by Brad Roberts
I could hardly keep up with all the monumental changes taking place this week. From the sudden demonization of that symbol of division and hate, the Confederate Flag, to upholding the truly revolutionary Obamacare. And finally to settle the gay marriage issue. All in one week. Now the only platform the Republicans have for the next election is "We'll take you backwards." Change can be sudden and unexpected.
I feel a little like a cheat as this week is pretty light owing to the holiday, and last week was fairly slight except for the weekend. Bear with me, things will pick up. I'm trying to digest the changes I see going on around me in our little music scene. Change again. When I first got into writing about music in 2008 I was surrounded by an explosion of bands and talent coming at me from all sides. I thought that was normal, and simply the way things happen in the music world. Little did I realize I was witnessing something extremely special and rare.
As I was attending the Monday residency at The Satellite to see yOya last Monday, I was struck by the newness of the audience. Flashing back a few years I recalled a time when the residencies were filled to overflowing with large groups of friends and band mates that seemed so close because we all ran into each other multiple times every week at lots of shows. It made me a little sad.
The close-knit community has moved on and evolved. The final show at Echo Country Outpost on Saturday was the perfect embodiment of what I'm talking about. But the spirit of community was in such abundance at this event that it was heartening to witness the strength of this movement and come away feeling that it will prevail.
I started at 2 PM and stayed nearly all day as stalwarts of the arts collective I'll refer to as the Echo Country Outpost community performed, starting with Fort King outdoors at 2:15, proceeding through Ruthann Friedman, Ghiant and Evan apRoberts Band. Moving inside Matt Van Winkle Band offered a stunning set that transfixed everyone... and on and on, Frankie J. Reinke, Del Champion, late additions The Wild Reeds had the audience eating out of their hands, Christian Lee Hutson, and genre-bending performance artists Alex Volz and Donna Bummer, each one offering magnificent sets that made it impossible to turn away. In fact I didn't get out of there till nearly nine and a half hours later. After moving and funny testimonials to Chris and Erica, they poured their hearts into their sets and the results were exhilarating.
More on change: happy to hear that Kyle Wilkerson has been named talent buyer for Bootleg Theatre. So, while they may be closed to music over the next few weeks, they will be coming back. I recall my first few shows there in 2009 when they were under the umbrella of The Fold and just figuring out the space and how to handle sound in that big wooden box. Saw a few bands ruined before they began making acoustical changes to the room that resulted in vast improvements that eventually resulted in one of the finest sounding venues in town.
See next week's highlights inside.