So, the excitement builds in anticipation of some of the best artists of the festival – but. But by the last day I’m exhausted. I’ve been up until 2:00 AM each of the first two days and I’m dragging. Urban woman and I enjoy a quiet brunch at 5 Bar listening to a little jazz and staring, bleary eyed through the chandeliers, prepare for one more day . . .
Just as I’d ended the first night with Electric Darling, I started the third day with the same band on the big, Cripple Creek stage. Urban woman hadn’t heard them and fell in love with Yasameen (who doesn’t?). The whole band was great and I listened to them for a little before I walked to Jackson Terminal for Dave Eggar. I was told later that they did “Whole Lotta Love,” again and I still feel it may have been the best single-song performance of the festival.
Dave Eggar is simply too good to miss though I’ve heard him multiple times. It’s hard to know whether to mention “hearing” him or seeing him because the spectacle is as much a part of the show as his virtuosity on the cello. The ten-piece entourage included a guitarist, drummer, bass guitarist, vibraphone, trumpet, two vocalists, Evie Andrus on violin, Dave on cello and, just to keep things interesting – a tap dancer.
The repertoire ranged from an Amazing Grace medley to self-composed music. Following one particularly outlandish and, at times, dissonant solo, Dave said something to the effect of, “That was for Big Ears, even though I didn’t get invited.” He’d actually be a good fit with his classical mastery at such a young age and his stretching every musical and artistic boundary imaginable. Maybe next year. The crowd loved him, as is always the case.
I took that long walk (feeling longer by this point) back to the big stage for a run of shows. First up: Jakubi. I’d gotten excited listening to them online and looked forward to their set. The five-piece band from Australia didn’t disappoint. Obviously happy to be in the states (they said so repeatedly), they traveled through r&b, reggae, pop and hip-hop influenced music with aplomb. The fact that they only have three song ep and only a single (“Couch Potato”) available on itunes astounds me.
Just so I didn’t get too comfy at the big stage, I took one more excursion. River Whyless had been scheduled to perform and I’ve seen them before, so I made other plans. As fate would have it, three of the four members became ill and the show was canceled. Hudson K performed in their slot, but I’d seen them a few hours before (at 1:30 AM), so I decided to stick to my original plans. Urban woman was duly impressed with them and suggested I should get their music. Sigh. Obviously, I already have their music.
I walked to Jackson Terminal to hear some of Mutlu’s set, which I always enjoy. I’ve heard him a couple of times before and his smooth sound always satisfies. Of course, when he did “Caramel” the crowd went crazy. I then slipped in to hear a few songs by Jubal at Pilot Light and the mellow vibe continued. It was packed, as it had been for all the other shows. They are definitely a duo to watch.
I returned to Jackson Terminal for a final time to hear the great harmonies of Darlingside and they did a fine job. Unfortunately, the music didn’t match the venue in their case. They really could have benefited from more of a listening room like Boyd’s Jig and Reel. The crowd in the back talked so loudly I couldn’t hear the songs. I decided my time would be better utilized buy more coffee from Java as I made my way back to the main stage to close out the festival.
G. Love was up next and gave an excellent show. His music is so varied from one album to another that it makes the concerts a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s all good, but little of it is the same as what preceded and what will follow. Some of my favorites and that of the people around me came later in the show. I’m sure different people have a range of favorites, but the “Lemonade” sound was probably my favorite. Special Sauce was great and the whole show was good.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band has to about as good a closer for an Americana festival as could be found. Blazing from the beginning, the band had the large crowd dancing from the outset. As charismatic from a chair as a person can be, Mr. Randolph made small excursions from the seat behind his instrument, much to the delight of the crowd.
G. Love joined him onstage, followed by an avalanche of women from the audience dancing in every direction. Prominent among them was Yasameen from Electric Darling. It wasn’t to be the last time she would be seen on stage. As the band played a raucous extended version of Sly Stone’s “Thank you Falettinme be Mice Elf Agin,” both Yasameen and Knoxville guitar hero Cozmo Holloway joined them on stage to wail into the night.
It was a great show and a great way to end the festival. There were a couple of additional shows at Barley’s and, as fate would have it, Robert Randolph joined the fun there. You can find coverage of that at Blank Newspaper. I’d have enjoyed that, no doubt, but I stumbled home to fall into bed, completely exhausted. After about 29 hours, 23 shows and over 1500 photographs, the time had come to rest – before dealing with those 1500 photographs! I hope you enjoyed the festival and reliving it through my photographs.
About 150 photographs have been posted for each of the days on the Inside of Knoxville FB page. You’ll find Day One here, Day Two here, and I’ll have Day Three (199 photographs) up on the site sometime tomorrow. And now we return to our regular programming.