We're going to start an hour into the 'Fest. We'd known a couple people partial to Basia Bulat, and figured we should check her out, get the low-down on this lass (all photos (c) Matthew Keefer).
|Bulat on keyboard and occasional tambourine.|
Straight outta Chicago, IL, we caught the Fruit Bats on the Harbor Stage. We've heard the quintet described as "alt-country" and "folk rock," but we felt they were pretty straight rock to us, probably moreso than any other act we caught. Here's one of lead singer Eric D. Johnson:
|Put yo' arm in the air like you just don't...|
The music gods decreed: "Let there be horns." And there were horns:
|Mr. Janeway, taking it away.|
We love this next act a lot, though we didn't really connect with his "Solicitor Returns" solo. Matthew Logan Vasquez has been a mainstay of the Newport stages for a handful of years now, and graced the Festival with a solo and Middle Brother performance. Friday was his solo stuff (including "People, Turn Around") which we liked, but were not crazy about. What did make us crazy, though...
|MLV is in the building. And now you know.|
We have a couple of quick, quick stops. One, Neko Case at the Case/Lang/Viers stage:
|Ah yes, Neko.|
It's not like Mr. Lamontagne has the stage presence of Flight of the Conchords. The Aussie duo's set was replete with humdrum deadpan humor, and we were surprised by these closers. Was there something we'd missed in their two seasons on HBO? We admit, we'd seen a few episodes and weren't pulled in, but here at Newport, Jemaine and Bret were in top form, improvising all kinds of schtick that you'd've appreciated mostly in person, but also if you caught the NPR stream of the performance. Some things you might not've caught were a time-altered photo of the duo to more appropriately perform "Father and Son," as well as Bret catching a cheapo disposable camera from a fan to take a photo of the audience for them.
The two were stark raving mad. In the most polite, Australian way. Here are some photos:
|Jemaine Clement and...|
|...Bret McKenzie, the Flight of the Conchords.|
That's our first day of our Newport Folk Festival coverage, come back at us later this week for Day II: The Revenge. (We didn't use that joke before, right?)