Tag Archives: Tab Benoit

Flood City Music Festival

Flood City Music Fest 2016
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Aug 4 – Aug 7, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The 8th installment of Johnstown PA’s, Flood City Music Fest, managed by Lucky Dog Productions was a solid success. Placed amongst the mountains of western Pennsylvania, Flood City Music fest has been growing steadily every year, producing a lineup for this year’s event that wowed festival goers. The fest made a move to open on Thursday night, and put up Grace Potter to headline the main stage.

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Grace Potter showed her considerable range from slow and thoughtful acoustic ballads to raging rock and roll, leaning more heavily on the latter. The packed crowd was left buzzing from the set in which Potter mixed her powerful voice with a well-honed front woman’s craft, energetically running around the stage while playing guitar and keyboards.

Friday of the festival had many treats in store including main stage headliners, The Revivalists. As the Revivalists have been doing in towns on their first visit all over the country for the last several years, they asked for a show of hands of those who have never seen them before. This was most of the crowd. Then the band did what they do best, made fans. By the end of the set the crowd was passionately hooked, screaming for an encore.

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Another festival highlight took place earlier on the pavilion stage when Samantha Fish sat in with Tab Benoit for two songs. Fish had crushed her set beforehand, opening many eyes and Tab was doing the same, but when the two blues guitarists played together, the energy was incredible.

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The breakout band The Record Company also played a good set, as did the New York artists London Souls. The Pittsburg punk-meets-Irish band, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, capped the night in the Oil House. Their high energy set was perfect for the late night crowd, showing you should never miss a band that has three guys wearing kilts.

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Saturday saw even more top shelf acts, headlined by the potent New Orleans musician, Anders Osborne. Osborne has played in Johnstown many times and has garnered a huge following there. He mixed songs from his newest release Flower Box, like “Different Drum,” “Fool’s Gold” and the title track, to go with well-worn staples like “Road to Charlie Parker” and “Sarah Anne.”

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Preceding Osborne was fellow Louisiana musician, the blue-eyed soul singer, Marc Broussard. It was another set that turned heads as Broussard wove through his catalog of funk and soul originals, such as “Home” and “Come Around” as well as covers like Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.”

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Earlier in the day Love Canon played their unique take on 80’s pop hits in the style of bluegrass, creating plenty of laughs and loud sing-a-longs. Local favorites Derek Woodz Band, Jimmy Adler Band and the R&B powerhouse Commonheart also raged on the festival grounds. The night was finished off by the amazing light show and music of TAUK.

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Flood City Music Fest is growing quickly. It is well run and is in a beautiful location, well worth the effort to get there. The lineups have gotten stronger every year with “A” list headliners and a solid and worthy undercard. Put this one on your radar for the first weekend in August next year!

Preview of the Flood City Music Fest

Preview of the Flood City Music Fest
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The Flood City Music Fest begins its 8th year August 4-7 in Johnstown PA. There is a great vibe at this uniquely western Pennsylvania festival. Gorgeous forested mountains meet early 20th century steel work factories and dozens of beautiful old churches, giving a startling urban-meets-nature backdrop, framing a variety of major acts.

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The festival has a Thursday night kickoff, which features Grace Potter. On Friday and Saturday the festival has a four-stage format, with two bands playing at a time. The hard rising New Orleans rock band, The Revivalists headline on Friday, while Daptone Records star, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires headline on Saturday.

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The Flood City lineup also features a wide variety of styles from blues, bluegrass, Rock-n-roll, jam band and folk in a something-for-everyone offering. A couple of top blues acts roll into the festival this year on Friday when Tab Benoit follows rising star Samantha Fish. Blue-eyed soul singer Marc Broussard plays on Saturday, as does the brilliant songwriter and guitarist Anders Osborne.

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Another band on a rapid rise hits on Friday when The Record Company plays, followed by the NYC power duo The London Souls. The Pittsburg Celtic-meets-punk band Bastard Bearded Irishmen play the late night set on Friday, as does the amazing jam band TAUK on Saturday night.

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Folk singer songwriter Chris Smither plays on Friday and Virginia based Love Canon bring their super fun bluegrass take on 80’s pop music on Saturday. The rest of the schedule is filled by top quality local favorites, regional bands that have worked through western PA and beyond for many years.

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Flood City Music Fest offers on site camping at a very reasonable price with flush bathrooms. There are a good variety of food vendors as well. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the fest is the low-key vibe. Getting up front to see a band isn’t difficult and many bands hang out long after their sets, watching the other acts. If you have never been to this little jewel, you shouldn’t miss it this year, the lineup is killer.

For more information check out http://www.floodcitymusic.com/

Hot August Music Festival: Short lines, long sets, stellar tunes

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Words and Images by Tim Newby

When Hot August Music Festival founder Brad Selko hopped on stage with headliners Old Crow Medicine Show during their show closing version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” to blow some harmonica it proved the perfect way to close the day’s festivities. From its start twenty-two years ago with two acts, to its three stage, thirteen band line-up that it sports now, Hot August Music Festival has established itself as one of the premiere one-day events of the busy Festival season.

