Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mic Check: Newport Folk Festival 2011, Day 2

Things that are true: Sunday at the Folk Fest is always easier, cooler, and goes by much faster.

We took our time this morning. Saturday had really wiped us out, and we wanted to make sure that the kids were rested and fed enough to make it through what was potentially going to be another super hot day. 

This was the first time ever that both days of the festival were sold out during pre-sales! AWESOME.


We still had to stand in line, but it was much more comfortable in temperature, and we were lined up along the harbor, so we got some nice breeze action.

To the gentleman (and I do use that term lightly) in front of us pushing the baby in the $500 stroller while double-fisting a can of beer and a Starbucks - I hate to break it to you, dude, but you're really not pulling off that look. It must be hard coming to terms with the fact that you are 38 and that you are towing an annoying wife and her annoying friend and a baby, but for the love of god, it's 10 a.m. and I'm having trouble looking at you. IT'S OVER, BRO. DEAL WITH IT.

Since we got a later start this morning, we rushed to set up our tent at the Fort again and booked it to the Harbor stage.

brown bird
Half of brown bird. 

I was pretty much foaming at the mouth about Rhode Island's own brown bird for months before Newport. We got over to the Harbor as quickly as we could, and we only missed the first song.

It's a brown bird watching brown bird. BIRDCEPTION.

This duo is adorable, and another one of those groups that sound like a full band. We parked ourselves on a bench under a shade tent behind the stage, and several times I had to run around to the side of the stage because I thought that surely, someone else had joined them. Nope. They made all of that gorgeous noise all on their own. Incredible.

Backstage, post set. Aren't they so adorbs?

We've got tickets to see them in a few weeks in Oneonta, and I am pretty excited about it.

Highlights: “Bilgewater”
                “Cast No Shadow”

The Secret Sisters

Another of my husband's top picks to see, The Secret Sisters were just delightful. We hunkered down under a shade tent in the Quad and listened to them as long as the kids would allow (you know, about four songs). But this brief bit of country harmony would be revistited later in the day in the form of a surprise appearance.

Highlight: sweet cover of George Jones' “Why Baby Why”

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Mmmm...blurry photos. Good stuff.


We walked back to the Fort and caught the second half of this set, and OMG. This brilliant mix of folk, Americana, and R&B really surprised me. They play all kinds of rare instruments, and a lot of traditional folk music, but they spice it up with crazy covers and occasional beatboxing...I MEAN.



Highlights: “No Man's Mama”
                 insanely fun cover of Blu Cantrell's “Hit 'Em Up Style”

My Attempt to See Trampled By Turtles
Not pictured: the throngs of people behind us and at either side of us, or Trampled by Turtles

My other MUST SEE band of the weekend quickly turned into my WELP THIS ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN band of the weekend when I took the girl all the way to the Quad and we could barely navigate the crowd through the tunnel. I had never seen that many people streaming into the Quad. With good reason. I mean, Trampled By Turtles are an amazing band with an insanely great fiddle player and some ridiculous banjo mojo. The girl immediately had to pee, so we waited in line for the port-a-potties, and after declaring that it was “too crowded and too loud”, we left.


Let's pretend that I did see them tho. We can do it together. This totes counts as having seen them, right?


This was the point in the day when I gave up all hope. I made the decision that we were going to stay planted at the Fort for the rest of the day, no matter what. The kids were too beat to be dragging them around endlessly, and judging by how packed the Quad was for the Turtles, I knew there was no way I would be able to get back in there for Delta Spirit/Middle Brother/M. Ward with Dawes.


Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson sure likes to talk. She likes to let you know about what year she thinks she may have recorded the song she is about to sing. She likes to tell stories about Elvis Presley. She likes The Lord.

She also had the loudest set I heard all weekend. I don't mean to sound like a crochety old lady, but my god. We're right here. No need to crank this stuff up to 11.

I mean, she was good. She killed a cover of Amy Winehouse's “You Know I'm No Good.” But you know. This set kind of gave me a headache.

Chillin' in our tent. More like burning, but whatevs.

The husband took the girl to the Kid Zone during this time, and he got to hear Elizabeth Mitchell while he was there, so I was a little jealous about that. I thought for sure the boy would pass out for a bit, but you know. It was loud, man.

Highlights: “You Know I'm No Good”
                “Fujiyama Mama”
                the crazy red fringed outfit she was wearing

Amos Lee

When you don't even care enough to take a photo that isn't crooked.

I don't really care for Amos Lee, so I'm not going to review him. Much like Yim Yames, he makes me too sleepy to hold my attention. I wasn't really listening to him anyway, as I spent most of his set in the freaking Lego tent with the girl. WHYYYYYYY.

