Waynestock 2012: For the Love of Phil, Night Three

Wayne Bledsoe, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

The third and final night of Waynestock promised to be the craziest of the bunch and it delivered. The bands were all high-energy and seemed genuinely excited to be there. Wayne Bledsoe spoke and, in the context of his namesake festival, that always seems emotional. As he said, perhaps we can hold this event next year without having suffered a tragedy. Phil’s wife, sister and brother also spoke and his wife, particularly, seemed moved by the outpouring, but also strong and determined to bring home Phil’s belief in the power of music.

Phil Pollard’s wife speaks while his sister and brother look on

Scott and Bernadette West also took the stage, but while Bernadette had difficulty speaking given the emotion of the event, Scott seems to have never met a microphone he wanted to surrender. He proposed a toast or two to Phil as well as telling a funny story about Phil putting together the Band of Humans in less than a day in order to play a slot at Preservation Pub.

The French, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville
The French, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville
The French, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

But, of course, the night, as every night, was about the music. The French started the night with a country-flavored set. It was hard to get a bead on exactly what they were trying to do. I’m pretty sure most of what they sang was serious, but served with a sly glance to the side. They used a good bit of French – and I don’t mean Francois. Some of the songs seemed to need a bit more work with lengthy repetitious lines that could be trimmed entirely or augmented with additional lyrics.

The Theorizt, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

The Theorizt, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

The Theorizt, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

The Theorizt held the second slot for the evening and their performance was strong, but was marred by technical problems. The sound was never quite right all night and in their set, the guitar was inaudible. This is a tremendous loss for any band, but the first time I saw them it was as if the guitar was a third front-man. Not so on this night. I also felt their mikes could have used more treble as I had a hard time understanding most of what was said. I still feel they are bursting with potential and I’m enjoying them in my Ipod.

Todd Steed, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Todd Steed, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Todd Steed, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Todd Steed and Tim Lee, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Todd Steed followed The Theorizt and his set was strong, though heavy on his older material. Dave Nichols played bass (he showed up later in the evening playing various brass instruments) which seems strange to me given his great gift on guitar. Todd took the leads and I have to say I found his playing to be strong throughout the night. Toward the end of his set he was joined by Tim Lee on a flying V guitar and, as you might imagine, the music hit a new level.

Senryu, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Senryu, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Senryu, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Senryu played next and I’ll say they’ve grown on me since last year. I’ll concede the front man, William Wright has a presence, though it’s pretty understated. They are certainly able to captivate a crowd, wild thrashing evident in every direction. Finally, Wayne Bledsoe seems to really like them, so who am I to say anything? I must simply be missing the point. I will say when Wright and the bassist played a stripped down set for the Blue Plate Special recently I was pretty impressed.

Band of Humans, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

Band of Humans, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

The finale was the Band of Humans, with many special guests attempting to fill the void left by Phil’s death. It was a fun set that included many of the favorites popularized by Phil and his band. Naturally, the Gettysburg Address had to be read and there were many stovepipe hats and a general craziness from one end of the stage to the other. This set didn’t start until midnight and by 1:30 AM I’d had about all the fun I could take for one night, so Shaft and I headed home.

Band of Humans, Waynestock 2012, Relix Theater, Knoxville

It was another great year for Waynestock and I hope there will be many more. If you’ve missed them so far, I hope you’ll keep an eye out for it next year. There is too much talent in the Knoxville music community to hear it all, but having them all in one space in such a short span of time really helps. And it is just so, so good.

 

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