Out of nowhere, this has turned into three days of action packed live music for me.
Saturday night I went to Norfolk's Town Point Park, a grassy downtown knoll that overlooks the Elizabeth River, for the annual Bayou Boogaloo. If not inherently obvious, it's a New Orleans themed festival that runs for three days.
Upon entering the grounds, I caught the tail end of Amanda Shaw. (Awww, yeah.) I first saw her at JazzFest when her band played the Fais Do Do stage about 10 years ago. She was 14. She came directly from school that day to lead her band at the Fest. Unbelievable. Our late great friend Flynn went up and chatted with her after her set. I think he hit on her. Believable.
Highlights, as usual, included Amanda's renditions of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
The Rebirth Brass Band followed, delivering their same brass funk soul beat that they have for years. Always great.
And Trombone Shorty followed. The offstage Troy Andrews is a phenomenal trombone (duh) and trumpet player who has been part of Tremé's music scene since we was a little kid; we first saw him onstage at JazzFest as a guest for his brother James Andrews (don't go to him if your knee hurts) and the All-Stars around the turn of the millennium, when Shorty was 13. These days he adds a whole lot of guitar rock funk to the brass, and it's a crowd pleaser. Saturday night he closed, and he crushed.
But I only saw the first half of the show. At that point stepbro Ian called a water taxi, and a few minutes later a 20' outboard number pulled right up the the bulkhead about 30 yards from where we'd lucked into VIP section free beers at Trombone Shorty. For $6 a head, the water cabbie rode us across the river to Portsmouth, right to the nTelos Pavilion. From drinking an Abita at Shorty to drinking some nameless domestic light at The Avett Brothers in about 12 minutes. The Avetts walked onstage about two minutes after we walked into the general admission SRO pavilion floor. Well played, Ian.
The Avetts offered up their each-and-every-time-I've-seen-them frenzied energy and great sound. They simply bring a level of effort not generated by most bands, plus they've got more talent in their whole body than I have in my pinky finger. As Willy said, strike that, reverse it.
The Avetts cranked through excellent numbers new (Live and Die, Geraldine, Paul Newman vs. The Demons) and old (At the Beach, Murder in the City, Paranoia in Bb Major) with seamless vigor. I'm a fan. They bring it. They brought it.
So, a big night for music for me. Sunday did not relent.
We're friends with the singer and guitarist of an Asheville, NC bluegrass outfit called Town Mountain, and they played last night at the Taphouse in Norfolk -- for $10 you got a great gig in a tiny watering hole plus all the pulled pork and fried chicken you could eat. Not bad. Check out these cats if they hit your town.
[They do many originals and lots of more traditional tunes, but this one has great appeal to me.]
. . . and then there's tonight. This afternoon I'm headed up to DC. One of our Virginia Beach friends is cousins with keyboardist Chuck Leavell; for those not in the know, he was with the Allman Brothers in the 70's and has played with Clapton, the Crowes, etc. . . . and, since the early 1980's, the Rolling Stones. So our friend asked for four VIP tix to see the Stones tonight, and we got 'em. Giddyup.