I had a great time seeing a staggering amount of music yesterday. The Eat More Kale Festival had been on my radar but when Tony Gallucci asked me to join him and David Tibbs to represent WBKM I set the plan in motion.
The drive down was pleasant despite a bout of insomnia the night before an getting a little lost in Montpelier. It didn’t matter, I stopped and asked for directions and was soon at the festival. Parking was in the field next to Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks and it was a long walk over the spongey ground to get to the festival, which was right behind the Sugarworks store.
I was a little late and could hear the band Some Hollow playing You Don’t Send Me Flowers Anymore. The band is a duo with a drummer and a singer/electric guitar player who added some harmonica to a couple of songs. They had a nice rocking sound and I enjoyed their cover of Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s gone. They played a few originals and I think I caught about five songs, including one about whiskey and one about kissing in the rain. They played well and set the stage for all of the bands that came after. The quality of the music all day long was pretty staggering.
The festival had two stages and the schedule had few if any breaks in it. The moment Hollow wrapped up I headed to stage two for Christine Malcom. She sang and played acoustic guitar. She was joined by Rudy on acoustic guitar and I missed the name of the woman playing electric stand up bass. They had a folky country mellow sweet sound. They opened with the easy to sing along with Two Hearted Girl. They played a Townes Van Zandt song about going to Denver. Look At Me was the next song and it was followed by one about Jesse James. A Keb Mo song was next and they closed with a cheery song about loving my baby and telling everyone I know. Their songs were nice and their playing was good and it put me in a happy place. At the end they said they had just named the band Honey I’m Home.
I thought the next band would be back on stage 1 then read the schedule and headed back to stage 2. Rick Norcross played solo with an acoustic guitar, a nice voice and some genuinely funny comments between the songs. After opening with a song about Same Old Vermont he thanked us for the standing ovation. Granted, there were no chairs to sit on, but he would take it any way he got it. It made me laugh. He proceeded through the set playing songs about our lovely state in a mellow country style. Welcome To Our Vermont was nice. The story about spending time at the Shelburne Museum on the Ticonderoga was fascinating and the song about it was a great story. He pulled out an Asleep At The Wheel song then taught us all about Green Mountain Standard Time. He closed with an award winning song about living in Hardwick and having to go to the funeral home to purchase flowers for the prom. I stayed until the last note rang out despite hearing a loud sound from stage 1.
Lake Superior hit the stage hard with an off kilter garage rock sound. They are a guitar/singer, bass, drums trio. They were loud and fun and it was good to have a band to rock out to. They played about seven songs and one featured some nice bluesy slide guitar. They were quite enjoyable and it was great to finally see them.
I raced back over to stage 2 as Boomslang began to play. They are a trio with two rappers and a DJ. Their music was bright and positive and full of enthusiasm. The kids in the slowly growing audience especially enjoyed their songs. Some choruses about We Got It Right Here, Check 1 2 3 and Lifting Off stood out. They finished the six song set with Do It Until The Floor Drops Out and fun was had by all. I wandered around the grounds a bit during their set, but the way all the stages and tents and booths were laid out, it was quite easy to hear the music from most anywhere in the festival. There were a couple of food and drink vendors, information booths about gardening and things, booths selling candles and t-shirts and even someone giving massages.
After Boomslang finished up I headed over to Stage 1 for Casio Bastard. Actually, they announced their name was Casio Band, since there were a lot of kids around. That was a nice touch. They are a quartet with electric guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards/vocals. I’m not sure if they play funk, jam or just plain rock, but it’s likely some lovely combination. They had a song that wondered about the world being round when it seems flat. They had a nice instrumental jam that featured some delightful keys. They had a song that flowed like a river round and round. It had a great guitar jam in the late middle. They shifted to a reggae style for a song about kale and not killing the lion. They closed with another fun jam and I really enjoyed their set too. I think that was the point when it dawned on me that the day was just going to get more and more incredible.
I headed back to stage two for another highlight of the day. American String Circus are a quintet with a singer/ukulele player, singer/acoustic guitar player, a stand up bass, a violin and a beat box, or whatever that box that drummers sometimes sit on and hit the front with their hands is called. Their sound was warm and friendly folk with a nice edge. They sang songs about forgiving you. letting your true self show, finally having your eyes open and being out where you want. One song was called Hold me and one had an alluring line about switchblade eyes. They ended the set with a cover and played a mellow folksy version of I Will Survive that was so good, it was the song playing in my head after I had completed the long drive home at the end of the evening. I just can’t say enough nice things about their band.
Up next was the first band of the day that I knew. I headed to stage 1 and Binger opened with a blistering version of Strings. They are a singer/electric guitar player, singer/bass player and drummer trio. The songs have a funky groove and really rock hard at times. The vocals are a mix of singing and rapping and their lyrics are quite inspirational. They ripped through the instrumental King Vice and Braden Winslow unleashed some serious lead guitar pyrotechnics throughout the set. They played a cover of Put It In My Pocket. They played the brand new Spaces In Between then a song called Check Your Pockets that sounded powerful and lovely. They wrapped the set by getting the audience to join in on the chorus of Yes You Can and fun was had by all.
OK, I’m going to stop here. This takes us up to 2:30 in the afternoon with nine hours of music to follow.