Sunday at Riverfest: Ludacris, Robert Cray, Steve Miller Band | Rock Candy

Sunday at Riverfest: Ludacris, Robert Cray, Steve Miller Band



10 p.m., Miller Lite Stage 
(Riverfest Amphitheatre).

Bill O'Reilly's once-sworn enemy and actor in 2004's Academy Award-winning Best Picture “Crash” also happens to be one of the most consistently entertaining rappers out there. After 10 years of hit after hit — his singles discography might as well be called a collection of the best ass-shakers of the decade — the instantly recognizable timbre of his voice has practically become an immediate seal of quality. It would be hard to find another rapper that has more fun nailing syllables on the beat. Luda's flow? It's kind of untouchable when he's hitting the gas, then the brakes, doing verbal gymnastics the entire time. Do you remember how you went “ohh!” (and you did because everyone did) when you first heard his guest spot in Chingy's “Holidae In?” “Some call me Ludacris, some call me Mr. Wiggles/far from little/make your mammary glands wiggle?” Those are words from a cat who can tell you tons about stressed and unstressed syllables. You can't even read that without feeling cool. He's hilarious, he's awesome, he's an immediate party-starter and he's probably the most anticipated act for Riverfest this year.

7:30 p.m., Triple-S Alarm Stage.

The Juke Joint Duo, as Cedric and Lightnin' are known to blues dudes, has been a familiar, house-packing act on the White Water Tavern stage for years now. Lightnin' Malcolm, the awesomely tubby guitarist with a gold chain ever-present on his neck, and Cedric Burnside, sinewy grandson of R.L. and one of the coolest-looking dudes ever put behind a kit, piece together some of the tightest, head-nodding hill country blues revival music around. The two are working overtime on Sunday, hitting White Water Tavern afterwards for a special after-party show of their signature catchy, funky, sweaty speaker meat.


9:30 p.m., Miller Lite Stage 
(Riverfest Amphitheatre).

Consider Steve Miller Band's “Greatest Hits 1974-1978.” Every other week, some canonical band releases a career-spanning greatest hits album that can't touch what Steve Miller Band did in four years. “Rock'n Me,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner” — untouchable. And this snapshot doesn't even take in the band's latter output like “Heart Like a Wheel” or the eternally awesome “Abracadabra” (whose music video epitomizes awesome '80s cocaine-on-the-editing-bay logic). With 26 albums under his umbrella and a new one, “Bingo!,” a self-described “party record” of '60s soul and R&B covers, coming in June, it looks like the Midnight Toker (AKA The Gangster of Love, AKA Maurice) doesn't plan to stop soon. Also, Steve Miller Band wrote the greatest, most sincere song about the joys of eating chili with “Hot Chili.” Sample lyric: “Hot chili is groovy/after a movie or watchin' TV.” Too good.

9:30 p.m., Triple-S Alarm Stage.

Robert Cray's come a long way from his stage time as the bassist for Otis Day & The Knights in “National Lampoon's Animal House.” He's made the cover of Rolling Stone, had a signature Fender Stratocaster made for/named after him, become best friends with Eric Clapton, pulled down bags and bags of Grammy gold and now tours with a band made of members with their own gilded gramophones from other projects. To boot, every studio album he's recorded since 1995 has hit one of the top three places on Billboard's blues charts. 

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