Vendor peddling shirts outside of the festival Saturday night: “You’ll never have a volume problem with a Stevie Wonder T-shirt!”
Somewhere between the two headliner stages, near the giant glowing moon balloon, there’s a sweet spot (if you can call it that) where you can hear both end-of-the-night headliners at the same time—usually, that is. Tonight, however, not only did My Morning Jacket easily drown out the legendary Stevie Wonder at that spot, but even when you got closer, well into Wonder’s audience, it was still difficult to make out much of his music. “Heard” it was good, though.
My Morning Jacket, fortunately, showed why they remain at the top of festival wish lists, ending the night with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band joining them.
“Are you ready to get swayed?” asked J. Roddy Walston and the Business. The crowd was swaying and jumping to Walston’s tight, southern-blues, piano-banging rock as he peeked out through his mop of hair and red sunglasses and gorgeously screamed that we “got to shake it!”
“Fresh” is a great description of The Belle Brigade whose harmonies and happy personas lifted a jubilant crowd, especially with their song “Loser” who they dedicated “to all the losers” in the audience.
What would a summer fest be without Alison Krauss? Looking like she had dug into Stevie Nick’s wardrobe, Krauss flowed like her gown, moving easily from country to blues to rock to her bluegrass roots. Any one of her amazing bandmates could front a show on their own.
In between asking the audience to momentarily put away their cell phones and cameras and complaining about rain-speckled glasses, Dallas Green and the rest of City and Colour wrestled out some wonderful music under rainy skies. Note to Dallas: They love you. They want pictures. Leave them alone.
Alexander, taking a break from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and looking like he just walked off a Mendicino mushroom farm (barefoot and very organic) riffed and ad libed. He generally had an earthbound, creative time onstage, even asking the audience, “If you hear me fudging the lyrics just put in your own shit, okay?” The response was cool, man.
Today’s top picks:
Randy Newman, Arcade Fire, The Head and the Heart, Joseph Arthur, Ryan Bingham
Check out Mark C. Austin’s photos from day two at Austin City Limits.