Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hardly Strictly Speaking

The Flaneur still has enough game left in him to join the burgeoning populace in Golden Gate park again this year for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 14
Friday 3 October 2014
San Francisco

 I spent my first few hours at the Towers of Gold stage where no bands were playing and the sound crew did the finishing touches. There at a shady picnic table I had the lunch I had brought while it was still cool after hiking in ion what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. Even out here a stones throw from the usually wind-turbulent Pacific there was the weakest breeze and ninety degrees heat. I circled the far half of the asphalt race track to reach this spot and it was a fitness and endurance test in a pizza oven.
My simple picnic is always half the enjoyment of making the trek. Today lentils, cherry balsamic vinegar on raw cauliflower, broccoli, orange bell and slender fresh carrot, hard-boiled organic egg, Monterey pepper jack, whole heat bagel with almond butter. Other delights included Fuji apple, fig bar, organic Thompson raisins, preserved ginger cubes, and last but far from least, cannabis infused brandy.
The Towers of Gold stage, as identified by by the three coins of gelt with the likenesses of Jewish bankers on them, backs against the Star stage on which The Get Down Stay Down performed. I heard it at an agreeable volume while avoiding all but a few agreeable visitors to my glen, met John and  his bud Kevin from Ireland and we hung out at the table a while.

 the lawn gets heavy
dragon and butterflies land
multitudes hover

Then I lay in the grass for Dave and Phil, the Alvin brothers, with the Guilty Ones, performed on the Star stage. Their sound was as brawny as a tractor truck barreling through Bakersfield. I was happy to dig it from where I was but the excitement grew so by the time they were into "The Fourth of July" and "Marie, Marie" I came around to there side of things decamping to a hillock over the stage. Into the crowd world of everybody high and most were rocking.


The golden hour with Lucinda Williams
Her massively talented guitarist looks on,
 he spotted me way back on the hill. 
We shared moments of cacophony and rapture,
Lucinda's so literate that her lyrics can be often almost primitive, 
always both tough and affecting.

Ryan Adams shaking up the Banjo Stage
He's still hot stuff in tight jeans all right
He's really a top shelf big league rocker though
 that Tom Petty level of success seems to elude him
When a band is really hot the great stage-side tree glows red

That tree is red from the bottom to the top
underneath that old harvest moon,
Ryan Adams and band close out the night
His banter had been very amusing making mild fun of people 
 in the audience for yoga posturing during his bad ass rock
Then composed a plausible b-side on the spot 
about a guy with "Three Fucking Balloons

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