Riverbend Festival, Chattanooga, TN- 6/8-16
The sun was setting behind the mountains and the menacing thunderstorm that faded
seemingly moments earlier provided a bit of a respite from the heat when Cracker
took the stage. The band, no stranger to the urban festival circuit, wasted little
time before reminding uncertain folks who they weregetting “Teen Angst (What the
World Needs Now)” out of the way early. Naturally, narrative jams like “Euro-Trash
Girl” and rockers like “Low” sound great during any outdoor domestic beer buzz at
dusk, but it was actually the newer material that intrigued these ears. “The Riverside,”
a fearless freight train of rock n’ roll that was especially appropriate being
performed a stone’s throw from the banks of the Tennessee River and “Everybody Gets
One For Free” (a pair of tracks from 2006’s Greenland) sounded
right at home in a set that guitarist Johnny Hickman refused to phone inplaying
masterful leads that complement David Lowery’s country-tinged tunes.
Further evidence of the adverse effects of Global Warming on our planet can be found
on the cleanly (and recently) shaven visages of the typically hirsute Avett Brothers,
North Carolina’s finest contribution to any artistic medium since Tar Heel blue
was determined to be its own shade. The Brothers were tucked away in the festival
fringes, like ruffiansor at the very least a sideshow novelty as the too-hot-to-be-bearded
trio played in the road, near a red light at the base of the Hunter Museum of American
After simultaneously hustling and grinding through set opener “Die, Die, Die,” from
the recently released (and essential) Emotionalism, the rural
punk rockers endured a lengthy technically induced delay, and then proceeded to
sweat it out for the two (or so) thousand revelers that made the trek to the outer
limits rather than endure the main stage headliners Craig Morgan and Blake Shelton.
Every man and woman mired in the bowels of a broken relationship should be afforded
the opportunity to dance slowly and sarcastically with their heartbreaker while
listening to “Pretend Love,” from the band’s stellar 2006 release _Four
Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions_ and quite possibly one of the
finest musical middle fingers of any era.
Audiophiles take to the Internet and track down recorded evidence of Ricky Skaggs
and Kentucky Thunder’s Sunday night main stage headlining slot. The mountain music
purist, and virtuoso mandolin player, was joined by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.