Sunday September 20th I was rudely awakened by my brother at 6am with the gentle reminder he needed to be at the airport, flying out for a work conference in an hour and a half. Groggily we made our way to Dunkin’s before we headed to TF Green. On the way Tim made the comment “Are you going to that?” Still unconscious I muttered “What Dunkin’s? Yes aren’t we like a block away” Grabbing my head and rotating it 90 degrees he pointed out the huge billboard for the Fall Out of Summer Festival hosted by The Artists Exchange in Cranston. Unbeknown to me there was a lovely concert and art series going on in Rolf Square that day, had I not been roused from my slumber at the ass crack of dawn, on a Sunday no less, I would have been none the wiser. After kicking Tim to the curb, er, ah, bidding my brother a fond farewell at TF Green I made my way back home and crashed out for a few more hours. After consulting their website I realized things were about to start and I headed down to FOOS Fest around noon.
First up for the day was Eric French and Mr Hyde, a bluesy trio from Providence, lead by Eric French on guitar and vocals with Walter Skorupski on bass and Jesse Magunson on drums. The proceeded to rock the lot:
Starting with their original “Worst in Me” Eric rocked out bluesy riffs and solos while Walt provided a busy walking bass line, Jesse impressed with tight chops and fills. Melding from the original into Muddy Water’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” Eric French was blazing the blues in the early afternoon sun. Wailing on the strings Eric reprised “Worst in Me” to round out the first sequence of his set. Confessing to a cold and feeling a bit horse Eric stated he’d be sticking to more instrumentals and blues standards for the day rather than trying to sing his more strenuous originals. Initially sticking to his promise the band began a brilliant cover of T-bone Walker’s instrumental “T-bone Shuffle.” He followed up with the original “Always the Bridesmaid” which had a quick rhythm and reminded me a bit of The Police. Breaking out the classic Robert Johnson song Eric French and Mr Hyde tore into “Crossroads.” Walter provided an intense walking bass line when Eric riped a unique bluesy solo. “Soul Dressing” followed, a fantastic instrumental originally by Booker T and the Mgs, adding a jazzy hint to Eric’s blues chops. Covering Aerosmith next and choosing a lesser known tune Eric French and Mr Hyde proceeded into “Draw the Line.” I certainly recognized the riffs but not the song as a whole. Without stopping the grove Eric began a bluesy cover of The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.” The final song I had the chance to catch was the Buddy Guy blues standard “Leave My Girl Alone.” A slow and methodical blues number it even had the children in the audience swaying. Eric’s head cold made his voice a bit deeper and he made the joke “Barry White sings the blues,” cracking up at least me, if not some of the other gents in the audience. I took the call I received during the song and let my buddies Mike and Liz know what was happening and prompted them to come join me in a couple hours. After Eric French and Mr Hyde’s set I ran home for an hour or so to recharge my batteries, both literally and figuratively as I laid down for a nap.
By the time I returned Mike and Liz arrived with their son Zach, and Smokin’ Mirrors (for whom I still cannot find a website) was playing the main stage area in the parking lot. I sat down to enjoy a couple of their early pop rock covers while Mike and his family wandered the arts and crafts area of the festival:
They showed off great harmonies especially in the first song I had the chance to catch, The Reflections’, “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet.” The Mirrors broke out an early The Who song and played a great interpretation of “Can’t Explain” very true to the original single version. Mike came to find me around now to let me know there was a second stage around the corner with an acoustic act playing, so I packed up my things and went to go join the other party.
The Glass Jars were performing on a small stage behind the Artist’s Exchange, a trio consisting of Liam Dailey on guitar and vocals, David Lee on a pair of mini piano, melodica, xylophone, bass, and a saw, and Lucas Henry on percussion and mandolin. I grabbed a seat and caught six of their songs:
Their original “Poundin’ the Pavement” was a great up beat folky number. Liam showed great rhythm guitar playing with some really quick chord changes and good catchy lyrics. The Glass Jars picked up the pace with a foot stomping cover of Andrew Jackson Jihad’s “People.” A quick little ditty about equality and human nature. A Deer Tick cover followed “Ashamed.” David began to bend and shape tones from a saw as Liam showed off a great bit of flat picking. The cover has made me keep my eye out for Deer Tick shows coming around, I still have yet to check out their live show. I was again impressed with the original “Song for an Ungrateful Girlfriend.” Liam played a quick rhythm accompanied by David on bass and Lucas on mandolin. Each member was great on all their instruments all set. A member of the audience prodded for a Bob Dylan cover and Liam obliged with “Don’t Think Twice its Alright.” Obviously not a number practiced for his active set list but played a great version, showcasing his finger picking once again. The final song I caught was the original “Home.” Lyrically a great song, and the delicate finger picking, haunting saw tones and metronome made for an entrancing tune. I enjoyed their entire set and made sure to grab a CD by the end.