Langerado Music Festival
Fort Lauderdale Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, FL | 03.08.03

It was a bright, sunshiny Saturday as I pulled in my beatup ’79 Fiat under a little tree in the parking lot of the Fort Lauderdale Stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles have been holding their spring training. I could hear Charlie Hunter grooving on his 8-string guitar walking through the parking lot, and once past security, it was time mellow out to explore. At 85 degrees in the sun, Shipyard Brewing Company and Native brewing companies came to the rescue with several cold microbrews, and this summer day in March just couldn’t get more perfect! Every hour or so, a twin engine biplane or private jet would take off from the airport next to the grounds, as if an air show were part of the festival.

Of the three stages, the last one was hidden away in the backwoods, providing valuable shade as well as atmosphere with its corrugated steel shack and stage. Far enough away from the other stages, this is where local groove acts Jerrods Door, Almost Acoustic Band, and Rev. Jeff Mosier’s Ear Reverents were doing fabulous rhythmic things, providing that local flavor to the scene that live music fans love.

Stage Two and Stage One were seamlessly and impressively inter-coordinated. Perpetual Groove performed drinking songs worth a listen while Stage One transitioned from Charlie Hunter’s virtuosity to the bluesy wunderkind G. Love & Special Sauce. Having seen them years ago in Boston, I remembered them more for a hip-hop Philadelphia style, and was pleasantly surprised by the raw soul G Love and his guitar put out. Yes, he was in summerland instead of snow and it looked like he was enjoying every hot second of it. As an added treat, Charlie Hunter came out to jam with G Love for several songs; I wish I could find the recordings to at some point.

Then came the Code Talkers, a more Buddy Holly take on blues, with the same raspy grumble of Col. Bruce Hampton that I recognized from Medeski Martin & Wood’s 2002 release Uninvisible. Speaking of which, Medeski Martin & Wood was next to do their thing on Stage One. Everyone I talked to was looking forward to this treat, whether they had seen them before up north or this was their first time seeing them live. Judging by the response, the band's ingenious style of challenging layers of rhythm and music were not lost on this soundthirsty crowd as they were rewarded with jawdropping solo performances. I also give extra kudos to local DJ Le Spam & the Spam Allstars, who did an incredible job of skratching with MMW for that added dimension of rhythm and edge and should be noted as a local cornerstone in the future of this scene.

My next surprise came with MOFRO. I had heard of them, but was not prepared for how good they really were, especially after MMW’s soundbending performance. Obviously inspired by the artists around them, MOFRO has the energy and grit that would knock your socks off, if you were wearing any. Hailing in from Jacksonville, they were there to make this gorgeous day even more beautiful and show that South Florida is more than ready to groove alongside the wide range of talent in the jamband circuits.

My Supergirl guestimation techniques logged several thousands of happy people walking around at any given time. The success of this festival was no fluke. I didn’t stay for moe., but I hear they have a pretty loyal fan base, so they can tell you how the festival wrapped up. I can tell you, Brown Coffee Productions and South Florida Jams put on one helluva well-run show that not only introduces a new caliber of musicians to an enormous potential of loyal listeners, but should also inspire musicians to come back to recharge their batteries at least once a year where it’s always summer. Traditionally, South Florida has not been a likely destination for touring jambands, but the Langerado Music Festival might have changed that for good.

Click to see more photos from the Langerado Music Festival!

Words: Vanessa Hodgkinson
Photos: George Weiss
JamBase | Florida
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[Published on: 3/19/03]

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