Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jason Isbell Live in Edmonton August 5th 2016

Last Friday Hurl and I made our way to Gallagher Park which is where they hold the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In the winter this hill is a ski hill but for one weekend in the summer it becomes a natural amphitheatre. A beautiful spot to see a show with the big hill and the stage at the bottom, a nice view of downtown Edmonton in the background. But having said, that I don't go to this festival often as I have a few issues with it. Like the stupid tarp idea and the ridiculous line up for the beer gardens. From what I had read and heard it was up to a two hour wait to get into the beer gardens, forget about it. We just brought our own beers and hid them in the long grass around the venue and stepped out for a beer when we wanted one. And the tarp thing, people line up as early as 7am to lay there 10'X10' tarp in front of the stage to hold their spot for the day. A bullshit idea I say. If anything leave at least twenty yards free in front of the stage so that people can dance and enjoy the music up front, not have to sit or stand at the top of the hill, or you can do what others do and stand at the side of the stage and dance and try to see the stage, terrible view. Not a fan of the tarp thing or the beer line up, so I don't go very often unless it is a band or performer that I just have to see. Well this year there was, it was Jason Isbell that I had to see. So enough of my griping and on with the review.

For those who don't know Jason Isbell, he is from Alabama and was a member of the southern rock band Drive-By Truckers between 2001-2007. Jason has since gone on to release five solo albums, as well as a couple of live albums.

By the time Jason Isbell and his back up band The 400 Unit, came on it was after 11pm. He was scheduled for 10:50 which surprised me as I always thought there was an 11pm noise curfew, but they must bend the rules for the Folk Fest. So by the time Jason came on it was dark but still a beautiful night for an outdoor concert.

I was excited about seeing Jason Isbell in concert for the second time, especially now with another album out since I last saw him live at Interstellar in 2014. Jason opened his set with four songs from his "Something More Then Free" Grammy Award winning album. Opening with the title song then going into "24 Frames", "If It Takes A Lifetime" and "Speed Trap". What surprised me during his set was that he did a couple of Drive-By Truckers songs, but then why not he wrote them after all, those songs being "Decoration Day" and "Never Gonna Change". It was during "Decoration Day" that the people in front of the stage on their tarps started to pack it up for the night, not sure if it was because of the band getting things rocking or because they had probably been at the concert site since 8am. Nonetheless, that opened things up for those that were standing to the side, so that was my chance to get up front and actually see him better and dance. This is when the show got even better.

Jason mentioned during the show the hellish trip he had trying to get to Edmonton for this show. Thirty-six hours to get from Nashville to Edmonton, with cancelled flights delays and such. Just happy that he made it and still put on a great show after a long travel day like that, he also said how happy he was that he made it up for the show and how good he had been treated at the festival and by Edmontonians. That is one thing you hear a lot from musicians about the Edmonton Folk Fest is how much they like it and how well they are treated, so that's a great attribute to have. Kudos to you Folk Fest.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit played for about 70 minutes with not a bad song played. I have called him the new Bob Dylan, ok that's probably a bit far fetched cause after all there is no one like Dylan, but Isbell is certainly one of the best songwriters around these days. I look forward to the day I get to see him headline his own show and play for well over an hour. Great show, nice weather and awesome music. Good times!!!


Jason Isbell at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

No comments:

Post a Comment