Friday, April 29, 2016

We got Your Wanee Love Right Here

Art by Bean Spence. Photo by festgrrl
Talk about your lovefest -- that's as good a word as any for the Wanee Festival that invaded the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla. April 13-17. Stellar tunes, gorgeous weather, and a sweet crowd made for a beautiful Wanee 12 for all.

My festgrrl photo slide show is here.

Things started off nicely with a dance frenzy presided over by British funkateers The New Mastersounds on Wednesday night and I had the sore calves to prove it the next day. Just getting warmed up and back into the fest swing of things.

Gregg Allman at the keys. festgglr photo

This was the second year that Wanee took place without its official hosts - The Allman Brothers, but pretty much all the band members and Allman relations were in attendance. We all got to groove to come kick-ass performances by the Gregg Allman Band; Warren Haynes with his Ashes & Dust and Government Mule bands; Jaimoe’s Jazz Band; Devon Allman’s band; and the balls-to-the-wall jazz outfit, Yeti Trio (the guitarist is Vaylor Trucks.)

Widespread Panic heads had two nights of bliss, with the Southern-jam rockers presiding over prime spots Friday and Saturday nights.

The set-your-hair-on-fire Allman set was Les Brers, featuring Allman founders and alumni Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones, Jack Pearson, Pate Bergeron, Bruce Katz and Lamar Williams Jr. You can see some clips of that (with Warren Haynes sitting in) below.

The North Mississippi All-Stars with blues guitarist Anders Osborne put on one of the best shows of the weekend on Thursday. They played before New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk with Ivan Neville did a cover show called  “Earth War & Power,” followed by progressive rockers, Soulive.  A workout! One of the highlights for me was seeing all the smiling faces when Dumpstaphunk broke out War's infectious  "Cisco Kid." Brings a smile to me even now.

Bill Kreutzmann, Eric Krasno. festgrrl photo.
The Billy & The Kids Grateful Dead set was a smile-fest, too, especially when they broke into "Shakedown Street." Man-about-town guitarist Eric Krasno (Lettuce, Soulive) fit nicely into the lineup and seemed to be having a ball playing Dead tunes. 

Lots of good jazz was there to be had all weekend. Legendary bassist Stanley Clarke put on a fine performance Friday afternoon, Bobby Lee Rodgers showed off his jazz guitar chops all weekend, Jaimoe’s Jazz Band turned out an enjoyable set for waking up Friday, and the Joe Marcinek Band (featuring Tony Hall, Alvin Ford Jr. and Holly Bowling) absolutely smoked the stage on Wednseday. Loved that show!

Major shoutout for the Otiel & Friends set! WOW! Otiel Burbridge showcased some serious talent on the Mushroom Stage.

Otiel & Friends. festgrrl photo.
The Wood Brothers gave a quietly soulful performance that was, unfortunately, marred by sound bleed-through from the Peach Stage, where Umphrey's McGee was raging it up big-time in a rare-for-me daylight show. The Umphrey's show Saturday night, which closed the festival, was hard-charging per usual, with an epic laser light show dancing through the Spanish moss.

Brendan Bayliss of Umprey's McGee. festgrrl photo

If you want to read a detailed blow-by-blow Wanee weekend  review by someone with a lot of musical knowledge, check out this Live for Live Music review by Scott Hopkins.

Party people. festgrrl photo.
All in all, we chalked up another great Wanee at the Happiest Place on Earth. One more time, we created a temporary, tolerant village where people love to share with one another and enjoy one of life's biggest pleasures; LIVE MUSIC!

Here are clips I've collected of some of the shows so you can see for yourself!

Les Brers with Warren Haynes

Gregg Allman with Warren Haynes
Gregg Allman with Warren Haynes and Jack Pearson
Widespread Panic Driving Song, Papa’s Home

Warren Haynes Ashes and Dust Band Blue Sky
Billy and the Kids with Eric Krasno Shakedown Street
Hot Tuna with Steve Kimock, Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man
Umphreys McGee, Nothing Too Fancy, Frankie Zombie
Kung Fu Joyride/In Cars

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