Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Newport Folk Festival: Delta Spirit & Middle Brother

Delta Spirit: July 30 @ Newport Folk Festival, Fort Ada
ms State Park, Newport, RI

Last month, I spent the weekend, camera in hand, taking in this years sold-out Newport Folk Festival. Many of the artists performing over the weekend came with a gaggle of diehard followers in tow. Two of those bands were Delta Spirit and Middle Brother.

On Saturday, Delta Spirit took the stage to a packed crowd and did a bang up job of pleasing an adoring crowd. At the end of the afternoon, I was walking along and ended up chatting with a fellow festival goer about highlights of the day. Mine was Mavis Staples. His was hands down Delta Spirit. While he felt Staples was good, he felt her "comeback" (that may not have been the word he used but it was along those lines) was due to working with Jeff Tweedy whom I like fine and dandy. But, Miss Mavis didn't go anywhere to come back from and a lot of the folks I saw enthusiastically enjoying her set looked to have been enjoying her shows long before Tweedy started making music. At any rate, I'm not really sure how all of that figured into a matter of opinion and personal preference of the days highlight, but it was an interesting bit of chat none the less.

Overall, I'd have to say that Delta Spirit were my second favorite set of Saturday. And, if I didn't already dig their stuff, they would have added me to the ranks of new fans. As it stands, they just re-enforced why I and many others enjoy them.

More Photos HERE

Middle Brother: July 31 @ Newport Folk Festival, Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

Sunday, there were several acts that I enjoyed. One of them was, Middle Brother who took to the Quad Stage and set about killing it song after song. I was extremely glad that there was only a five minute overlap between them and Amos Lee who was playing on the Fort Stage.

The crowd around the stage swelled enormously during their set possibly one of the largest crowds that stage received over the weekend. Some of it perhaps due to the fact that it was said that the performance was to be the folky (is that a word?!) supergroup's last... for a while. At some point I had a look around taking in the crowd. As I was doing so, I kept trying to put my finger on what I was feeling. My conclusion, their set didn't feel like part of a festival, it simply felt like a Middle Brother show.

I happened upon a Taylor Goldsmith somewhere between the media tent and the artists area. I had one of those awesome brain challenged moments where you walk away horrified at the fact that you said the brilliantly sophisticated and intellectually superior accolade, "you guys were awesome, you totally rocked it." I might have said some other dumb crap too but, I can't get past the afore mentioned horror. Can we blame the heat on my brain malfunction?

More Photos HERE