Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Getting better all the time

I caught a super-solid trio of acts on Tuesday night. While heading over to the Black Sheep Stage I passed by the Rogers Stage to snap a few photos of Faber Drive. These guys have a creative connection with Nickelback and Hinder. Those of you who suffered through mainstream music in the 1980s may remember the boy band phenomenon. They haven't gone away, they've just bought guitars and black nail polish.

I was quite relieved to arrive at the Black Sheep Stage for a performance by local roots rocker John Allaire and The Campistas. There were also guest appearances from Amanda Rheaume and his daughter Hillary. Allaire and co. are opening up for Elmer Ferrer tonight at The Rainbow.

I was tempted to stick around for Tom Snider, but I've been a Randy Newman fan for some time and decided to see if I could get close to the stage. While I was heading over I stopped for a few minutes at the River Stage to see Anthony Gomes. He's a lively performer, much in the same vein as Elmer Ferrer (who I noticed making his way through the crowd).

Newman started things off with It's Money That Matters ("I like to begin things with a spiritual," he quipped, probably not for the first time) and ran off a few of his greatest hits like Short People, Great Nations of Europe, The World Isn't Fair, You Can Leave Your Hat On, Birmingham, Sail Away, I Love L.A., Political Science, a laugh-out-loud version of In Defense of Our Country, an audience participation version of I'm Dead (But I Don't Know It) and Louisiana 1927 - particularly heartfelt considering some of his family still resides in New Orleans. I was actually starting to worry about all the watery references in his songs. Some superstitious, lizard-like part of my brain was thinking he might invoke the fury of the clouds. But it just stayed muggy. It was a dynamite set with some very amusing between-songs banter.

Then I zipped back to the Black Sheep Stage for Alejandro Escovedo's set. Like last year, he was phenomenal, though it seemed a bit short. He played a cover of Mott The Hoople's I Wish I Was Your Mother (as he did last time) and capped the evening with a cover of The Stooges' I Want To Be Your Dog. Here he is facing off with violinist Susan Voelz (a grainy Hector Munoz is just visible behind the kit).

A swell end to the night. On a side note, I had three conversations with total strangers over the course of the evening, and all mentioned how stupid they thought it was for Buddy Guy to be playing the River Stage instead of the main stage.

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