Friday, October 4, 2019
Day 1 and what a day it was….
Sure there was increased security that forced me to buy a whole bunch of clear plastic bags and there were very specific places to enter the park, but my holiday began on the first Friday of October and in the end, it was the same old Hardly Strictly… maybe a tiny bit fewer people than usual. No complaints here!
We arrived earlier than we normally would on a Friday because gates opened at 9. We got ourselves set up at Banjo and ran into Jay right away. Reunions begin! We ran over to Rooster to get ourselves set up over there as well and started making friends.
We hung out and waited for Chastity Brown to start her set. I thoroughly enjoyed her set and thought she was a great way to start the weekend, especially with her comment that ‘Nature reminds us that life will never be easy, but it has the possibility of being beautiful.’ And I will argue that life is beautiful, especially during HSB surrounded by my Friends & Family!
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. [JM] I liked the last song they played; turns out it was a Wilco cover. This is definitely *not* my jam!
We caught the end of Bill Frisell’s set with Petra Haden , Hank Roberts and Luke Bergman when we headed back to the Rooster stage to see Shooter Jennings.
It had been a few years since I last saw him and it was good to see him again, even though we couldn’t stay for his whole set.
We had Will Kimbrough to visit at the Bandwagon stage. — Long recommended (thanks Brian); finally seen! And worth it! He and The Red Dirt Boys were awesome and I’ll be looking to see him again.
From Bandwagon to Banjo for Tanya Tucker — A True Legend! Totally exceeded my expectations. HSB19 Jammie award winner!!! Check out this video to see why!
St. Paul & The Broken Bones followed Tanya Tucker. They were so much freaking fun which was exactly what I expected but it was news to some in my group! Also, there were a lot of drunken shenanigans by this time in the evening. Good times!
A ride home and Chinese delivery brought Day 1 to a close!
Saturday, October 5th – Day Two
After getting set-up, we started the day at the Porch stage with Whiskerman. We were joined by Steve Mongon and Whiskerman was joined by The Rainbow Girls.
[ACO] (Whiskerman is the band with the sitar. LOL. I liked them and the sitar did give them a bit of a Beatles; Sgt. Peppers feel but when the Rainbow Girls came out I couldn’t help but feel like they didn’t really want to share their stage with the ladies. [JM] Totally agree on this point which may have added to the meh-ness in my opinion. Why invite them on stage if you don’t want to play nice together?)
[JM] I stayed for the beginning of Mary Gauthier who was wonderful as always, but I left early to catch Mercury Rev & Beth Orton. I probably should have stayed for Mary Gauthier. Beth Orton’s voice was lovely, but ho-hum! I did get to see Renee and find Lala and others so it wasn’t a total loss.
[ACO] (Agreed, Beth Orton was just ho hum. I really like her too but the performance was boring.)
Next up: Hayes Carll!!!! What can I say, I love this man! LOVE!!! It was Peter’s first time seeing Hayes and he couldn’t get past the lyric ‘wine bottles scattered like last night’s clothes’. Me, I always go for ‘you be the sinner and I’ll be the sin’ though there are so many good ones, it’s difficult to pick just one.
I listened to Tank & The Bangas from the Swan Stage. They played ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ which I thoroughly enjoyed when I saw them at the Fox Theatre in Oakland last year. I didn’t feel like I needed to go to the Swan stage since I saw them at Thing in August.
[ACO] (I opted to see the Flatlanders instead, who are always wonderful.)
[JM] I caught the beginning of Robert Earl Keen before I darted to Rooster to see Yola. She started with a god song which scared me, but then I enjoyed her and she did play ‘Walk Through the Fire’ which is the song that caught me for starters. I couldn’t stay though cause the sweet siren call of Margo Price was beckoning me to the Banjo Stage.
Miss Margo totally rocked it. She was really awesome!
The New Pornographers. Two Words — Neko Case
Robert Plant — [JM] Listened to the beginning from the Swan Stage; didn’t sound like anything I hadn’t heard the last time I saw Robert Plant (who is also a legend) so went in pursuit of my lost jacket (which it turns out was at Robert Plant) and John Craigie. I caught the smallest amount of Steve Earle & The Dukes in pursuit of aforementioned lost hoodie and then headed to John Craigie who was perfect. Great songwriting/singing mixed with some great patter. While I was enjoying the AOC song, ACO was enjoying Robert Plant and ran into my favorite local musicians, Ben and Alex Morrison and Erika Tietjen.
[ACO] (Yep, that happened. It was my first time seeing Patty Griffin’s Driver (Robert Plant) and it was really incredible. The crowd, while peaceful, was a raging mess and it was perfect. To move through, you just had to ride the wave, moving one small step at a time. Eventually we found our place and our friends Andy and Carla! Then we found the Morrison Brothers after the show! The day turned into dusk as he sang Ramble On and we all did, making our way home after a perfect second day.)
