Friday night belonged to Cody Chesnutt whose Doug Fir Lounge set was certainly a high water mark for this 5 day music festival. His blend of funk, rock, blues and soul, great songwriting and positive messaging is powerful stuff. Chesnutt is backed by 4 gifted musicians who bring a highly refined musicality to the proceedings.
With their virtuoso playing and unabashed showmanship, this band could not be more out of step with the indie rock that dominates this festival. Chesnutt roams the stage, works the crowd, guides the band and is non-stop energy, every gram of it positive. What a show! And the overflow crowd ate it up, following Chesnutt's frequent exhortations to "Sing it Portland" or "Shake it Portland" or "Hey Portland come on and show me what you got!!" And you gotta love the cardigan sweater and military helmet.
Chesnutt, an Atlanta native, is a singer-songwriter at heart and a true artist. This is not a funk nostalgia act. He draws on some foundational, ambitious '70's touch points - Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, late career Marvin Gaye - but he is just as informed by The Roots, the Beatles, and even modern rock sounds.
But it's all Cody and his tremendous songwriting, vocals and charisma. He can quiet it down and hold the crowd as here on "Everybody's Brother" from a recent show:
Or he can tear up the funk and rock as he did on "I've Been Life":
Fantastic show, where a great artist, a first rate band, and a terrific and hyped audience all rose together. Pure magic.
On the same stage a bit earlier in the evening, WYMA recent discovery Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas (introduced here) showed why this Detroit band is creating such a buzz. Simply put, she's a star, Hernandez is a tremendous singer with charisma to burn. And her versatile band guides her effortlessly through her updated Detroit rock and soul, featuring guitars, keys and even trombone.
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas played the same club recently, in early July, but even since then the stage show has developed, the confidence gaining from being on the road.
We here at WYMA anxiously await the release of their debut record, slated for year end.
Here are Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas recently performing "Don't Take My Man to Idaho" which they played near end of set last night and brought down the house. It was remarkable that even though she has no CDs out, no material that anyone would know, and few had seen or heard of her before, the crowd reaction was over the top. This train is leaving the station.
Artist web pages:
Jessica Hernandez Facebook page