|Kraig Kenning (photo: Gene Wagendorf III)|
For a festival whose namesake is best remembered as the architect of one of the American military's most disastrous engagements you'd think the acts might've been playing under a bad sun. The Kent McDaniel Band didn't seem to get that memo, as all they were interested in was laughing, joking, celebrating and tearing it up. The trio opened up, appropriately, with a lazy, strolling version of "Summertime." Followed by "Sunny Side of the Street," featuring Dorothy McDaniel on vocals, the band kept the festival mood flowing. Sung sweetly and earnestly, the song worked to transport the crowd to a simpler time. One where the machines weren't about to take over and you could still split a Sunday with your date without worrying about spreading swine flu. The blues ballad "Jimmy Stu" is one of several McDaniel Band tunes soaked in an anti-establishment punch. Dedicated to "all the cosmic cowboys who ended up on the corporate ladder," it jangled along sarcastically on the strength of solid riffs and excellent percussion from savant Alpha Stewart.
|The Kent McDaniel Band (photo: Gene Wagendorf III)|
The set's highlight had to be the back to back playing of "All the Alligators" and "Texas Flood." The former is a McDaniel Band original and the one the band seemed to enjoy playing most. A playful jab at coffee house intellectuals, the tune's sing-along chorus and bouncy melody had people swaying in the heat and spilling lemonade on their shoes. That was promptly followed by what the group acknowledged as their first time attempting Larry Davis' "Texas Flood." I would never have guessed it. The song, brooding, sweaty and deliberate, fit the group perfectly. Dorothy's bass operated as a lighthouse, guiding Kent's soaring, violent guitar solo's back to Alpha's doomsday-with-a-smile percussion. I hope they keep this one in rotation, as it's destined to be a knock-it-out-of-the-park show-closer.
Check out more show reviews:
Project Film, Exit Ghost and more at Reggies
The 1900s, Gold Motel at Taste of Randolph
Ortolan, Bring Your Ray Gun at Pancho's
The Lopez, Wett Nurse at Memories
Tinsel Teeth, Running at Crown Tap Room