Kotori Does The Blues & Brews Festival

14th Annual Telluride Blues N' Brews Festival
September 14, 15, 16, 2007
by Wasim Muklashy & Micah Lashbrook

Having missed the first day's lineup due to traveling inconsistencies (read: Cali to Colo = 19 hours plus when you ain't never been there before!), we settled into our pitch black campsite 'round midnight friday. Phew. When morning came, the crispy clean air kissed our lungs and the view, cloaked by night upon our arrival, was nothing less than stunning, miraculous, a panoramic mountain meal for our beleaguered LA eyes to feast upon. Friends reeled about Los Lonely Boys closing set friday, especially the Tex-Mex guitar stylings of Henry Garza. Then the MC greeted the 10,000 friendly folk on hand with a heart "Hellooooo Telluride!" and turned it over to The Sean Carney Band to start off day two of the fest, who we listened to from the comfort of our fest-side campground.

"Holy crap! It's almost noon!" hollered Mr. McGee, our Ohio cohort who rendezvoused with us for the event. We bolted for festival grounds and the Grand Tasting tents, grabbed our tasting mugs, and were serenaded by a true blues descendent in Kent Burnside and The New Generation, he's LL Burnside's kid, as well as a rocking set from sexy Ana Popovic. Mr. McGee donned a latex wig and robe morphing him into Judge McGee, and we tramped from tent to tent savoring the flavor of Colorado's finest breweries, all whilst boogying to the feelgood blues bouncing of the sides of the mountains and into our eardrums.

"That's a might fine stout" "Ooooh...that's a superb port" "My, not a bad tasting ale" "Holy shit! Chili beer? Yech!" "GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY...of being a fine tasting stout" Must be the altitude! Amongst all the seriousness of resident Judge McGee's grueling responsibilities came the customary and appropriately more than often 'WOOOOOOOOOOO's from the crowd - Woo Crew shirts abounded - a blanket toast amongst 10,000 friends in the the glorious splendor of this fine and cozy outdoor nook in the Colorado Rockies.

Now it was time for dinner and a break from the madness to walk off this wonderful wobbly feeling. Aha. The gondolas are open? And they're free? A nice 2 hour jaunt over the mountain, through the hills and into Mountain Village for a fine dinner at Poacher's. With a fresh coating to the stomach, it was time to go back. The gondola descends back into Telluride. We walk through the village and back into the festival grounds where we're greeted by the electric blues explosion from the speakers courtesy of Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band who were properly warming up the stage for one of the crowd favorites, Keb' Mo' Band, who put on one of the finest performances of the weekend thus far. It was apparent that Blues N' Brews truly do go well together as not a single soul left the festival grounds during the riveting set. Or maybe they were just afraid to get up and stumb...uh...walk away.

As the rain pitter pattered on the tents that evening, putting everyone into the soothing and refreshing mood necessary after the events of the day, we drifted away with thoughts of "ahhhhh...and there's still another full day to go."

Then sunday morn showed up, and Micah was throwing up. Retching really. Grand Tasting revelries got the better of him. As he clutched the hillside spewing the last bits of bile left in his sternum, a voice rang out. God? Surprisingly not, but spiritually close in that of the Erica Brown Band's Mornin' Gospel Hour lifting us arms raised to the mountain tops. "I'm gonna make it... I'M GONNA MAKE IT!!!" Hands down, the finest treat of the weekend was seeing David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Michael Frank tear up some ol' lapsteel standards with authenticity unequated by the rest of the weekends performers, makes sense when you gather that Honeyboy is one of the last living humans to have ever played with Robert Johnson. "Might as well grab another pint of Flying Dog's finest, hair of the dog literally never meant so much to me," Micah spewed. And the day rambled on with blazing sets from Eric Lindell's Soul Roots Movement, JJ Grey & MOFRO, and the Radiators who joined up with Bonerama for stage-filled raucousness while it went unsaid, but utterly known, that the crowd was giddy with anticipation for the weekends closers, The Black Crowes.

Thunder. Lightning. Brimstone. All of it came down in droves as the brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, having reunited The Black Crowes once again, played a two hour plus set from dusk into the night drawing from every album in their storied career and thankfully not pumping out the token "Hard To Handle" cover that made 'em so famous to begin with. They're way better then that. Way. Showstoppers included "Jealous Again," "Soul Singin'" off of the oft forgotten Lions album (personal fav), "Remedy," and an elongated version of "Thorn In My Pride" featuring soulful solos from both keyboardist Eddie Harsch and beatmeister Steve Gorman. With the final strum of those beautifully distorted guitars and a crack, boom, flash of light from the sky, the festival had now ended and it was indeed "the perfect weekend," sighed Wasim. Sniffle sniffle, single tear. "This was a festival we'll not soon forget!" Even though many of the details will remain hazy for quite some time. Just can't believe we haven't ventured to this before. Or have we? I don't remember. Turn up the Honeyboy. Now where's my beer?