Blackwater Music Festival: Thursday
Words By Joe Davidson
Photos By Joe Davidson & Amy Castaldo
With thunderclouds looming over the skies we hit the road for Live Oak. I always feel like I’m heading home every time I go to Spirit of the Suwannee because I lived in the park for two years after I got out of high school. We pulled into the main entrance and found our way to the box office. After making it through the confusion of getting our credentials we made our way into the park. I always have a smile from cheek to cheek every time I enter the park and today was no exception. We found our spot, set up, and made our way to the venue area.
Between the previous day’s rain and bursts of sunshine the weather conditions were pretty treacherous, not so much hot, but muggy as hell. I was very impressed to see that there were water stations and mist tents set up in the venue area for everyone to catch some relief from August in Florida.
The music started with The Malah. I was very impressed with the composition of the trio. The guitarist and bassist both had laptops linked up to keyboards in front of them. I loved the balance displayed and that they were not depending on pure electronic elements. On more than one occasion I noticed the guitar player spacing out. I could tell that he was tapping into the vibe propelling him to another level by the end of the set.
Following the opening spot was Greenhouse Lounge. These guys had a lot of energy. They were all over the stage. They displayed a great blend of jazzy electonica with a dub backbone, very entertaining. The rain started to pick up while I was in the photo pit so I packed up and headed to shelter and got the gear ready for Perpetual Groove.
Perpetual Groove Live at Blackwater Music Festival on August 26, 2010.
The vibe started to grow thick before P Groove hit the stage. I was very excited to see these guys because it’s been a few years since the last time I saw them. The highlight of the show was halfway through the set after a ten minute jam. The rain slowly picked up throughout the jam seeming to match the pace. Just after the final breakdown the band paused for a couple seconds and went back into the fast-paced song. Exactly when they hit from the pause a perfectly timed heavy downpour started and created a wave that spiraled through the crowd. Instead of everyone heading to camp they got more and more into it. Everyone was dancing their ass off playing in the rain. Absolutely incredible! We were all a little bummed to get rain so early in the festival but it is moments like this that brings everyone together to get through it.
My anticipation grew as Sound Tribe began to set up their equipment. I’ve been listening to them for a good while now but have never had the chance to see them. As soon as the house music dropped the fans started to scream. They knew what was about to go down. I’ve always been curious to what the live show would be like and I must say that I was very impressed. They’ve found a way to craft a very intricate blend of electronic and instrumental songs that are perfectly calculated and orchestrated. It was very apparent that these guys are classically trained. The complexity of the set had me in awe. The percussion aspect was incredible, absolutely amazing. Between the Congas and the drum machines they created an elaborate foundation.
The light show that went along with the set was stellar. I actually saw a few things that I’ve never seen before. One of the sequences involved a holographic looking effect, like looking at a 3D movie without glasses. An hour into the set I started to succumb to the exhaustion of a full day of class, the drive up, and a busy night of setting up and meeting up with all of my old friends. Amy and I headed back to camp and listened to the rest of the set from the comfort of our tent. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the night.