Red Wing Roots VII

And suddenly it’s a week away…

Anyone who has met me in person knows that I talk incessantly about this festival. It’s pretty much the perfect festival for me. I mean, sure I ‘complain’ that the coffee place won’t open until 11 am or some ridiculous time, but the truth is that I have my own coffee connections thanks to Rayn and Susan and also, I’m pretty darned resourceful when it comes to the drugs needed to make the experience.

And of course I ‘complain’ about the sun and the heat and the humidity, but I have friends who will have staked out a place in the shade in the beer garden and I will go there to collapse (and drink a delicious local beer, perhaps) and recuperate (and still listen to the music). Also, I will have my annual chance to see fireflies (which were called lightning bugs as a kid growing up in PA); they’re not something that I get to experience in my SF life.

I don’t know how it’s suddenly a week away. I feel like I just bought my plane tickets. I feel like I’m not ready but Spike has sitters and what do I really need besides our tickets (in email) and a valid form of ID to board the plane and some ear protection? Mags will make it super simple for me, as always, by having our palatial albeit a bit dilapidated tent and an EZ-Up and chairs and sheets and pillows and all those things. My thermarest decided to live in Gaithersburg, MD (thanks Doll!) so I will reunite with it there. So I’m ready, I guess, besides work deadlines (always — have you met me?).

So today I finally start to look at the final line-up and the schedule and I was like wha?! What craziness is this…

Friday, we have:

  • The Hollering Pines — I’ve been wanting to see this band since the last time they played at RWR (2 years ago?).
  • Charley Crockett — My first introduction to him was also at RWR, but I’ve seen him since and he is impressive. If you haven’t checked him out yet, you really should!
  • Mandolin Orange — Also a RWR find from my first year at RWR.  This band may have saved my life the first year because I *was* that guy that first year, but I have learned my lesson (sort of…). They are awesome, if you haven’t listened to ‘Waltz About Whiskey’, you should!
  • The Judy Chops — A local VA band that I’ve been introduced to via RWR; they’re always fun and do some interesting covers, though in the moment, I can’t think of any specific other than I know they covered a Doors song (which one — I couldn’t tell you; only that I liked it which basically covers every Doors song ever)
  • The Lil Smokies — They’ve played RWR in the past, but I don’t believe I’ve managed to see them. I look forward to seeing them this year.
  • The Wood Brothers — Anyone who knows me knows how much I love The Wood Brothers. This is AWESOME. Downside is that Larry Keel is playing at the same time and I think that he’s someone that I’m ‘supposed to’ see, but never do…

Saturday, we have:

  • Locust Honey — I’m pretty sure they were at RWRII and I’m pretty sure that I liked them
  • Jordan Tice — He will be a nice way to get the day started
  • Lula Wiles — Highly recommended by my co-Americanafest attendee, Andrea, I’m looking forward to this one!
  • Della Mae — I know I’ve seen them before and I know I liked them but I’m not sure where.  Maybe The Chapel; maybe they were the band that made me realize that high-waisted jeans were coming back oh-so-many years ago.  Maybe at a festival on the East Coast. Maybe seeing them at RWRVII will help me remember…
  • The Steel Wheels — The local VA band that puts this festival together. This is a highlight for me EVERY year.
  • Lucinda Williams — It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her in anything other than a song circle. I’m looking forward to seeing her again after all these years.

Sunday, we have:

  • The Gospel Set — This is a perfect way to start off Sunday and I always look forward to this — The Steel Wheels, joined by various friends
  • Dead Horses — One of the few bands that I discovered elsewhere…. they opened for Elephant Revival in SF years ago and I’ve seen them numerous times since then. They always satisfy and are really nice people!

  • Birds of Chicago — I cannot recommend this band enough! Seriously!!! They are unbelievable and I *cannot* wait to see them again, especially since I’m gonna have to miss them when they are in the Bay Area next as I have a prior obligation/engagement. Thank you KC Turner for this introduction! Also, could not be nicer people!

