By Mike McKenney, Rock At Night New England Correspondent
On a sunny Saturday with temps in the 70’s and a beautiful waterfront providing the back drop, there was no better place to be than Bold Point Park for a full 8+ hours of Blues and BBQ. On the water, boats begin to gather within earshot to hear the music as the smells of the BBQ trucks permeates the air.
Homegrown Cee Cee and the Riders opened the day on the Point stage. The soulful and powerful vocals of Leslie ” Cee Cee ” Grimes backed by veteran players Matt Bruneau (lead and slide guitar), Mike Rand (blues harp and rhythm guitar), David Underwood (drums), and Roy Sauvageau (bass), entertained the early birds with some old time rock & roll hits.
Throughout the day, while the main stage was being prepared between performers, Cee Cee and the Riders kept the music going and the fans dancing with a terrific mix of blues and original tunes that perfectly showcased ” Cee Cee ” Grimes, Joplin/Raitt like voice.
First up on the main stage was the Cannibal Ramblers. Consisting of two musical outsiders, Kyle Anderson (drums) and Mark Milloff,( slide guitar & vocals) this is one of the most unique bands playing anywhere today. Raw and raucous, the Cannibal Ramblers playing together for almost 7 years now, have been described as death delta, punk and country blues. Their influences include the likes of Captain Beefheart and Bukka White. Kyle Anderson’s bombastic drums (at one point knocking over part of his drum kit), mixed with Mark Milloff’s screeching and at times bellowing (ala Jim Morrison) vocals, somehow work together to produce the most distinctive sound in blues/rock today. With the crowd growing, Cannibal Ramblers fans were on their feet in awe of the riotous “Jitterbug Swing”.
Barrett Anderson Band – Flawless at Bold Point Park
Whether playing a cover “No Particular Place to Go” (Chuck Berry) or one of their originals like “Grin & Bare It”, The Barrett Anderson band transitions effortlessly from blues to old time rock to a self-described, Hypno Boogie. Front man Barrett Anderson started playing guitar professionally in nearby central MA, at the age of 15. Performing alongside the likes of Muddy Waters’ Band alums Pinetop Perkins and Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Barrett honed his craft with 3 year stints in both Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters and The Monster Mike Welch Band.
The “2013 Boston Music Award, Blues Artist of the Year” recipient, Barrett Anderson (vocals and guitar) with longtime friends and bandmates, Jamie “Black Cat Bone” Hatch (electric bass), and Doug MacLeod (drums), average over 100 shows per year, bringing their blues/rock/soul inspired sound all over New England. All the experience garnered from this time playing together is expressed onstage in their music.
From Anderson’s soulful voice and incredible guitar work on the original “Tomorrow Morning” to Hatch and MacLeod’s bottom bass and drums on ” Broken Down”, “Gone”, the timing and anticipation are perfectly executed. Says Barrett “We have developed such a connection and musical trust over the years, that these guys know exactly where I’m going musically before I do!” With two albums in the can, (All The Way Down), and (The Long Fall), and album #3 in the works, fans of every musical persuasion need to check out The Barrett Anderson Band!
When The Silks take to the Main stage, the crowd draws near in anticipation. Tyler-James Kelly (vocals & guitar) Jonas Parmelee (guitar) and Uncle Sam Jodrey (drums) and Johnny Trama (guitar), were nothing short of amazing!
The recent addition of guitarist Johnny Trama blends in a deeper dimension (Claptonesque) and compliments Tyler’s extraordinary guitar work. Mixing in some great new songs like “Out of My Hands” with some Silks standards, Tyler’s vocals have never sounded better as the whole band seemed to be a really good groove from the start. With 5 bands lined up, the time each were allowed to play was limited to keep things on schedule, but that didn’t stop The Silks from giving their rabid fans an impromptu encore they won’t soon forget. The Silks teased a new “Live” album is in the works, another first for this red hot band!
As the sun begins to set over the waterfront, Robert Randolph lights up the stage with his infectious smile.Wherever Robert Randolph is, you can bet a party isn’t far behind. Listed as one of “Rolling Stone top 100” guitarists, Robert and The Family Band, performed a set full of funk, soul, and blues.
Randolph’s lively steel guitar is matched only by his energy as he dances, jumps, twirls and high kicks throughout the night. This talented group of musicians put on a musical clinic for the now packed house. During one song, each member of the band masterfully played a “Round Robin” of switching their instruments until each member had played all of them.
With a cool breeze now blowing in off the water, Headliner The Kenny Wayne Shepard band appears on stage. Ripping right from the start, KWSBand launches into a string their rock/blues hits. After 20 years and millions of albums sold, this 5 time Grammy nominated artist has plenty of hits to choose from. Kenny Wayne Shepard’s phenomenal rock blues inspired guitar , along with vocalist Noah Hunt, drummer Chris Layton, and Joe Crown on keys, had the crowd on their feet as they rocked the rest of the night away.
Finally, exhausted but completely satisfied after a full day of sun, Blues, and BBQ, the music fades away and the festival comes to a close at Bold Point Park, located on the East Providence waterfront has views of Upper Narragansett Bay and the Seekonk River, and overlooks the Providence skyline. This new boutique event venue offers a casual, relaxed setting with open air waterfront areas and stunning views.
Cannibal Ramblers set list:
Last Night I Drank Too Much
Fixen to Die
Back to the Bridge
All Alone on a Hot Summer Night
The Devil is Near
Warm Breeze Blows
Barrett Anderson Band set list :
Grin & Bare It
No Particular Place to Go (Chuck Berry cover)
Not Your Baby (original)
Lookin’ Good (Magic Sam cover)
Grinnin’ in Your Face (Son House cover)
All photos by Mike McKenney
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