Buster & I had a great time Saturday, when we suited up and drove the Bluesmobile up to the Blues'N Brews Festival in Westford, MA. I'd been in touch with one of the festival organizers and they had us drive right onto the field in the stage area to display the car and pose for photos throughout the day.
Pretty much perfect weather... sunny, high 70's... but no cloud cover so the sun was a bit brutal during the middle of the day. I've got the sunburned forearms to prove it where I had my sleeves rolled up! Buster made out better as he used the umbrella I found in the Bluesmobile's trunk, though he wilted for a while in the heat anyway. By 2pm it was already improving and all was good. It was an all-day event, 11am-7pm. Since we were parked in the stage area we had to get there before they opened, at 10:30am, to park and then couldn't move the car again until after the grounds had cleared, around 7:30pm. So a long day.
The toughest part for us was certainly getting up at 8am, as we're well-known night-owls. Buster & I made a pact to try and get to bed by midnight the night before... and we did!
....Two hours later we both got up, since we weren't sleeping, had a quick snack and got to sleep around 3. Sigh.
The first band of the day was Jason James and the Bay State Houserockers... High-energy start to the day, Jason plays like Thorogood with lots of dance music, very enjoyable and must be awesome in a bar setting! Next was Ottomatic Slim, whom I'd heard of but knew nothing about... damn good harp player, put on a great show. For his last song he asked if he could bring a friend up to join him... and up came Magic Dick! Of course, there could only be one last song for Dickie... "Whammer Jammer" live, hadn't heard it from him in many years! I should'a videoed it but was too busy drooling at our luck. Highlight of the day!
Next came the Bruce Marshall Group, whom I've seen around a few times... great player, very tight band. The highlight here was a tribute to Robert Johnson he did with some beautiful slide guitar. Wonderful.
Next came The Love Dogs, another group I'd only heard about but they were quickly added to my list of local favorites! Very funky, good horn section... much like a slightly smaller Roomful of Blues, or a bluesier Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Awesome, fun stuff, and the one CD I bought that day was from them. Not to mention the lead singer, Eddie "Duato" Scheer, had the coolest purple suit we've seen in a while! From just a little bit of distance he looked like The Joker, but in a good way!
Lastly was the headliner, Ronnie Earl. Ronnie's an awesome Chicago-style guitarist, who loves to make his guitar cry and pull the emotion out. I've seen Ronnie before, though it'd been quite a while, and he's always fantastic!
The festival was holding a couple of charity auctions, one of which was for a gold-plated Lee Oscar harmonica signed by Dan Aykroyd. I bought two $5 tickets... but of course didn't win. Fortunately it was won by someone near us, so I at least got a good look at it afterwards:
Sorry for the focus, in the bright sunlight it looked like the photo came out better than it did, should'a used a macro mode. Ah well, you get the idea....
Also plenty of good beers to try all day, from all sorts of regional microbrewers. It was like the old "Happy Days" episode, where Richie tells his dad, "All they had was beer... in teeny little glasses!" "How many tiny little glasses did you have?" "72." I stopped with 12 though, over a 6-hour period, and each only 3.5 ounces; had to get Buster home safe, after all! (Didn't stop me from having a couple more "full size" brews after I got home though, along with my weekly glass of bourbon shared with Jake over the phone.)
So all in all a fantastic if very long (and tiring) day. Buster did well with the long day, and mostly enjoyed himself, but he's not sure he'll be up for another one this season. That's pretty understandable, and not something I'd push, so we'll see if we're done for the year. There's a couple more coming up over the next few weeks all nearby, but none we're expected at, so we'll just see how we feel week to week. Either way, August has been an awesome blues month!
(As always, there's additional photos on the Flickr site.)