Wednesday, August 16, 2006

That. Just. Happened.

Well, another year is done. Sigh.'s only 350-something days until next year's show!!! WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!

Ten (or so) Best Moments of the 2006 Edmonton Folk Festival

11) Rick Skaggs' Jokes on the Main Stage

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder always put on a fantastic bluegrass show. But Skaggs makes it even better by making funny quips and jokes while onstage. I wish he would MC my wedding. I think he'd kill, even though my family likes to work blue.

10) Feist on the Main Stage

A beautiful performance from a local chanteuse. I always imagined her being very snooty and condescending. I don't know why. But she was playful, and gave a killer performance. Cam and I agreed that she would be a perfect choice to sing the theme song for a Bond movie.

9) Spring Rolls

Lee Gardens, I love you. The onion cakes lacked the normal onion bite, but you made up for it with springrolls to die for. Plus, you moved the line quickly, so I never had to wait long for your springy deliciousness.

8) No "Tubthumping"

Others may have been disappointed that Chumbawamba didn't play their anthem, but I certainly wasn't. The anarcho-punks actually put on a pretty good main stage performance, even if they did make too many Nazi references. Guess what, Chumbawamba: not everyone who disagrees with your politics is a fascist.

7) Teddy Thompson Solo Concert

The son of Richard and Linda Thompson was awesome on Stage 4 on Sunday, even if he was, by his own admission, in a bad mood. That bad mood may have had something to do with the fact that the organizers put Hawksley Workman and someone else with a full band beside him on Stage 5. Using only an acoustic guitar and his voice, Thompson had to compete with a sound bleed that was at times unbearable. If you were watching from the side of the stage closest to Workman, who actually simulated an orgasm while on Stage 5, you would have had a hard time hearing Thompson. In fact, a bunch of us moved to the opposite side of the stage, and Thomspon actually asked to have his sound turned up two or three times, just so he could compete. He still pulled of a lovely performance, though, and really lightened up by the end.

6) Bedouin Soundclash on the Main Stage

A nice main stage performance during a rain-soaked Thursday evening. They did a nice job mingling their own songs with some ska and punk classics.

5) The Phrases

As a group, we dropped a lot of funny lines this weekend. I'm going to save them all for another post, but let's just say we were hilarious.

4) Susan Tedeschi on the Main Stage

Sweet mama, this girl can sing, and this girl can play. Seeing her on Friday night was like seeing Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt at the same time. Put me down as a convert. She was my new musical crush of the Festival.

3) Blind Boys of Alabama on the Main Stage

My only complaint is that they didn't play long enough. I could have listened to them all night. They had the crowd jumping for joy, and their rendition of "Amazing Grace"--to the music of "House of the Rising Sun"--was transcendent.

2) David Gray on the Mainstage

I said it before, so I won't say it again.

1) Sunday Night Jam Session

After the Festival was over, Van, Heather, Nate, Tim, Aaron and I had a good ole jam session at our house. We sang, drank, laughed, smoked, sang, and sang some more. It ended at 5:30 in the morning. It appears that a new Folk Fest tradition is born. Maybe by next year, I'll even be able to play an instrument or something.

Ten (or so) Worst Moments of the 2006 Edmonton Folk Festival

11) Four Strong Winds

Was it just me, or was "Four Strong Winds" off this year? Really, I shouldn't be surprised, as Bill Bourne was leading, but the tempo was off, and the effort was lacklustre. I knew something was wrong when I wasn't choking up while singing along.

10) Volunteer Rudeness

Two incidents. The first was Friday night, when we arrived. It was raining, and I didn't have my rain gear on yet. So I ducked under the tent at the top of the Hill, so that I could stay dry while I changed. There were lots of volunteers around, and no one said anything. Why would they, right? I mean, I was changing, and it was raining. It wasn't like I was setting a tarp up or something. But then a volunteer walked in, a young lady, and rudely said, "you know this is only for volunteers, right?" Well, no I didn't, because there were no signs to indicate such a thing. And secondly, piss off. Would you rather everyone went home, or that people used a huge, empty and dry place to change for five minutes?

The second incident happened on Saturday. Nathan was walking into the site, with a backpack and a side bag. The backback was full of clothes in case it rained again, and the side bag had a couple of tarps and a blanket in it. Nothing too major, considering that it had rained for the past two nights. As he was walking in, a lady looked at his bags and said, "that's a bit much, don't you think?" WTF? Nate was kind enough to just let it slide. I would have had a comeback, depending on what she was wearing or looked like. Maybe a look at her hips or ass and a "not as much as that is, I think," or a, "do you always go out in public like that" if she had a lot of makeup on. Who knows what it would have been? I'm a mean person. The point is, I would have found something, and I would have felt totally justified in decimating her inferior ego. Rudeness must not be tolerated, is my motto.

