Saturday, July 24, 2010
HullabaLOU Day One: In brief
After a somewhat inauspicious start to the festival (more on that at a later date), I arrived at HullabaLOU just in time to catch the magnificent Gladys Knight. I was hot, dehydrated, and cranky, and Ms. Knight came on close to twenty minutes late. But as I tweeted a local, I would have gladly waited days...
Largely due to my affinity for music festivals, I've seen so many of "the greats" in concert: BB King, Little Richard, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Fats Domino, Marva Wright, Aretha Franklin... I grew up, somehow, loving Motown/R&B above all other music. And I've seen Gladys Knight before, at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, but this time I was just two people back from the stage-- two fraking TALL people, unfortunately. But when Ms. Knight took the stage, my festival experience began. All the stress of simply getting there dissipated, and I was in the groove. Ms. Knight was astounding in her energy, her spunk, and her charm. I want to be Gladys Knight when I grow up. (Got some great video, and I'll devote a post to her soon.)
Train put on a great show in the grand scheme of things, but I was kind of put off by the frat-boyishness of the lead singer. Sure, I love "Soul Sister" and "Drops of Jupiter." But the whole spectacle left me feeling rather empty, like I could have stayed home and listened to their CD and been as nonplussed.
Two things surprised me about the Colbie Caillat show: (A) This is a woman who sounds as fantastic live as she does on her albums, and (B) The moment she went acoustic and off-album, the crowd fled. I love it when a young, hot singer lives up to her/his album hype, and Caillat truly did. Her sound is lovely, and she is gorgeous. It's less country and more whatever Jason Mraz is (not surprisingly she's recorded a duet with him). So nice to see a young woman with some flesh on her bones and some soul in her voice. After seeing Gladys Knight, I was less enthralled with Caillat's stage presence than I probably normally would have been, but for the most part her voice alone charmed me and made me want to check out her album on iTunes.
I didn't intentionally check out the Dierks Bentley show, but I did catch a couple of songs with Sam Bush guesting. And heck, he's pretty good. And he's pretty good looking too!
I know I've been gushing a bit about Bon Jovi over these past few weeks, but some of that-- I thought-- was kind of tongue-in-cheek. I mean, I made Bon Jovi a relentless target when I was a teenager. HATED them. I was an REM/U2/Smiths/Cure/Pixies-loving kid, and Bon Jovi was the quintessential band that was destroying music. (Ok, maybe the New Kids on the Block was the true quintessential band killing music back then) But as an adult, in retrospect, Bon Jovi was the real deal. And they proved this true tonight. Motley Crue, Poison, Slayer... none of the big hair bands of the 80s-90s would have drawn the crowd that Bon Jovi did tonight. And none of those bands, when they took the stage, would have made my heart flutter like Bon Jovi did. (More on Bon Jovi later, I promise.)
Overall, after multiple headaches and still with tons of questions, I remain a HUGE fan of summer music festivals. And so far, HullabaLOU is mostly scratching that itch. I am so tremendously lucky to be "media" for this festival. More on that... as you can imagine... later. Can't wait for tomorrow.