Normally I do things in a different order when I cover multifaceted events, but this week I found myself in a little bit of a quandry with no new release to review from my musical patron and some thoughts on what I heard last night. So instead of saving the “weekend of local rock” feature to fall a few days after the main coverage of Pork in the Park, this time I will lead with it.
Last night I heard two of the many bands slated for this weekend at Winterplace Park – since the forecast for today was iffy, my list of things to do this weekend was rather long, and we had a somewhat rare evening sans a 14-year-old, we decided to instead make a Friday night of it. Ironically, our teenager’s musical tastes would have made the night’s headliner very palatable to her, but let’s talk about the Bonedaddies first.
These guys are like a comfortable pair of old shoes – you know what to expect when you put them on. In the case of the Bonedaddies, it’s a steady diet of classic rock stretching from ZZ Top (they were playing “I Thank You” as we walked in) to their closing number from Tom Petty, “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” And there must be a law which now states any cover band must play Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally.”
So we caught perhaps the last 45 minutes of their show, which had some interest but a lot of empty space in front of the stage. One thing which is different about Pork in the Park this year is the lack of any seating close to the stage – in years prior the stage was set up perhaps 25 to 30 yards from a pavilion, but not this year. Most people who wanted to sit either had to bring their own chairs or sit about 50-60 yards away.
A good portion of the open space filled for the headliner, as you’ll see.
First of all, if you wonder why the photos are so dark, this is what happened when I set my night setting.
So deal with the dark. Anyway, Charlie Worsham is an up-and-coming country artist who is doing one last weekend of shows before a tour opening for Brad Paisley.
I will gladly admit country music is not my cup of tea, so suffice to say I didn’t really recognize Worsham’s originals – but they were well-received by the several hundred people around the stage.
Unfortunately, having just one album to his credit and about 90 minutes of stage time to fill meant that he had to play a few covers. So can I ask a question – why is it that country artists feel the need to cover rock songs?
I will grant that my friends from Semiblind, who have graced many a WLR volume, can take a country song they like and supercharge it to make it listenable and sometimes even really enjoyable for a metalhead like me. But it doesn’t work as well the other way – no country singer can be as urban as “Billie Jean” needs to sound nor can “Crazy Train” have justice done to it with a banjo. Cover Lynard Skynard or the Allman Brothers – no problem for a country band. Surely they can even pull off “Mustang Sally.” So while I hate to be so critical, I must say that version of “Crazy Train” was brutal.
On the other hand, working as an opening act will give them a chance to write and perform what they’re best at, leaving “Crazy Train” for someone else. Their mini-tour began in Houston yesterday in a performance for a local radio station before coming to Salisbury and moving on to Chesterfield, Virginia tomorrow before joining up with Paisley later next week. Those sorts of logistics are fascinating to me.
Assuming the weather doesn’t intervene, the lineup for today is rather promising. If you hurry, you can catch the Barren Creek Band at 10, with Picnic following at 12.
Veterans of Pork in the Park and a welcome Pennsylvania import follow at 2:30.
Smokin’ Gunnz is always a crowd favorite, as evidenced by the number of views this four-year-old video still gets on a monthly basis.
Another local favorite is bluesman Tom Larsen, who will serve as the opening act for Jimmie Van Zandt once the awards are over around 5:30 or so.
Front Page News is the final band to take the stage early Sunday afternoon, as that day is mainly given over to the wing-eating contest.
So music fans aren’t left wanting by the lineup – the question becomes whether Mother Nature will cooperate today.