5.27.2008

Santa Cruz Blues Festival 2008


Our love affair with music festivals started with this one, back in 1999. On a whim, we decided to go and we were hooked forever. It’s a two day festival, but at $100 per ticket, one day was plenty. The Saturday line-up was more appealing, so we went with that, and I’m very glad that we did.

The day starts with a 5:30AM wake up shower then we rush with our friends to join the line outside the gate. Even though we have Gold Circle tickets, they are not assigned seats, so you have to be early to get up front. We were in the third row, not too bad. JJ Grey and Mofro, Jimmy Thackery, Coco Montoya, all of them powerful performers, kept the show rolling all morning.

It was a treat seeing “The Legends of the Blues” with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (harmonica with Muddy Waters), Hubert Sumlin (guitarist with Howlin’ Wolf) joining Pinetop Perkins. He’s still playing piano at 95 years old, after being shot 3 times, bit by a snake, and ran over by a train!

The highlight, of course was Bonnie Raitt. I’ve never seen her live and I was so impressed. She has incredible stage presence: cheerful, in control, funny. You just know she’s having a great time up there.

The annoying thing about Santa Cruz festival is that they have ridiculous rules about everything: no ice chests, no smoking, no in & out after 3PM, no food, no umbrellas, no dancing. But the worst is the no camera rule! You can’t have a camera with removable lens or digital cameras. They are lax about picture taking until the headliner hits the stage, then they become Nazis. I saw them take cameras from at least 20 people. I, obviously, outsmarted them, with Brad as a shield, but this is insane. Anyway, as Bonnie and the band were taking bows, she said, “If anyone gets a photo of this, send it to my website. I’d love to see it.” Well, all hell broke loose, flashes everywhere: HA!

On Sunday they always open with a young, fresh, powerhouse band and it was Trombone Shorty this year. They are playing almost every festival in California, so see them if you can. I was sorry to miss the Boneshakers, but we had a better plan. The day finished with Subdudes and Al Green. Heard from several people that it was quite a show. Can’t say that I regret missing it though.

The most fun of the weekend though was the after party at Moe’s Alley with the Boneshakers on Sunday night. This band is HOT! Randy Jacobs can play anything on a guitar. They had both lead singers, Sweetpea Atkinson and Malford Milligan, along with guitarist Stephen Bruton, Tio Banks on keyboards, Nate Brown on bass, and Les Fisher on drums. Man, oh, man, if you ever get the chance, don’t miss it. It’s a funky, groovin’, hard rockin’ mix of music.

1 comment:

Cassandra said...

Sounds like a great show. I'm sorry I missed it. Funny about the camera rule too!