Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Friday, 8-13-13 (photos, review)By Jason Blevins | September 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
The blues rockers â€“ who replaced the extraordinary Mississippi All Stars ripper Luther Dickinson with the less impressive but more handsome Jackie Greene â€“ drew from the awesome vistas engulfing Tellurideâ€™s Town Park stage to wow a rain-shedding throng.
The first setâ€™s â€śRemedy,â€ť with its throbbing, medicated blues is a solid contender for Coloradoâ€™s stoner anthem, but Greeneâ€™s slide on â€śDescendingâ€ť stirred the amply lubed crowd.
Greene works best with a glass finger. His improvisation â€“ despite stints as a friend of Phil Lesh â€“ falls short. Guitarist Rich Robinson actually took over lead duties in â€śThorn in my Prideâ€ť with a blistering jam that channeled Keith Richards at his best and easily ranked as the highlight jam of the night. The gangly, galloping Chris Robinson frolicked under his brotherâ€™s heat, joining on a strong harp solo that ended with the shaggy frontman hurling his harmonica into the eager crowd.
A half moon crept up the horizon over the Bear Creek drainage as the Black Crowes stretched a fun â€śShe Talks to Angelsâ€ť with Greeneâ€™s twangy mandolin. The crowd â€“ taking advantage of the steady flow of Sierra Nevada brews â€“ celebrated the sound and lack of rain with a fiery, if not muddy, fervor.
The covers especially fired up the swamp-stompers. Richâ€™s smooth Lou Reed-vocals on Velvet Undergoundâ€™s â€śOh Sweet Nuthinâ€™â€ť were gorgeous but also elevated the absence of Dickinson, who could weave deep grooves into Richâ€™s sparse rhythms. The late night â€śHushâ€ť â€“ popularized by Deep Purple but composed by Joe South â€“ and the bandâ€™s signature rendition of Otis Reddingâ€™s â€śHard to Handleâ€ť supercharged the crowd as it spilled into a welcoming downtown Telluride.
The festivalâ€™s notorious late-night scene is no longer a secret or even a sideshow. With the Sheridan Opera House, Fly Me To The Moon Saloon and less-colorful Telluride Conference Center hosting gigs with Anders Osbourne, the New Mastersounds, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Karl Denson, the after-fest shows will likely highlight the most smoking moments of the weekend.
Jason BlevinsÂ is a strange dancer, but that has never stopped him.
Evan SemĂłn is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. SeeÂ more of his work.