Friday, May 16, 2008

Sundown with the North Mississippi Allstars

Last night was Sundown in the City in Knoxville. Sundown is a free concert series on Thursday evening during the summer. It is usually held at Market Square, which is a revitalized section of downtown Knoxville with restaurants and shops around a park area.

Last night, however, it was raining - so they held the concert at the Tennessee Theatre. The Tennessee Theatre is a grand place - originally built in 1928 and restored in 2005. It was a treat to just be able to see the theatre. Because of being moved to the theatre, the crowd was limited to 1500 people. So upon hearing this, I immediately left because I was not going to miss the show. I arrived at about 5:45 and the doors opened at 6. There were about 100 people in line ahead of me. Once the doors opened while the others were getting beer, I made a beeline to the seats. Can you say second row center?!?!

About the show - first up was artvandalay, a Knoxville-based progressive rock, jam band. I had never heard of them before the show. But I really enjoyed them. Their jams made me think of Pink Floyd but with a heavier hand. I enjoyed watching the guy on bongos (and all other sorts of rhythm makers).

The second act was Alvin Youngblood Hart. Again, another one that I had never heard of before the show. [As I was walking to the theatre, I passed this dread lock headed giant (like 6'7") of a man on the street. We smiled and said "hello". I thought about not seeing many dread locked guys since leaving south Florida (there were quite a few Jamaicans in south Florida). As the second act started, there he was, up on stage. My brush with fame!] Again, I really enjoyed his music. He is a fantastic blues guitarist. Later in the evening, he joined the final act for a set that was spectacular.

The third and final act (the act that I had been willing to sit in the rain to see) was the North Mississippi Allstars! They are a hard-rockin' blues band and boy, did they put on a show! I saw them last year at Bonnaroo and when I saw that they were at Sundown, I knew I was not going to miss them. And they did not disappoint. Their show lasted about 40 minutes longer than it was supposed to - and the crowd was on their feet the entire time!! Yes, that included me and yes, I moved my rhythmically-challenged body too!

All in all, great night!

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