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Big Ears 3/22 to 3/25 '18 Knoxville

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Nogbad_The_Bad View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 06 2018 at 17:15
Line up for Big Ears at the end of March in Knoxville has been announced. I've got my prospective schedule sorted:-

6.00 - Jaga Jazzist featuring Storlokken & Balke (Bijou)
7.00 - Brooklyn Rider (St Johns)
8.00 - Nels Clines (Tennessee)
9.00 - Susanna (St Johns)
11.00 - Godspeed You Black Emperor (Mill & Mine)

12.00 - Bang On A Can (Bijou)
1.00 - Jaga Jazzist (Mill & Mine)
6.30 - Jenny Scheinman Mischief & Mayhem (Standard)
7.30 - Algiers (Mill & Mine)
9.00 - Jon Gibson (St Johns)
10.30 - Susanna feat Giovanna Pessi (Bijou)
12.00 - GAS (Tennessee)

5.30 - Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog (Mill & Mine)
7.00 - Anoushka Shankar (Tennessee)
7.30 - Jerry Douglas Band (Mill & Mine)
10.00 - Kelly Lee Owens (Mill & Mine)
12.00 - Four Tet (Mill & Mine)

2.00 - Suuns (Mill & Mine)
5.00 - Bangs Moran, Halvorson, Miles (Bijou)
6.30 - Lightning Bolt (Mill & Mine)
7.00 - Bang On A Can (Tennessee)
8.00 - Craig Taborn Quartet (Standard)

Anyone who thinks Kansas is Prog get out of the room - Adolf Hitler

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2018 at 12:36
Here's my review of the fun

Day 1 review, met up with the guys around noon. First band up was 6.30 with International Contemporary Ensemble playing Anna Thorvaldsdottir 'In The Light Of Air'. Very ambient, nice piece that was probably a bit too gentle to open a festival. Headed out after 30 minutes to see Messel Ngegeocello, singer songwriter bass player with guitarist playing folk, played Nick Drake and Leonard Cohens as well as originals, nice mellow stuff. Next was a choice so went to Susanna first playing piano and laptop darkwave song, ducked out after a couple of songs to go see Brooklyn Rider, a modern string quartet, they were really excellent, high energy, fun and entertaining. Finally headed up to Mill & Mine to see Godspeed You Black Emperor. Stunning show, grooving driving post rock, really grabs you and hangs on, most players in dark with film projection behind the band. Good mix of bands and 2 excellent performances.

Day 2 started out with Bang On A Can field recordings, found sound ensemble pieces, featured Ken Thomson of Gutbucket on sax, really nice stuff. Next up was Algiers in a packed Standard, 60s style psyche with a gospel punk kraut feel, a bit patchy at times but still very good. Jenny Scheinman had a band featuring Nils Cline playing guitar and violin led instrumental with folk and jazz touches, really excellent, a lot of fun. The main attraction of Friday was Jaga Jazzist playing their heavy funky electronica big band jazz, took a couple of tracks to lock in but man they tore it up for 45 minutes with the whole crowd grinning and bouncing around. Closed the day out with John Gibson ambient minimalist Visitation, very nesrly fell asleep a couple of time but very nice closer.

Day 3 a bit of a mixed bag, first up was Jenny Scheinman playing traditional folk to a movie about depression era North Carolina, pretty dark and moving. Next was Cyro Baptista a Brazilian percussionist, loads of fun with a fusion of jazz and traditional, happily bouncing along. Bang On A Can played a chamber ensemble piece about mining with a full choir and a backing film, excellent stuff. My last two acts were a bit of a disappointment, Roscoe Mitchell Trios had a 9 piece band that mostly seemed to be one or two players squonking and squawking while the rest watch, I'd had enough after 45 minutes. Last was Diamanda Galas looking very Goth and singing while playing solo piano, she has a huge voice but it really didn't work for me especially with an awful cover of BB King The Thrill Is Gone, couldn't help but think it was Morticia Addams does Lilli von Schtupp. Really enjoyed BOAC and Cyro.

Day 4 - started with a VIP buffet which was a nice start and a chance for a chat with friends about who we'd enjoyed, opinions differed on Diamanda Galas. First act up was Tyshawn Sorey Trio, was slow getting started with first 10 minutes appearing to be solo piano tuning followed by 10 minutes of percussion accompanying piano tuning. Once they got going as a trio it was great stuff really enjoyed. They ran over by 15 minutes, probably to make up for the start. Second up was Suuns a Quebec based heavy art rock band with a large dose of psyche & kraut, really good grooving driving stuff. The went to see BANGS (Jason Morans, Mary Halvorson, Ron Miles) contemporary modern jazz, really beautiful stuff, really shone, loved it. Headed to the Tennessee for the last two acts, Neif Norf did a 25 minute Steve Reich Quartet piece, very nice. Then it was time for Bang On A Can, they had a huge piece with additional members playing in the audience and on the balcony. Really nice finale for an excellent weekend.

Top Shows
Godspeed You Black Emporer
Jaga Jazzist

Really Good
Bang On A Can (all 3 performances)
Jenny Scheinman Mischief & Mayhem
Brooklyn Rider
Cyro Baptista

All the other shows varied from good to at least interesting, I only walked out of one show earlier than 30 minutes in, any after that time was primarily about logistics to get to other shows.

Overall a great weekend, was nice to see a broader group of PE'ers and associated there (was great to chat a lot to Steve Burnett, a ProgDay regular I'd never spent a lot of time with). The weather wasn't great though it didn't really ever get in the way of the festival, a bit too cold and a bit too wet. Knoxville was great as usual, loads of places to get a beer and a bite. The venues were generally good though The Standard needs some seats & they really should do something about the lousy VIP sight lines at the Mill & Mine. Really well organized and well run festival with a wonderfully diverse group of artists. Could do with a little less free jazz but that's just me.

Will probably be back next year.

Edited by Nogbad_The_Bad - March 26 2018 at 12:44

Anyone who thinks Kansas is Prog get out of the room - Adolf Hitler

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2018 at 15:33
^ well that didn't make me totally jealous, although Jaga and Godspeed did for sure. 

Thanks for the review just the same!
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I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
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