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Local acts hit Van Buren Stage

This year’s Double Decker Arts Festival will feature a first — Saturday’s Van Buren Stage, which is completely devoted to bands from Oxford, new and old.
First up on the impressive lineup at 11 a.m. is the self-described “dynamic” funk/jazz band Elemovements, a recent Oxford staple. The band incorporates a wide variety of genres, obviously including funk and jazz, but also rock, salsa, hip-hop, afro-beat and bluegrass.
“It’s a great honor,“ bassist and singer Barrett O’Donnell said. “Somebody specifically asked (Fred Dunlap, the band’s drummer) for ‘the band you play in with two bassists.’ We’ve been living in Oxford for a while, so it’s a big deal to us.”
The band boasts a host of multi-instrumentalists and members of Oxford favorites, like Zoogma and the Bill Perry Trio, as well as a very strange lineup featuring two bassists and what amounts to essentially band musical chairs.
“(Steven McCain, the band’s other bassist) and I have different sorts of styles,” O’Donnell said. “He plays slap bass, really dirty and funky. I do more driving, groovy stuff.”
Elemovements is influenced by everything from Miles Davis to David Byrne to Yes, and it shows in their stage show.
“We like to keep it as diverse as possible,” Barrett said. “As soon as we feel like we’ve played too many rock songs in a row, we’ll play something funky.”
Up next on the stage at noon is Machine Gun Kelley and the G-Men, the female-fronted alt-country band featuring Ben Yarbrough, bassist/guitarist/singer for Young Buffalo.
Next, at 1 p.m., is living legend Kenny Brown, the famed blues slide guitarist whom R.L. Burnside called his adopted son. His music has been featured in the move Black Snake Moan, and he has played with Widespread Panic and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
At 2 p.m. comes The Minor Adjustments, who just finished up their residency at Proud Larry’s. Their blend of rock and soul is an Oxford favorite and is sure to get fingers snapping and toes tapping.
Rocket 88 plays at 3 p.m. Their sound is a melting pot of everything Mississippi — a self-described “juke joint gospel” that has been a staple of the Oxford music scene for almost seven years now. The band’s only Double Decker show was in 2005, just months after starting the band.
“When we first played, we had just written enough material to record an album,” said Rosamond Posey, rhythm guitarist and singer. “We’ve evolved a lot. We’ve played with different players around town and gleaned a lot of knowledge and expertise from them.”
Though the band’s last Double Decker show was long ago, they don’t feel shunned or excluded from the scene and are happy to be included on the stage for local bands.
“There’s probably about two local bands that have played (Double Decker) each year,” said Jamie Posey, lead guitarist and singer. “There’s so much great music that comes out of this town. It’s neat that there’s a stage just for local bands now, and we can say that it represents Oxford.”
Their sound is decidedly roots rock but contains a little bit of everything that makes Mississippi music.
“Our music is a tip of the hat to the region and the music that’s come out of Mississippi,” Jamie said. “I love the slogan that’s on the billboard when you come into Mississippi: ‘Welcome to Mississippi, birthplace of America’s music.’”
Rounding out the stage at 4 p.m. is Young Buffalo. The band will bring a different approach to rock music to the stage, one of percussive clanks and clacks and alt-guitar crunch.
As with all the entertainment on Saturday, the Van Buren stage is free. Stop by and check out the best musical acts that Oxford has to offer.