I should note that these were two exceptions to the rule. The volunteers at the Folk Fest are always awesome. In fact, I had three nice incidents with volunteers this year. One volunteer busted a lady near the front entrance who was trying to skip into the line. YES!!! Another volunteer stopped me at the entrance to ask me if I could pronounce the Gaelic on the front of my Red Sox shirt (I couldn't, sadly. Blame my Nana and Grandad). And even the Tarp Whisperer on Sunday was nice to me, though his logic for why I needed to fold over a bit of my tarp was faulty. We had a cordial conversation about it, and I gladly made the fold. I'm not going to give him a hard time for enforcing an unjust law. Don't kill the messenger, is my motto.

9) Jay Malinkowski

Okay, the lead singer of Bedouin Soundclash wasn't really bad, so much as he was painfully funny. He was obviously stoned, and kept making the most absurd dedications before every song. "This is for anyone who has ever lost somebody, or for anyone who just wants to dance." Huh? We laughed our asses off, and Jay became one of our favorite impersonations for the rest of the weekend: "This chicken curry is for anyone who has ever lost somebody..."

8) Hawksley Workman

I missed him on the mainstage on Friday, but I hear he was insane. Apparently he was asking people to howl at the moon, even though it was so rainy and cloudy you couldn't even see it. Maybe he and Jay were sharing some peyote. I saw him play at the Festival a couple of years ago, and I felt like I was at an amateur outdoor performance of The Phantom of the Opera. He was being very melodramatic, running around the stage, climbing things, and just being exasperatingly retarded. Yet, somehow, it was still a good show. But it was his disruption of the Teddy Thompson show this year that gets him on this list. I talked about it above, so I won't carry on here. Let's just say that Hawksley is now on my "I wish he would go away" list.

7) K’Naan

The first time I heard your songs, they were great. The second time I heard the exact same songs, less entertaining. The third time? Terribly annoying. Message to Terry Wickham: don't book a kid who only knows ten songs. Message to K'Naan: learn some more f**ing songs.

6) Bill Bourne

Hey, stage-hogging bore: retire already. I mean, really. Talk about over-exposed and overdone. Thank God Bowser and Blue weren't there to do their outdated Jean Chretein material again. I think Nate would have hung himself. I say we put Bourne out to pasture, and get Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heirtage Choir to run the show every year.

5) The Sessions

In the program, Terry Wickham commented on how happy he was that the Festival still had sessions/workshops/wessions. I would agree, if they were still occuring. What is actually happening now is that three artists/bands are listed, and they each play an individual set on the stage. They don't even bother to take turns with everyone on stage, now. Rather, the first artist/group comes out, and plays a set. Then they waste fifteen to twenty minutes setting up for the next act, who do the same thing. And so on. There are fewer and fewer artists who share the stage together, and play together. This is very unfortunate, and I hope it can be remedied. Look how many of my favorite moments from this year happened on the main stage. That never used to be the case. I still want quality main stage acts, but I want to see people make interactive musical magic at the sessions. Artists, skip the rote performances, and take a leap of creative faith.

4) Sarah Harmer

She was fine on the mainstage, but her inability to know what key her own song was in on Saturday turned me off.

3) Rain, Day 1
2) Rain, Day 2
1) Hail, Day 3

I have never been witness to such soul-crushing weather at the Festival. Awful. We made the best of it, but at times it was too much to take. By Sunday, I was mentally exhausted, and had to miss almost an entire day's worth of sessions.

Things I’m Sad I Missed

Ricky Skaggs/Oscar Lopez Showdown

Apparently there was a guitar/mandolin duel that occured at Stage 3 on Saturday. Rather than witnessing it, I was stuck watching sound guys change the stage three times at the Blues Session. DAMN IT ALL!!!!

Things I’m Not Sad I Missed

Betty Lavette, Gospel Session

So I hear Betty was, um, a total douchebag (gasp!) at the Gospel Session on Sunday. She kept going on about how she never played music in the Church, and eventually just sat there pouting. Lovely. It is pretty clear thast she has a chip on her shoulder from 45 years of invisibility. Sucks to be you. Here's a tip: write a hit song. I don't know how her manager, or Terry, let her get onto that Gospel Stage. From what I hear, Linda Tillery and the CHC just took over, and made it all worthwhile. I love those girls.


At 8:54 PM, Blogger The Ref said...

Loved the post...took me right back to the hill..I laughed so hard...favorites definitely included the K'nan rant and Betty comment...FUNNY! I agree about Sunday night. I still am smiling about how much fun we had. I am glad that it ended as it did...the perfect night cap (or festival cap!)

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Hill Nanny's mom said...

I wasn't at the FF and moped all weekend. But I have checked this blog daily for updates, and it has delighted me . You are all funny and fine....loveya!

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Hill Nanny said...

Hill Nanny's mom? Does that make you the Hill Granny? ;) We missed you on the tarp - wretched people buying all the passes! Next year we'll do better and make sure you get there. (Maybe Nate can pack you in one of his "bit much" bags...)

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, Susan Tedeschi was also my new festival crush. Something about her voice, her guitar abilities, and her blues vibe intrigued me.



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