Riverfest Saturday recap | Rock Candy

Riverfest Saturday recap

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Buddy Guy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

I didn't get the full Riverfest experience on Saturday. There was sleeping and then gardening to do, and I only caught Velvet Kente, who did, indeed, sound like they should be playing big stages all the time and Patrick Sweany, who probably won some Buddy Guy fans over with his guitar work and blue-eyed soul. I missed, stupidly I'm sure, Buddy Guy perform, but John Williams was on the scene and promises to offer a recap.

UPDATE: As promised, from John Williams:

Buddy Guy has an apparent disdain for musicians who ape the blues. Witness these incidents from his Riverfest performance last night: 

1. He mocked “all those British guys” – namely “the Cream” – who stole licks from Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Then, as if to show how easy it is, he played from “Sunshine of Your Love.”
2. He ripped into a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile,” during which he picked his guitar with his teeth.
3. He started playing his instrument with a drumstick – a bit of a poke at Jimmy Page for stroking his guitar with a bow.

Now, maybe all this spleen was really an act, Guy’s attempt to cement his authenticity with an audience that was presumably there to see the real deal. Guy has a professional relationship with Eric Clapton, after all. The warmth and humor in his performance suggested that he’s not all that mad at blues imitators.

Whatever his motives, Guy interacted with his audience more than any performer I’ve seen in awhile. He didn’t go so far as to take requests, but he was undoubtedly out to please. He gave numerous shout-outs to Little Rock, and at one point went on a romp through the crowd that led him and his guitar to the rear of the corndog stand at stage right. 

One prominent criticism of Guy’s live act is that he has a sort of performance ADD – he will interrupt himself mid-song to make a joke or a comment. That tendency was certainly on display last night. Besides the aforementioned jabs at Clapton and the gang, he gave something of a musical lecture by launching spontaneously into John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.” Yet that spontaneity was what made the concert delightful to watch. Not all of Guy’s own material was top-notch – “Skin Deep,” a paean to the unity of man, left me rather cold – but the energy with which he approached it more than compensated.

 
The highlight of my night was the American Princes' Riverfest party at Revolution. They did 30 different '90s covers, ranging from Pavement (David Slade wore a "Who the fuck is Stephen Malkmus" t-shirt) to Presidents of the United States of America (Luke sang lead, appropriately enough with lyrics like "Is this lump out of my head? I think so"). It was huge fun. I'll try to post the set list later.  Gerard was there with the flip cam and managed to grab a bit of the Pumpkins' "1979." 

More pics from Brian Chilson below.

 

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Buddy Guy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Buddy Guy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Buddy Guy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Harley Davidson the frisbee dog. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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