On repeat, on repeat.
On repeat, on repeat.
Memories. Check out my Q&A with Firefly grads SPEAK here.
The seaside town of Newport, RI, in and of itself is charming, mystical, and a little magical if you pick the right cobblestone alleys to walk down. Laced with history, lined with flourishing foliage, and surrounded by the rocking ocean of the east coast, Newport provides the perfect backdrop for all things amazing. I was fortunate enough to attend the Newport Folk Festival, a festival that exceeded all of my expectations, especially in regards to the venue. However, nothing could prepare me for the Alanis Morissette concert, which is quite funny to me, considering Jagged Little Pill was released eleven days before I was born. Good times.
The setting, a large white, open tent sitting on the edge of the water, paired with the beautiful, breezy New England night set the bar high, yet Alanis managed to laugh in the face of my expectations. The concert was an ‘acoustic and intimate’ concert. I would say a lot more acoustic than intimate. There was a significant amount of people inside the tent, as well as a number of standing room only attendees spanning far beyond the outer perimeter. Alanis sounded absolutely amazing. To hear such a distinctive voice in person is really an experience. She joked that she found out the setlist for that night’s show via twitter (social media these days, am I right?). Her hits came one after the other, “You Learn,” “Everything,” “Head Over Feet,” “Right Through You” etc. etc. Her stage presence surpassed what I anticipated. To spend two hours sitting in a chair during an acoustic set and be able to captivate the audience, make them laugh, and have them sing along is quite impressive. One of the reasons I believe she was so successful in engaging the audience is because she was very personal in her story telling, telling stories about Canada, her songwriting experiences, her husband and son, yadda yadda.
At the end of the concert she said something along the lines of, this is where we would leave and everyone would cheer and we would come back on, but I don’t want to trip, so thank you for saving me public shame and seven calories.’ The band then rolled into “Ironic” and ended the night with “Thank You.” At the end of the night, I was left wondering if I had dreamt the whole thing and actually just fallen asleep listening to Alanis Morissette: The Collection. Luckily, I woke up this morning and my memories from last night were still very vivd, and very real.
Houndmouth: Four member alternative/folk/indie-rock band stemming from Indiana; comprised of members Matt, Katie, Zak, and Shane; play one hell of a live show.
I have been fan of Houndmouth for quite some time now and have always thought their fan base certainly minimized how talented they are. The four have been playing together as a band since 2011, yet remain relatively unknown. This past weekend I saw them perform at the Newport Folk Festival and their show completely exceeded my expectations. Not only did they sound incredible, but their interaction with fans as well as each other contained a certain charm that is not seen too frequently live. In between smoke breaks and sips of wine, Katie on the keys belted out clear folky versus laced with a certain velvety twang. Matt also contributed vocals in between guitar solos that sent chills down my spine. He alternated between blues riffs and rock lines so effortlessly, it was truly beautiful to see. Zak on the bass guitar spent his time when he wasn’t singing jumping around with so much energy that is seemed to almost pulsate through the crowd. He also engaged in banter with the other three/ made faces so much that at one point it appeared Katie had to really make an effort to suppress her laughter. Shane serves had a steady foundation for the band, contributing rhythmic percussion and occasional vocals, only to be interrupted by his constant show of appreciation to the fans who had showed up to watch the performance (which happened to be at the same time as Deer Tick). Harmonies get me every time, and Houndmouth certainly highlight their capability to do so by often minimizing musical accompaniment to single out various harmonic progressions.
Houndmouth also played NFF last year and have been around the world on several tour stops the past year in support of their debut album they released last year, From The Hills Below The City. They played a few songs from their new album at the fest and the songs gave the perfect glimpse into what an amazing follow-up album it will be. What is so enlightening about the band is that they are able to take what they are doing very seriously, yet have such a fun time doing it. Many bands say they are enjoying themselves, but seldom do you find a band who is able to successfully create convivial songs and shows.
Songs To Know: Penitentary, Long As You’re At Home
Day one of the three day Newport Folk Festival has only just ended, but boy has it been a real treat. Having gone to Firefly Music Festival in June, it was an extraordinarily nice change of scenery. Fort Adams is the absolute perfect venue for a small, intimate festival, which is exactly what NFF is. The scale of attendees is around 10,000 people, with artists performing on a total of four stages. The ocean backdrop is absolutely stunning and the environment was surprisingly peaceful and calm, the antithesis of Firefly (lol sorry Firefly but you were cray). There are still two more days left, but I could hardly wait to talk about the festival to someone other than my family and friends, so voila.
The headliner of the night was Ryan Adams, but for me the star was Jenny Lewis. She was absolutely phenomenal and sounded amazing live. Her outfit was pretty quirky and bizarre (a cape and Willy Wonka-esque glasses) which made me love her performance that much more. She began her set with her latest hit “Just One Of The Guys” and “Silver Lining” from her days with Rilo Kiley immediately following. I was sincerely hoping she would play “Silver Lining” but didn’t think she actually would, so that was an awesome surprise.
I attended the festival with my sister who I hardly get to see, so that has been very nice. It has just been really incredible so far and I cannot wait for what is to come. Tomorrow- Jack White. P.S- Only true followers of KersCorner will realize that I am wearing my signature festival hat in the picture below. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. My motto.
NEWPORT FOLK FEST COUNTDOWN.
(but more importantly who knew you could use emojis on wordpress?)