Second Opinion, Kate's Take II

This entry was buried in the comments to an earlier article. Let's get it out in the open. Another in the continuing guest commentary from my niece Kate...

The View From A Foot Lower

Hi, I'm Scott's niece Kate, and I think he and I saw entirely different festivals. With a few notable exceptions, I saw almost entirely music that I was unfamiliar with. Anyway, Scott's asked me to share my notes, so here we go.

James McMurtry: (Mother Egan's) Awesome outlaw style blues-rock guitarist. Looks like Stevie Ray Vaughn and kinda sounds like him too. Much of the commentary is political, and he's very well informed.

Chikita Violenta: (Emo's Annex) Mexican punk rockers? Doing bizarre but intriguing covers of sixties folk rock and some original stuff that was pretty damn good too? I approve. Plus, free tamales.

James Collett: (Emo's Annex) Let's swing to the other border. Canadian alternative rock, they are damn glad to be in a warm climate. Good groove, very mixed age group in the crowd, all enjoying the show.

Blue Mountain: (Mother Egan's) Mix of blues, rock and bluegrass. Rest of the crowd seems way more into it than me, but it's very listenable.

Abbie Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet Featuring Bela Fleck: (Mother Egan's) Wow. That's a long name. But totally worth it. Two banjos, cello and fiddle. Incredible music, bluegrass plus Chinese folk, and the most incredible solos traded smoother than I've seen in a long time. Her voice is gorgeous. Bela Fleck is the big name in the group, but also the one who gets up and turns off the rattling snares. In the front row, he catches me in a moment of panic when I think I've lost my glasses and am rooting through my bag. After I look back up, he winks at me and grins. I grin back. It was a moment.

Jesca Hoop: (Buffalo Billiards) First show where the wristband really helps get us in. Girl rock singer with backup band and backup vocalist, also a girl. Apparently used to be Tom Waits' nanny. Don't think I would trust her with my kids, as she appears to be on another planet. The music, on the other hand, is delightful. Really quirky and wonderful, the whole show's strong. First CD purchase of the festival.

The Papercranes: (Stubb's) Another girl rocker. This one needs a backup vocalist. A little overdramatic and gothy for my tastes. End show early, possibly due to lack of crowd response.

The Dead Confederates: (Stubb's) Most disappointing show thus far. Had heard good things about this Southern metal group, but all of the songs sound the same, and most impressing feature was their incredible loudness (thank you Marty DiBergi).

R.E.M.: (Stubb's) Wow. Wasn't expecting Michael Stipe to be such a rock star, getting it down at the mike, tossing clothes off into the crowd. Also making fun of the Blackberry folks, who keep texting after each song. Really incredible. Mostly new stuff, which I really grooved to. Played "Into the Great Beyond" because Michael wanted to even though they hadn't practiced it in two years. Awesome.

Total Wristbands: 2
Total Stamps: 1
Total CDs: 1
Total shows: 9
Total times walked the length of Sixth Street: 4