WinterWonderGrass - 2015 - Saturday

Festival Experience Archive

for The Lot Scene by Parker


Saturday - February 21st

Tyler Grant and Andy Thorn - The Wood Brothers - Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang - The Sam Bush Band

Saturday we made our way back to the venue for Tyler Grant and Andy Thorn on the Jamboree starting at 3PM.  We were able to get up nice and close to the stage for a great vantage of some incredibly fast pickin’.  Tyler is always a treat to see; his guitar skills awarded several times over and he made for the perfect counterpoint to Andy Thorn’s distinctive banjo style.  In a word their performance was incendiary, which is precisely what you want and need on a frigid cold winter day in February.  Thorn and Grant sizzled through a setlist brimming with classic favorites such as Bland’s “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane”.  The audience was also treated to a little Irish reel pick from the lads, nice and quick and refreshing.  If you’ve never had the chance to see either of these gents either solo or with their respective bands, I’d highly recommend that you do so at your earliest convenience.  They certainly made for an intense duo!

A little later on in the afternoon, we found ourselves back outside in the gorgeous and unexpected sunshine for The Wood Brothers on the main stage.  The Brothers bring a lot to a festival:  incredible musical skill and acumen, a uniquely distinctive style, tight and well-crafted harmonies, and a large and enthusiastic fanbase.  Just in watching Oliver, Chris, and Jano Rix play, their immense ability and long tenure on their respective instruments was readily apparent — such as, I have never seen someone place upright bass and harmonica simultaneously.  In terms of vocals, so very often family members tend to blend extremely well together, and Chris and Oliver fall very much into that category — I always enjoy hearing blood family sing for that very reason.  I was also interested in my many and varied chats with festival folk about The Wood Brothers being the main draw for coming to WWG in the first place…I have an inquisitiveness about people’s motivations for attending festivals.  Just of as much interest to me were a similar number of people we told me they had come to see Les Claypool and his Duo de Twang.  It seemed that many of them were glad to see additions like Les and The Wood Brothers to WWG in terms of variety, energy, edge, and interest.  Speaking of Les…  

We got some early Jerry Garcia from the Duo de Twang after which Les remarked that Jerry would be freezing his butt off with the rest of us were he at WWG.  Too funny.  In fact, Les was pretty funny his whole set.  We also got a “Battle of New Orleans” decidedly the weirdest version I’d ever heard…but this is Les Claypool we’re talking about.  And, of course, the indomitable Sam Bush guested in to make everything all the twangier.  And it certainly was.  The remainder of the set went back and forth between twangy favorites and Les telling us which parts of his anatomy were frozen — all told an entertaining jam that kept the majority of us dancing, laughing, and warm.  After the Duo it was time for The Sam Bush Band on the main.  

Although I had seen Sam guest in with others before, this would be my first time seeing his band.  My excitement was to be thoroughly rewarded with some wickedly quick and precise picking, all in the driving snow.  Let it be said officially that musicians at WWG are born again hard champs of the highest caliber, braving those temps with fingers exposed and playing for hours.  I salute each and every one of them.  But back to Sam Bush and how much a badass he is…such as, he and his boys covered Elivs Costello’s “Everyday I Write The Book” and they destroyed it!!  And then some Beatles???  How about a speedy, driving, ridiculously good “I’ve Just Seen a Face”?  Amazing.  Sam and his band continued to spin out tunes and songs into the face of the bitter winter winds for a full hour-and-a-half and they delivered a surplus of joy, warmth, and elation.  Such a stellar performance left us all in the perfect headspace for any and all late night activities we planned to pursue.  Such as a little Leftover Salmon at Agave, maybe?

Late Night at Agave - Leftover Salmon

Back at Agave once more and, just as we had set all our stuff down the fire alarm started going off.  All of us just sorted of waited and looked around to see what the deal was all of which culminated in a couple of firefighters showing up after about 20 minutes of noise.  However, the party raged on as bartenders slung drinks and the musicians attempted to soundcheck downstairs.  Peace was finally restored and just in time for some Leftover Salmon!  Never ever thought in my life I’d being seeing Salmon in a little restaurant.  Crazy!  Crazy freaking awesome, that is…  From a little Drew Emmitt “Gulf of Mexico” to some Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love” to a couple of my absolute favorites “Euphoria” and “Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie” the Leftover boys proved over and over and over again why they are one of my very favorite bands.  The joyful energy and ebullient abandon with which they approach their music and which they also choose to share with us are always such a privileged treat.  And certainly one hell of a great way to finish up Saturday late night at WinterWonderGrass 2015!