Spring Concerts + Riverfest Story
Spring 2016 was packed with good music, both in Little Rock and with the addition of a couple of road trips. I capped of the festival season with story about Little Rock's 2016 Riverfest in the June issue of Arkansas Life, which you can read here.
My BFF won tickets to Mumford & Sons in North Little Rock through a radio contest — and guess who she decided to take? Me! Who cares you're in the nosebleeds when the tickets are freebies? I loved hearing their recent album, Wilder Mind, live — especially while boogeying with my best friend.
Before heading to New Orleans for Jazzfest, some friends and I saw Modest Mouse at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. The venue opened in 2014 after major renovations (which I first read about when researching this travel piece), and I was super impressed with the space! It had the intimate, historic feel of The Ryman but with an open floor.
Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather, so I needed to weasel my way up to the mezzanine after the opener (The Districts) because I was feeling so puny. Nevertheless, still a great show. I can see why some people aren’t fans of Modest Mouse live – their already-chaotic sound is even noisier onstage, and Isaac Brock's tangents and distractions could be annoying. But I took it as part of the show and enjoyed every bit of it. Though I regret that I had to view from above and bob in my seat rather than rock out a little more downstairs, it was kind of neat seeing this band from a different perspective.
My Morning Jacket was a headliner at Jazzfest this year, so I trekked down there for my first Jazzfest since 2009. I was able to get up to the rail for this, but the VIP section between the stage and the general admission is so dang big and empty that it kind of put a damper on the mood. But the crowd was fun and really into it, and MMJ put on a heck of a performance, welcoming the Preservation Hall Jazz Band onstage for Prince’s "Sign o' the Times" and "Purple Rain."
The next day we were supposed to see Beck, but for the first time in what I heard was forever, Jazzfest was rained out. BOO. So, instead of Beck, here’s a photo of a pretty New Orleans house I instagrammed on the way to a crawfish boil.
JJ Grey & Mofro don't come to Little Rock as much as they should, and I'm always down to sing "Lochloosa" along with JJ. Great show as always.
HAIM played Minglewood Hall in Memphis on a Tuesday night. I’m not sure who in their right mind let me buy a ticket to a show out of town on a weeknight, but it was worth it — this was probably my favorite show of the season. These sisters are amazing live — they’re talented, have great chemistry onstage, and are hella fun to rock out too. My only critique was that it too short of a set (I think they played right at an hour) and though they only have one album, some covers or more jamming out (like the video below) would have been cool.
ZZ Ward at Riverfest in Little Rock: LOVE this lady. I do think a little bit of the magic of her performance was lost playing midday to a small crowd on a huge stage (which I think is the case for lots of performers), but she was still awesome.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. She is always fun to bebop around to. There were some tunes that were new to me since I haven’t kept up with her new albums as well, but it was all catchy enough that I was singing along to it by midway through.
Flaming Lips. What a spectacle. Near the end, a friend beckoned me to step up behind me from the floor to the front row of seats, reserved for the band’s family and friends. The guitarist’s parents were up there and wanted to fill those seats. It was pretty groovy, and near the end when Wayne Coyne did his hamster ball bit, he came straight back through the crowd and rested on a platform that happened to be right over where I was standing, now crouching. Got some great Coyne crotch shots (see below).