Monday, May 20, 2013
Review: Fort Worth Music Festival keeps rolling on the river
The eclectic, two-day event offered sharp sets in a great location.
FORT WORTH As Dallas wrestles with its never-ending quandary of what to do with the Trinity River, Fort Worth has a solution that’s literally music to the ears.
Friday and Saturday’s Fort Worth Music Festival was the second of four concert events being held this year at Panther Island Pavilion, a 40-acre downtown riverfront site that’s quickly turned into a mini music mecca. In April, it hosted the beer-fueled Untapped Festival, and in June, the weekly Rockin’ the River series will let brave concert-goers float on inner tubes while bands perform. In September, the sixth annual Dia de Los Toadies moves to the site as well.
This was the first year at Panther Island for the Fort Worth Music Festival, which evolved out of Jazz by the Boulevard. Where Untapped unfolded on a parking lot east of the Trinity, the FW Music Fest took place on a grassy, tree-less space across the river. It’s nowhere as picturesque as the annual Homegrown Festival at downtown Dallas’ Main Street Garden – few urban music festivals are – but the spacious grounds and downtown views were impressive in their own right.
So was the lineup, which offered an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mix of local and national acts on three stages. The Old 97’s and Drive-By Truckers headlined Friday’s show, while Saturday felt a bit like New Orleans’ Jazzfest, with sets by Ivan Neville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Galactic.
Galactic performed most of its festival-closing show with Corey Glover of Living Colour. He’s been guest-singing with the band since 2010, and while his hard-rock roar didn’t always jibe with Galactic’s jazz-funk jam style, it worked wonders on “I Am the Walrus” and a scalding version of Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times” featuring Deep Ellum legend Mike Dillon on percussion. “Cult of Personality” sounded perfect with horns replacing guitar on the song’s signature jazz riff.
East Coast guitar-rockers the Walkmen preceded Galactic with set full of intrigue and sharp hooks. They used to get saddled with comparisons to the Strokes, but they’ve vaulted far past that band with an eclectic style that on Saturday fell somewhere between Sinatra and U2.
And then there was Washington State’s Allen Stone, another in a line of funky white soul singers that stretches back to Jamiroquai. Dorky, funny, and blessed with an elastic voice that went as high as Little Richard’s, Stone unveiled some memorable originals as well as a gorgeous neo-soul overhaul of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.”
Thor Christensen is a Dallas writer and critic.
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