Lorelei here again. Okay, so I lied: I didn't make it over to Rose Hill Drive. The trek over to the Backyard Stage, through the dinner-seeking crowds, was too daunting. Instead I hung out in the vicinity of the Key Arena, near the Press Room.
What's here, you ask? Well, there's the Literary Arts Stage, where you can enjoy performance art and readings; the Visual Arts Exhibits in the Northwest Rooms; and the Comedy Stage West located in the Vera Project.
Then there's the festival's real secret stage: my beloved Northwest Court, where Origins Music sponsored a Northwest Jazz Showcase today. The Sam Yahel Trio grooved for a good hour! Yahel, an organist who lives in New York and works with artists like Norah Jones, Joshua Redman and Madeleine Peyroux, jammed with Seattleites, drummer Matt Jorgensen and Mark Taylor on alto sax. The set included material from Yahel's latest release, Truth and Beauty.
Of course, I had to stick around for John Wesley Harding, who brought with him San Francisco guitarist Chris von Sneidem, Kurt Bloch and other members of his Seattle-based band, Minstrel in the Galleries (I know I should recognize them all, but JWH didn't introduce them properly so why should I? I'm feeling guilty). His 13-song set included solo acoustic, both new and old, as well as some rocking folk. I'm not kidding: with Minstrel JWH really rocks out on old tunes like "Canadee-I-O," "Do Not Fear the Dark" and "The Humpback Whale." Complete with air kicks.
The beginning of the set closely resembled his July show at the Triple Door, including a joke about Japanese audiences not wanting to make requests but still being disappointed when they don't hear their favorite songs. Songs included "Here Comes the Groom," "Top of the Bottom," "Congratulations," "The People's Drug," "Humble Bee" and Jake Thackray's "The Bull." Harding also performed the lovely "Sleeper Awake," "Some Day Son" and "Kiss Me, Miss Liberty," and wrapped the show with a rousing rendition of "Three-Legged Man."
You don't need to guess what three-letter word I think best describes JWH, do you? No, you don't, because I'll tell you again: h-o-t.
Tomorrow I'm ready to be wowed by R&B artists Joss Stone and John Legend. Plus I'm planning to catch DJ Mocean Worker, and maybe another secret session with Steve Earle. I hope to end my day with Irish rockers The Frames. So I'll be workin' hard, not hardly workin', at Monday's B'shoot. Come spend your Labor Day with me! (And 10,000 other maniacs.)