Sunday, July 08, 2007

The old runaround

It's fate: You bring your collapsible chair, and you end up spending most of your time lugging it from stage to stage. I saw 10 different acts at Bluesfest. Some I just stayed for a song or two (or arrived too late to see anything but the tail-end), but I did catch all of Jon Rae and the River, Jetplanes of Abraham and Toumani Diabate, so it was a day well-spent.

The first act I went to check out was Burnside Style, an act formed by the sons of famed primordial bluesman J.L. Burnside. I did overhear a snippet of conversation about "border trouble"; and the guy handling the microphone seemed more Chicago harmonica blues than Southern juke joint ... which may explain why he's called Chicago Bob Nelson. As I discovered later, this was blues pianist David Maxwell's combo. Maxwell himself has a few more Bluesfest gigs, and I would not be surprised to see him pop up as a guest at Tony D's Sunday shindig on the main stage.

My next stop, the Black Sheep Stage - a swell little venue - to catch the last few songs by The Soiree (sort of a personal tradition of mine).

That done, I sneaked off to check out Janiva Magness at the Rogers Stage. A good rhythm and blues vocalist, but a shade too civilized for me.

I overhead a few snippets of noise from the River Stage and went back there to listen to a few songs from Matt Schofield, a European bluesman who wields a pretty good electric guitar, though nothing you haven't heard before.

So, off to see Jon-Rae and The River, a hotly tipped outfit that specializes in testifying indie roots rock. They really rocked the joint.

That done, I briefly wandered over to the main stage to see if conditions had improved. There was a pretty good show winding up when I arrived, by Ryan Shaw. Some funky stuff from him and his band (actually, I think it was a chopped-and-'shopped version of Funky Broadway).

After that I went back to watch Jetplanes of Abraham at the Black Sheep Stage. They attracted a big crowd.

With some minutes to kill I decided to go and see Mute Math, who attracted a young crowd to the River Stage for their polyrhythmic psychedelic emo-prog. They're very active on stage - and they have a keytar.

I wanted to make sure I had a good seat for Toumani Diabate so I returned to The Black Sheep Stage. Good thing too, because Mihirangi, who I had planned to give a pass, turned out to be a very compelling vocalist (she's performing today in the Barney Danson Theatre).

I expected the place to be packed for Diabate, but in fact the crowd was in no danger of jamming the place. It was a healthy turnout, but I suspect Manu Chao stole a good chunk of his audience. He's gathered a band of expert musicians from the countries that were once part of the Mande Empire. It was truly an awe-inspiring musical experience.

If I were a sensible person, I would have gone straight to bed after all that (it wrapped up around 11 p.m.), but after I got home I still felt fairly awake so I picked up the appropriate camera gear and went over to Babylon in time to catch the latter half of the Million Dollar Marxists' return home show.

First up, Hellcat Records thrashcore punks Societys Parasites.

The Million Dollar Marxists ripped through their set even more rippingly than usual.

Quite a full day! And now I'm going to bed - it's closing in on 4 a.m. and I'm no longer feeling so perky.

1 comment:

dial613 said...

agreed on toumani diabate, i would say exactly the same thing. really really neat

glad you were there to get pics .. looking forward to seeing the rest