For fans of new music, Saturday was the day to go to Nateva.

The lineup comprised some of the most critically-acclaimed bands today and spanned several genres, from reggae to Southern rock to psychedelia.

But despite the contemporary list, the Nateva organizers curated a list accessible to fans of ’60s and ’70s music as well as Deadheads of every stripe.

Portland band Brenda started before noon Saturday, playing the more modern, lo-fi rock with punk roots. If they didn’t get much of a crowd (there were merely hundreds, not thousands, gathered in front of the stage), one could blame the early hour — most people were still dragging themselves out of their tents.

Still, there were hundreds in the field watching them and the recently reformed Rustic Overtones, Maine’s gritty funk-rock act that split up years ago but have a new album. They got some feet moving, but it was the Ryan Montbleau Band, with a dense, jammy mix of folk and reggae, that got the people dancing and the Hula-Hoops swaying.

It got stronger from there. John Brown’s Body brought a reggae and dance mix. Charismatic singer Elliot Martin’s singing was melodious and exciting, while the huge brass section, heavy bass and tuneful organ made for a full sound that never felt bloated. It was a modern take on Bob Marley’s sound without sacrificing any of the emotion.

The Crash Kings, from Boston, were more energetic and dynamic than their recorded music suggests. The band, a singer/keyboardist, a drummer and a bass player, kicked out a riveting cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” As the stage announcer noted, it was fantastic, especially for a band without a guitar player.

The Drive By Truckers’ pack a country/rock sound that ranked as the heaviest of the night. With two singers who alternate on songs and three guitars, their bleak tales of Southern life and folklore sound more like Lynyrd Skynyrd than the Grateful Dead.

With temperatures into the mid-80s, singers/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood sweated it out in dark shirts and jeans. Late in the set, Hood quipped, “It’s hot, but it’s about 30 degrees hotter at home, so I guess I can’t complain.”

Drive By Truckers blasted through a set taken mostly from the new album, “The Big To-Do.” Their latest single starts out with Hood singing a hard-luck tale of working a miserable job and regretting life decisions that got him there, but takes a recession-era twist when he’s laid off and forced to take an even worse job, with a smaller paycheck.

Throughout their set, Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne repeatedly came to the side of the stage. For the most part he just watched, but despite his low-key appearance, audience members noticed him. At one point, Coyne put on a bear mask and danced at the side of the stage, opening and closing the bear’s mouth and waving his arms. He even got the crowd clapping along to the beat during the Drive By Truckers’ finale, “Everybody Needs Love.”

The most awaited new band was probably She & Him, made up of actress Zooey Deschanel and folkie M. Ward. Long before the end of the Drive By Truckers’ set on Main Stage 1, hundreds were already gathered in front of Main Stage 2 for She & Him.

Current “It” girl Deschanel, who starred in “500 Days of Summer” last year and played alongside Jim Carrey in 2008’s “Yes Man,” sings a soft country croon over understated, Beach Boys-style pop. It’s pleasant, summery music and it’s got a strong following. The newest album, Deschanel and Ward’s second together, reached No. 6 on the Billboard Top 200 albums upon its release.

Deschanel was manic, bouncing around on the stage with a tambourine while Ward played guitar. She even crashed on the keyboard a few times. It was the first act of the night that really showed off the size of the Nateva crowd.

As the sun set, indie rock favorites Grizzly Bear rolled out more folk rock, this time without pop hooks and dominated by eerie barbershop harmonies and psychedelic flourishes. Crowd members packed around the stage as the band played songs from last year’s highly-acclaimed “Veckatimest,” named for a small island off Massachusetts.

“It’s our first time playing in Maine,” singer Edward Droste said. “We’ve all been here multiple times,” he said, and thanked the Nateva Festival for having them. If the festival goes well, maybe they’ll be back.


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