Monday, July 26, 2010

FloydFest9 Day1 - Friday

We arrived at Floydfest and settled in just in time for the Friday afternoon lineup. We had several bands on the agenda started with a rock band from Raleigh, American Aquarium. I had seen that they had toured with Sons of Bill and were opening for the Drive By Truckers later this year, so we wanted to check them out. They were just starting into a cover Springsteen's Thunder Road, and we came to find that they are a rock and roll band with the additional of a pedal steel. Makes a nice deviation in their sound. The band rocked through a few more songs just long enough to confirm that we would want to see them again - this time in the beer garden at midnight. Might be trouble. We took a beeline to the Main Stage to see the remainder of Deer Tick set; any band that combines elements of blues, folk, country - your basic American sound - is worthy of a listen. What a great sound. We returned to the Hill Holler stage to catch the rest of Cornmeal's performance. Love Allie Kral on the fiddle - she seems to bring smooth vocals and high energy to each show. This is basically a jam band in bluegrass clothing. I think the beginning of the Hill Holler dust bowl started with this set.

At this point we split, with one part going to the Beer Garden to see what the breweries have to offer and the other to the Main Stage again. I was the other and had received an email mentioning Konono No 1 - a band of Congolese players who play an unusual with their thumbs. Plus their sound system was built from old car parts. They weren't bad - nice percussion grooves - and the crowd was definitely in a dancing mood. I was in more of a beer mood and after a few songs headed to the Beer Garden to enjoy some hefeweisen. See our joint Wine-Compass coverage for the beers and wines on tap. I had missed Charlottesville native Travis Elliott and Richmond based Farm Vegas, but arrived in time to hear Do it to Julia. They were good - which shows how many talented groups are out their sweating in relative anonymity. But not any more, this band is on the radar. Apparently Travis Elliott is another to watch, he expanded from his normal singer-songwriter routine to include many Charlottesville-area musicians to form a rockin' band for the festival. Railroad Earth was coming quickly to the main stage, so after one more brew - it was off to the Main Stage. What else is there to say about this band. They are as talented as talented gets; and I've never seen a bad performance. And Amen Corner has never left the iPod. They played several from this CD as well as many classics - just another great performance.

We left a tad prematurely in order to hook up with the Hackensaw Boys, whom we were planning to feature throughout the festival. We had heard of this band for years, downloading a few songs here and there; but this is a band to see live. Raucous entertainment. We rushed back to the Beer Garden to say hello to find the entrance barred - power was out and so the garden had been cleared until power was restored. That meant good news and bad news. Good that we were not late and would see two other bands, bad that the night would now go into the late hours. In the meantime I just happened to strike up a conversation with Daniel Justin Smith, frontman for Big Daddy Love. The representatives from Foothills Brewery had actually recommended the band, so it was a nice coincidence. If only the beer was flowing. Once power was restored we realized how far behind schedule they were, starting off with some 70's funk and guitar from Soulhound. Soon Big Daddy Love was onstage and this was a real find, without the power outage we would have maybe heard their last song. The band plays Appalachian Rock™, a combination jam band, bluegrass, and roots-rock, sounds similar to some of the early raw Drive By Truckers - with some mountain instruments. I really enjoyed American Sycamore - honest songwriting from the mountains.

It was well past 1:00 AM when the Hackensaw Boys lined-up onstage - and I mean lined up - seven players in a row on the small stage. Co-founder David Sickman had rejoined the boys for the weekend and the band and crowd were ready to jam. And jam they did. An hour straight of organized chaos - sometimes you think they are out of control and then they stop and start in unison. And since practically each member contributes songs, you never know where the music will start. By 2:00 when the stage hands were ready to pack it in, and calls for an encore continued, the band complied to both and jumped into the crowd. They then performed three acoustic songs with fans collapsing into their protective circle. All proves that a live performance is a necessity. And it was time for bed.

More photos are available at the MyJoog Gallery.

No comments: