When your Monkey first saw the lineup of bands for this year’s Newport Folk Festival, he nearly dropped his banana and fell straight out of his tree.
The Fleet Foxes, The Decemberists, Iron and Wine, The Avett Brothers and Gillian Welsh all on one stage? Are you kidding me?
It sounded like a great show, but tickets were expensive and your Monkey had a vacation already planned. So he had to pass on it.
Luckily NPR and the All Songs Considered Program was there to cover the event and has been providing your Monkey with enough live music podcasts from that day that he almost feels like he was there.
All he needs now is a pair of Birkenstocks, a sunburn, and a guilty white liberal conscience.
But seriously folks…
Let’s talk about the good, the bad and the surprising from that day.
Oh Gilllian Welsh! Your talent as a singer and songwriter is matched only by your suprising knowledge of Red Sox folklore.
Sure your flight was delayed and you barely made it to Newport in time for your show, and sure you had to get a police escort to the festival grounds like a certain Red Sox catcher once needed to get to Fenway, but boy did you knock your performance out of the park.
Awesome job with your standard stuff (The Revelator, Look At Miss Ohio) and a great cover of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.
Find her performance here.
OK, bad is a little harsh for this act. Maybe disappointing is a little bit better. Your Monkey has had a love/hate relationship with Iron and Wine’s music for a long time now. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it seems so soft and dull that it almost disappears.
Sam Beam (the singer and guitarist behind Iron and Wine) started off strong with a cover of the Postal Service song Such Great Heights, but his performance then seemed to fade away into less interesting stuff.
Your Monkey would have been much happier had he played “Boy With a Coin” from his previous album or his excellent new song “Belated Promise Ring.”
But alas, how much can the non-paying, non-attending customer complain?
Judge for yourself. Iron and Wine’s performance is here.
The Low Anthem. There is a great do-it-yourself story behind this Rhode Island band’s appearance at this year’s festival that you can listen to on the NPR All Songs Considered Saturday Roundup podcast here.
But aside from the story, the band’s performance of “Oh My God Charlie Darwin” from their new album of the same name beat out material from the Fleet Foxes, the Decemberists, Billy Bragg and others for the honor of most memorable song of the day. (At least in the opinion of a Monkey who wasn’t there and has only heard highlights.)
Here is a song from the Low Anthem.
Also, your Monkey has only listened to day one of the festival coverage so far. Perhaps there will be another update for day 2. Stay tuned to find out more.