Well, this one’s going to be very photo heavy and word light. Fires have literally been breaking out downtown today and I’ve been very, very short of time. For those of you who expected me to write about the fire: I decided to address it next week. I know it’s not timely, but the media is all over this story, so I’ll let them break the news and then I’ll show you the photographs I’ve accumulated and look at the broader issue of the McClung Warehouse. “Warehouse” is singular on purpose at this point.
So, here we go with Waynestock 2014, Night Two, which I don’t want to be overlooked, as it was a great night for a showcase of Knoxville talent and just an overall fun night. Benny Smith of WUTK served as emcee and kept everything moving, including many raffle giveaways. There’s another reason to come out tonight: somebody’s got to win and it’s painfully obvious it won’t be me. A signed guitar and many other items are up for grabs.
Jodi Manross started the night off with her band consisting of Laith Keilany and Russell Tanenbaum. They were their usual excellent selves. They had me at the first beat – Russell playing his drum/box – and pounding out a rhythm that I knew immediately leads to Jodi’s great cover of Bob Dylan’s beautiful “To Make You Feel My Love.” Jodi played some original music which was good, as always with her soaring voice and excellent instrumental backing from the boys.
It was two other covers, however, that seemed to inspire the crowd the most. The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” and the Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil.” Which I like better depends on the night. They are both great, unexpected reimaginings of excellent songs. It also occurred to me last night for the first time that I’d like to hear those songs and maybe some others with full drums and a bass. They rock out, now, but that would make the roof cling on for dear life.
Dixie Ghost followed with a solid set. I expected southern rock when I’d heard their name about. When I saw them I expected bluegrass. So much for stereotypes all around: they played their own quirky brand of banjo-laden country rock. Their harmonies were particularly enjoyable. They are definitely a band to watch.
My most anticipated band of the entire three event took the stage after Dixie Ghost. I’d heard enough Barstool Romeo material on WDVX to figure I wanted their CD, but I hadn’t picked it up. They were as good live as I’d hoped with clever songwriting, whiskey-soaked vocals and a classic country soul layered over a rock and roll heart. In short, they are what Nashville would be up to if there was any integrity left in the country music business.
But they aren’t pretty (sorry boys), so they’ll never make it to Nashville. There’s only so much air space and we have to accommodate the latest pretty face with no soul and cookie cutter non-country music. It’s enough to get me angry. I do think the guys could get some of their songs cut by other artists, and they probably have already.
The force behind the project is Andy Pirkle (brother to Sarah) and Mike McGill who are both very gifted in their own right. And as for that prettiness thing – they are each great subjects to photograph, so I’ll take that. And as for that CD, I bought it immediately and it is most excellent.
The French sprang into action with their brand of odd musical comedy. Or is it? One thing for certain: they owe me some money! I demand royalties for being the inspiration and giving them the hook line to their song “Are you serious?” They said it was based on a review of their concert last year in which “a reviewer questioned our seriousness.” They then launched into the song, in which they insisted they are serious while undermining it with their general goofiness.
They are very musically talented to a person and last night some of their music bordered on hard core punk while they smoothly move to other styles as they please. Funny? Not so much to me, but maybe the problem is my sense of humor. Maybe next year they will break out a song called “Get a Sense of Humor.” You are welcome, guys.
The Crumbsnatchers, featuring Wayne Bledsoe’s son Rylan on drums did their strange stage magic next. Great fun to watch, they take a few minutes adjustment for someone expecting classic rock vocals. The charismatic lead singer uses a nasal tone which I found oddly appealing after a few songs. The songs are strong and the on stage bedlam was great fun.
Their set included the release of balloons into the audience and general mayhem. The first photograph above is the balloon release. The second photograph is Sarah Bowles who shows up around downtown in various states of disguise. She was on my blog very early as a bride shot at Java and later as a Unicorn Girl.
The night ended with Teenage Love 13 who I’d never heard. Then again, I’d heard the Melungeons at the first Waynestock and the connection between the two is Rus Harper, frontman/vocalist for both groups. At turns angry and charming, foul and sweet, screaming and gently talking to the crowd, Rus sucks the very air out of the room when he enters.
I think I understood that Teenage Love 13 dates back to the 1970s. The music is sort of metal, but without the blues base of the Melungeons. No matter, it’s the theater of Rus Harper that makes them so compelling. If you ever get a chance to see this man, do it. He’s another one that is eminently photographable (I know – it’s my word). If it’s clear and has enough light, it’s going to be an interesting shot of this maniacal whirling dervish.