Since its beginning in the cozy confines of Selko’s backyard for a couple hundred fans, to its sold-out present day location at Oregon Ridge Park, the Hot August Music Festival has stayed true to Selko’s vision of a creating a high-quality, intimate fan-friendly festival. With only a minor tweak to its name, changing from Hot August Blues to Hot August Music this year – to reflect the growing diversity of bands that fills the line-up each year, Hot August Music Fest has for the last twenty-two years been exactly what Selko hoped it would be.

Topped by Old Crow Medicine Show and Nickel Creek, this year’s line-up was one of the most diverse ever. Over the three stages fans saw everyone from blues-master Tab Benoit, to indie-rockers Dr. Dog, to Brooklyn funksters Turkuaz, to roots-rockers DSCN6048editedCabinet, to electronica-based ELM, to singer songwriter Jordan August. It was a line-up that had something for everyone. Selko’s attention to detail and focus on fan-comfort shows all over the festival as he brings in extra-food vendors, more bathrooms, and has more beer staff all which help to eliminate lines to almost nothing, which in turn leads to happy festival goers who can spend more time watching the stellar music they came for not waiting for their beer and lunch.

The setting of Oregon Ridge also helps to create an extremely fan-friendly environment. The main stage is set at the base of a large hill and is surrounded by a picturesque array of trees which helps create a natural amphitheater and ensures that no matter where you are you have a great, unobstructed view of the stage. The two smaller stages are a short walk away, enabling one to bounce from stage to stage and catch as many acts as possible without missing much action.

Selko’s other over-riding philosophy each year is his willingness to schedule bands with the idea of quality over quantity. He prefers to give each band enough time on stage to really get warmed up and stretch their legs as opposed to the brief forty-five-minute sets that seem to be the norm at too many festivals that instance on shoehorning as many possible bands on stage. Selko gives each band more than ample time to get up and stretch their musical legs.   The main stage’s second act, alt-country rockers Houndmouth, made mention of this during their ninety-minute set when they remarked that it was the longest show they had ever played. Their raucous set saw them blasting through almost all the tunes off of their debut-album, From the Hills Below the City, before wrapping up with a spirited take on Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”DSCN6122edited

Following Houndmouth was one of the day’s unquestionable highlights Dr. Dog. The six-piece band from Philly played an eighteen song set that pulled equally from their last four albums with the rarity “Alaska” thrown in to keep the old school fans happy. They also featured a sit-in from festival opener Bosley on “Ain’t It Strange.” Their set was a rocking, high-energy outbreak of fun that had everyone perched on the hillside at Oregon Ridge Park up and grooving.

DSCN6073editedAfter Dr. Dog attention was focused on the two side stages, as bluegrass-themed Cabinet packed the smaller stage that was tucked away in the woods for a rollicking, rambling trip through Americana highlighted by an adventurous version of “Diamond Joe.” As Cabinet wrapped up they gave way to Brooklyn funk-machine, Turkuaz, who were on the larger second stage and started their show via an introduction from the infamous Dr. Rich Barnstein. Turkuaz set was an ass-shaking explosion of funk.

One of the day’s most highly anticipated sets followed, as the reunited Nickel Creek is touring again for the first time since their farewell tour of 2007. As Nickel Creek took the stage it seemed as if everyone in attendance surged toward the main stage creating arguably the largest crowd of the day. The band’s set was a tour through their extensive archive and a strong reminder of what made them such a special band.

DSCN6206editedDespite the absence of blues in the festival’s name, Tab Benoit made sure the blues were not forgotten with a blistering set on the second stage that followed Nickel Creek. His set was a stunning affirmation of the power of New Orleans flavored blues through his mind-bending guitar work. Benoit’s set seemed to almost seamlessly segue from song to song before giving way to the day’s headliner’s Old Crow Medicine Show on the main stage.

Old Crow’s shows are rowdy affairs with band members bouncing around stage, swapping instruments, and throwing out devilishly gorgeous licks. An early guest spot by Baltimore’s unofficial mascot the Natty Boh Man who danced along with the band got things heated up right away. The band, as they always do maintained that peak of energy for their two hour set, blasting through all facets of their vast repertoire, including a boisterous “Humdinger,” a sublime “Take’em Away,” and unsurprisingly “Wagon Wheel.” They wrapped up their headlining spot with a string of covers to close the day starting with a melody of Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson tunes, before breaking out the perfectly placed “Streets of Baltimore,” which then lead into their common take on Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” The night was brought to a close with a handful of guests as all of Houndmounth, Cabinet, and Selko hit the stage for Bob Dylan’s “Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” The joyous celebration onstage was only matched by the joyous celebration and dancing from those in the crowd and was the perfect ending to a perfect festival.

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