Re: Festivals, Part 3: The Nines - Devens, MA (in an uncanny turn of weirdness ... )
posted at 8/12/2013 12:13 PM EDT
Best festival imaginable. For an inaugural year, the people who coordinated this event did an outstanding job.
One of the nicest aspects (since it was a "first") -- it wasn't that crowded. Great turnout, but plenty of room. After the word gets out, and in the future, I am sure it there will be a sharp increase in attendance. Anyone that wasn't there, sorry to tell ya, but you missed out. :)
Could not have been a more laid back crowd. All ages, all types, lots of hippie-styles (old and young) and family-friendly, too. Real nice vibe all around.
Can't say enough about the music and the artists that played at this thing. Not ONE miss among them. Perfect blend for a summer festival and all of them poured their hearts and souls into their music. It was also fun to see how, as the bands progressed throughout the day, their playing power increased.
Because I wanted to see Shuggie Otis, who was on early in the afternoon, I wanted to get there early enough to see him, so I got there ahead of my friend. Since I only found out who Shuggie is about 6 months ago --- I just HAD to take advantage of him playing at this thing. Well, he's a totally cool cat, a R&B funkadelic, jazz guy, and while his voice was a little thin at times, he can still put on quite a show. His backup musicians were all fantastic, some old-timers who played solos (sax, bass, etc.) and some younger musicians, too. Shuggie wrote "Strawberry Letter 23" which closed the set. Otherwise, I was thriled to get to see him; he's been out there since the 60's, and man, he looks fantastic. That R&B has been kind to him.
Walk off the Earth was also a pleasant surprise, great "party" atmosphere, young, emerging band, that seems to have lots of younger fans. Delta Spirit were also a huge surprise -- put on a truly fun, rockin' show. Can now see why they perhaps got lots of acclaim when they had their hit "California" (which they closed their set with), because they are SO much more than that song.
Dr. Dog KILLED IT. That's all I can say. I can't think of anyone on the forum who would not have agreed. They are an indie band with a real hard edge, IMO, and it looks like they have a new album coming out this fall. I am going to have to check back and get an album.
As for Explosions in the Sky, I did a thread on them a long time ago, not sure if anyone has heard of them since, but they are an indie "wordless" band, from Texas, and do very atmospheric, haunting, not always ambient, somewhat experimental rock. I don't have time right this sec, but I can post a couple of links to some songs later. I've been a fan for a few years, and have a few of their albums; truly unique. It was a rare chance to get to see them.
As for the REST of the festival:
They had a comedy tent that did not overlap with music, so we got to see some pretty good comedy acts. My fave was a young guy who did part of his routine on his coming of age sex life (VERY funny), and believe it or not, he devoted part of it to YOGA comedy. I was howling, more than anyone else in the tent, I think. He had a lot to say about various positions ... :D
Final word on the the "music ART discovery" tagline -- the "art." There were some very talented artists that had booths at this event -- selling paintings, original silk screen designed cards and shirts, prints, jewelry ... very, very select. But the big surprise for me was that my favorite local artist was there --- displaying her incredible paintings. I was so happy to see her and since we had been out of touch for a while, she told me that she had actually been sad that she had not seen me and was a little worried about me. So that was a highlight of my day. I bought two of her block paintings (small and very cost-effective) to add to my collection. And I bought an interesting pair of earrings from an astonishingly talented woman who works out of her studio in ME, and studied / majored in her craft at one of the ME state universities.
All in all, it could not have been better. The weather could not have been better, either, but that was just luck. No humidity, a breeze, warm. Who can make that happen? The only thing to "criticize" was that it didn't last two days. That's their goal for the future, and if this was a preview, then there's no doubt that a two-day festival for The Nines is just around the bend.