6/7 Hilary Langford

jon brown

Assorted musical musings and revelations of 2013. A not-so-comprehensive list, but my memory isn’t what it used to be so this will have to do.

Begin every year in New Orleans, preferably on Frenchman Street. The only thing more prevalent than booze running through the veins of NOLA, is live music. Brass blares and bass bumps from every nook and cranny of the Crescent City. You’ll wake up sonic senses you didn’t even know you existed.

RVA is chock full of amazing talent. Snowy Owls and Hoax Hunters knocked off socks at Hopscotch in Raleigh. Positive No wowed us with a packed house (and blanket fort!) at Gallery 5 for their EP release show. Live at Ipanema brought us intimate sets from the likes of the Milkstains and Brandon Crowe’s backyard shindig connected good people and sounds in the name of Crowefest 2013. The list really could go on and on and on ...

Small festivals shall inherit the earth. The formula is pretty simple. Snag up and coming bands and scatter them across cozy venues in nifty little cities. Insert some day drinking and ta-dah, you’ve got the likes of Savannah Stopover, Hopscotch, and Richmond’s own Fall Line Festival. Brilliant.

Big festivals are getting pretty awful. $12 tepid Miller Lites and so-called festival fashion? No thanks. Give me dive bars, solid tap lists and proper glassware. Melissa Koch and I nearly had a meltdown at Sweet Life when surrounded by a swarm of poncho wearin’ teenage d-bags.

Newport Folk Fest. One exception to my “no big fests” rule is the grandaddy of them all. Newport is an incredibly well managed event that keeps the focus on introducing folks to new music and catching legends here and there. This year’s highlights included sets by Hurray For The Riff Raff and Bombino whilst drinking beer and trading new artist recommendations with Ann Powers. Huge bonus as she’s a rad lady who knows her shit. I will also hereby admit to shamelessly stalking Bob Boilen over the course of three days.

Austin, TX. I broke my arm on a dance floor in Folly Beach, SC and had surgery two days before my trip down to ACL. I couldn’t drink and it was generally a pretty shitty affair considering oppressive Texas temperatures and a splint/sling make for days on end of throbbing, sausage fingers at ... you guessed it, another big festival. Catching Kelly Hogan’s set at the Mohawk made me realize there was life and greater comfort outside of Zilker Park. Hogan said she had a dream about the shirt I was wearing that night. I’d really like to get additional details about this.

Never underestimate member-supported radio. WRIR, WDCE, WNRN and a handful of others prove that the behemoths just don’t have what it takes to connect with listeners.

Interviews good and bad, continue to make me a better writer. Some challenged me (Iceage while not rude as reported by other writers, simply didn’t give me shit to go on for a story - my best shot is here , others felt like chatting with old friends. A few favorites were: Shovels & Rope, James Wallace and Road Tested, a hilarious collection of tales from well-traveled musician folk. Anousheh talked about the glory of a diarrhea free evening in Costa Rica after eating street food. “No one wants diarrhea in a dirty, Costa Rican festival toilet.” That might be my favorite artist quote of the year.

Hilary Langford » Richmond, VA » Freelance Music Writer/Critic
thedonkeyjaw.com / @justhilary