  • Lindsay Lou — Another RWR introduction. The first year she played, I didn’t see her set, but she got up and sang ‘Morning Time’ with Ben Morrison/The Brothers Comatose and she did an excellent job. Since then, I’ve seen her perform at RWR with the Flatbellies and in Nashville at Americanafest with a different band. I like her!
  • The Tribute Set  — Though this isn’t actually the end of the festival, this is always a nice way to bring things together at the end. Last year, the tribute was Tom Petty and it was the best since Guy Clark (which brought me to tears — what a loss and I’m so grateful for EVERY time that I saw him at HSB and in other venues). I had a very ‘you never know what someone else is going through’ moment with another woman during this set and it made me emotional for months after when I tried to talk about it.

That segues into my usual ‘support live music!’ rant; it really does make a difference in the lives of so many people. It has given me hope and I genuinely believe that it saved my life! If it didn’t save it, it made it worth living!

It’s gonna be so much goodness! I’m even trying to talk my parents into coming… and this doesn’t even cover all new music that I’m going to be introduced to this year! Oh my!

The Redwood Mountain Faire

This is where I’m heading today…

RMF-Poster-web

It seems like a gimme with a line-up like that. I mean, music outside in the Santa Cruz mountains, among the redwood trees and the hippies. The weather looks like it’s going to be beautiful. It’s a benefit for local non-profits AND it’s only $30 (if you are a slacker like me and didn’t get your ticket in advance) to see two of your (my) favorite bands, The Brothers Comatose and Dustbowl Revival. Make sure to bring your lampshade; you can use it as a hat!

Chances are I’ll like some of the other bands as well; they’re just unknown at this point. Tomorrow’s line-up holds a few knowns that I’m planning to see as well, including Jesse Daniel, The Rainbow Girls and Elliott Peck (Midnight North).

Bring your own pint glass for $2 off!

Icing on the cake, hanging with my SIL and seeing my BIL who I haven’t seen in a dog’s age!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Crude tonight (May 25th) at The Chapel

The real question is… why wouldn’t you?

My introduction to Sweet Crude this year at SXSW almost won them the SXSW2019 Jammies award. They were *that* good. And there was fried chicken! They were entertaining AF and quite talented to boot.  This band, hailing from NoLA, mostly sings in French and everyone in the band seems to play drums. Their music makes you want to move (both in a dancing way and in a ‘why don’t I live in NoLA?’ way). I don’t think you’ll want to miss this show.

They are opening for a band about whom I know nothing except the name and what The Chapel wrote about them.  The Teskey Brothers is the band and this is what The Chapel wrote… ‘Honouring that old school Motown sound and working it into something of their very own, the band have received widespread acclaim for their gorgeous debut album Half Mile Harvest. A raw combination of soul and blues, the record has warmed the hearts of listeners everywhere with it’s melancholic, analogue tones.’

Sounds good, right?  And you know what? If they aren’t my jam, I’ll be fine paying $20 to see Sweet Crude open for them.  See you by 9 at The Chapel tonight?

 

Go Pray, It’s Sunday (aka Reverend Hylton @ Hotel Utah)

I should have posted this sooner, but then as Andee and I were ending our call, she asked who I was going to see today and I said Reverend Hylton and she said ‘Oh yeah! Go pray. It’s Sunday.’ and we both laughed and that inspired me to FINALLY write this post.

The last time I saw Reverend Hylton, which was also at Hotel Utah, he was opening for Gill Landry and I don’t know what it was, but I really liked him. I mean, I often like the opening band, but this was different. This was like when I saw Darrin Bradbury and felt like he knew me because he knew where I came from, both geographically and culturally.

I bought Reverend Hylton’s CD while we were talking to him after his show. I’ve been following him ever since, though I haven’t seen him perform again. He’s made in near SF a few times, but hasn’t made it back here until now. I’m all in!

