July 12th, 2009
03:52 PM ET
Jarrett Bellini reports from the 13th annual All Good Festival in Masontown, West Virginia
“These guys are good.”
Cornmeal had an early 1pm time slot on Saturday, but those four words were overheard multiple times throughout the hill as the Chicago-based progressive bluegrass band treated the few early risers to a beyond solid set – one that goes down among the best of the fest.
However, Cornmeal wasn’t alone when it came to wowing the audience. Steve Kimock Crazy Engine also shined in the early hours, giving fans an opportunity to see the latest project by the guitar virtuoso. And joining him on this new venture is the legendary Jerry Garcia Band organist, Melvin Seals, providing a real extra special treat.
But it wasn’t either of these sets which will likely leave people still talking long after the festival. That honor belongs to the one and only Buckethead. All I’m going to say is that this set, while not my favorite performance of the weekend, was certainly the most memorable. It’s sort of a long story, so I’ve posted it separately, here.
The trophy for best musical set goes to Yonder Mountain String Band who, as the sun began to set, left it all on the stage for an hour and a half. The pickers from Colorado had the audience dancing and shaking, kicking up a joyful storm of dust into the cool summer sky. Of all the times I’ve seen them, this was the most fun they appeared to have, and their playful vibe carried on perfectly over the hill.
That being said, the evening went a little downhill from there. Ben Harper & RELENTLESS7 were the big Saturday headliner, but I just couldn’t seem to get into the show. Other people said they really enjoyed his new sound, but, for me, having already seen several great sets early in the day, and the night peaking with Yonder, everything else was kind of a let down. It shouldn't have been, but that's just a testament to how great of a day we had out there.
Fortunately, I didn’t feel at all obligated to stick around into the wee hours of the morning; Umphrey’s McGee owned the late night hours, much to the pleasure of their younger audience. However, not being familiar with their music, I was more than happy to call it a (relatively) early night.
All in all, it was a solid day on the mountain.
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