Photos and Words by AJ Dent
An artist who can switch from soulful to lighthearted with a simple flick of her smile has definitely got my vote. While I usually envision dark lounges and dirty martinis when I listen to ZZ’s stuff, this sunny Saturday was surprisingly fitting. The Starbucks Stage, regularly known as The Mural, complemented Ward well, from her buttercup tresses and Persian rug pants to her cinnamony voice and hot lover of a guitar. Her equally into-it bandmates — repeatedly suppressing big ol’ grins to little avail — only helped frame the sultry female, turning hers into one of the day’s smoothest shows. “Put The Gun Down”? Only once yours stops smoking, Mz. Z, and we’re guessing that won’t be anytime soon.
Gus + Scout
Don’t you love discovering acts so endearing, you’re shocked they don’t have a Wikipedia page yet? It’s like they’re still a secret, something you can share with the right friends who’ll appreciate it too. Despite performing together since 2011, Gus + Scout still felt fresh during their Plaza Stage set — so much so, Scout came off as a bit nervous in my eyes. This is no dis, though; in fact, it added to the sweet-n-simple personality of their songs, the call-and-response format that heartbreakers like “Gone, Gone, Gone” feature. While their body language matched lyrics about cautious love, they certainly didn’t hold back their voices, which spooned together like two content cats. Start these two up next time you need some lazy Sunday afternoon tunes. And share ‘em with your friends. They deserve it.