Stuff That Works: Arts, Beats n Eats Festival in Royal Oak.

Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Victoria Clamp doin' it funky in the wind!
Found this 4 day festival by accident this year. A friend of mine mentioned that the Tom Tom Club was going to be playing in his neck of the woods (i.e. the other side of the country). I was pleased when I checked their website to learn that they would be a part of Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak over the Labor Day Holiday.
Julie was as fired up as I was when she found out that we could also catch a ton of other music including some great local/regional bands - AND there's more: we wanted to see the The Psychedelic Furs and country/bluegrass/guitar picking wonder Vince Gill (to show my age, lemme tell you I first saw Vince when he was in Poco back in the previous century!). Here is Vince in action:

This festival is OUTSTANDING. We attended some of it all three days we were there. Michigan weather was in full effect - Saturday we roasted in upper 90's heat with humidity and by the time we saw TTC n the Pfurs on Monday it was jacket weather in the blowing breeze.
Among the many we listened to, here are some stand-outs: Reverend Marc Falconberry Oh my goodness, this man plays a WONDERFUL slide guitar. He licks were so hot I sat in the sun, roasting slowly and loving every minute of it. If you appreciate blues guitar (his piano player kicks butt, too and the drum n bass players fill out a tight ensemble) - give this guy a listen if he comes around.
We heard several good groups at the Alternative Stage. My top two faves were: The Infatuations - they had a great time making music for us. Great, positive vibe and really good interaction with the crowd. (They have a FB page, too.)

The Infatuations
I cannot find any web links for my other big fave: E.R. - they were right up there with The Infatuations - good, solid music with a real positive vibe.
We also caught rockabilly, accoustic stuff, etc. etc. etc. - take a look at the roster of music in my link to the Festival - they have it all.
We enjoyed The Infatuations right before we joined the crowd for Vince Gill on Sunday night. What a great performer - totally at home on stage and happy to play for us. Wow.
Monday we got there plenty early to be close to the stage for the Tom Tom Club. Wonderful stuff! Chris NEVER quit smiling. Tina was rocking the bass. The whole group was fantastic - you could tell they LOVE what they do. By the time they closed there set with a couple of Talking Heads tunes (that was a surprise for me) and GENIUS OF LOVE - the place was hopping and folks were dancing. (Sound notes below.)
We didn't want to give up our prime spots for the P Furs, so we stayed put for Big Bad VooDoo Daddy - so glad we stayed. BBVD is incredible. Absolutely had the crowd in the palm of their hands within 2 songs. Tight, tight, tight horns - did I mention they were tight? Together they blended like your favorite cocktail and their solos were outstanding. What a fantastic surprise - I would see this band again ANYTIME. They have played together for 18 years and it shows. WOW. Wow. wow.

The P Furs did not disappoint. (The sound did.) Richard Butler and his gang of merry men took us on a trip. Great musicianship from the whole band and it was fun to watch him dance around and interact with the appreciative crowd. The sax player wailed - the drums were hot and Richard's bass playing brother roamed the stage singing along (even though he wasn't mic'ed) and playing to the crowd. (There they are below)

SOUND: As someone who has run sound for a band, I know what hassles present themselves in outdoor venues with changing bands. With that said, I must say that the sound quality on the smaller stages was WAAAY better than the main stage - especially during TTC and the Pfurs. There were some great guitar parts from the TTC -- especially on L'Elephant (Adrian Belew did it on the album) - the guy was playing his heart out and was totally lost in the mix. With the Pfurs, the mix started great and then the more they played the louder and messier it became. Volume is not ALWAYS the answer. We want to hear the talented players.
Big Round of Applause to the sound people at the little stages. Not so much for the big stage.
All in All it was a fantastic festival. Great food. Polite, friendly people of every race, creed n color. Wonderful Michication! We will return to Royal Oak for this great time and I recommend that you do as well. Park for $10 to $15 per day and pay only $3 to get in! Worth every penny and way more.
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