Riverfest 2017: flute solos, fireworks and fidget spinners | Rock Candy

Monday, June 5, 2017

Riverfest 2017: flute solos, fireworks and fidget spinners

Posted By , , and on Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 9:43 AM

click to enlarge _dsc0550_2000.jpg

Whether you had a good time at Riverfest largely depends on when you were there — the threat of rain lingered through most of the afternoon on Saturday, finally rearing its head in time to delay a set from The Joy Formidable which, when it happened, was totally worth the wait. (There was ample cloud coverage during Wiz Khalifa's Saturday night set, too, but of a different sort.) President Clinton Avenue turned into a makeshift off-Broadway scene, with buskers, evangelists and vendors selling fidget spinners. Save for some muddy slopes and spongy spots on the lawn, most of the offending weather had cleared off in time for the afternoon sets on Sunday, when Morris Day & The Time and Amasa Hines brought the festival to a close in its 40th year. We've yet to get a report of the attendance numbers, but eyeballing the crowds this year in comparison to last year's tells us the rain deterred plenty of potential Riverfesters.

Morris Day and The Time: 1982's secret is out: Prince was "Jamie Starr" and wrote and performed all the band's classic songs. They're also no longer contractually obligated to be known as "The Original 7Sevn." An on-screen Prince tribute and the "Purple Rain" intro preceded the Time's Riverfest show, so we all finally know the real answer to the musical question "What time is it?" Although his face has changed, Morris Day brought the hits like "Wild and Loose," "Oak Tree," and "Jungle Love," as well as original keyboardist Monte Moir.
click to enlarge _nkw0437_2000_720.jpg
Amasa Hines: While folks were getting their purple nostalgia on at the Clinton Center stage with The Time, Amasa Hines was delivering a transcendent set with plenty of hazy breakdowns and reverb. A balmy evening ended with a befitting dismissal from frontman Joshua Asante: "Y'all be safe. Be kind. Be loving. Be you."

Here Come the Mummies: Wow, for a bunch of guys dressed in mummy outfits, I was not expecting two openers that sounded like they could have been B-sides to Gloria Estefan singles, or lost tracks from the "Top Gun" soundtrack. Their set involved a captivating flute solo and an extended saxophone solo in which two musicians played a total of four saxophones — a solid 1:2 ratio of dude-to-saxophone. It was pretty difficult, on principle, to walk away from that in favor of catching Morris Day in time for his opener.

Andy Frasco and The U.N.: These guys are known to bring a party with them, and from the looks of Brian Chilson's photos, that's what they did.

click to enlarge _nkw0227_2000_720.jpg
click to enlarge _nkw0333_2000_720.jpg
click to enlarge unnamed_2_.jpg
click to enlarge unnamed_3_.jpg

Cody Jinks:
While hundreds of kids in fringe tops and hot pants were doing the so-called milennial whoop Saturday night to some Cold War Kids and Moon Taxi, Cody Jinks was over at the Frio Light stage — to use an audience member's words — "pullin' a Waylon Jennings outlaw move." Evidently, sound engineering problems plagued his set persistently, so Jinks went around and consulted his band members before pulling the plug on his performance altogether.

Moon Taxi: There is absolutely nothing objectionable about this band. And maybe therein lies the problem? That said, the two hundred or so kids gathered around them adoringly clapping their hands in the air would probably argue that there's no problem at all.

Tank & The Bangas: Tarriona "Tank" Ball and The Bangas were the unanimous winners of NPR's Tiny Desk Contest this year, and although they didn't get nearly the dance party they deserved for their appearance in Little Rock — after all, it was 2:30 p.m. — the seven of them churned out a jazz set that was less "Quick" (their winning entry) and more an expanded jazz fantasy; half Phoebe Snow, half Esperanza Spalding, all Tank. Their style is largely narrative, like a 40-minute nursery rhyme told with the help of impressionistic flute solos. Tank enraptures with cartoonish sound effects, rapid-fire poetry and an unfailingly positive vibe; at one point, she gestured to individual members of the crowd, declaring, "I love you! I love you!," and we believed her.

The Wildflower Revue: Despite reports of the same sound issues that plagued Cody Jinks' set later on that night, a new lineup for The Wildflower Revue (Cindy Woolf of The Creek Rocks has stepped in for Bonnie Montgomery) filled out the stage nicely. We tore ourselves away from Tank & The Bangas set just soon enough to catch a downtempo rendition of "Ain't No Grave," the band's closing number.

click to enlarge unnamed_4_.jpg

Cage the Elephant, Grouplove: After playing Memphis in May, Grouplove and Cage the Elephant kicked off the first night of Little Rock's Riverfest on the First Security Amphitheatre stage on Friday. In the 7:30 p.m. slot, the indie act Grouplove had the large crowd singing along to popular songs like "Welcome to Your Life," "Tongue Tied," "Shark Attack" and a cover of the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage." Nirvana seemed like an influence of singer and keyboardist Hannah Hooper and the rest of the band.

Headliner Cage the Elephant, of Bowling Green, Ken., took the stage at 9:30 p.m. The band recalled Jack White's sound. Lead singer Matt Shultz used the whole stage to run around to get the crowd riled up while performing. The band's set included the songs "Cry Baby," "In One Ear" and "Spiderhead." The crowd was loud and wild.


From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Most Viewed

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation