Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop
Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop

Your Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival Opening Day - What to look for

Who to see, who to discover, your Friday guide

It's here! Day 1 of the 30th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival kicks off at noon. Stop by and see us in our booth in the Louisiana Pavilion near the Front Porch Stage!

Who's new? What about your favorites? That's the essence of the festival. You saw our roundup earlier this week. Now let's tackle today. And who better to tell us about who's playing than the guy who booked the bands, Festival Artistic Director Peter Damman.

Chris Isaak Brewery Stage 9-10:15pm

Peter Dammann: He’s a little bit on the edge of the bubble. The pure blues guys are going to be irritated with that pick for sure but ya know we’ll have something that’ll appeal to that crowd going on at the Front Porch stage at that time. That’s the luxury of having all these stages, that if you don’t like the mainstage act you can go to the front porch or vice versa. So we’ll probably have Cedric Burnside or somebody like that on the Front Porch when Chris Isaak is playing. Now Chris Isaak, I really dig him and his guitar player of course, lives here in Portland - Hershel and he’s a great guitar player.

OMN: he doesn’t play out here very much does he?

Peter: Well he’s usually on the road. I’ve played gigs with him. I played at the White Eagle with him one time. When he’s around he’ll just drop into gigs that his friends are playing. He’s a really great guy. So that’s one of the reasons that bringing Chris Isaak to Waterfront feels appropriate to me; that there’s this Portland connection with him. It’ll make the whole thing really fun and it’s going to end kinda spectacularly. We have kind of a card up our sleeve for the end of the Chris Isaak show.

Elvin Bishop 6:45-8pm Brewery Stage

Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer...and he played Winter Blues Festival last year and he’s just still great! He’s got a lot of energy he’s really funny. He’s still really connected to what he’s doing. He’s not phoning it in, he’s still really a dynamic, authentic blues guy. A lot of these guys in the twilight years of their careers just do start phoning it in, I shouldn’t be specific about that but we’ve had some of those at Waterfront... some of the big, big acts where I just kinda go god these guys are… but anyway

On the flip side ya know we have Fantastic Negrito. First Tech Blues Stage 8-9pm.

I don’t know if you’re hip to them. They just won the Grammy for blues album of the year and these guys, this guy was a busker in Berkeley until like a year and a half ago and he’s very unique he’s got a very individual spin on the blues. He grew up in an Islamic household and he’s just really interesting. He won the NPR Tiny Desk concert two years ago. That’ll be really interesting. He’s never played Portland.

Dirty Bourbon River Show Brewery Stage 3-4pm Front Porch Stage 6-7pm

That’s kind of a retro swing, retro jazz group from San Francisco. Young. One of the things that goes on at the Front Porch is we have that big dance floor and we have these 20/30 something swing and blues dancers so we try to get some acts that work for those guys and this is one of those acts.

Brother Yousef Front Porch Stage 4:50-5:40pm Crossroads Stage 9-10:15pm

Yeah he’s from San Jose. He’s a solo guy. He’s a very cool blues guitar player very percussive and rhythmic which is why this young swing dance crowd has latched onto him he’s very dynamic.  And he’s a really solid blues guitar and vocalist. He’s pretty cool.

 DME Blues Cruise 10:45pm

The first cruise is going to be monstrous, blues guitar shredding, Eric Gales is kind of this under the radar guitar guy who’s probably, you know according to people like even Joe Bonamassa who you wouldn’t expect to compliment anybody... Even Bonamassa says this guy is probably the greatest blues guitar player alive right now. He’s an incredible player. He had a lot of personal substance issues for a long time that kept him from really cutting loose but that’s kind of all behind him for a few years now and he’s really happening.

Kingfish Ingram has become kind of a mascot of the festival. And Kingfish actually plays on Eric Gales’ new record. They’re sort of buddies from Memphis and the delta so you’re gonna see two of maybe the best Afro-American blues guitar players alive in that boat at the same time. It’s gonna be pretty explosive.

Post a comment:

Your Name:

Your Email Address:


2000 characters remaining



Web Design and Web Development by Buildable