Delicate Steve at 2nd Yellow Springs SpringsFest

Delicate Steve headlines SpringsFest at 8 p.m. July 8; photo: Guy Eppel

By Justin Kreitzer

In only its second year, SpringsFest is already taking off. The laidback festival, held Saturday, July 8 on the lawn of the John Bryan Community Center in Yellow Springs, is produced by Conor Stratton of local Great Guys Entertainment in conjunction with Yellow Springs Brewery.  To pair with the music- and art-infused atmosphere, the festival emphasizes craft beers and food trucks to provide music lovers an inviting place to eat, drink, and be merry.

Once again, the festival boasts an impressive and purposefully eclectic lineup of musical acts.  This year’s lineup includes several notable Columbus-based bands, including funk outfit MojoFlo, heavy blues rockers The Worn Flints, experimental folk-rock band Speaking Suns, and psych-rock trio The High Definitions. The rest of Ohio is represented by Dayton art-folk collective Lioness, Athens folk troubadour Gaptooth Grin, and Cincinnati psych-pop purveyors The Yugos. Additionally, DJ Creepingbear and DJ Barticus will be spinning wax all day for the audience’s entertainment.

Headlining the show is Delicate Steve, the recording and performing moniker of New Jersey native and guitar-master Steve Marion. Delicate Steve creates a mostly-instrumental style of rock music that is highly melodic and infectiously danceable. It’s a fusion of funk, psychedelic classic rock, and synth-streaked indie rock that sounds like Paul Simon jamming with Steve Miller in a studio on the moon.

His third album, This Is Steve, was released on Anti Records earlier this year to great acclaim. The Pitchfork music blog proclaimed it “feels like it was designed to be performed in front of a crowd.”

In anticipation of his Yellow Springs appearance, Dayton City Paper spoke with Marion about his first guitar, being found, and the identity of Delicate Steve.

What was your first guitar? Do you still have it and play it?

Steve Marion: It’s a Fender Stratocaster, Mexican. 1999. Black with white pick guard. I still have it and still play it.

Traces of Sly Stone, Paul Simon, George Harrison, and many other legendary and highly influential musicians can be heard in your unique brand of rock music. Who are some of the less obvious musical influences that have helped you to shape your sound?

SM: Michael Jackson, Eddie Hazel, Nina Simone, Ween, Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke.

As you normally do, you played all of the instruments on your new album, This Is Steve.  So, obviously, you will have a backing band with you on tour; who is in your band this time around?  

SM: I wouldn’t call it a backing band. Delicate Steve is an experience. It comes in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes I am Delicate Steve, but when we are playing a show together all of the musicians and I are Delicate Steve. On an album, I record all of the instruments to create Delicate Steve. So when you see us live, you will be seeing Delicate Steve.

“Cartoon Rock,” one of the standout tracks from the new album with its boogie-down rhythm and propulsive yet playful riffs seems like it would be a fun one to play live. What is your favorite song to play live and why?

SM: [There are] so many favorites… When we get in the groove and the audience is having a good time and moving around, then every song becomes the favorite. The best part is when the experience of playing music is shared with the crowd and we can feed off of the audience’s energy.

You have played several different festivals over the years, such as the Treefort Festival, and you will soon play our own SpringsFest, here in Yellow Springs; how do you win over those over-saturated and over-stimulated festivalgoers that might not know what to expect from you and your music?   

SM: I don’t expect to be winning over anyone. By being ourselves we will allow people to find us. No winners, no losers, only finders.

So, what can be expected from a Delicate Steve performance?  

SM: Rock.

That is a simple fact, but it definitely speaks to a greater truth about your music. Well, I am sure that a lot of people are excited to see you “rock” but what bands are you most excited to get to see during your downtime at Springsfest?

SM: I’m not too familiar with the other bands as of yet, which is always exciting. To have the potential to see a band that you know nothing about that puts on a great show and makes you a fan.

Delicate Steve headlines SpringsFest Saturday, July 8 at the John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. Delicate Steve’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35. For tickets and more information, please visit DelicateSteve.com and SpringsFestival.com.

 

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Justin Kreitzer
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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