Last Saturday, November 3rd was the 1st annual North Oak Cliff Music Festival. I love the enthusiasm and faith in the future when folks name their festival the first annual – because they are certain there will be many more. In this instance I trust that’s right because it was a splendid day all around.
First the choice of the time of year to hold the thing was perfect. I remember back in the 70′s sweltering at the Cotton Bowl for 12 hours at the Texas Jam in 100 degree heat so a day with highs in the low 80′s made listening to music so much more pleasant.
Second, I didn’t get felt up or wanded when entering the site. Nobody got in a fistfight & an ambulance didn’t get called to the scene. I didn’t even notice a policeman. This was an event by & for grownups. It was a day for hearing music & dancing & no violence was anywhere in sight.
Third, the lineup was perfect for the audience. This was a showcase of Texas musicians, several from Oak Cliff that performed in all genres.
First up was Jacob Metcalf. He is a singer songwriter and also teaches guitar lessons at The Kessler. He wasn’t really my taste but he and his partner gaves us some sweet songs.
Yells At Eels was up next and if you’ve never heard this father/sons trio RUN to their next show. Dennis is the father & he plays trumpet and various percussion toys. Son Stefan looks like he ought to be in a heavy metal band like Metallica instead of a jazz band but it’s Aaron on stand up bass that I can’t take my eyes off of. Watching Aaron make me want to attend a Santeria orgy & sacrifice chicken. When he plays, it’s like he’s channelling a primal god.
Hunter Hendrickson is a young local guitar god – he’s already got the “O” face going on ala Jimmy Page.
Jim Shuler is a blues/rock singer and his band reminded of those club going days in the late 70′s. He’s just like the bar bands from that time.
Bobby Patterson is an old style showman. He heads up a funk band & is still kicking out the music at age 68. He’s very gracious to photographers as well, making sure all of us got good shots. He has a rhyming patter between songs that is out of date by today’s standards but was so nostalgic to hear.
Between acts Eric Nadel, the voice of the Texas Rangers; was making announcements and bringing up the next act. I was suprised when a guitarist came on stage & just started shredding that guitar up. He was tall & bald looking like Shemar Moore’s white cousin. This guy has a hip swivel while playing that makes a girls wanna roll around in a tub of jello with him. His name is Sean Kellerman & I thought he was the main act, but after a couple of songs he introduced Lucky Peterson. Lucky is another old school blues/funk musician. He brought on a girl singer who looked like she was in her 20′s & Lucky must be in his 60′s. He introduced her as his beautiful wife. I shook my head never understanding why men do that – marry women young enough to be their daughters. She really was a talented singer, but I didn’t get any good photos of her.
Next on the bill was Carolyn Wonderland. Having never heard her before, I was wondering “why’d they put a girl singer on after all these funk & blues band?” Then she sound checked her dulcimer??? Well I understood when this little redheaded dulcimer player opened her mouth & channeled Janis Joplin. She has an enormous voice & rocked out with the best of them.
I’ve heard Alejandro (I wear my pants so tight all the women know I hang to the right) Escovedo twice before. The 1st time was an acoustic set with violin & cello. The 2nd time was an electric set but still had a singer songwriter feel to it so I was pleased and suprised when he came out & tore the roof off the stage…who knew?
The star of the show was Joe Ely – Texas legend. He had a gaggle of groupies hanging out with posters OC Hearts Joe, lol
The concert was sponsored by the Kessler Theater which is the best music venue in Dallas in my opinion. Jeff Liles is the artistic director & he was a Deep Ellum legend from the 90′s.