Lego Kids Zone, or: Where Hipster Moms Go To Let The Bitterness Wash Over Them

We knew about the Lego Kids Zone. There was a reason we did not even breathe a word of it in the days leading up to the festival. We know our children well, and we knew that once the girl got a whiff of this place? She would want to spend the rest of her time there.

I guess some other parents were not as savvy as we were.

It is really great that there was a place for kids to hang out this year. There were tables set up for little craft projects, there were tons of Legos to play with, and there were snacks provided by Late July, who we happen to love. There was even a little stage, and bands would drop in and play every now and again. Cool, right?

There were also a ton of kids there, and a ton of bewildered parents who didn't really seem to care what their kids were doing, because they were hot and tired and pissed off that they weren't at the Quad with all of the not-saddled-with-the-responsibility-of-children-twenty-somethings.

I hear you. I really do. But seriously for a minute.

I used to think that I hated kids. But then I came to realize that it's not kids that I hate; it's parents. When a little girl is playing with her Legos (she must have been 4 or 5), and then some toddling and drooly baby boy comes up and starts taking apart her creation and proceeding to put everything in his mouth, and she starts crying because obviously she doesn't have any younger siblings and she doesn't get that he is just a baby, and you just kind of stand there and stare at it happening and offer nothing in the way of explaination, I just need to know WHAT EXACLTY IS WRONG WITH YOU. Are you really that hot that you just don't care about other people's kids? Are you that overwhelmed? Do you not understand that your kid is ruining this other kid's day?

So basically, I just wanted to punch everyone in the face that I saw lying around. 

The girl did have a lovely time, despite the fact that no one seemed to care when their kid wouldn't share their Legos. We did a couple of art projects together, including decorating a paper plate which now hangs proudly on our fridge. (One funny thing that happened is that when she was done drawing and stamping, she handed her plate to the woman at the table, who was like, “Oh! This is nice!” and awkwardly handed it back to her, and then the girl was like, “Wait...I GET TO KEEP THIS?!?!?!? OMG BEST DAY EVER!”) We grabbed a couple of bags of Late July tortilla chips (NOM NOM NOM SO GOOD) and headed back to our tent, leaving the heap of overheated and unaware parents in our wake.

Elvis Costello, or: What I Did While Everyone Else Was At Middle Brother

Remember how this was supposed to be a solo set? Me, too. What happened with that?

I think I might know.

You see, Elvis had the great misfortune of playing at the same time as Middle Brother. They kind of rock, you know? They're kind of loud, you know? They're kind of playing on a stage directly behind the stage that Elvis is playing on, you know?


The husband ditched us right before his set started, because if both of us couldn't be at Middle Brother, that didn't mean that one of us couldn't be there. Apparently I was so devoid of the ability to care about anything happening to me that I let him be the one to go. I am pretty much the greatest wife ever, in case you're keeping track.

That Awkward Moment When Elvis Costello Is Between Songs, And All You Can Hear Is Everyone Singing “When My Time Comes” With Dawes Back In The Quad

Yeah. So, that happened. Welp.

Elvis was great. I mean, he's Elvis Costello for god's sake. The kids and I danced our hearts out while he played with The Imposters. Then The Secret Sisters came out and did a couple of songs! Love!


And then suddenly CHRIS THILE. HNNNNNNNNG. See him there? He played a couple of songs. And then Elvis seemed to be disgruntled because The Secret Sisters were supposed to come back, but they were with M. Ward? I don't know. And then Emmylou Harris came out! Wheeeeeeee!

In any event, I'm glad that I got to see him, even if it meant missing some other things that were pretty epic in their own right. And I really, from the bottom of my heart, mean that.

Highlights: “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
                “A Slow Drag With Josephine” solo with The Secret Sisters
                “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”

That Awkward Moment When You Realize You Should Have Spent Sunday Camped At The Quad Stage, or: My 45-Second Listen to M. Ward With Dawes

After Elvis' set, we knew we had to be out. The kids had soldiered on so well these past 2 days, and after a loooong night at the barbecue, it was time to just call it a weekend and head back to our hotel. We packed up our stuff and in one last and desperate attempt to not have completely abandoned our carefully plotted out schedule, we ducked into the Quad for M. Ward. It was so crowded that we could barely move. The girl made it known that she needed to get out of there, STAT.

So that was it, my friends. In a blaze of glory (which smells oddly the same as defeat), we waited in line for our shuttle bus back to our car, and we bid another year of Newport adieu. Thanks for the amazing time! We can't wait for next year, when we will no doubt become obsessed with new bands, and miss epic things, and see other epic things, and basically enjoy an entire weekend of unparalleled music. And maybe we'll do it just the two of us for a change.