Newport Folk Festival Day 2

It was a day of surprises. For one, who thought a group of octogenarians could rock the house?

But the Young@Heart Chorus had everyone singing the songs of Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Radiohead and more. Watch a minute of them singing Springsteen and stick with it: It's only a minute, and it is completely endearing.

It looked like we were going to bake in the sun, but by the time She & Him took the stage, it was a drenching storm. The storm took out power to much of the town of Newport, and I'm told that the only power in town belonged to the stages there.

We lost our feed to WFUV — and to our webcast — just before Jim James was to play his set. But we did manage to record it, so you can hear it here.

This was the highlight of the day for me. It was more than the drama of the weather; it was seeing a songwriter and singer in his prime. Jim James has that Jeff Buckley quality to him, and it isn't a stretch to say that James brings to Newport what Tim Buckley brought to Newport in 1968: an eclectic taste in music, complete with a jazz side, and that voice.

We're sorry that we weren't able to get permission to webcast or archive the Cat Power set. Her band was so good. and she was just an incredible performer, spending a good deal of her time down in the audience dancing, swaying and singing.

By the end of the day, the Trey Anastasio fans seemed to be the ones with mud on their legs, but everyone had bit of sunshine in their hearts.



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What a fantastic day Saturday was, 'cept the 1 hour downpour, making me miss last half of She & Him and 1st half of Jim James, but glad I saw both at some point. Cat Power was mesmerizing, I compare her to Peter Wolf , never stopped moving! Sexy!!

Sent by JR | 11:10 PM | 8-3-2008

That's interesting what you say about Cat Power. I saw her play the Primavera Sound festival in May/June this year and it was a pretty grim set (I wonder if anyone other NPR listeners were there and what they thought?). I love the albums and think Chan Marshall is a really interesting, sexy character. But she really wasn't on form- her voice didn't sound great and she kept doing this weird clawing thing. I'm a total latecomer to Cat Power but my mate said that he's seen her do some really amazing, subtle and intimate sets in the past but this was just so over the top and forced. He said that I've probably missed the boat in terms of seeing Chan at her best live.

So it's great to hear such a positive report and I won't write off her live sets just yet...

Sent by May Bell | 7:24 AM | 8-4-2008