Shootin' pretty pictures (instead of dirty pool) and trying to give solid testimony to the plethora of artists I've seen over the last nine days has left your boy a little punchy folks -- tore up from the floor up; beat up from the feet up. But just the same, I once more lugged my gear and my mind full of metaphors and similes down to the blood bank to file this report.
After witnessing the boundless joy our community filled Parcel 5 with, I'm now completely against putting a building there, theater or not. But that argument is for another day. I'm here to tell you about Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People. What a grand lady she is. Ponder is powerful and cemented solid in her convictions, which she shared with a thrilled throng of roughly 15,000 people. She stuck closely to the material from her "Blow Out the Sun" album, with a few re-workings in their arrangements -- in particular, on the song "Work," the band worked in an ominous driving beat reminiscent of The Doors' "Five to One." The band was beyond excellent with a steady rock 'n' soul groove, which Ponder easily mounted. There were horns that blasted like a brass kiln on high; way solid drums and percussion; keys -- even a keytar -- slashing 'n' burn guitar; backing vocals; and bass that swung low like an elephant's trunk.
Find more about Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People at daniellepondermusic.com.
The Hooligans followed and came out with a sort of disjointed jam that had the drummer absolutely clobbering his kit. The trombone and trumpet poked their heads up when they could, and tried to soothe the savage beat. I left with the Earth literally quaking from the combination of three stages at high volume. Man, it was epic.
And speaking of savage beat, I've got something to say: the Jazz Fest is magnificent. It's my favorite thing to write about and report upon as a journalist here in Rochester as well as to dig as a musician and music fan. I just want to remind the thousands and thousands who make the annual trek downtown that this is a music town during more than just this glorious festival. Bands like Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People hit stages every day of the week.
Please go out and dig them some night; let the Jazz Fest be your guide, your gateway drug. Believe me, there's plenty for everyone. Picture this: imagine all the people that were out tonight at Parcel 5 going out each week to catch some live music, whether it's blues, jazz, reggae, funk, punk, country, Americana, rock 'n' roll, and so on. What a wonderful word this would be.
Frank has left the building.