The show starts at 6 pm and he’s the first performer. I don’t even know if I’ll stay for the other bands. To be fair, this is my last weekend before leaving for my annual NYC/PHL journey and I have much to do, including cleaning and packing. Daylight’s wasting! See you at 6?

Sweet Spirit Tonight (4/2) at BotH and Low Cut Connie on Sat (4/6) at GAMH

Killing two birds with one stone today cause I need to tell you about these amazing bands that are playing in SF this week and I also need to work (so that I can make the money required for this rock-n-roll lifestyle)

Sweet Spirit hails from Austin. TX. Andee had told me about them when I visited for her birthday in 2017. She asked Alexa to play ‘The Power’ for me (many times!) and we would dance around the house shouting ‘I got the power here inside of myself’ which is a great girl-power anthem. ‘The Power’ has been a lead tune in my ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ playlist (which is really just female voices, but sometimes there are anthemic songs like this one).

So I got back to SF, added them to my ‘What I’m Listening to Right Now’ playlist (because it was before my ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ playlist was needed) and realized that they were playing in SF 2 weeks later at Brick and Mortar. I convinced Rod that we needed to go see this band. (It didn’t take a lot of convincing…)

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It was a great night at Brick & Mortar. I still have no idea who the opening band was, but they were so much fun. The dude put on this giant rabbit head towards the end of the show. When I was looking through my pics, I couldn’t understand why they were all out of focus, and then I realized they were all photos of the rabbit head on stage (and not the band).

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Then Sweet Spirit took the stage. They killed it. Sabrina Ellis, the lead singer, is a cheerleader on stage, but she’s a cheerleader that you would like.  She’s the bad cheerleader…

As for Low Cut Connie… I’m going to ping back to my original post about them.  It’s short, sweet and to the point… you don’t want to miss them.  They are always a good time and I love me a good Philly band!  Plus I think we might have a crew for this show!

Driftwood (and Red Wing Roots)

I know that I talk about the Red Wing Roots festival all the time. I can’t put my finger on what makes it such a special festival; I know, for me, the women that attend the festival with me contribute strongly to the feelings. I started attending the festival with my college roomie and we’ve grown our group of regulars. I also have met some super amazing people there who I consider a part of my group of regulars. In particular, two women — Rayn and Susan. They are fun and funny and they provide me with hot water for my coffee (and sometimes coffee and other goodies too); they are also local and can provide insight on the smaller local bands that we really shouldn’t miss.

They introduced me to Driftwood and it was love at first sight. I’ve seen Driftwood perform at RWR twice now, both times on the smaller, tented stage. This band gives an excellent live performance! Claire Byrne fronts this band with a violin and her vocals.  I’ve seen the drummer perform on her violin with her.

Both times that I’ve seen the band, they have owned the crowd. The first time, I have to give some of the credit to Brad, who Rayn introduced me to. He was a dancing fool and managed to get pretty much the entire tent up and dancing with the assistance of a handful of young girls dressed like Brandi Carlile. Let’s just say that Brad knows how to bring the fun! It may be fueled by alcohol, but it is fun! (I’m trying to find my pictures from that year.)

This was all a long story to tell you that Driftwood will be performing at the Hotel Utah this Thursday night, March 28th. I plan to be there. You should too! I expect it to be every bit as good as the past performances that I’ve seen. I’m super glad they are finally making it to the west coast.  Let’s make it worth it for them!!!

It was also a nod to the fact that Kuinka (Saturday night’s show) was also a Red Wing Roots find and they are FUN!!! Check out the video clip posted on I/G.

SXSW2019, Wednesday March 13th

Update: Congratulations to The ARTISANALS for their 2019 Jammy Award!

After seeing more than 50 bands/shows this week, it’s been decided. The Artisanals are the band you should listen to right now. Good ol’ fashioned mid-American rock sung by a guy who looks like Jesus. These guys look like they are having fun while also sounding great. They “brought” the performance with a shirt-off-on-your-knees ending, winning them this years Jammy Award! Congratulations fellows.

