Monday, July 14, 2014

Green River Festival 2014, Sunday

As mentioned, most of our friends did not get tickets to Sunday, but we did!  We all three kind of forced ourselves to rise at a decent hour after being up late partying.  But how could we stay in bed when there was another beautiful summer day out there, a scrumptious Oxbow breakfast (this time with coffee), and more golf to play?

Dave and I enlisted Scott for golf and we had another vastly entertaining 6 holes.  There were some fine niblick shots, and we didn't run out of balls, though there was some danger of that.

Packed up as fast as possible after golf, refreshed water and other liquids, got the last few things out of the crannies of the room (you can settle into a hotel room dangerously fast), and hit the road for the festival while the others were still hanging out with languishing fervor (or something like that).  We got there about an hour later than we had Saturday and the line was extensive already.  There were possibly more people there Sunday than there had been Saturday.

The line started moving after not too long and even though several hundreds were admitted before us, we ended up with another fine space, about 10 feet in front of the soundboard, dead center.  It was already overcast and looked like rain (though rain hadn't been forecast last I checked), but this did not keep people away.  We did our Sunday-GRF morning routine of getting overpriced iced coffee and people-watching (there was a lot to watch).

Finally the first act came on, The Deadly Gentlemen.  They're a Boston band, formed by phenomenal banjo player Greg Liszt after he left Crooked Still.  Liszt is an incredible talent, and this was a thoroughly enjoyable set, though I missed some of it in the aforementioned pottie and food lines.  It was already a crowded festival!  I'm told that their cover of Cold Rain and Snow was incredible.

Whatever, it was down to the 4 Rivers stage next for another Boston band, Girls Guns and Glory.  This was another thoroughly enjoyable set that simultaneously showed some rawness in the band and showed their charm.  They played their excellent recent song, All the Way Up To Heaven, and did fun covers of Semi Truck and Chuck Berry's Sweet Little 16.  They also held off the rain; the sky was looking pretty scary at the start of their set but had calmed down a bit by the time they ended and we packed up and headed back uphill...

For the set of the weekend.  If you don't know Dave Alvin you ain't livin', and if you aren't familiar with the music he's made with brother Phil since the two of them got back together, you have to go hear this stuff now.  We'd told our son Dave about how good Alvin is, and he hadn't had time to catch up (GD fanaticism can be draining), but he was whacking me on the arm half-way through their first tune and saying, "Oh My God!!!!!"

The field was absolutely packed for the Alvins and people were standing and dancing halfway back to the soundboard.  This was another case where the festival people got it wrong: these guys were the headliners and the organizers thought Josh Ritter was?!?!?!  Phil has an incredible blues voice and Dave is just top notch.  Phil introduced him as the triple-threat: singer, songwriter, and guitar player, and boy is he good at all three.  And their voices melded the way brother's voices meld in heaven.  Incredible stuff.

They had Dave's band with them, and that's saying a lot: Lisa F. Pancratz (she did a drum solo that verged on TOO), Brad Fordham on his killer duo of basses, and Chris Miller playing the foil to Dave's guitar brilliance.  What did they do?  Well pretty much the whole Broonzy record, like Southern Flood Blues, All By Myself, Key To the Highway, Truckin' Little Woman, and the beyond-excellent Stuff They Call Money.  They finished up with Marie Marie and we were all (well, those of us with a pulse), in heaven.  We saw Mager a bit afterwards and he was still trying to calm down.  This was not only the set of the show, but one of those moments when you feel privileged for the glimpse into what a crack band of musicians can do.

Wow!  Time to decompress and eat a bit of Chinese vegetable wrap, the third year in a row one of our favorite food vendors has been there ... hope they don't get "upgraded" out next year.  Then we hit the road for downhill to see Barnstar! [sic].

We used to be devoted fans of Northern Lights back in the day, and we were eager to see Taylor and Jake's new band (though Jake's solo work in the meantime hasn't impressed me ... I'd lump him in with Josh Ritter and Ellis Paul), and Mark Erelli on lead guitar is no slouch.  We loved the few songs of their's we saw at the 4 Rivers stage before the sky that had been threatening rain all day finally let loose.

We made a quick decision to take off, and then finally ran into our friend GlennK and spouse, who have just had a milestone anniversary!  Rude of us to run away, but we wanted to get back to the main stage and stop things from getting wet, and then get out of there ... the World Cup final was being contested at that point and we wanted to get back home for the replay.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper was holding forth up on the top field, but we packed up quickly and exited.  In all, the GRF had a whole bunch of second-tier acts and was sonically not well organized.  I hope their new direction leads to a good place, but I for one will not be jumping on early-bird tickets next year.  For instance, we could have stayed home and seen the one "great" act they had at Sinclair for a lot less hassle.

Oh well, got home at a leisurely pace on route 2 and saw the World Cup final.  I bitch, but it was a lot of fun!!!

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