the festival was great this year as always, we immediately saw people we knew and familiar musicians; and almost bumped smack into david byrne who was drifting from room to room in a handsome tomato red oxford shirt and straw colored cap. click here for his blog comments on the festival.
the new space was ornate, palatial, fun; visually spectacular. it reminded me of the ball scene in the leopard (recently at film forum.)
on the down side, the acoustics weren't as good as in the previous venue, a high school in inwood. ornate cornices, persian carpets and della robbia reliefs just seemed to suck up the sound. and the space seemed to have a subtle effect on the over all energy of the event; to slightly overwhelm the musicians and party goers. the many large tables and uniformed
waiters made people feel like they were at a wedding. i heard this several times. the old space was very d i y, which made for a more outlaw atmosphere of uninhibited comradery.
there were many, many impressive musicians. more than ever- around 60 bands! i really dig sauren baronian, in particular, and he had the whole crowd in the rainbow room on its feet and dancing. they didn't let him off the stage 'till he'd played 3 or4 encores.
still, the grand ballroom didn't completely light up until the last 1/2 hour when the closing band, what cheer brigade (from providence ri.) absolutely immolated the suddenly euphoric crowd with a searing crazy horn/percussion inferno. they closed with a slayer cover*- right down on the floor- screaming loud with NO amplification. (!) (*raining blood- balkan brass style.) they were the only band I witnessed that really owned the grand ballroom space.
DOUBLE CLICK ON THE VIDEO TO SEE IT FULL SIZE.(not my video)