15 Jun Scene & Heard: Nelsonville Recap, Day Three
If you’re ever in Athens, do yourself a favor and get up early on a Saturday for brunch at Casa Nueva. It’s a local employee-owned and operated responsible restaurant and cantina with a Mex-style flair for all types of dietary needs. No tipping — it’s that legit. Get the enchilada for breakfast, you will not be sorry. I got up early to do this with my girlfriends while the husband was working the early morning shift and it was the perfect start to an amazing day.
My “ground control” shift was from 1-4, just as the lovely Joan Shelley was starting her Main stage set. What is ground control, you ask? It’s like security. And I got the joy and honor of guarding
the Main stage backstage area, only letting artists through with gear as they waited for their time slot. Um, what? Did you SEE the Main stage lineup?? Holy moly. Orange vest and all.
Joan finished up another dazzling set and John Moreland started to play. He was also amazing, but very quiet backstage otherwise. His set was about the time that Charles Bradley‘s tour bus and trailer showed up. I helped guide his entourage through the gate and kept a Fruit Bat from being run over by the tour bus. Charles exited the bus, complimented my bright orange rain boots, asked for my name, hugged me and told me his name was Charles Bradley. (Mr. Bradley, I totally know who you are.) I was too shy to pester anyone for a photo, but did get to chat with Eric from Fruit Bats about Cincinnati venues, and joked around with some of the members of Lake Street Dive and The Tallest Man on Earth. My shift ended (sadness) and I had to go back to the lawn of the Main stage, reuniting with my husband for the end of Fruit Bats. Lake Street Dive was up next, and it started to rain, but again, cicadas and rain do not damped the spirits of the Nelsonville crowds. They were a BLAST! Super tight, very fun, very energetic, and the crowd loved them. Good news for local fans of this band – they’re coming to town next week!! https://www.cincyticket.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=3067
There was a rain delay before Charles Bradley. The husband and I took refuge in our car, which was parked close, to stay dry, recharge our phones, and rest a little. We rested a little too hard, as we both fell asleep in the car for about an hour, until the sound of horns woke us from our accidental nap. We ran back in and got a close spot for Charles Bradley, just in time for his start. It was unbelievable! Such a talented, and sweet performer. He gave 110% the whole time, and even ended up dropping to his knees at one point while he sang. It was awesome. After the set, he came down the stage stairs into the crowd and started hugging. everyone. for like 15 minutes or more. It was truly amazing to see how much he appreciates his fans.
We watched about 30 mins of Tallest Man on Earth, who was really fun and initially sort of reminded me of Waterboys, but had to run over to the Porch stage to catch Heron Oblivion, and this band officially earned the title of Mike’s Favorite (that’s the husband). They were pretty unbelievable. I don’t even know if I can assign a genre to this band accurately, just trust me when I say that they are GOOD. We now own the vinyl, and it was our only vinyl purchase of the weekend. Enough said.
BACK over to the main stage, a little soggy, and this is sort of where I stop caring and my life changes a bit, because Gillian Welch. Oh. my. goodness. I was looking forward to this show,
but I had NO idea how much I would love it. It was just her and guitarist Dave Rawlings playing together, voices and jokes blending seamlessly (she came out calling them the Smallest Band on Earth, a nod to the tallest. She also talked about what it’s like to get “Skrillexed” at a festival when your stage is too close to Skrillex. She was adorable.) My favorite of her songs is Elvis Presley Blues, and she played that 2nd, and she covered Radiohead. After finishing her first encore with “I’ll Fly Away” she then surprised all of us by running back out, asking the sound guys for ‘all the reverb’, then treating the entire packed lawn to an incredible cover of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit”. It was a moment I will never actually forget. This whole day, really. Pretty darn amazing. – Jill Gibboney (photos courtesy of Jill Gibboney)