It really did.
Wednesday went on and on and on... and I loved it. Well, the first part of the day not so much, but getting up at 4 am for plane travel is a necessary evil if you live in Vermont and you're gonna attend a cool radio and music conference in Boulder, Colorado. No matter. By 5p Mountain Time, I'd seen Brett Dennen do a short acoustic set, caught manager Michael McDonald's keynote (see my earlier post for details...), and was under a tent watching Houndmouth play. Not bad! The first night there I decided not to imbibe - events were scheduled past 1am. Didn't think alcohol would be my friend in trying to stay awake.
The FMQB Triple A Conference's first night at the Fox Theater & outdoor stage began early with Tom Odell inside at 7:30. He was better than my expectations, even vocally reminded me at times of Johnny Flynn, another Brit like Odell who's part of the British New Folk/Mumford scene whose stuff I dig. Odell hammers on the piano as he sings, puts a lot of passion into his performance. A pleasant surprise to start the night. Outside, Kopecky Family Band also surprised in an awesome way - they're extremely tight with almost a Stop Making Sense era Talking Heads feel - but lighter, less self-serious. Haven't explored their album much yet, but I will now, after hearing the material live. And they did a killer cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk"!
The Wild Feathers had already started their set in the theater as I wandered back inside. I wasn't impressed to hear a ripped off Jimmy Page riff in the first full song I caught - it kind of musically pissed me off, if that makes sense. They're a very tight band with precise harmonies, but too much polish for my taste. Felt like it didn't have much soul. The rest of the crowd seemed to like them a whole lot more than I did, so I may be missing something.
Didn't want to miss Jamie N Commons set coming up next outside, so I headed back to the outdoor stage a tad early. I'd heard good things, and Commons lived up to them. He's good - like what he does electrifying the blues. He reminded me a little of Chris Duarte, only with less volume and more finesse. He's a good looking kid, too - the women in the crowd seemed to really enjoy his performance. Might be that British accent...
In a fantastic move, Ozomotli was up at the outdoor stage waiting for Commons set to end. As soon as he said "thank you," Ozo announced themselves with a booming drumroll that made folks jump a mile high. Which at that elevation is just, you know, an inch or something. Ozomotli often starts their shows at the back of the theater, processing musically down the aisle to the stage. In this case, they led the crowd back down the street, into the theater - it was brilliant! And their set was as well. They're a fantastic live band, great energy, and did not disappoint. Since I was in hour seventeen of my day, they were just what I needed to catch a second wind.
Almost lost it during the set change afterwards, though. No more outdoor sets - just had to wait. Felt my eyelids getting heavy, but I was determined to see Neko Case! Her set was okay, but as it went on I got too tired to enjoy it fully. Even sounded like her guitarist became increasingly out of tune, but my ears may have been as tired as the rest of me.
Left The Fox around midnight, hopping the shuttle back to the hotel. Each night of the conference there's a "Late Night Lounge" at the hotel starting at 12:30am. Though I wanted to see John Butler and The Wheeler Brothers, there was no way I was making it. Headed to my room instead after being up for about 22 hours straight to finally crash. It all would start again at 10 the next morning...
(more to come...)