Day 2: Loud As Folk fest showcases Reno’s supergroups

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Silver rocks Pignic during the second night of Loud As Folk.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tony Contini

Thank goodness incest isn’t the same for Reno music as it is for genetics. It seems every band is connected to each other by one degree of separation. Kevin Bacon, eat your heart out.

We are a town of supergroups, and the four-day Loud As Folk fest at Pignic is showcasing a majority of them. Friday’s second night of the fest included Brendon Lund of Silver and Buster Blue, Greg Gilmore of Silver, Mark Sexton of The Sextones and Hopeless Jack.

Host and founder Spike McGuire was joined by Sara Jean Flanagan for a few songs during the intro and set changes, including a superb cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

Lund started with a Dr. Dog song and I was sold. He played his own songs and some from his previous band. He played a quick set, but this wasn’t the last the crowd would be seeing of him.

Gilmore came to me with a secret I mustn’t tell Spike. He and Lund’s band Silver were going to play in place of himself solo. McGuire later called it the most thoughtful anniversary present he’s ever received.

When Silver started, drinks were flowing and Pignic was overflowing. I quickly grabbed a water and bartender Annalisa Suarez looked like a Hindu goddess with eight blurry arms slinging drinks. There was a dude so drunk he was extracted by his collar before breaking gear or grabbing the mic again.

Silver is Reno rock gold. Its often twangy rock songs stick to you like honey. Singer/guitarist Greg Gilmore’s catchy hooks and inflection will be fused to your psyche for weeks after a show. He screams, shouts and puts everything he has into every song.

Mark Sexton took the full-band vibe and ran with it.

“That’s right, I’m looping that,” Sexton said. “Hands free!”

He’d lay down a bouncy acoustic riff, then channeled his brother-in-arms, Alex Korostinsky (a name I can now somehow spell without checking), to add some low end. He’d then rip into some solos and show off that sexy voice of his. Spike introduced him as the best looking songwriter in Reno music, and let’s just say he photographs well.

Sexton is an seasoned musician, from the studio to the stage. He’s comfortable and compelling.

He’s also funny.

“This is a Creed song,” Sexton said starting a Radiohead song. “My favorite band.”

Hopeless Jack is a two-piece that fills a room. Guitarist/vocalist Jack Beisel’s demeanor is half charm, half fiery rage. His slide guitar work is the focal point of the garage-blues sound. His voice is soulful and powerful.

A commonality throughout Loud As Folk is stomping. From soft folk to slamming blues, the stomp provided additional percussion and rocked the tiny house-venue.

– Tony Contini

Related story: Songwriters in the spotlight on Day 1.

Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage photos by Tony Contini

About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio:

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