Day 2 of Newport Folk Fest was intense. We blasted out more than 40 tweets, twitpics, and instagrams yesterday alone, and here's a quick recap of the sights that accompanied the sounds. Above, JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE set down a spirited set of Nashville-flavored Americana-folk, the son of Steve no doubt ready to impress after bailing on last year's fest after a freak hand injury (check our phlip video of "They Killed John Henry").
But an action-packed Sunday slate was kickstarted, naturally for New England, by Boston's own DAVID WAX MUSEUM, and their story may have been the most feel-good of the weekend. Last year David Wax and Suz Slezak played Newport by winning the Magic Hat Big Opener online contest -- one year later they're performing on the main Fort stage where the legends have come and gone, looking out into that same Newport harbor and bridge as countless others have before them. Around noontime Sunday, the Mexi-Americana folk risers started a wave among the crowd, encouraged onlookers to dance "bellybutton to bellybutton," and worked up the Huffington Post into calling them the best band you might not know. Well done.
Is there an award for Greatest Crowd Expansion Over the Course of One Set (GCEOCOS)? If so, then the bluegrass stylings of Minnesota's TRAMPLED BY TURTLES takes the prize. And "Were you at Newport when Trampled By Turtles covered the Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind?'" is totally gonna become a thing, and rightfully so. So... were you?
As I wrote in last night's video clip, watching THE HEAD AND THE HEART on the Harbor stage felt a lot like watching Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes in the same spot last year. Is there a "Home" on the horizon for this blossoming Seattle-based indie-folk crew? Dunno, but there's a Boston stop, at least -- Sept. 30 @ Royale. Endorsed.
Yeah, that blurry-ass pic is of ELVIS COSTELLO, who rolled up with full band after being billed as playing acoustic and -- I think -- solo. Being off in the distance and listening to the 1979 classic "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding" was really a hit-home moment. On a day where you race from one stage to the next and try to listen/see everything with one part of your brain focused on how you're going to write about what's in front of you, putting the iPhone and notepad away and just listening to Costello was my "stop and smell the roses" moment of this year's Newport Folk. They smelled lovely.
A few hours before they agreed to play a song for the Phoenix in the Media Tent (video of that to come), Rhode Island's BROWN BIRD gave the Harbor stage a whole lot of beard. And when you get to the Harbor stage late, you get stuck way in the back.
Lastly, there was MIDDLE BROTHER'S afternoon set on the Quad. An indie-folk supergroup featuring dudes from Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit, they were undoubtedly the darlings of Newport (and very well dressed). Having Dawes come up afterwards for a three-song set (which included the incredible "When My Time Comes") before backing M Ward was another "Were you there?" moment. Electric, majestic, breathtaking... all of those things. The only problem -- at one point Sunday afternoon, Middle Brother, the Head And The Heart, and Elvis Costello were all performing at the same time. It was Clash City, for sure, but that's a nice problem to have on a gorgeous day on the water in Newport.
This was such a blast.