Monday, September 2 Warmfest crept to a start under cloudy skies. Lafayette's Faux Paw (pronounced Fox Paw but yielding the obvious homonym joke) played early on the Hawk stage. Newcomers with album Too Close is the New Too Far out through Jurassic Pop records last year strummed through layered folk pop, retreating off the stage one by one to strand the drummer and the guitarist for an eye-opening, day-starting jam.
The Eagle Dance Tent presented a great Monday line-up: DJ Action Jackson, Indiana Jones, Rusty Redenbacher, the eternally under-estimated A-Squared DJs, DJ Logic, and many more. The day, as it ran on, however, was sticky and bright, provoking an absence of dancers in the pregnant with potential dance tent. Something must be done about this next year: dancing and festivals roll together, absolutely, but not after food truck taco stomachaches and pounding sun, middle-of-the-day ailments.
Oreo Jones' transcendental hip hop set kicked in all the right ways, per usual: he performed, as he has been the past year or so, with DMA. They presented songs off their most recent collaboration Highway Hypnosis, Jones' solo work, and collaborations with Action Jackson. Despite his early start time, the crowd was incredibly perceptive; Jones punched through his set, required audience participation, lifting the energy off the stage and into the steaming field.
Hundreds of guests sprawled in front of the main River stage to hear popular 90's funk band G. Love & Special Sauce. The crowd seemed pleased, clasping hands and dancing. Unfortunately, the band was sloppy and as uninspired as their centralized peace, love, and happiness lyrics.
The Otter tent created a space in which "Girl Rock" was not only accepted - notably, both Said the Whale and Magic Man of other stages rocked out with female keyboardists; however, the Otter tent displayed a celebration of female rockers. My Otter tent day began with Jesse and Amy, a duet of soulful multi-instrumentalists and extravagant talent. Both women rocked guitars and vocals; their harmonies melded together beautifully. Jesse of this duet went on as drummer and occasional lead vocals of Carrie and the Clams, also in the Otter tent. Their sound seemed unbalanced, all players overzealous. However, they had a lot of energy and remained unapologetic. The Otter tent completed its weekend with the Whipstitch Sallies, a local bluegrass foursome and, notably, one of the only acoustic sets of the entire day. Violin, banjo, upright bass, and mandolin bobbed and swayed in their exploration of Americana: their sound was sweet, sincere, if a little imprecise at times.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue captured the pinnacle of playful high energy for the Labor Day. Tight sound and skill guided this New Orleans based brass and saxophone routine; the crowd was on their feet bouncing for more. It's refreshing, really, this pure, precise talent reaching such heights; refreshing and reassuring to see such a deserved celebration of music at the first annual Warmfest.