Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My thoughts on the Newport Folk Festival

My last Newport Folk Festival post for awhile.  I promise.

Biggest disappointment: The Weather

On Saturday I was forced to leave my favorite band's (My Morning Jacket) set early to get on a water taxi line.  Selfishly, I'm at peace with it because I didn't miss anything.  I was able to hear their abbreviated set while on the line.  Our big concern was for our 2 month old who my wife had to wear for the 90 minute water taxi line.  My two year old was loving the rain.  The whole time you could see him kicking his feet and smiling in the stroller.  Since neither of our kids woke up with a cold the next day, years from now it will be another "remember how crazy it was when..." story.  On Sunday I wasn't planning on staying for Jackson Browne anyway but my wife was looking forward to seeing Tallest Man on Earth.  In fear of having a similar experience to Saturday's downpour, we bailed on that set a little early as well when it started to rain.  But he sounded amazing.  Side note though, for most of the day when it was overcast it was great not to have to worry about the sun burning my kids.  I'd sign up for overcast any year.  Better than unrelenting 96 degree heat.

Runner up: Being shut out of getting a poster.

Biggest regret: Not getting to the Harbor Stage earlier on both days

I really got in to Apache Relay in the weeks leading up to the festival but unfortunately were only able to get there for the last 5 songs or so.  But my recent fan-dom was warranted.  They were great.  On Sunday we wanted to get there early again but the urgency wasn't there since we figured the ground was wet and as much as I was getting into the Deep Dark Woods album they weren't as high on my list as Apache Relay.  But the feedback I got from their set makes me wish I'd had a little more hop in my step Sunday morning.

Runner up: I was only able to stay for four First Aid Kit songs.  The Lion's Roar has been in rotation for a few months but something about it just clicked with me recently where even post-Festival it's still in heavy rotation.

Best decision I made: Leaving Deer Tick early to see Alabama Shakes

I love Deer Tick.  I was lucky enough to have a ticket for Friday night's show at the Newport Blues Cafe.  But the first half of their set at the Festival were the same songs I heard the night before.  I'd go see the same Deer Tick show every day of the week and twice on Sunday but it made the call easier to go see Alabama Shakes who just killed it.

Runner Up: Setting up shop by the Quad Stage instead of the Fort Stage. Other than The Head and the Heart, the bands I wanted to mostly see were on the Harbor and Quad stage which is easy to bounce back and forth between.

Top 3 Favorite Sets (no particular order):

Alabama Shakes: Their reputation as a live act is justified.  Just a fun, high energy hour.

Dawes: To be honest, I got in to Dawes through Middle Brother last year and if I'm rating the three bands who contributed to that album, I'm putting Dawes third.  But I can't stress enough how good they were in Newport.  When My Time Comes is about as good a live song as you can have.

New Multitudes: I liked the album going in to the festival but seeing them do it live gives me a whole new respect for it.

Honorable Mention: My Morning Jacket was on their way to an epic set.  I just can't put it in my top 3 because of how it ended.  Me leaving a MMJ set seemed unfathomable to me at the time so I wasn't in a good mindset at the end of it.

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