Monday, June 6, 2011
After a good stretch without seeing any live shows, I definately got my fix this weekend.
It started Friday night with Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Ray and the dogs played through 2010's God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise and other Ray staples (Trouble, Shelter, Jolene ..). A stand-out highlight of the night was a gritty, freewheelin' version of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" that saw Ray accompanied by the Secret Sisters. Ray sounded better than advertised, especially from front-row Orchestra. He is no-doubt one of today's premiere performers and I've been lucky enough to catch him twice now, with the other being at a festival, so this was a whole new experience -- and a great one at that.
Early to wake and I was off to Mountain Jam in Hunter, NY. My fourth year in a row and it was a dandy. Highlights from Saturday and Sunday: DAWES! Dawes made a name for themselves among the some 5,000 that caught their Sunday afternoon set. While I had been listening to When My Time Comes, Western Skyline and a couple other songs by them, they delivered way more than I was expecting. I will be buying their albums, including their new one, Nothing Is Wrong (release tomorrow). Ryan Montbleau, Edward Sharpe and Grace Potter also delivered great sets (I got to hang out with Ryan Montbleau and chat during Avett Brothers' less-than-desired set) and My Morning Jacket capped things off with a strong showing that showcased everything off Circuital and many of their staple favorites (see setlist above). As I assumed they would, Preservation Hall joined them late in their set. Still, it didn't reach the height of my first MMJ show I caught in Essex Junction. Some shows just can't be matched.
Here's to live music and being fortunate enough to get to see the bands that inspire me with the people that mean the most ; )