So, on Saturday, you brought a new band to our attention, Newport Folk Festival. Yes, we were incredibly excited to catch some of the old standbys, but one stood above all in terms of energy, excitement, excessive rock.
Too, just too much rock.
But first, the opening notes of Saturday, all photos (c) Matthew Keefer:
CAAMP took the Harbor Stage at the folk fest, and gave us the banjo pluckings we didn’t know we needed. (That’s Taylor Meier in guitar, by the way.) We appreciated the more traditional sound starting off this day of the Folk Fest, but really, we absolutely dug and grooved and sweated (sympathetically) for this next act: Low Cut Connie.
Frontman Adam Weiner is a MADMAN. There are no two ways about it. His stage presence, energy, and outright craziness is infectious and certainly caught on with the crowd at the Quad stage. The savage was a-rockin’ and a-rollin’, and the stage couldn’t hold him back, not even the barriers could hold him back as he charged through the crowd. At some point, his shirt stopped holding him back (savage, indeed). The crowd went bananas; we went bananas, too (and oranges, pineapples, and pears; a wild fruit salad in general).
We say you must catch Low Cut Connie live. That’s where we stand. (We’re going to try to get in on that action for y’all.)
We caught quite a few acts after this one, but we were exceptionally excited to catch up on what Shakey Graves was up to. We are a HUGE fan of his Can’t Wake Up out this past May, and reviewed the stunning album here. On the main stage, Alejandro Rose-Garcia talked about the construction of Can’t Wake Up, telling the crowd that he’d received several letters from fans struggling with depression and mental illness. In his latest album, he’d woven together positive messages throughout, showing that kind of darkness and the light at the end of the tunnel. We were impressed.
Another little insight into his music: “Dining Alone” and songs of the like follows an invented man, Garth McGarth (spelled this way, we think!) and the general trail of sadness of his life. “So I’m not writing about myself, but Garth McGarth,” deflected Rose-Garcia (quote not exact).
On to the Quad stage for Jenny Lewis:
This is the second time we caught her at the Folk Fest (the first time being in 2014, on the main stage), and we have to mention how weird her props are. Apparently she brought along a very colorful piano, some rotary telephones, that rainbow guitar from ’14, and, of course, the awesome tasseled jacket. We stuck around for her act as well, and waited for these two old old cantankerous senile gents to arrive (“gents” in the loosest of terms):
So yes, Cheech and Chong were on the Quad stage. We were doubly excited. Before the weekend, we’d mentioned the legendary pot-smoking duo to a friend, to which he replied: “But that’s legal now. What does that leave for their comedy?”
Good point, fair sir. Then let’s bring out the guns.
These two were up to no good with a few sets of skit comedy, a rather different turn at all the music emanating from all the other stages. It was a treat to catch them live.
We’ve got one last stop for y’all: the mysterious Unannounced act. We’d heard they were folkin’ around downtown Newport Friday night, those dastardly Mumford and Sons:
On Mumford and Sons’ set, another glorious surprise: Brandi Carlile. This woman just don’t quit, huh? We suspect she had a fantastic time on Friday, and now Saturday, too, when her set is still coming up Sunday. HRM, trifecta. Maybe perhaps she couldn’t help herself. Which is fine by us: By the Way, I Forgive You is new this year, and is absolutely brilliant. One of the pit photographers mentioned it was his top album of the year. It’s certainly worth your ears.
The big, expected names, yes. But Saturday did bring us some new, unexpected fun. As aforementioned, this guy was abuzz, and someone new on our radar. We’re going to give him the final say on Saturday. Say goodbye, Mr. Weiner!
Thanks! And stop by for our Sunday coverage later this week,