No Depression Festival @ Marymoor Park (7/11/09)

One of the best individual issues of any magazine I’ve ever read was issue #10 (July-August 1997) of No Depression, the alternative country bimonthly.  It had a Whiskeytown cover, a Jayhawks story, and introduced me to the music of Alejandro Escovedo.  I subscribed to the magazine and kept it going until around 2004.  The magazine lost its focus somewhere around then and I lost interest.  No Depression finally shut down last year, but it’s back as a website I’ve never visited.

In addition to the website, the No Depression gang recently put together the first annual No Depression Festival, an all-day celebration of twang, bad tattoos, and babies in western wear.  Having nothing better to do on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we decided to give it try.  We rented a ZipCar and drove out to Redmond’s Marymoor Park.

2:00 – No Depression All Star Revue – We got to the park at around 2:15, so we didn’t get to hear everything.  Sera Cahoone’s song was good, but we missed Mark Pickerel.  Boo!

3:00 – Jessica Lea Mayfield – I liked her first few songs, but she quickly became repetitive and slightly boring.  Fortunately, she managed to liven things up at the end with a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Words of Love”.

4:00 – Justin Townes Earle – My concert-going partner thought he was cute and rushed out the very next day to buy both of his records.  I liked his cover of “Can’t Hardly Wait” by the Replacements, but I kept wishing those in charge of booking had sprung for Steve instead of his son.

5:00 – Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter – I saw this band a couple years ago opening for Sparklehorse in Boston.  If I recall correctly, I fell asleep standing up at that show.  At least I had a blanket spread out on the ground for this one.  I read Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix and tried to ignore Jesse’s caterwauling.

6:05 – Patterson Hood & the Screwtopians – Patterson Hood was cool, but he’s much better with his usual band, the Drive-By Truckers.

7:25 – Iron & Wine – This hour-long set was, by far, the highlight of the entire No Depression Festival.  Iron & Wine blew every other performer right off the stage.  The highlight of the set was getting to hear Sam Beam sing the greatest Iron & Wine song of all, “The Trapeze Swinger”.  It just a beautiful song.  It was one of the best live performances I’ve ever witnessed…even if he did flub up the lines a bit at the end.  Here’s the setlist:

Setlist: Such Great Heights/Woman King/Naked As We Came/A History of Lovers/Fever Dream/The Trapeze Swinger/Jezebel/Lion’s Mane/New Song (“yonder come a dead man singing a song…”)/Upward Over the Mountain/Boy With a Coin/Sodom, South Georgia/Flightless Bird, American Mouth

“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” finished up and, for the first time all day, the crowd was into it and calling out for more.  Instead of an encore, though, the festival’s organizer came onstage to tell us her life story.  No one cares.  Put on a bra.

8:45 – Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Gillian Welch.  I think everyone likes her.  She writes beautiful songs, has a tremendous voice, and is smart enough to bring David Rawlings along wherever she goes to keep things interesting.  Still, after Iron & Wine’s set, listening to Gillian Welch felt sort of anti-climactic.  We stuck around for four or five songs and then decided to call it a day.  We headed back to our car, found a raspberry sitting on its antenna, and then drove back to Seattle.

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11 Responses to No Depression Festival @ Marymoor Park (7/11/09)

  1. homebody says:

    Your concert-going partner probably rushed out to buy Justin Townes Earle's music because she thought he looked like Jimmy Stewart, at least from a distance.
    Sailor Babo appears to have enjoyed himself.

  2. M-----l says:

    Justin Townes Earle is a good guy to support. Those snappy clothes of his don't come cheap. Yes, I think Sailor Babo had a good time. I had a good time, too…although it might not be apparent if you read my "review". I just wish Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter would quit following me around the country. I'm sick of them. If it were up to me, they would've been a part of the All Star Revue and Mark Pickerel would've gotten a full slot.

  3. homebody says:

    You really wanted to hear Mark Pickerel? Does that mean you would now accept a gift of his recordings?

  4. M-----l says:

    I like what I've heard, but I don't think I'd care to own any Mark Pickerel. Isn't he one of your rock 'n' roller ex-boyfriends?

  5. Vishy says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, M—–l 🙂 I liked what you said about Steve Earle – “I kept wishing those in charge of booking had sprung for Steve instead of his son.” ‘Iron and Wine’ seem to be a very interesting band from your description. I searched for ‘The Trapeze Swinger’ in YouTube and listened to it just now and it is beautiful! I will look for Iron and Wine’s albums. I also liked your description of Gillian Welch – “I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Gillian Welch. I think everyone likes her” 🙂 I think I will explore more of her music.

    • Vishy says:

      I forgot to write about one more thing. Thanks for mentioning ‘No Depression’ magazine. I searched for the online version of the magazine and I discovered that all the print issues are available in their online archive. Wikipedia says that it was rated as one of the top 20 magazines of any kind in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune. I don’t know why the print version of the magazine was shut down. It is sad.

      • M-----l says:

        I don’t think I’ve listened to “The Trapeze Swinger” since I went to this concert. I just hopped over to YouTube and checked out some of a live performance of the song. I really need to dig out that CD and give the studio version a few listens. I love that song.

        Thanks for stopping by and thanks (as always) for the comments.

  6. Pingback: PUSA, BSS, OtR & 3 Days of BMBRSHT (WIP) | Outgoing Signals

  7. homebody says:

    I feel obligated to leave a comment on this post because it is not dead. (I’m glad you haven’t killed off all you past posts.)
    And for the record, I believe your crush on Mark Pickerel has been bigger than mine for some time.

    • M-----l says:

      He’s a very nice, stylish guy who’s quite easy to crush on…and he occasionally plays Young Fresh Fellows covers at the airport. I can’t help it.

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