Sunday, October 6, 2019 — Day Three — Another Amazing Day
We started the day with the Emmylou soundcheck. It’s my favorite part of HSB and this year, she played a song for us even though she didn’t think they’d be performing it that evening. It was so lovely! And I’m glad it happened since I didn’t make it to see her for closing; too many good options. I think there was a time during SXSW when Andee described this as ‘love the one you’re with’ and so we did!
[ACO] (Um, Jenn, didn’t you say that? I feel like that’s something you would say.)
[JM] Andee – I agree that it sounds more like me, but I swear you said it about Lukas Nelson when we were at the Rachel Ray party and you wanted to go inside to see someone else but there was Lukas and sunshine… it’s entirely possible I’ve created this version of our story. It’s probably not the first time, nor will it likely be the last!
From there, we headed over to the Rooster stage and a little Robert Ellis and some ‘Topo Chico and Lime’ and then tried to catch Moshe Volozny at the Porch stage, but left Rooster too late. (We heard/saw one song and we liked it.) We caught Parsonsfield (and Renee) and am excited for them to return to SF. I’ll be checking for those tour dates. They reminded me a little of Darlingside, but for different reasons. Renee and I also got to compare notes about John Craigie and discussed seeing him at The Freight in November. He did *not* mind sharing his stage with The Rainbow Girls.
[ACO] (I was looking them up to see if this was the band with the sitar and saw a “you might also like Darlingside”, so I guess you must know what you are talking about Jenn. Who was the band with the sitar that I liked and you meh? [JM] That was Whiskerman. So ho-hum!)
Headed to the Banjo stage for Liz Cooper & The Stampede and had my suspicion that I don’t really dig Liz Cooper confirmed for me. Left Banjo to grab something from one of my clear plastic bags left the Rooster stage (Don’t tell! There were lots of announcements not to leave bags) on my way to Fantastic Negrito and caught the beginning (and later the end) of Rayland Baxter. He’s loud; that’s about as much as I can say.
[ACO] (I really like Rayland Baxter and was looking forward to seeing him live but I do have to admit that it’s not the most engaging live show.)
Fantastic Negrito was… well, fantastic! Yes, I really enjoyed him and his message and I would go see him again and again. He makes me feel things!
[ACO] (I went to see Judy Collins because I was raised on her. She was great and her voice still rings like a bell. Her stories, especially the one about creeping down from her room to listen to Bob Dylan write Mr. Tambourine Man were great.)
Joan Osborne gave it her all; in fact, she succumbed to heat stroke during her final song ‘One of Us’. We were on our way out when this happened, so we didn’t actually know til we ran into Dan and Eric back at the Banjo stage. I am super glad that I went to see her; I would definitely go see her again!
The reason for darting to the Banjo Stage was so that we could catch Mandolin Orange. They were great; they always are. [JM] I got to tell someone the story of how they saved my life (even though it was really the giant adirondack chairs and the shade that truly saved my life, but they were the soundtrack to that particular rough morning).
[ACO] (I love Mandolin Orange and if they hadn’t been so far away on such a big stage, they may be taking home the Jammie. Remember when we saw them on the tiny Bandwagon stage a few years ago? So good. [JM] So so good!!!)
Booked it from Mandolin Orange to Jackie Greene at the Swan Stage and so glad that I did. Shannon Saunders and band were with him, including all 4 of the McCrary sisters and the horn section. Sadly I left my boots at the Banjo stage and my jacket at the Rooster stage and I was wearing a sleeveless festy dress so things got a bit chilly with Jackie, but he kept me moving for the most part and so therefore warm enough til I was reunited with my things.
Austin guys were at Wood and Wire and said it was their nomination for the Jammie awards, but since neither Andee or I were there, they can’t really win.
[JM] From Jackie Greene, I went to pick up Pat (and warmer clothing) at the Rooster stage and scoot up front for The Punch Brothers who were such a good time. Plus, Pat! See how cute we are, dressed in our fall colors at Pat’s favorite stage (also known at GG Park’s disc golf course).
And Monika and Sarah! Thanks for the photo, Monika! I can’t believe The Punch Brothers photo-bombed us! Awkward!
[ACO] (Meanwhile, I went to see Kurt Ville for a bit before heading across the park to finish out my day at the small Porch Stage to see the Wild Reeds. They were incredible! Funny and well put together, all three females took lead during different parts of the show. They sounded, looked and performed like one unit but definitely showed their various personalities and the crowd loved it. I really enjoy the infectiousness of a great crowd and this one had it all. This was my Jammie for HSB 2019 but since Jenn wasn’t there, it’s only a partial Jammie… a Jam I guess?)
We all reconvened back at the Banjo Stage and packed up our stuff and walked over to Ton Kiang for dim sum (and a gorgeous view of the GG Bridge) and it was delicious and then we Lyfted home and another HSB was in the books! It went so fast but it was so much fun!
I can’t wait for next year!