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Chicago Blues and Bluegrass Festival: Where to find TLT dancing on Saturday
The last music festival (and maybe the warmest, given that it is indoors) takes the stage this weekend at Congress Theater on Saturday. Friday is a warmup to the 20 plus bands on 3 stages that will be rocking on Saturday. The festivities get started around 1:00pm and TLT will be there until the last banjo is picked and the Edward Sharpe group dance party has cleared out. A long day? Yes, but so worth it. The limited size of the Congress and the closer location of the 3 stages may lead to some sound bleed, but getting from stage to stage to catch bands should be infinitely easier than the sprawling North Coast Fest.
At 1pm, pop country crooners Jackson Bailey start things out. Last Banjo Standing contest winners Aetiology get the main stage going at 2pm. TLT didn't make it to the contest showdown, so hearing what Aetiology has got is definitely something on the docket. Derek Nelson and The Musicians' brand of backwater folk comes highly recommended from friends back home, so stopping by their stage before Sexfist's melodic picking frenzy starts is a must. This local band (they were Jerry's "house" band for awhile, and play regular sets at Kinetic Playground), is synonymous with weeknight bluegrass dance party in some minds. Very much worth checking out. Plus their name is kind of intriguing. . .
The blues come on hot and heavy with Alex Wilson Band on the Balcony stage. no better time than 4:30PM to get down, right? GoodbyeHome takes the pavillion stage around 5pm, which is sadly at the same time as a personal favorite (and friend) Van Ghost. I would recommend checking both acts out, as the sound is somewhat similar, except GoodbyeHome is a bit more melancholy. Van Ghost is seemingly unstoppable this year, with vocalist Jennifer Hartswick's powerful voice, and lead guitarist Michael Berg's heartmelting lyrics. I have watched this band grow since 2008 and every show makes me smile. A definite can't miss on the main stage! Do yourself a favor and download their free Mountain Jam Podcast here.
The Giving Tree Band takes the stage at 6:30 to show how a banjo really works. The dance party is now in full effect! Paleface grab the Balcony Stage for a folky groove before Honeyboy Edwards shows us how the Delta masters do it. Team TLT is excited to see this master at work and the core of this 3 year old festival throw down. The Nitty Gritty of original Mississippi blues, intertwined with the local Chicago blues scene. This is what this city is about, right?
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, who captured our hearts at North Coast Music Fest follow Honeyboy Edwards on the main stage. Grace's soaring voice and their electric stage presence should have everyone dancing their hearts out. Their latest catchy tune "Paris (OohLaLa)" will have you rocking and grooving!
Reminiscent of old guard bluegrass, Liberty Bluegrass Band is worth a listen if you can tear yourself away from Grace and The Boys:) Next up on the Pavillion stage is Jaik Willis, who can make an acoustic guitar sing. Check him out before Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros take the stage. Obviously we have all heard "Home" by now, be it from a friend, late night Letterman, or the NFL commercial. But Edward Sharpe is so much more than that track, even if it is the most fun dance party to be had in awhile. Team TLT will admit to maybe listening to that track on repeat for a few weeks at a time. The rest of the CD is strangely addictive, even though none of the songs seem to belong in the same genre with each other. Anyway, TLT will be front and center to get down on this dance party. Go to Last.Fm and listen here. Dance, repeat. Save some energy for tomorrow.