Hardly Strictly Music

I can’t even begin to express the joy that Friday night’s Dave Alvin show gave me. My heart was filled to overflow. I have seen Dave probably fifteen times now, and this was, without question, not only the best Dave show, but the best anybody show that I’ve ever seen! No question. He came on strong with Out in California, followed by every hard-rockin’, powerhouse, grand-finale song he plays. He didn’t give us a break with any slow songs, it was all GO. The band was even astonished. Over two hours of pure power. He almost set that Fender on fire; I’m surprised there aren’t scorch marks left on the stage.

The next morning, we made tracks to Golden Gate Park for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Warren Hellman throws this party in the city, a sort of roots rock, Americana, country, jazz, jam, Dead, folk, rockabilly, bluegrass festival. Since they have 61 of the premiere bands over two days, all the musicians admire and work with the others and so they invite them to perform together and it turns into this incredible melding of flavors.

Saturday, we saw The Subdudes, The Knitters (yes, that’s Dave Alvin’s other band), John Prine, Michelle Shocked, and T-Bone Burnett. Prine is known as the master folk singer. He had the audience eating out of his hand.

The sky smiled on the crowd, sprawled on blankets, or dancing like maniacs, perfect sunshine and warmth. The Blue Angels flew overhead a few times, since it was Fleet Week in SF. There is way too much to be seen; it’s just too overwhelming.

On Sunday, we saw the most fun band of the festival, Poor Man’s Whiskey. Also, Moonalice, Hot Buttered Rum, the Hacienda Brothers, Bill Kirchen and the Hammer of God Band, and then, guess who?…Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men! Everyone in the crowd was on their feet the whole show.

1 comment:

gwen said...

I'm glad someone saw John Prine, we got there late, came in the wrong way and we were so far from the stage, we couldn't see and could not figure out when John sounded so different! Turns out we were at the wrong stage and it was James McMurtry. Can you believe what a gorgeous day it was?