Words by: Timmy the Freak | Images by: Sam U
Rock The Boat II :: 08.14.09 :: Jonathon Paddleford Riverboats: The Anson and The Betsey Northrop :: Saint Paul, MN
This very special benefit show featured two continuously rocking stages on two adjoined river vessels piloted graciously upon the mighty Mississippi River. Community serving nonprofit movers and shakers Vega Productions organized and promoted the huge event, which was wonderfully successful at bringing in much needed funds for the Maxfield Magnet Elementary School in Minneapolis. The proceeds resulted in a donation worth $20,000 to the school's music and arts programs.
|Rock The Boat II|
I arrived early for the pre-party BBQ at Kelly's Landing, where I found various partying factions already in full festive force with landlocked pirates, sailors, mermaids, beach bums, marauders and random others all gathering with a rising collective spirit to rage all night long.
After my casual chat with the Wizard of Woo (aka Bernie Worrell), the evening's very special guest of honor, it came time to board the freshwater ship. Fun people flowed onto the floating party until the sold out capacity was reached (710 people on board!) and we left the dock for an enchanting four-hour tour.
The building buzz had reached a positively feverish pitch by this point. For the past two years, The Big Wu has been the house band called upon for the anchor spot. The rest of the talent booked was all keepers, great sounding bands from Minneapolis' excellent music scene. Also on board were a few live painters creating art including Chuck Hues, whose dual paintings turned out beautiful and impressive. Celebrity skipper Dan Cole, the Common Man, was on hand as well.
While the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank entertained the back boat with their flavorful roots just as we got rolling, The Big Wu lit the live music fuse on the front boat with a synergized, non-stop, high powered body and mind stimulating set, which included original faves like the crowd rousing "Two Person Chair," the rootsadelic ode "Rhode Island Red" and the spellbinding enchantment of "Minnesota Moon."
|Pert' Near Sandstone :: Rock The Boat II|
Next up on the front boat was the fun seeking rock of God Johnson, who are a huge fave on our West Bank scene and aces at getting bodies moving. Sometimes members of GJ pair up with members Histronic forming what they call Godtronic, which I believe may have occurred at some juncture this evening.
Pert' Near Sandstone tore it up on the rear boat with their scorching, hard hitting hybrid of bluegrass sweetened with all-out mad, old school boogie. White Iron Band's Sammy Weyandt lent some sweet licks to the searing Pert' Near set.
The very unique sensation known as Heatbox followed and kept the kids happy and on their feet the whole freaking time. The mastermind behind Heatbox is Aaron Heaton. He plays a high tech glove, sings, swoons, beatboxes, loops and even croons smooth a cappella soul. If this sounds intriguing then follow your curiosity and do a little research, or better yet catch a live Heatbox show.
A funky ass keyboard jam ensued next with various musicians helmed by the great master of funk Bernie Worrell, who stylishly led as they careened through a superb rendition of Al Green's "Take Me To The River," a track he covered memorably during his time with the Talking Heads. The fully engaged audience went absolutely wild. Worrell would go on to sit in with several bands over the course of the night.
|The Histronic with Bernie Worrell :: Rock The Boat II|
The show morphed into Minneapolis' own The Histronic on the front boat to take us home with unrestrained abandon. The electro space rock was a delight and spun the dancers vigorously. Throughout the set numerous guests slid on and off stage for a non-stop livetronica jam fest.
At some point, I went to the back boat for a good dose of the White Iron Band, who lawlessly and outlandishly rocked their loyal crowd silly for the final performance of the night. White Iron thrilled, triggering hard blazing, freakish afterburners that propelled many of us long past the 1:30 a.m. arrival back at the dock in Saint Paul.
Continue reading for a few more pics of Rock The Boat II...