bluesinthenorthwest.com on tour – Days 5 and 6

Posted on: Monday, Oct 13, 2008

Unfortunately I lost my carefully prepared notes from Friday and Saturday to a mobile phone/laptop synchronisation error.  So the thoughts fron these two days are recorded from Memphis airport on the way home clouded by a lot of blues and the odd alcoholic beverage.

Friday

Friday was hot, really hot – the weather and the music.  Highlights were (numerous)….

  •  – An early funky set from Hamilton Loomis on the main stage.  It was great to see a young man playing it funky and the funky stuff broke up the more traditional blues very well.
  •  – Solid and tough sets of Chicago Blues from Carl Weathersby and Michael Burks.
  •  – Pinetop and Margolin on the main stage.
  •  – I missed Moreland and Arbuckle on the second stage but luckily they did a great show on the street that night.
  •  – Willie King on the second stage.

Saturday

Saturday was hotter on both counts.

The early main stage shows went pretty much unwatched by me, not due to the talent of the performers but due to the strong sunshine.  I waited until the shadow from the stage covered my location.   I was wandering up and down the main street watching the performers on the street and trying to find shade at the second stage.

I was back in time to see a strong set of great songs from Rick Estrin and the Nightcats with the great Kid Andersen on fab toned guitar.  All the band were great showmen.  When the guitar and bass player turned round to play over their heads, the drummer also turned around and played backwards.  Rick, as usual playing the hands-free harp.  Great stuff!

Janiva was on next and was simply stunning.  I watched pretty much the whole show from the press pit at the front as I just could not go back to my seat.  She has so much charisma and presence but of course it’s not just that – she also has a stupendous voice and a great band.  Sitting in was Bob Margolin and the whole lot of them were having a ball.  Special mention to regular guitarist Zack Zunis, a great player who I have not heard of since he played with Bill Clarke back in the 90s.  Janiva connected with everyone: the crush at the front to the punters sitting in the sun at the back on the levee.  at one point she looked straight into my eyes and sang two straight linesof the song directly at me – I was very moved indeed.  Very intense!

Anson and the Rockets struggled somewhat to follow Janiva – but anyone would have found it hard.  I took another walk, so I did not see much of Hubert, I did see a bit of Ben Prestage on the second stage and he was very good – great facial hair too.

Also on the second stage were one of the festival highlights for me.  Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm playing some loud and raucous Mississippi Juke Joint Blues.  The absolute business!!

Bobby Rush closed the festival and in fine style too.  A great show – to the many many thousands of happy punters.  What a legend.  He came with the full band, the hoochie mama dancers and his great patter and entertainment.  But not only is the schtick very good but the music is top notch.

Festival over – I give joint highlight honours to Janiva and Bobby Rush.

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