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High Sierra Music Fest | 07.02-07.05 | CA
7/14/2009 05:27 PM

Although the Surprise Me Mr. Davis late night set in the Funk n Jam House was most definitely my favorite of the festival (and that's saying something, since I saw SO much amazing music at High Sierra this year!!!), I do agree that it would have been good for the review to spend a bit less space on the Davis/Slip/Moore juggernaut and talk about some of the other amazing music that was on offer over the course of those four fun filled days/nights...but then again, that's what the comments section is for! Keep the reviews coming people, what were YOUR favorite High Sierra moments?

The sweet sounds of Del McCoury...the entire audience singing along to every song from The Wailers...the foot stomping, arm waving (Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate Your Life!) bluegrass/sacred steel combo of the Travelin McCoury's & Lee Boys...raging, rockin' pro-grass-ive music from Cornmeal...John Butler...not-at-all-angry (to my surprise), but nonetheless radical and in your face funkiness from Ani DiFranco...technical mastery and downright spooky skills from Umphrey's...soaring beauty of the Sunday morning Gospel Sessions...the unearthly beauty of Fareed & Flat Earth, especially that first bit of the late night set with just the three of them seated in front?...just about every jam session on top of the Llama Lounge RV by the food court...Camp Harry, Dehli to Dublin, Lubriphonic, Bourgeois Gypsies, Bonerama....and SO much more!!!

This was my 16th High Sierra and while I feel a bit bad that the promoters always seem to struggle to sell tickets, especially now when faced with direct competition from a festival with much, much deeper pockets, as an attendee I must admit that I just LOVED the smaller crowd this year. Honestly, I barely bother to worry about who High Sierra books...not because the 'scene' or the 'vibe' are more important to me (although HS does do that part right), but because I so completely trust HS to book music that I will absolutely love, even if I haven't heard of the bands before I arrive!

This year was my favorite in a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised by the disappearance of the sketchiness that seemed to seep in a few years back. Sure, there was no lack of partying and late-night action, but overall the vibe was sweet and so totally family friendly and comfortable. Several thousand people gathering peacefully and getting wild and crazy in a totally safe way, even without ANY police presence...imagine that! Who else is totally overjoyed that the new sheriff administration in Quincy totally GETS what we're about and LIKES us?

I could go on and on, but I suppose I should get some work done...

7/15/2009 04:28 AM

Dearest Jambase,

Seems like I've read this review before...

No doubt I love me some of the usual suspects who have become staples of my " High Sierra Experience"...but the review this year is more of the same?....

I'm gonna keep this short and to the point but where is the love for the bands behind the scenes?...

The Slip/ Big Light, ALO, TLG, THE DUO, amongst others have been covered ridiculously since I can remember...!? And they obviously are magic makers...

When is IZABELLA gonna get some props? Everest rocked, Red Cortez, wish there was some Zappa plays Zappa..

I went to every late- nite, and most anything that was filled with musical genius(McTuff) and felt that both IZABELLA sets were in my top ten of the weekend...yet no mention?

Who's covering this stuff?

7/15/2009 01:00 PM

Thank-you for all of the great comments and constructive criticism. This was my first trip to HSMF and probably won't be my last. I've learned a bunch of things about covering music for Jambase over the years - the biggest lesson is that you will always miss something that someone else catches or vice-versa.

The article covered allot of bands never talked about on Jambase before - take Paper Bird - no one has mentioned there three performances over the weekend. I was enamored with the Patterson sisters and Co. from the very first moment I entered the Vaudeville tent Saturday afternoon. Big Light were incredible and I had never heard them live before until High Sierra and haven't seen them mentioned more then once on this site. JBoogie, These United States, Everest, Red Cortez, Dusty Rhodes, Ollabelle, Vieux Farka Toure, McTuff, AOD - these are all bands that were covered that don't get allot of press on Jambase.

I caught the Greensky Bluegrass show and it was top notch, but I missed Izabella. Please let me know why I should be seeing a certain band over another. Please continue to comment and share your passion for different bands and live music. If you post a few hundred words -Email me on jambase and let me know which image you'd like from this review and I'll email you a Hi-res version.

As for coverage of the Slip - when a band is playing as amazing as these guys are its hard to not cover. The Barr's and Friedman and Moore are really creating some exciting music. Is it more exciting than other bands that were missed - not for me to say, but what I saw from those 4 musicians was worth talking about.



7/15/2009 04:56 PM

Good points. I think readers are just stating that every year, theres always extensive coverage of Slip, etc....and we are looking for something a little different for a High Sierra article, possibly. Maybe more on some other bands and just a bit less on those. Its really not a big deal in the grand scheme, and its understandable.....but theres a whole other pallete at HSMF that jambase wont have room for with the same love to the same bands every year. The Paper Bird and a lot of the small band coverage is great.

Excellent point about the bands that WERE covered that dont get much jambase love in the first place. Steppin outside the box.....great work, Jambase!!

Just suggesting, maybe next year, continue covering these amazing artists like the Slip and Nathan and Big Light (god I love those guys!) but bring in someone who will really bring the other sides to the table. It was done a bit this year, but more would be nice.

However, just thankful you guys are there experiencing the magic with the Sierra world. :)

BTW That overhead pic of the main grandstand area is FREAKIN AWESOME! I will be emailling you for a copy as soon as I can. One of the coolest HS pics I have seen.

7/15/2009 05:25 PM

Thanks for chiming in Jake... all in all I think you all did some solid work and the mash-up video is golden! Makes me feel like I was there. I wish I was.

..and I agree with every word that BoboJeffie said.

7/15/2009 06:17 PM

BoBo - That Pic is on of the fine shots of another talent - Mr. Josh Miller. I can't spek for him so I can;t offer that but please feel free to point out any I did and am happy to email you a large copy. Again - really good feedback - Thank-you

7/20/2009 08:59 PM

I completely agree with Jake, that the Barr/Friedman/Moore/Benevento conglomerate is well worth obsessing over and is what High Sierra is all about. I almost dread that someday they'll get the recognition they deserve and we'll lose them from our intimate scene. On the other hand, how can I not wish the best for these guys who have given me so much. This was my 13th High Sierra, and I can't imagine it without them.

But there's always room for something new, too, and for me this year it was Poor Man's Whiskey. I'm glad they're Bay Area locals. At least I don't have to wait a year to see them again! Their energy is just incredible.


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