Photo by Solvejg Wastvedt
Trampled by Turtles' inaugural Festival Palomino had the quality music we've come to expect from the band, the hiccups that come with any first festival, and the vibe of a band hangout session to which we just happened to be invited.
The lineup had an impressive amount of diversity, which meant it was a good idea to sit in the middle of the space, between the two stages ("Stars" and "Satellites"). Of course there were trade-offs—those of us sprawled on blankets in the middle didn’t get up close and personal with either one—but it was worth it when one band strummed their last chord, and an entirely different sound immediately came from behind. The contrasts between rock and folk, funk and earnest indie numbers kept things fresh.
Like when the last folksy note from The Apache Relay was lingering in the air, and Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires jumped right in on its heels. We all turned around fast, because metallic-clad Bradley was already tearing it up with his dance moves. It turns out flannel-wearing people of all ages can groove just as easily to soul as to the twang of an acoustic guitar.
In fact, it was so easy to get into Bradley’s engaging stage presence and his catchy basslines that we didn’t even notice the thunderheads creeping up behind us. After the set, a tech came up to clear the field and noted that there would be 35 mile per hour winds (quote: “We’re very concerned”), and the idyllic lawn-sitting part of the festival was over.
What followed was a brief but frustrating intermission, as Spirit Family Reunion fought a small indoor space and technical glitches to try to carry on the show. But when Festival Palomino: Part Two got rolling, it was worth the wait. The Head and the Heart kicked things off back out on the “Stars” stage, and all the frustration melted away. Josiah Johnson crooned about love lost, squinting into the setting sun.
And then Trampled by Turtles stole the show. They always seem so genuine on stage, so focused on every melody and impossibly fast lick that they have no time to spare for posturing. After speeding through some classic numbers and “Are You Behind the Shining Star,” from their new album Wild Animals (Dave broke two strings on two consecutive songs), they slowed it down with “Hollow” and “Lucy.” The crowd pressed toward the stage and swayed almost in unison.
Please, TBT and friends, let us hang out with you again soon.