The Artisanals at the Shiner Saloon started us off and boy, did they!!! This was Rob’s #1 priority for the day and I’m glad we tagged along! They sounded so good and they played like the place was packed and they weren’t the opening band in a day-show line-up. With a knee dropping jam at the end, I was not sure it if it was 3am or 3pm when they were done with us. They were a really good-time and head-banging Jesus (aka Johnny Delaware) hugged me after the performance and thanked us for coming. Now if we could only get Alexa to recognize the request of playing The Artisanals.

Following The Artisanals, we got a nice surprise and got to see The Brother Brothers. This showcase was curated by a Bay Area nonprofit, Conscious Immaturity whose mission is to bring music to schools. I will say this line-up should have probably been reversed, as The Brother Brothers are quiet and mellow and beautiful (and yes, Andee, they are brothers) and The Artisanals were loud and rocking and totally brought it!

Dogs are fucking cool! Yes, dogs are fucking cool!!! Things you learn from the bartender….

Then we tried to decide about food… one of us mentioned hanger, so we ate at the food trucks and then we walked to Hotel San Jose for SXSJ2019.

On the way, we stopped at Yeti and saw Jackie Venson. I liked the Yeti store, but I didn’t like the people at the Yeti store. The crowd was there to be seen and that’s not my jam, so we moseyed onward to SXSJ.

Robert Ellis entertained us in his white suit sitting behind his piano. At some point, he sang a song about Topo Chico’s and lime and then sprayed the crowd with a Topo.  This was much preferable to the time I saw him open for Deer Tick when he sprayed the crowd with a beer. At the time, the bro crowd loved it; I did not, but I guess that’s the price you pay for liking Deer Tick. They attract the bro’s. (See Trampled By Turtles)

The Black Pumas (with Adrian Quesada)

These guys and gals jammed. We were tired but they still had us on our feet dancing.

SXSW2019, Saturday March 16th

Well, we got into the Rachel Ray party at Stubb’s. Big thanks to Lauren from KOLARS! We can’t wait to see you play.

While waiting in line for the food, we listened to Bob Schneider open one of the stages. It’s okay cause I didn’t pay for it; let’s not forget that he’s a misogynist and we don’t support that.

Now we are listening to J.S. Ondara though it’s a talky crowd and he’s not that loud so it’s a little distracting. The indoor room at Stubb’s is small and intimate, almost church-like in the light of day. Dark on the inside with sunlight streaming in the upper windows. The music was very folky and slow and J.S. Ondara wore a great outfit, complete with white patent leather shoes. This guy could have just stepped off a train in 1940 something. His story is that he moved to MN from Kenya, so that he could be like his idol, Bob Dylan.

KOLARS! And they were so rock-n-roll that they got cutoff. It was awesome! I want Lauren, the drummer to have a taller stage so that everyone can see the rhythmic passion poured out on the drum stage she is dancing on. Then I get concerned that if she did have a tall stage, Rob Kolar would knock her over with his Elvis shake, rattle n’ roll. I have nothing to worry about. These are fucking professionals. They load and unload with precision, are never too tired to bring it and would never fall down, but if they did, it would look like it was just part of the show.

Watching KOLARS is just so fun. For starters, they sound great. I’m excited to hear some new stuff from them. We had a preview of a new song at the Fairmont Hotel and although it was a little softer, it was really lovely. Second, they are great to look at. Sure, they are pretty people but they also wear shiny shiny outfits that ensure you know they are fucking rock stars!

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. He wears a bad-ass hat to let you know that he is a fucking rock star. Check out that hat. Also, check out that tiny house on the hill. It’s been there for the last 60+ years and the condos were all built around it in the last 10 years. Ahh, Austin, you’re still cool but there’s a reason folks like the Nelson’s want to live out in the country.

Lukas was having sound issues from a bad wire, which finally got worked out mid-set and made the end oh-so-good… I always love to hear ‘Find Yourself’. I was sad to miss Billy Raffoul but Lukas was really fun to see and sometimes you gotta love the one you’re with.

