Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fairgrounds 2008

It's too much to write about everything. I like to wander and check out as much as I can. If it's really great, I get pulled in and stay til the end of the set. I bail quick if I'm not feeling it. I also bail often when they change it up, I was feeling it last song, but now is the time to move on kind of thing.

I found myself in the Blues Tent a lot for the 1st half of Thurs. It wasn't too crowded, and I kept getting sucked in there and would stay til the end when I did. I also got sucked in for Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. It was the strings. Someone was playing a cool looking cello and there was a violin and it all sounded wonderful. That's the first time I liked them, although I usually didn't give them much of a chance. I caught the 1st half of Bonerama, which was good. That was my only time seeing Mark Mullins this year. That was wierd because he used to be in so many bands. He may still be in a lot, I just wasn't there for them. I loved the PBS set. At first I was disappointed when Paige McConnell sat in for several songs, but he sounded good once we could hear him. The little I caught of Geronimo Hunters Mardi Gras Indians was awesome. Donald Harrison was awesome, and it's too bad I left to try Panic once again that day.

Panic wasn't any good. I went back and tried a few times, and they just weren't doing it for me at all. It was also strange when they had the Wild Magnolias up there. I'm not sure if anyone from Panic was even on the stage during that part. I was so bored I decided I was done with them for the day.

Friday was a wonderful fest day. I was more settled in and there was more pulling me in and getting me to stay. Eve's Lucky Planet at the Congo Stage was an excellent way to start my morning. Eve plays bass and sings, there's also an awesome electric banjo, keyboards, and drums. They jammed a lot and ended with a rhumba. They said they play at Apple Barrel. I want to make sure I try to see them again when I go for an off weekend.

I caught the entire tuba woodshed with Kirk Joseph and Matt Perine. It was really awesome. It was cool to see the difference in thier styles. Matt is more into melody and Kirk is more into rhythm. It also made up for my missing Sousapalooza the night before.

Papa Grows Funk was awesome! I usually love their fairgrounds sets. They had such a groovy funk going on. I can't see them too much anymore because I overdid it. So, I was really ready for them this year.

I hadn't planned on making it to the Bad Plus, but they sucked me in! They were phenomenal! I would like to see them play slightly larger venues every now and then, I'm talking larger than the Vanguard. There was a great energy exchange between them and the crowd going on.

I saw the John Butler Trio in the rain and it was awesome. It didn't rain very much and actually felt good after being in the sun for so long.

Sat was my too tired day. It's harder for me to settle in. Luckily Henry Butler delivered with a smoking and phenomenal funky jammy band! I don't know who the bass, guitar, and drums were, but they were really excellent. I think those 3 should be in a lot more bands. That guitar could definitely fill the void in the Funky Meters. I have to get their names at some point, but I was very impressed. It was also great to see Henry in that light. I've only seen him doing jazz or solo piano. I heard the night before he did a great set at Donna's with a Dixieland band. He was awesome when he sat in with Mule both nights. We really need that jazzfest band to come to NYC, they would be awesome here, if only people knew to come.

Sat was nasty at the Fairgrounds. It had rained a lot overnight and it was very muddy. The mud smelled like horseshit, which I don't remember from previous years. I was glad I had a little detergent with me at the hotel that I travel with because I had to wash my clothes, hat, and bag. It made the day more challenging. Luckily, it wasn't too bad the next day.

There was only one other great highlight that day, in spite of my trying lots of different music. It was a spontaneous percussion/chanting/tamborine jam in the Grandstand over by the drums. There was a big circle of people getting down and it was awesome!

Sunday was an awesome day at the fest. I saw bits and pieces of some good music. Finally got sucked in to stay til the end for Sonny Landreth, which was awesome as usual. I also made it to the last 30 minutes of Vernel Bagnen's Jelly Roll and Me. That was great, really great. In the jazz tent, and it was awesome. I already mentioned in my very very best of post how wonderful Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet was. I ended up in the jazz tent for a while at the end. There wasn't many people in there, and there were people dancing up a storm off to the side. I had to join them. There were so many people up there. Ben Ellis, Rebirth, tons of horns, a few drummers, a guitar, and some pianos. It was great for a while.

Derek Trucks Band sounded awesome from outside the Blues Tent. I'm so disappointed they stuck them in there. I listened to a good bit of Greensleeves which was great and then started to leave with a little of the post jazzfest blues.

That is absolutely hands down the best festival. I had a conversation earlier in the week with a guy who thinks Norway is better because the music quality is much better. I do understand that, given the level of the music I see in NYC. However, the diversity, chance to get turned on to new things, and the FOOD make jazzfest unequivically the best thing going. I do hope to get to Norway at some point, though.

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