Doheny Blues Festival Doheny State Beach May 18, 2013 Summer festival season officially started in south Orange County over the weekend as the 16th annual Doheny Blues Festival kicked off the 2-day concert series at Doheny State Beach. Although weather remained temperate with cool ocean breezes, the bluesy tunes turned up the heat from all three stages for a sprawling celebration of all things raw, rugged and "down home." Bonafide bluesmen,and housewives with sauced husbands in tow danced around in cheesy cowboy hats to the fine, electricfied tunes of artists like Joanne Shaw Taylor, Tedeschi Trucks Band and headliner Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. Here's a taste of what we saw this weekend.
5.Best Old School Band: Jimmie Vaughn and the Tilt-A-Whirl Band with Lou Ann BartonIf I saw these Austinites walking down the street, my first reaction would be to smile and think 'Yep, they're gangster.' Their cool Ray Ban sunglasses, slicked hair coupled with their old school bee-bop sound made you wish for a dance partner to swing you across the floor. These guys have 1950s cool written all over them and so does their sound.
4. Best Harmonica solo: Charlie Musselwhite and Steve Marriner I know what you 're thinking: WTF, how can you put them in the same category?! But seriously the two had to tie. Musselwhite, a legend in his own right, employed a series of intricate solos meshed well with the electric guitar. He utilized techniques only harmonica aficionados could understand. Steve Marriner also pulled off some sweet and long solos that made me envy his lung capacity.
3.Hottest Chick to Shred the Guitar: Joanne Shaw Taylor I nearly exploded with supreme joy when I saw this British lady shred her Gibson Les Paul to pieces. Joanne Shaw Taylor has a raw talent that made people's heads turn as they walked past the stage, eventually stopping to watch her play. Her raspy vocals give her music a rich earthy tone while she runs her fingers at lightning speed from the 15 fret to the first. Watch out, Orinthani, you've got some competition.''
2. Best Energy:Tedeschi Trucks Band Volume got cranked up to 11 when it was time for this band, led by blues prodigy Derek Trucks and guitar-shredding wife Susan Tedeschi. The soul and intensity of their set was a great pick-me-up for the middle of the day, especially since the heat seemed to concentrate the older crowd's blood alcohol levels down to cranky and silly dispositions.
1. Most Anticipated: Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite The dynamic duo finished the night off with blues of the highest caliber as people crowded the stage. The two featured calm tracks and more energetic songs interchangeably throughout the performance. All mellow dispositions aside, the stage was set ablaze by Musselwhite's insane harmonica performances and old school raspy vocals. Loved everything about it.
Critical Bias: I lived in Austin, Texas, a blues/live music capital.
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Crowd:Cougars and MILFS unite! There was no room for standing as every inch of space was taken up by blankets and lawn chairs for older folks. Although at some points. the older crowd proved to be quite cranky, they were a fun bunch...as long as you didn't step on their blankets too long. You gotta wonder what their kids are doing while their parents party down at Doho...
Overheard: "You need to put sunscreen on your head! The sun will burn you right through that hat!"
Random Notebook Dump: I think I was one of the younger people at this festival as I was often referred to as "cute" or "precious." I'm not three anymore, it's okay to use words like "hot." Oh wait, you're wife might get jealous.