Watershed 2012: Friday Recap
Overview of Friday's lineup at the Watershed Music Festival 8/3-5/12Posted by Melissa Daniels
The first ever Watershed Music Festival kicked off Friday with a stacked line up that mixed the old with the new. This is the first country music festival of it’s kind to establish residency at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash. Check out several reviews from today’s line up.
At the peak heat of the day, when it seemed the audience was feeling those late afternoon slumps, Steve Holy came bounding on stage with an energy that lifted and excited his fans. To open his set, Holy performed his first number one single from 2001, “Good Morning Beautiful.” He kept the engery and dancing going throughout his set while playing songs off his last album Love Don’t Run, including the title track,”Hauled Off & Kissed Me” which is due out later this year, and “Men Buy the Drinks (Girls Call the Shots)” which was easily one of the high points of the set, as the audience seemed to be fully engaged.
Talking about the impossibilities of friendships between men and women, and the inevitabilities of crossing that line, such as what we’ve learned from Billy Crystal in the film “When Harry Met Sally,” Holy broke out into his record “Uh Huh”: a track that disappointingly enough, cannot be found circulating the airwaves. “Uh Huh” is one of Holy’s most entertaining songs, as he broke it down and busted out rapping Digital Underground‘s “The Humpty Dance.” No joke, he sounds just like Humpty Hump himself. Who knew?
As things hit the high with “Uh Huh,” Holy slowed it down a little bit by covering the first song he ever learned to play, Lionel Richie’s “Easy.” It was a sure treat to hear Holy soften his rough and ready sound. He also covered “Pretty Woman” before closing the set with the ever-popular 2006 record “Brand New Girlfriend.”
SSG Music’s Melissa Daniels had a chance to sit down with Holy and his band. That podcast will be released next week.
Local boy, Cale Moon, hit the Festival stage at 4:30pm. He opened with his track “It’s A Beautiful Day.”
Unfortunately, there were only a handful of passerby’s in attendance, including what appeared to be his family. This Benton City, Wash. native looked quite a bit out of his element, and that translated into the lack of spunk up on stage.
It was a total treat to see Kix Brooks up on the main stage. As the heat of the day finally wore off, Brooks kicked off his set by singing “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up For Nothing.” It was a great start for although the same charisma that he once shared when paired with Ronnie Dunn, didn’t seem to be entirely there during Friday evening’s performance.
The set was filled of a plethora of Brooks & Dunn classics like “Red Dirt Road,” “Lost and Found,” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”
“New To This Town,” the title track off Dunn’s forthcoming album was a delight. The album is set to release on September 11. Also performed off the album was “Complete 360,” and “My Baby.”
As the sun started to set, Brooks wrapped up with the classic Brooks & Dunn record “Only In America.”
Friday’s show by Supersuckers, comes just a week or two post the band announcing the addition of drummer Chris Von Streicher (formerly of Throw Rag fame). This Seattle based band, led by frontman Eddie Spaghetti, is the self-proclaimed “best rock-n-roll band in the world.” Together, the band offers a rough, “we’re gonna rock your face off” kind of sound.
Their performance felt a little static with little movement and visual energy, but during songs like ”Dead in the Water,” and “Sleepy Vampire,” Supersuckers surely succeeded at getting their small crowd fired up. “Double Wide” was one of the crowd favorites performed.
At 8pm Friday night, Dwight Yoakam and his over-the-top bedazzled (yes, bedazzled) band took center stage. What a sight to see. Yoakam, known for his eclectic style and theatrical nature, brought the same spirit he’s had since the inception of his career.
A legend in his own right, the younger crowd seemed a little disinterested once the shock of flashy denim suits wore off. Performing songs like “Please, Please Baby,” “Close Up the Honkey Tonks,” and “Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music),” Yoakam’s vocals were spot on. His sound worked, but the clarity of his vocals, which has always been a bit muffled, seemed to hurt the interest of the younger crowd.
Yoakam’s most recent album 3 Pears stays true to his country core, but offers a bit of mix between rock, pop and soul. All were delivered on Friday night.
To wrap up the first night of Watershed, headliner Dierks Bentley took the main stage just past a quarter to ten. The entire lawn and lower floor was packed out. Bentley opened with some of his newer singles but jumped right into the classics that the entire crowd sang word-for-word, like “Feel That Fire,” and “Am I the Only One,” the lead record of his latest album Home.
During “Am I the Only One,” Bentley added a third verse, specifically for Watershed. Check out the video of that verse below.
Bentley and his band maintained a high energy from start to finish, with songs like “Lot of Leavin’,” “Every Mile A Memory,” and “5150.” During “Up On The Ridge” Bentley did a great job of bringing that blue grass feel through that is consistently present on Home.
About a third of the way through, Bentley grabs his red solo cup, cheers the audience and the first Watershed Festival, saying it was better than some festivals that have been going on for 20-30 years.
After playing “What Happens in the Woods,” and “Come A Little Closer,” the band ditched Bentley to go shot gun some beers backstage, leaving their frontman stripped down with just his guitar and a spotlight. Bentley showed his intimate side, talking about his father and grandfather’s service before playing “My Last Name.” He also talked about lost love and being turned down during a marriage proposal. “It was one of those Garth Brooks ‘Unanswered Prayers’ kind of moments,” he said. Naturally, that experience translated into “How Am I Doin’,” at which point the band stepped back on stage to back Bentley.
Bentley flattered the Northwest by saying it is his favorite party of the country, and on a night like Friday night, you absolutely believed him. The weather was warm, the sunset striking and the overall vibe of the relationship between audience and band felt completely united. It was then that the band played “Home.” The entire crowd from the floor to the hill sang word for word. It was a moment of unity that is rare in venues as large as the Gorge.
After “Home,” the stage went black before coming back full with bright lights and high energy to finish off the show with “Tip It On Back” and “What Was I Thinkin’.”
Check out the video of Dierks singing a special third verse to “Am I the Only One” written specifically for those at Watershed.
Those artists who are not mentioned above but also played Friday included:
COUNTY LINE - Hailing from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, County Line blends country with classic rock.
JOHNNY REID – This Scottish-born, Canadian-raised artist released his second album Fire It Up in March 2012 and is one of the most sought after Canadian country music artists circulating the airwaves today.
BRENT AMAKER – Amaker’s new album “Year of the Dragon” is due out fall of 2012.