Welcome back! I told you that I had had a work breakthrough, and now, hopefully, I’m back to my usual rate of posting. How about we head back down to the bayou for a bit more on Jazz Fest? Cool, let’s roll.
Friday was my big music day at JF as there were lots of bands that were on my list to check out. Like everything in life, you have to make choices, and this was a day of plenty that left me wishing for another day with the same lineups. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a damn good day. The sun came out, it was warm but not hot, the mud (mostly) dried up, and the crowd thronged. I mean, it was crowded! Odd to go to the same venue two days in a row with such a different feel, but that’s what it was. OK, enough, on to the music!
Motel Radio I was psyched to see this New Orleans indie rock band. They didn’t disappoint – some trippy psychedelia added to their alt-country/guitar based rock. This combination sets them apart from much of their competition, and the boys were digging the JF opportunity. It’s clear that these guys like to play together, and their cohesion and fun-loving side came through in their live act. We really enjoyed their short set, and I would definitely see them again Philly-side.
Bonerama Put this one into your “keeper” box, even though it’s a highly unorthodox group. Three “lead” trombones and a tuba are the up-fronts for the band. And for a few songs, another trombone joined the group, making four sliders jamming in front of the stage. That’s a lot of metal up there. And it was used effectively. They played the most unusual rendition of “Whipping Post” I’ve ever heard, but it was highly entertaining and solid. BRP was singing along with the rest of the crowd. I’m not sure I would want to listen to this over and over, but man, it sure was a good time live at JF. Check ‘em out if it doesn’t cost you too much.
Sonny Landreth So I’ve been a Sonny fan for a while, and this was my first opportunity to see the slide/blues guitarist live. Disappointment! Yes, the boy can play the guitar. And yes, his band is solid. But I’m just not a fan of the 15 minute song followed by the 12 minute song, and that’s what he delivered. Once the jamming is on full bore, I go into full boredom, and took the opportunity to stroll around, take pictures, engage in conversations with a ton of new acquaintances, and otherwise ignore the long jams. I didn’t even bother to snap any pictures. Oh well, someone had to fill in the “disappointment” bucket, and it was better that it was Sonny than …
The Revivalists This is a band with a huge national buzz, a hit song, and a great stage act. I really enjoyed the set, as did the entire crowd. It was one huge love-in for the New Orleans band, and the group responded with a high energy set that hit all their “best” songs. This was one set that I was glad that I caught from top to bottom, and my team was feeling the same way. Did I push my way to the front? You know I did. (Well, as far to the front as I could get as I did not splurge for the VIP pass.) Dig it!
Wilco I’ve seen Wilco before, and they are really good live. This set was typical, with Jeff Tweedy up front in a dumb looking hat and changing guitars with every song. No, it was not an overpowering set, but yes, it did feature Nels Cline on lead guitar (this guy is superb – you have to see him live one of these days). Wilco rolled through a number of songs you know, and kept the chatter to a minimum. Unfortunately, playing at the exact same time was …
Earth Wind & Fire Earth! Yes, these guys are as old as the hills, and Maurice White is dead. That’s usually trouble. But these guys had hit after funky hit in the 70s, and you just can’t help to move the hips and feet when they blow into “Shining Star” or “September.” The trouble here, like with Wilco, was the crowd. It was so packed that you had difficulty busting a move (and for this set, I’m including breathing in the “bust a move” category), and that took some of the shine off the star. Nonetheless, this is a fun and funky band, and you shouldn’t miss them if you get the chance.
That’s it for day 2. After JF, we hooked up with a buddy of mine from Baton Rouge who showed us a good time in the crescent. Dancing? You betcha. Live music? Hey, it’s New Orleans, so of course. And lots of great food and southern hospitality. I had had to get up and work for hours before JF even began, and I was one tired hombre by the time I dragged my skinny little butt back to my hotel. But the call of day 3 was in my brain, and sleep was not going to overcome the need to rock and roll. Check back for my day 3 reviews, and then my overall assessment of the JF experience. In the meantime, enjoy the hell out of this day because it’s the only time you get to experience this one. See ya.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.