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Aggressively catchy melodies pair with soul-filled lyrics in musical architect Michael McFarland’s refreshing take on indie rock. Garnering comparisons ranging from modern rock acts such as Weezer and Bastille to classic singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon and Elton John, McFarland’s songwriting is frank, expressive, and clever. Performing live-looping acrobatics as a one-man rock show, or backed by his four-piece band The Mess Makers, the Cleveland, Ohio-based performer elevates the material on stage with a seemingly inexhaustible energy. Showing a maturity of style and sound that has developed through years of travel, relationships, heartbreaks, and reinventions, McFarland’s music contains talent, passion, and lyrics that come from the heart. The result? A big, bright, and lovestruck slice of anthemic indie rock.

Michael’s amiable yet commanding presence on stage arose from years of experience paired with diligent study.  He began performing with bands at age 14, accumulating ample experience under stage lights while still a teenager. Later, while pursuing his degree in Visual Communication at Kent State University, McFarland spent countless hours studying performance footage from any source he could find, from classic rock acts to modern pop stars. When it comes to songwriting, McFarland shows the same attention to his craft. “I listen to a lot of music I don’t necessarily like,” says McFarland, “because I want to understand why the songs connect with their audience.” A lifetime of attentiveness and continued learning has taught McFarland how to use lyrics to tug at your emotions and leave you feeling like you’ve found a kindred spirit.

Michael is constantly moving his craft forward, whether by touring the country solo, seeking out festival performances for his band, or even creating innovative new musical experiences that push the boundaries of preconceived stage performance ideology. Finding himself without a backing band during a 3-year stint in North Carolina, McFarland began to explore looping technology to build intricate soundscapes live on stage. Beatboxing, percussion on the body of his guitar, and layered vocal harmonies give his performances a rich depth not usually found in a solo act. When joined by The Mess Makers, those same songs fit seamlessly into the context of a rock show. McFarland continually pursues new ways to create musical experiences, whether in his multimedia science-fiction electro-rock concept project Hello Headrush, or designing large-scale, interactive, experiential art installations. Though his musical past is already storied, McFarland’s ever-growing repertoire of talent and vision promises a continually brighter future.