The first night of Roosevelt Collier’s Suwannee Getdown was was simply mind-blowing. Everyone is totally pumped for night two, which should be equally explosive here at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park.
Paul Levine stepped on stage to thank everyone for coming to this second of Rosie’s Getdowns. Then he introduced a band few of us knew anything about: Cooter Brown from Tallahassee. I assure you we do now!
It took Cooter Brown all of five minutes to garner our complete attention. This quartet (Terrance Williams, Neal Goree, Steve Howell, & Kyle Chervanik) plays bluesy swamp rock, and they were pure dynamite. This was actually the last performance by this configuration, because guitar player Neal Goree is moving to Colorado. To say the band went out on a high note would be an enormous understatement.
After the first rocking tune, they launched into a blues tune, which then morphed into “No Particular Place to Go,” a unique arrangement. The third song began as a Booker T. & the MGs’ vamp, only to turn into “Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man.”
And then it just blew up. The drums and bassline of Jeff Beck’s “Freeway Jam” emerged, and they absolutely nailed it. It was stunning. Goree then stepped to the mic and said, “Now we’re going to play what we do best: raggedy blues. A wicked version of “Born Under a Bad Sign” (a Booker T.-penned tune) followed, with brief teases of “Who Knows” and “Red Hot Mama.” OH DAMN.
Another great surprise was next in a powerful “Tale of Brave Ulysses.” Then the man of the weekend, Roosevelt Collier, strolled out with his lap steel, and they tore up “Boogie Baby.” For their last tune, Cooter Brown began a minimalist take on “Rock Me Baby” that was languid and raw. After about two minutes, Goree said, “That’s the old way to play it. Here’s the new way.” (I possibly paraphrased here, but close enough.) Then they blew out a full-on rock version of “Rock Me Baby.” It was a triumphant last show.
There were DJs and loopers in the courtyard, but I did not get out there much. It certainly seemed like everyone who did go out was having a great time. I was gearing up for Shak Nasti, the Orlando trio I have seen more than any other band.
And this performance cemented my opinion: Shak Nasti continues to be my favorite band. Tim Turner (guitar and vocals), Matt Lapham (bass) and Rion Smith (drums) had a stellar night, joined by de facto member Ito Colon on percussion. Ito adds a great dimension to the band’s sound and dovetails perfectly with the polyrhythmic style of Smith.
They hit fourth gear immediately with a huge “Mind Bomb.” Shak Nasti is a power trio in the truest sense, and Turner, Lapham and Smith were on fire all evening, as was Colon. “Reckless Side” was just as superb, and that was followed by a great reading of “Lisa,” all SN originals.
Then Roosevelt came back on stage. A brief aside for some music history. Bear Creek 2009: Shak Nasti had the opening Friday set at the amphitheater. Afterwards, Turner said he had hoped that Roosevelt would make it in time, but he could not. Fortunately, a slot opened up the next day in this same music hall, back when they had bands playing at both ends of the hall. It was Roosevelt, Shak Nasti, and Ras Trent Spears, in a brilliant set still available on archive.org. (11-14-09) Three of the five songs they played together in 2009 were part of this night’s set. Turner and Roosevelt tore up “Treelocks,” including a brilliant slowed-down exchange between the two.
Roosevelt wasn’t going anywhere. He sat down at his pedal steel guitar, which was a permanent fixture on the stage. They played “Buzz,” another band original. Matt Lapham was having a huge night. I continue to say he is my favorite bass player. And then… and then… and then…
“Frying Pan.” It is a rollicking tune that works through several choruses, at which point the tempo starts building until it reaches breakneck speeds. I’ve seen them do this a number of times before with Roosevelt; this was the stuff of legend.
Minds already blown twice, we were now ready for the main event: Roosevelt Collier, Matt Lapham and Anthony Cole. AC plays with JJ Grey and MOFRO and is also part of the infamous Brownote (with Lapham and guitarist Roland Simmons). Cole’s presence on stage is huge, from his powerful on-the-one time to his vocals and humorous asides.
The trio began with two romping blues-oriented rockers, all three members reading each other perfectly. Next, Roosevelt played the first chords to “Who Knows,” and it was off to the races. Next, he called Eugene Snowden to the stage. The singer best known for his work with the Legendary JCs had come in a night early just to hang; he did the same thing at the first Suwannee Getdown. Snowden’s set is tonight. Roosevelt also invited Goree back on stage for a slinky tune that rolled into “Shaky Ground,” which might be the only song Snowden doesn’t know all the lyrics to.
Later, Tim Turner returned to play a tune, and the wonderful music raged as people danced and twirled and enjoyed themselves. This was the third tune from that 2009 collaboration, a Roosevelt song called “On My Way.”
Two important notes: the sound people were superb all evening. The balance was great, and it was only slightly loud (I always think that, though). Also, my dear friend Volkemon had patched into the soundboard and had his microphone up as well; every second of the weekend’s proceedings should be available for you to hear (or relive, if you were here). Thanks so much, Volke!
There is music at the beach right now with a huge slip-n-slide down to the river. I’m on my way. The music at the beach and in the courtyard is courtesy of Trey Hebron and a number of artists who will be part of the inaugural Reunion: Campout Concert series at SoSMP August 21st and 22nd. You don’t want to miss that.
I hope everybody is conserving enough energy for tonight, because Holey Miss Moley, the Eugene Snowden Band (OK, Snowden with Roosevelt and his friends), Shak Nasti and the Dr. one more time will surely tear the roof off the sucker!
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