I got the GRASS & Blues

We made it to the Congress Theater after running into some of the great Chicago traffic we all hear about….this helped ease into the rippin’ blues that Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials were delivering as we made our way into the mouth of the theater. Lil Ed is a true showman and the skills of the band had the joint jumpin in rhythm and howling with the feelin’. I am big on Lil Ed!! Majors Junction picked their family style grass to the pleasure of the crowd, with tantalizing twanging, smiling faces and sweet sounds, Majors Junction was quick into the hearts of those with listening ears. In between all of the acts is a picking circle high up in the balcony, sort of Muppet show like at times with the spotlight hitting them up just right-they kept your foot stomping while waiting for the next act to follow on the big stage. In the front of the house was a second smaller stage filled with bands a plenty knockin’ it into the next big act in the great room. Ha Ha Tonka, neither blues nor bluegrass made its way on stage to a warm reception. These boys like to rock and with harmonies and moments of a’capella–they sure have a sound worth checking into on any billing. But the reason for my getting involved in this festival, the David Grisman Quintet made an immediate impact as soon as the Dawg and his mates took the stage. This is no ordinary act, no easy way to categorize Blues/Bluegrass or otherwise, this is a fusion of global quiet music set to the time of another place…a space occupied and polised up by the Dawg himself. I watched the crowd try to believe what they were seeing when that little Mandolin made such sweetness on stage. I look into the dreamy eyes of those witnessing the Quintet for the first time in complete amazement that these “old timers” could be so damn electrified without being plugged in. Chicago’s Don Stiernberg joined the group on stage for a few tunes and before you know it, the set was through leaving David and the audience ready for the next time. Closing out the evening was the Avett Brothers. Somehow these fellas have figured out a way of capturing true Americana in a bottle and releasing it at will onto those who never knew and those who love them so. I was somewhere in the middle when the night started and now am a fan. I am already looking forward to next year’s potential as this was the first go around for this festival, while the kinks are worked out—start preparing yourself for next year’s event now.

Check out my chat w/Mike Raspetello, the Director of the festival HERE.

About grnarrow

Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply