Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Great Shows

In the last two weeks I caught both Ozomatli and the Indigo Girls shows again. Many of my friends know and love Ozomatli. They are out of this world good.

The same friends giggle and give me a quizzical look when I tell them I also went to see Indigo Girls. I don't understand--the Indigo Girls have such incredible talent. Very few performers sound better than their studio album when they perform. The Indigo Girls always do, even songs they first recorded 20 years ago. They harmonize perfectly and consistently. They both are master guitar players. They write their own material, songs that have become hits over the course of two decades. They are in a league that very few musicians reach. As Kim Ruehl wrote on About.com, "They still have a hauntingly impressive grasp on their mad skills as polyphonic harmonizers."

So I remain confused why my friends deride them. Give me insight between black and white.

Greatest Going Home Song Ever

All evening I've pondered: What is the greatest Going Home song of all time? After hours and hours of thought (equivalent to microseconds of thought for the average person) and a bit of ipodding, I think I have an answer.

Here's the top four, in no particular order
  1. "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys
  2. "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel
  3. Aimee Mann and Michael Penn's cover of The Beatles' "Two of Us"
  4. "Comin' Home" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  5. "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

High Sierra Music Festival

We went to check out the High Sierra Music Festival over Fourth of July weekend. I had never been--never even heard of it--but do hope to return again in the future. It's a pretty low-key festival with big name artists. Plus we escaped Sunday morning for awhile and had a beautiful and perfect hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Bucks Summit to Spanish Peak.

A Banghra-House-Celtic fusion group from Vancouver called Delhi 2 Dublin brought down the house on Friday morning. To get a bunch of hippies moshing before noon on a Friday takes supreme talent. These guys are the real deal. We loved them. Check them out if you can.

We arrived almost too late on Thursday to catch any of John Butler. Luckily we caught the last song of the main set and the entire encore. He was incredible, too. For the few songs we heard he played solo or just had a drummer but no matter. I was blown away by how one man can create such a sound. I hear a lot of singer-songwriters with just an acoustic guitar and a lot of times after a song or two all their material starts to sound the same. Not the case with Butler. I argue that no solo artist can match Butler's dynamic performance.

The other surprise of the weekend was Paper Bird from Colorado. These guys play Folk/Americana and just had fantastic energy. I loved their ode to Colorado. They have 3 women lead singing whose harmonies harken to a past era and put a smile on your face.

I hadn't seen Ani DiFranco in years. She had a great performance and the crowd loved her.

So what's with the coconut craze? Everything at the festival involved coconuts. There was a dread-locked overall wearing hippie wandering around selling them with rum. There was a vendor in the food court selling them and the ice cream vendor had replaced cow's cream with coconut milk in their ice cream. I don't recommend the coconut ice cream. Plus, at $3 for about an ounce of ice cream, it's way out of my hippie budget. Did I miss something? Are coconuts the next Big Thing?

A lot of folks camp right in the fairgrounds. Some even sleep right in the horse stalls. No thanks. We chose to take the less cramped free camping about a mile east of the fairgrounds. They had a free shuttle running between the festival and the campground but honestly we never took it. Even though it was pretty hot we still enjoyed the walk...except when I dropped the car key in the middle of the festival and we had to walk back and look for it and then back to the car again. Luckily someone turned it in to Lost and Found! Thank you, whoever you are!

Next time, and there will be a next time, I aim to try and camp in the trees just to the left and just outside of the main entrance.