Big Joanie

We arrived at SX San Jose just in time to get a coffee (dosed lightly with some whiskey to warm us on this chilly Austin day) and wait 30ish min in line to get in to SXSJ. Before we get into our arrival and the SXSJ line-up though, we need to have a quick digression to talk about our Lyft driver, Lauren, and our Lyft ride to SXSJ.  Lauren was the most fun Lyft driver we had; she had the right attitude about working SX and we had a fun, giggly ride with her. She wins the Jammie for best driver! We also saw this giant armadillo (bicycle) that was coming right for us (and looking at us!). Awesome sauce! Check out our Instagram at didwejam for that video.

Big Joanie, a 3-piece black female group, was taking the stage just as we got in (1 in 1 out). They were enjoyable and we found Rob immediately and not long after hooked up with Johnnie from Utopia Fest.

After Big Joanie, Hayes Carll took the stage. Boy do we love Hayes Carll!

This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Hayes this month so we are essentially friends, right? Each time I like him for different reasons. This time it was because he seems like he is so at ease. He’s not amused, more bemused.

Next up: Combo Chimbita. They were lively and she played a very interesting instrument.

Ben Kweller, an Austin native favorite! The crowd was just loving on him!

To close out the night and the 20th anniversary of SXSJ, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. They attracted a crowd we weren’t really jamming with. There was the overly aggressive big white guy with the tiny girlfriend who wanted to be right up front (which wasn’t the issue so much as that they also wanted to take up way more than the amount of space that was left when everyone jammed in there) and then the guy who recorded a full 20 min (at least) of the show with his thick arm in the air. We headed to the back, but my bet is that he recorded the ENTIRE show.

She was pretty, sounded good, was polished… but it wasn’t doing it for us. Even our camera wouldn’t keep focus anymore. It was a little too clean if that makes sense. Maybe it was just us that had been tattered from the long week so we headed home.

Tomorrow is the Jammies!

 

SXSW2019, Friday March 15th

Sitting around the kitchen table, talking about our day… just had our Tyson’s (and our leftover pizza).  We have a game plan… let’s see how close we get to the plan!

First up… Zilker Brewery

Turns out it wasn’t quite at Zilker Brewery. Pro tip: compare the address on the invite to the address of the actual brewery and then re-adjust.

Now that we are here, it’s perfect. The sound is amazing. Erika and band are playing just for us, or so it feels and there’s plenty of alcohol. If only the Topo-Chico’s had followed us this morning to help temper the day. The Nine Banded Whiskey followed us and that could be a problem!

I want to feel extraordinary love. A love that only comes from inside, that’s what Erika is singing to us right now. And now we have a queer rapper who’s also reminding us to love ourselves. And now we have a queer rapper, Chris Conde, who’s also reminding us to love ourselves; he was sitting with us during Erika’s show. I have a video clip of his that I posted on I/G (didwejam), but I can’t get it not to turn sideways here. I’m not that tech-y.

Bryan got to be a fan-boy with Erika.

Following that is where things get dicey — surprise!  There are three bands that we want to see at 3 pm.

  1. Andrew Bird
  2. KOLARS
  3. Hayes Carll

KOLARS is fun and we did try to go to see this show yesterday, but I don’t think we are going to make it again today. Sad face!

UPDATE: Oh, except we did! NOT!! We were too late for the performance but we did get to hug Lauren again! Also, we got to pick up the guest passes that she gave us to get into the Rachel Ray part on Saturday. Lauren is officially THE BEST!!

While we were at Little Woodruff’s, we did get to see Mystery Lights. ‘Lights’ would be the word you want to include in your band name this year or at least something that resembles light.

Hayes Carll — So want to see Hayes Carll.  Love him so much, but he’s the only one at Waterloo that I really want to see. Also…

The line-up at the Barracuda looks amazing and that’s where we’d be seeing Andrew Bird. So we’ll see where we end up for that.

The answer: The Barracuda. Cherry Glazer. The Beths. The Nude Party. Justin Townes Earle. Andrew Bird. Heart Bones. Sad to leave before Low Cut Connie, but we had a goal in mind and it included food, of the fried chicken variety. Mmmmm!

There were also two inside bands that we didn’t see, but we did walk through to get to the restrooms. One sounded fine to me (Sam Fender); the second sounded very angry (Fontaines D.C.). I don’t feel I can honestly say anything about them though; it was a short trip in and out.

UPDATE: The Current’s Day Show line-up at the Barracuda

Cherry Glazer –I wanted to like her/this band, but I couldn’t really hear her vocals and they just didn’t grab me. I went inside to try to win a trip to Bonneroo, grab some swag, give away some cards and get in position for The Beths

The Beths — This band hails from New Zealand and it was an emotional show — the morning following the New Zealand massacre. They started out with ‘Future Me Hates e’ which is the song of theirs that grabbed me months ago. There was a setlist change when lead singer, Elizabeth Stokes, got emotional trying to launch into whichever songs had been listed next. She apologized for the emotion after getting a hug from her band-mate, but there was no need; we are all human and it’s good to be reminded of our humanity in times filled with so much hate and divisiveness. I give this band a lot of credit for performing solidly albeit emotionally.

The Nude Party — This was another surprisingly fun band. Thee were some maracas; how can that not be fun? Seriously though, I thoroughly enjoyed them and they remained clothed despite their name.

Justin Townes Earle — What can I say about JTE? He wow-ed me the first time I saw him live at GAMH. I can’t even remember how long ago it was, but it was definitely before 2011 and my return to SF. I have been known to say that he isn’t as good since he got sober and while that may be true sometimes, sometimes he’s every bit as good. This for me, was one of those times. Also, he threatened someone in the audience, saying that his mother could kick the audience member’s ass. I loved his description of his mom; something about white trash. I also might have hugged him after his performance when I got to (drunkenly) tell him about my deep and abiding love for him. I wanted to offer to feed him, but I think he has someone filling that role at this stage in his life and I don’t want to interfere.

Andrew Bird — He played his flute. He whistled. He sang. He was Andrew Bird and that is why we love him!

On our way out (to head to Lucy’s for both food and music), we caught a bit of Heart Bones. I think this is a performance that you need to be able to see and I really couldn’t see.

So this is where we separate (divide and conquer) and Andee and I head to Little Woodruff’s to pick up our guest passes and the guys head to Lucy’s via Cedar Street where they stop for appetizers.

We plan to end up at Lucy’s Fried Chicken for Sweet Crude and Matthew Logan Vasquez. Achieved ✔️

We’ll update this and you can rate us on how close we stay to schedule. It’ll probably be a shitshow!

UPDATE: Andee and I hop on the bus to get to Lucy’s and arrive way before the boys. So much so that we’ve already ordered and are eating before they even arrive And the chicken there was just as good as I remembered it being last year (kinda like Tyson’s Tacos — they never disappoint!)

There’s a band on stage when we arrive, Beebe Sings Sahm. The most notable thing about them is that someone in their band stole Erika Wennerstrom’s blue suit. She definitely wore it better!

So, Sweet Crude took the stage and they rocked it. They were definitely my favorite of the day and a strong contender for the 2019 SXSW Jammies. This NOLA band is definitely a band that you’ll want to see live. They rocked my little world! I hope to see the again in the near future! My video is also sideways, so you’ll have to go to I/G to see that one too!

Matthew Logan Vasquez followed Sweet Crude and I think this was unfortunate for him and his contention as a Jammie winner because though I thought he was great (and definitely plan to see him the next time he plays SF), he could not surpass the impression that Sweet Crude had made on me!

Andee’s friend Peggy joined us and we ordered some more food and we enjoyed MLV and then we headed home! It was a long bus ride home, but it was a good day!

 

 

 

 

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