Newport Folk Festival 2018, Fort Adams, Rhode Island

July 27-29, 2018   In a recent podcast, producer Jay Sweet reflected on Newport Folk this way “if this festival for you is about the headliners, I don’t think this is your festival”. Not that the headliners were too shabby. Jason Isbell (with a David Crosby sit-in), Unannounced (aka, Mumford & Sons) and the closing Change is Gonna Come set, more than held down the Fort. But Newport Folk (and Jazz) is about discovery, collaboration and experimentation. It’s The War & Treaty, The Weather Station, This is the Kit, Charlie Parr, Phoebe Bridgers, and Glorietta, to name a few that stood out. It can be “a bunch of people from a bunch of bands playing a bunch of songs” as Eric Johnson said from the Quad Stage, during Saturday’s Beneath the Sacred Mountain set. If not for Newport, The Lone Bellow (Sunday) and Hiss Golden Messenger (Saturday) would not have worked their way into my world years ago. Not to mention all the goodness my ears and heart enjoyed in between the new and familiar.   The Fort’s four stages are close, but not tight, and stage times rarely compete like so many other festivals where you can’t tear yourself […]

Arroyo Seco Weekend, Brookside Golf Course, Pasadena

June 23-24, 2018 Arroyo Seco Weekend is not fussy. The beer is thick with local crafts, the something for everyone eats abundant with vegetarian options, and, yes, it felt like a day in the park with a rich soundtrack. The inclusive, relaxed setting and vibe made for one of most satisfying fest experiences I’ve had outside New Orleans. Goldenvoice worked out many of the freshmen kinks to bring us a uniquely L.A. area festival that was musically textured and easy to navigate, with zero attitude, when it so could have gone the other way. No need to pony up for VIP treatment here. Getting around was no issue, food and (pricey) drinks were never too far, Rose Bowl bathrooms were always an option, and while the Oaks stage was packed for headliners, it was manageable and easy to get close throughout most of the day. Oh, did I mention parking was included with entry? Even with only three stages, I still racked up 7-8 miles a day covering 30 of 36 acts over the weekend, but the 8th and 9th holes and driving range of Brookside felt like carpet compared to most fests. Near perfect June weather helped. Saturday highlights […]
May 23
by Jim Brock in Reviews 0 comments tags: Aaron Wilkinson, Acura Stage, alt-country, Americana, Anders Osborne, BB King tribute, Ben ellman, Big Sam Williams, Billy Gibbons, Blodie's Jazz Jam, blues, Blues Tent, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Brandi Carlile, Brian Blade, Buddy Guy, Carl Dufrene, Chris Mule, classic rock, Clevenger, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Cyril Neville, Dap Kings, Dave Malone, David Shaw, Derek Trucks, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Donald Fagen, Economy Hall, Efrem Towns, Elvis Costello, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Gal Holiday, Galactic, Gary Clark Jr., Gentilly Stage, Gibson SG, Gov't Mule, Gregory Porter, Herbie Hancock, Herlin Riley, hip hop, Honey Island Swamp Band, Hot 8 Brass Band, J Cole, Jack DeJohnette, jam bands, jam bands Susan Tedeschi, Janelle Monae, Jarekus Singleton, Jazz and Heritage Stage, jazz photography, Jazz Tent, Jim Brock Photography, Jim James, Jimmy Vaughn, John Hammond, Kirk Joseph, Kristin Diable, Lauryn Hill, Little Freddie King, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Mardi Gras Indian, Matt Garrison, Michael McDonald, Midnite Disturbers, Monk Boudreaux, My Morning Jacket, Nathaneil Rateliff, Neil Young, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Nicholas Payton, Nightsweats, Paul Simon, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Promise of the Real, Radiators, Raw Oyster Cult, Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens, roots music, Shannon Powell, Sharon Jones, Skerik, Snarky Puppy, Sonor, Soul Rebels, sousaphone, Steely Dan, Stratocaster, Subdudes, Tab Benoit, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Terence Blanchard, trombone, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, WWOZ Jazz Tent, ZZ Top

Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer – 2016 Edition

  Yeah, it’s been a year of musical losses. But, Prince, the day before Jazz Fest 47 got underway? WTF? From the glyph etched in the blue above the Fair Grounds the first weekend, to the Treme second line the Monday following, to My Morning Jacket’s howling “Purple Rain” finish second Friday, Jazz Fest did its part, as it always does. “I am because he was”, Janelle Monae confessed to the Congo Square stage crowd. And whether Prince or Bowie or Toussaint or B.B. or Merle, and on and on, Fest is where the music is honored and celebrated like no other gathering on the planet, even when heaven and earth throw everything at you. And this was a Fest like no other, where Stevie Wonder’s only Fair Grounds performance was an acapella Purple Rain through a bullhorn in a deluge, and where it was impossible to tell the booming thunder above, from Neil Young and POR below. The music stuck like the deep muck of the infield and never let go. And whether on stage, dancing with a stranger, singing along, holding back tears, sharing a bite, sleeping it off, that’s just a Jazz Fest fact. This photographer took […]

Voodoo Experience 2012

October 26-28, 2012 As an unabashed Jazzfest vet, I approached my first Voodoo with excitement and a hint of fear. The mix of rap, EDM, and the often indefinable, sprinkled with the best of New Orleans contemporary and traditional, on a bed of arena headliners, eclectic rockers, funk and blues artists, is uniquely Voodoo.  Look, I’m an old school guy who knows enough to be dangerous to himself. Not a banger, a mosher or a surfer. I know Skrillex drops bombs that turn your bones to jelly and have never been to a Metallica show in my life, but I approached Voodoo with anticipation and an open mind. After all, there was Mr. Neil Young touring with Crazy Horse for the first time in eight years. Gary Clark, Jr.’s, blues without boundaries and the omni-bluesusical Jack White closing it out. OK, so much for the obvious. How far would I go to connect with my inner Voodoo? Would I make it to Borgore (an Israeli DJ formerly of a death metal band), the total bizzaro of South African rappers Die Antwoord or Electric Daisy Carnival main stager Nervo (all three made “Rolling Stone’s 10 Must See Acts at Voodoo Fest”)? […]