It was a gorgeous day this past Saturday at the Corn Hill Arts Festival, as I made my way through the throng to catch some bands at the Gazebo Stage. Vanishing Sun was onstage challenging the real sun as it dappled the crowd beneath the shade. Lead singer Zahyia — dressed like a steampunk can-can girl — had the crowd mesmerized with her vocal acrobatics. The rest of the band was equally hypnotic, as it rendered its deceptively organic drum ‘n’ bass tightly and brightly.
If you’ve got a cinnamon jones then you’ve got to see Cinnamon Jones, and she’ll fix ya. Jones followed Vanishing Sun and did it right, man, with her take on old-school funk and soul. I’m glad I stuck around. She absolutely delivered the joy and wore folks out.
After a quick nap, I slapped some glue in the ‘do and headed over to see NYC’s Daddy Long Legs sing the blues. With just guitar, drums done Moe Tucker-style with no cymbals, and the hellacious huffin’ and puffin’ of the harmonica, the band reminded me of its Yep Roc label mates J.D. Wilkes and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, what with all the revelatin’ and Pentecostal caterwaulin’ goin’ on. It was the best show I’ve seen, front to back, in a long time. It was Daddy Long Legs’ harp tone that sent me over the edge. It was freight-train huge as — along with the vocals — it came filtered through an overdriven Green Bullet and blasted out of assorted tweed speakers.
The band blew through a good 90 minutes of Mississippi Delta and Chicago blues, working the crowd into a howling mass of humanity. It was relentless.
There was no bass and that made Rochester scenester Rick Cona a bit nervous. But he couldn’t argue with the full-tilt energy, with or without the throb of the bottom end. But Christ, that harp. I went home and threw all my harmonicas in the trash.
For something just a shade darker, heavier, metal-er, I popped over to SinnFest at Photo City Improv to witness Kryst onstage, playing like the band I knew it would become when I saw it the first time. The band members had wrenched it down to a well-oiled machine as it chugged away at its superb treatment of the heaviest of metals. It’s only going to get better.