HIGH SIERRA MUSIC FEST: BETTER EVERY YEAR

THE RADIATORS: BIG MEADOW


Dave Malone
By Susan J. Weiand
New Orleans's homeboys the Radiators have played the High Sierra Music Fest more than any other band. Besides Leftover Salmon, when you go to HSMF you gotta see the Rads! Celebrating their 25th year together, their late afternoon performance on the Big Meadow stage on Friday, July 2 was, as usual, a rollicking good time. Their shows are always solid start to finish. Opening with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" the festival veterans ran through many of their upbeat tunes including the closer "Little Sadie" and had the crowd on their feet dancing. The guest appearances by Fareed Haque on "City of Refuge" and Anders Osborne and George Porter Jr. on "Chevrolet" really brought the energy level up to a fevered pitch; Anders in particular smoked on his solo here. They also played an awesome late night set on Thursday night.

- Susan J. Weiand



Johnny Vidacovich by Susan J. Weiand

ANDERS OSBORNE, GEORGE PORTER JR., JOHNNY VIDACOVICH
Funky, funky, funky! This set at the Big Meadow stage was the sleeper hit for me. High Sierra 2004 was chock-full o' Nawlins music this year. Johnny Vidacovich is an absolute genius and he's so fun to watch--he brings everyone into his world when he plays and sings (or raps). George kept booties shakin' with the heavy low end as Anders Osborne played his warped rock-blues-funk guitar. Skerik came aboard halfway through the set and it became one of the hottest things I'd seen all weekend.

- SuperDee


Anders Osborne by Jeffrey Smith

Anders Osborne & George Porter Jr.
By Jeffrey Smith

KERMIT RUFFINS & THE BARBECUE SWINGERS


Kermit Ruffins by SuperDee
Kermit Ruffins brought some New Orleans Soul and energy to High Sierra. His set in the Vaudeville tent was pure Cajun excitement, catching the ears of everyone near the tent and drawing them in with joyous horns and party-starting rhythms that seized control of your body and didn't stop until "all the females" were invited on stage for the finale. Finishing up things with a call and repeat chant of "shake it like a Polaroid picture," Ruffins and his band represented New Orleans and brought Jazzfest out west.

- Forrest Reda


Hunter Brown by Casey Flanigan

SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9: LATE NIGHT AND GRANDSTAND
Sound Tribe Sector 9 at High Sierra has become somewhat of an institution. Their late night set on Thursday evening was the first chance to really get loose up in the mountains, and the peeps were letting it fly as usual when hanging with the Tribe. It seems that STS9 has taken great strides in what appears to be their goal of making everything "sound" exactly as they desire. In focusing on the overall production and quality of the end result one is forced to let some of the experimental and improvisational aspects slide to the side. This isn't to say that STS9 are not still way out there, it's just that their vision has grown in massive leaps since their inception and they are pushing things in a different manner than perhaps back in 2001. Equipped with two encores and heaps of dance heavy-beats, the late night set touched on "Mischief of a Sleepwalker" and "Water Song" in the first set and blew things open with "Frequency 2" > "Frequency 3" > "Kabuki" and "Dance" to close Set II. After a somewhat predictable but strong "Moonsockets" to close the entire evening a satiated crowd slid out into the cool evening touching down on earth once again.


Dave Phipps by Casey Flanigan

STS9's main stage performance sounded great, perhaps even better in terms of overall achievement when compared to the late night set, but a bit less edgy or experimental, as a main stage show should be. Just as they did last year, the band brought a crew of immensely talented fire dancers on stage as the centerpiece of the evening. While it was very similar to last years main stage gig (mostly due to the fire dancers) it was executed far better with the music maintaining its integrity throughout the fire show. It was a wonderful set; one would simply hope that they will switch it up next year. As the HSMF emcee said, the Sound Tribe truly unites all in attendance and it was a joy to be a part of it all once again.

- The Kayceman


Dave Murphy by Casey Flanigan


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