Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7-3 to 7-6-2014 Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

We were fortunate to be settled into our new apartment in time for the Waterfront Blues Festival again - and we are living only 3 blocks away from the park where it's held!  That made it so easy to enjoy the full 4 days (about 40 hours of all types of blues)!  We enjoy the legendary musicians AND the newcomers, so, for what it's worth, here's our 2 cents about the performances we saw (and this is chronological)...
First, here's a general idea of what the festival looks like.  Food tents to the left, Willamette River to the right,
main stage behind us, secondary stage at the far end, and two more stages on the other side of the bridge
that aren't even pictured.  Believe we heard there were 7,000 people there.

DAY 1 - Thursday, July 3rd
Hammer Lane Blues Club
Simon Tucker Band
We saw these guys last year on a smaller stage (instead of Robert Plant, actually) and they rocked!
This year they seemed good, but not as intense as Cara remembers.  Maybe we missed something coming
in about halfway through their set.
Rose City Kings
Franck "Paris Slim" Goldwasser w/Jimmy Pugh & Tony Coleman
Rae Gordon Big Band
The singer had quite a strong voice.  They were fun to listen to.
Tim Williams
Just a man and his guitar (or banjo).  This guy was fun to listen to on the smaller stage.
Homemade Jamz
This is a family band from Tupelo, Mississippi, and they were fantastic!!!  Now the vocalist and guitarist, Ryan Perry,
is 22, the bassist, Kyle, is 20, and the drummer, Taya, is 15.  According to the bio in the Blues Festival program,
though, they got signed when they were just 16, 14, and 9! Oh, and the brothers' instruments were made by
their father from auto parts.  Notice the mufflers coming out.  And yes, it shot out blue smoke during their last song.
Homemade Jamz
Ryan jumped down into the audience near the end of their set, taking time to let fans take pictures with him
while he continued playing.
We saw her at last year's Blues Festival as well.  A big deal was made about her.  She was good then, and good now,
but more showy now, Cara thinks.  She had on an incredible amount of eye makeup, and huge false lashes that
looked like they might take flight at any moment.
Los Lonely Boys
We were only able to catch them on the screen, and they were really good.  We weren't familiar with them before,
but we are certainly fans now.
This is the view watching a band on the screen.  Still not bad, since you also get a lovely view behind the screen.
Omara "Bombino" Moctar, from Nigeria and the nomadic Tuareg people, blew Cara away that night!
Great sounds!  Tons of energy!  
Los Lobos
They played their entire set with Los Lonely Boys, and they really rocked! Great show!

DAY 2 - Friday, July 4th
Blind Boy Paxton
We only caught the tail end of his act, but he was really good.  We knew we had to see him again.
Ben Rice and the iLLamatics
We saw Ben Rice last year and really liked him.  He was a winner in the 2013 Journey to Memphis competition.
Once again, he was fun to listen to.
LOVE Ben Rice's beautiful steel guitar!
Homemade Jamz
We liked them so much the first time, we just had to see them again.
Blind Boy Paxton
Cara was thrilled to get another chance to see him, and he was great on this smaller, more intimate stage.
He is amazingly talented, and pretty darn funny!  For example, when he asked the audience what we wanted to hear,
and the same person yelled out the same thing twice, he replied, "I heard you the first time.  My name's not
Deaf Boy Paxton."  He also did a great performance of a really funny song called "Natural Ti**y Blues"
(yes, the name is edited, but it's what you think).
Joy Now Marching Band
So, the March Fourth Marching Band (a really awesome, funky, "alternative" marching band that we were lucky
enough to see once in Bloomington, Indiana) puts on summer camps for kids in Portland to encourage them to
play an instrument, sing, dance, stilt-walk, etc.  The performers in the Joy Now Marching Band are from a summer
camp, and learned their songs in just 4 days.  No, it wasn't the tightest set, but Cara loved it.  The kids were
having a blast, and their performances were creative and fun.  The singer was particularly good. 
Joy Now Marching Band
It was kind of impressive how good some of the girls were on stilts, and with only a few days of practice. 
Northwest Women in R&B
It's Lisa Mann on bass guitar here, and Diane Blue on harmonica, but we're not sure the singer's name or the other
guys playing.  They played well together, though, and we enjoyed sitting and listening to them.

