Sunday, July 12, 2009

Temples of sound

Yesterday was a very good day to have an umbrella handy. I had originally planned to get to Bluesfest early, but when I awoke there was thunder crashing, so I reasoned there wouldn't be any Bluesfest action for some time. I headed off to LeBreton Flats when things looked like they were clearing up only to be caught in the first of several downpours. I had hoped to see some of Jill Barber's performance, since I had enjoyed her Zaphod's set in November 2006, but by the time I arrived she had finished, so I had to settle for a snap of her signing autographs and looking pretty in pink.

Jill Barber, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

As it is, the first act I saw was San Francisco's John Vanderslice, who combined some melancholy pop songwriting with an injection of sinister guitar tones. He was pretty good, but I heard other intriguing sounds wafting my way from the Fast Food Chain stage.

John Vanderslice, Hard Rock Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

I wandered over their to catch the hardbitten blues styling of Lightnin' Malcoom and Cedric Burnside, grandson of the notorious and legendary R.L. They sounded pretty good and a couple of people I bumped into later in the day referred to their set as a highlight of the day.

Lightnin' Malcom and Cedric Burnside, Subway Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

One of my own favourites of the day was Chris Smither, who is both an ace guitarist and songwriter and possessor of one of the great careworn voices in folk music. He put on a spellbinding set on The Black Sheep Stage, and returns today to the Barney Danson Thatre.

Chris Smither, Black Sheep Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

I headed back over the hill to watch Texas rock'n'roller Doyle Bramhall. He's a singing drummer who played with Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan in his younger days. He made me think of a rootsier ZZ Top. It was also fun to see Howling Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin enjoying the set from the wings.

Doyle Bramhall, Hard Rock Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

When he was done I traipsed back to the Fast Food Chain Stage since I could hear that Diunna Greenleaf hadn't finished her set. She's a hefty gal with a growly voice and a great sense of humour who put on a great show. She's a superb stage presence and is ably assisted by guitar great Bob Margolin and a crack band.

Diunna Greenleaf and Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, Subway Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

After that there was little more to do but wait around for the church to play. Two separate rainshowers kept the stage crew busy mopping the stage and covering electric gear with tarps. The band finally got started about 20 minutes behind schedule, but were well worth the wait. They brung it harder than any other band I've seen at Bluesfest this year and sounded great. An awesome blowout set of psychedelic music.

the church, Subway Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

After that I grabbed a bite to eat, then headed off to the Barney Danson Theatre to wait for YaHoWa 13 to start. I was the fifth person in line - the first four were Mark McIntyre and Bill Guerrero of the band whose name is a symbol and Rance Mok and Diane Lachappelle of Mark's other band, Cold Coffee & Salty Boots. The revivified trio attracted about four dozen people, several of whom left during the first song after realizing the white-haired trio would be playing heavy duty mind-expanding drone rock and not hippy anthems. "We hope we brought you where you wanted to go and back safely again" said guitarist Djin when the set was done.

YaHoWa 13, Barney Danson Theatre, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

After that there was still 30 minutes or so of Femi Kuti's African jazz-funk set to catch. He had the crowd swaying and jumping to his Afrobeat stylings.

Femi Kuti and Positive Force, Black Sheep Stage, Bluesfest, July 11, 2009

Best of all, the weather was much nicer, and promises to stay sunny today.


Curtis said...

Cedric is the grandson of RL Burnside, not father.

A.C. said...

I was obviously half-awake when I wrote that.