It was the end of the afternoon, that golden hour when the sunlight turns pale and watery and the heat blissfully dials down a notch.
Hey Marseilles, fronted by vocalist Matt Bishop, wearing sunglasses and what appeared to be a band uniform of short-sleeved grey shirt and jeans, admitted to be struggling a little with the warm conditions.
“It’s beautiful out here. It’s also very warm,” Bishop told the crowd. “We’re from Seattle so we’re not used to that.” Hey Marseilles was started in 2006 at the University of Washington by Matt Bishop and Nick Ward. They performed together as students and were later joined by Ward’s roommate Philip Kobernik. The band has added additional musicians including brothers Jacob and Samuel Anderson, and Colin Richey. Hey Marseilles has played a diverse group of festivals ranging from Lollapalooza to the Newport Folk Festival.
The six-piece band brought a cinematic, orchestral feel to the festival stage with band members switching between instruments to add keyboards, viola and cello to fill out their sound.
As they moved into the middle-part of the 45-minute set, Bishop announced a shift further downbeat: “We’re going to take advantage of twilight to sing an even sadder song that the ones we’ve been singing,” he said, before moving into a string-heavy number with plaintive vocals.
While they didn’t have the crowd moving a great deal – even in their more upbeat numbers—a dedicated group of fans were pressed against the stage barrier, singing along with all the tracks.
And fans loudly registered their appreciation when Bishop announced they’d be back in the city in just a few weeks for a show at Club Cafe, and that a new album release was on the way.
They raised the tempo —but only a little bit —before handing over the stage to the festival’s headline act for the evening, Milo Greene.
The band’s last track was introduced as “a song about where we’re from”, with the soaring chorus line: “Meet me on the west coast, we’ll make it on our own.”
Heather McCracken is a Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist who is very happy to be attending her first Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.