At one point they had a special guest on stage, Marlana VanHoose from United by Music.  As soon as she started
 singing "At Last" everybody stood up, watched her in awe, and cried.  Amazing!  Watch for this girl in the future.

Bill Rhoades' Harmonica Blow-off
This was a rotating set of musicians.  Not as much harmonica playing as we expected from the name, but still good
to listen to for a bit.
Thara Memory's American Music Program
Apparently this famous musician is giving back by teaching young people about music.  Most of his band members
this night were students.  This young saxophone player, Nicole something, really stood out.

DAY 3 - Saturday, July 5th
Ayron Jones & the Way
They were new to us, but these guys really rocked!
Ayron Jones & the Way
This is Ayron using a guitar stick to play his guitar, very well in fact.
Lots of sound coming from just these two guys!  Kind of like a harder, louder bluegrass.  We really liked them.
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials
Mysti Krewe of Nimbus processional
A processional from the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus (Portland's Mardi Gras krewe) kicked off a tribute to the late Jim Miller.
She was new to us, but she was fine.  Cara did see her twice more during the festival enjoying bands from the crowd
(not the side stage like other performers), so it did seem like she was trying to absorb all she could from other musicians.
Charlie Musselwhite
Cara's sister, Kathleen, and her husband, Ross, joined us for a bit Saturday afternoon.  Ross' whole reason for coming
was to see Charlie Musselwhite.  We all thoroughly enjoyed his performance.  Great harmonica player!

Kathleen even got Charlie Musselwhite to sign his CD for Ross.
A signed CD for Ross...
Otis Taylor with Mato Nanji
This band rocked!  Also, the violinist at left was incredible!  Amazing talent, and an awesome stage presence - she
could have her own show!
Otis Taylor with Mato Nanji
Otis Taylor came through the audience playing his harmonica.
Maceo Parker
Very enjoyable!  Several of his bandmates are relatives, and they are all really good.
Maceo Parker

DAY 4 - Sunday, July 6th
Ural Thomas & the Pain
Cara had noticed that these guys will be playing a free concert at the Rose Garden in August, and the description
of them sounded good, so when we saw they would be at the Blues Festival we had to check them out.
Tons of energy, and leaning more toward funk than blues, we definitely enjoyed them.
Andy T & Nick Nixon Band w/Anson Funderburgh
These guys were good!
Chris Bergson Band w/Jay Collins
Joan Osborne with the Holmes Brothers
Cara could not wait to see Joan, and she was awesome!  While the Holmes Brothers (new to us) were good,
and apparently they helped out Joan when she was first starting, Cara would have loved to have heard more from
Joan herself.  They only had a little over an hour to play, and the Holmes Brothers played about 4-5 five songs of
their own.
Joan Osborne
Cara loved her version of a Grateful Dead song (don't know the title).  Something about sleeping by the water and
letting the river sings songs to rock my soul.  We're outdoorsy, so that totally spoke to Cara.
Boz Scaggs
He was good, and we recognized several songs, but we just weren't feeling it from him as expected.  Plus, he "ended"
his set 20 minutes early only to make us cheer for an "encore", which it really wasn't since his scheduled time wasn't
up anyway.  I guess that's a pet peeve of Cara's.  Cara prefers bands that just jam their entire time, or maybe give a
"we got time for one more" warning, but not ones that make you beg for more because they can.
Curtis Salgado
Now here is a performer!!!  He stepped in last minute for the ailing Gregg Allman, and he totally rocked it from the
moment he stepped on stage to the moment he left.  Great energy, NO breaks between songs, no long intros, just
jammin' the whole time!   Now, the crowd did insist on an encore from him, but it was valid - he had already played 10
minutes over his allotted time.  Apparently he is a legend in Portland.  He was new to us, but we're definitely fans now!

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