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Sunday, July 28, 2013

My "Before Noon" Review: @CalgaryFolkFest 13

Calgary Folk Music Festival

The Sunday Morning "Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway" "Before Noon (Barely)" Review:

Calgary Folk Music Festival Saturday Night Mainstage '13

Getting an unexpected morning invitation to attend Saturday's portion of the 4-day 34th Annual Calgary Folk Music Festival helped resolve the discussion we had been having at the time our phone rang - so Mrs. That Dan Guy and I passed on seeing Chubby Checker over at The Deerfoot Inn, and headed off to Prince's Island Park! 

Sudden Impulse Folk Festival Win!

No regrets, what an amazing night, and in absolutely perfect weather - the storm that had been forecast never materialized. 

We did delay a bit in making our way to the site however, so we missed all the workshops and other offerings during the early part of the day's schedule. Pretty much arrived in time to stake out a spot and sit on the outer outskirts of the still-recovering island lawn for the mainstage seating. Effects of the Calgary summer flood were still easily seen everywhere, but didn't prevent the Festival from proceeding. Well done, wood chips!

The first act we heard (and saw on the two large video screens) was Scot folkie Rachel Sermanni

Offering a pleasing acoustic set, Sermanni warmed the crowd nicely, and with her lovely sound, literally (perhaps subliminally) encouraged us to just stay the heck where we were, and enjoy the entire evening of mainstage performances.

Sermanni was followed by New Yorker Garland Jeffreys, who helped ramp things up for what was soon to follow...  

The program suggests Jeffreys is just back on the circuit after a 12-year hiatus - which was not obvious in any way, shape or form based on his progressively tasty set of rock, funk and soul. 

Speaking of tasty, this was also about the time in the Festival where we partook of a few (very, very wrong  - but so, so delicious) offerings from the food vendors. Not on any Jenny Craig menu that I'm aware of, we sampled mini-donuts, popcorn, and Anchor Fries...  

This was also about that the time that all decorum left the mainstage area. Another New York act hit the stage, and upped the entertainment ante. Hazmat Modine offered a crazy blend of world music that connected immediately with the audience. Blends of klezmer, reggae, Americana driven by a powerhouse vocalist and a wicked horn section made these cats a group that I really wanted to see after reading their bio. Not disappointed - this set flew by, but there was no going back afterwards with respect to the collective energy levels of the crowd!

The Cat Empire. Write that down. Google these folks. This Australian guitar-less troupe knocked the socks off whoever wasn't just wearing sandals. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G sound, and masters of audience engagement! Billed as Australia's best party band, they translate well to a North American audience that has just spent anywhere from 8-10 hours in the hot sun. Regardless of how you were faring to this point, The Cat Empire was instant rejuvenation. You need to see this group live...

Bringing things home to close the night was "new" country veteran Steve Earle, with The Dukes. Second time seeing him live, and the first three-quarters of his show was filled with material I hadn't seen him perform live before. Some real treats among them. 

Of course, that wasn't to say he didn't hit on a handful of old favourites, such as "I Ain't Ever Satisfied", "Guitar Town", and "Copperhead Road". But under the stars, with a crackerjack group to accompany his wonderful stories - you could not get any better than that...

During the fading moments of Earle's set, a parade of lights snaked throughout the festival site, just a nice touch in the darkness. 

May have been a last-minute decision, but it sure was the right one to have made! Well done Calgary Folk Music Festival - one last day today if you want to catch it for yourself!!



Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Great review Mr! Yes indeed, what a fantastic treat. Loved, loved it! I think we are hooked now. Thinking of a 4-day pass for next year, couple of days off work. It is a must-do. Great music, great everything. Congratulations to all who managed to pull it off despite the mass destruction the island suffered. Quite incredible.

ThatDanGuy said...

Been too long - clearly, we aren't done with festivals yet!!