Bragg Jam: Part One… The Music

I still have hearing loss.

If you were a part of Bragg Jam, you were a part of something rich. It was overflowing with music, good food, and friends tromping around with you from stage to stage. If you didn’t wear sneakers like I told you too, I know your feet hurt worse than mine. Legs, shoulders, neck – all hurt from dancing. How can you help it. Every show, we were right near the front, speakers blaring, everybody dancing. How awesome was it?

The Music

City Council must get stoned! At least that’s what City Council member Rabbi Schlesinger sang when he covered Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Lady # 12 & 35. I’m pretty sure that if Dylan were here, he would approve of the lyric change. The Bragg Jam board and friends had a tough time getting the Council to back them when it came to open containers. Final agreement: Bragg Jam could have open containers as long as they were responsible for the cost of cleanup. Way to go, City Council. The city makes money and you take some away from the charities they are supporting. Why in the hell do we keep voting your guys in when you don’t look after our best interests? I haven’t heard word of anything too bad happening from last night, although I did head home on foot around 2:30. Anything that happened after that would have happened anyway, open container or not. Politics aside, the Rabbi and Friends (friends being the members of MagTard as backing band, and vocals from Mayor Reichert) was frickin’ awesome. The Rainy Day Women cover was the funniest (the band could hardly play for laughing) and such a good cover and every news agency was represented in the front, taking it all down. When Mayor Reichert came on stage, the Rabbi said that he was going to put Reichert on the spot and ask him a few questions. Fortunately those questions were Blowing in the Wind. Such a great set. I think the Rabbi should become a permanent part of MagTard. Okay, we need him on City Council.

Next, we headed down to the Rookery where Friends of Brax were playing. Yes, it’s just like it sounds. Friends of Brax Bragg (who died in a car accident with his brother Tate Bragg, the namesake of this music festival) each had a set, so we went down to check and see when Rhett Thomas and Moira Glennon would be doing theirs. They were a little later, so that gave us just enough time to run back to the Hummingbird to check out Abby Owens. She was fantastic. I love her voice. It was part old-lady-been-smoking-everyday-of-my-life gravelly, part rock and roll song-bird. And she was radiant on the stage, probably the happiest I’ve ever seen her. She belongs on the stage. It was the first time I got to see her and the walk back was worth it. After hearing a few of Abby’s songs, we headed back to the Rookery for Rhett and Moira and fortunately got there right as they were starting. God, I love Moira’s voice! I hate that she’s going to be leaving Macon, but I’m glad that she and Ben are not that far away either.

After Rhett and Moira, I went to check out the Moaners. Hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, the duo really played a good set. They kind of reminded me of the White Stripes but with a female singer and a better drummer. The Honey says they were aggressive, minimalist alt-country. I’d believe him if I were you. Whatever you call it, they were very good.

Good music follows good music and we head back to the ‘Bird for Floco Torres and Al K!ng. They had a surprise for us, a real guitarist and drummer to give their hip hop beats a true rock edge. Although the show was plagued with sound issues (you couldn’t hear Al K!ng at all unless you were standing where I was, they couldn’t hear the song in their monitors – based on how often Floco had to go to the drummer to find his place, etc.) they did the damn thing. I still can’t understand how whoever was doing sound didn’t listen and say, “Hmmm, that don’t sound right!” Every time there has been a hip hop show at the ‘Bird, they have these kinds of problems. I’m glad that they welcome something that’s so far from their usual. They definitely make all of us feel welcomed there. They make everything else sound so good, so let’s do that for hip-hop next time, hmmm? Anyway. Okay, complaining aside, I loved their set. I’ve listened to Freakshow by Al K!ng a hundred times it seems. It’s my get ready for the morning song. If you see me driving down Riverside or Vineville dancing in my car, that’s what I’m dancing too. Al K!ng did the thing! But the best part was hearing Hot Like the Sun, which I’ve also listened to a hundred time and having Al K!ng actually do the remix. I think, for about 3 seconds, I turned into a screaming fan. It was just about the most awesome moment of my night, not because they were the best band (I’m still an indie rock girl at heart) but because they went from being two guys who are my friends to being two guys who have what it takes to make it big. I knew, at that moment, they no longer belonged to me and the rest of Macon. I’m not a big fan of rap (did I just out myself?) but I just became a big fan of Al K!ng and Floco Torres. Also, the band backing Floco on Hot Like the Sun made that song EVEN BETTER than I thought it was. You’re going to be singing that song for the rest of your life, Floco!

(Is it bad that I have to look at my itinerary to figure out what we did next?)

Oh yeah, we headed to the Yuengling Stage at 580 Cherry Street to catch City Council and the Paper Street Band (apparently, Paper Town was out of town). It is always a fun show! I think I finally sweat the curl out of my hair there, although the sweating and dancing didn’t stop there. I left to head to the Rookery for Coyote Bones. Heather Kemp, who is also Oh Dorian, is in this band. I liked them alright, but my mood watching this show deteriorated because of the Rookery.

I know they were busy and there were a lot of people milling around and trying to get drinks, but when I can’t get my water refilled and the only time I see someone is when I order, when the food comes and when THEY are ready to give me the check, then there needs to be a new system. More people working or a better “cover the room” workplan, something. Also, when I went back there at the end of the night for MagTard, I had to bus my own table. Some chick thought I worked there because the only person that’s supposed to bus tables is someone who works there. Rookery, you get nominated for a Bragg Jam fail!

Because of how things went at the Rookery, when I walked out to try to see if I could salvage my mood with some Trendlenberg, I heard him singing the Thousand Gallons song and I knew it was over. So I chatted it up with Floco Torres and waited for Oh Dorian to play. She let some friends play her first half, so I headed to Citizen Insane (who took the Roly-Bots spot because Justin Smith hurt himself the night before and the band didn’t play). Maybe it was here that I sweated the remaining curl out of my hair. It was so frickin’ fantastic. I hated that I had to leave halfway through to catch Oh Dorian, but I love that girl! She laughed and played her way through the set, which was good, but you could tell she’s ready to start doing her new stuff. I can’t wait. She had a sampler CD for sale and NEW SHIRTS, of which I must have both. EJ will be getting a call from me soon concerning those.

After Oh Dorian, we kind of found ourselves at loose ends. We ended up running down to Synergy (who let Bragg Jammers in for free) to say hey to Kim Brackett-Wold and get a drink. Then we found out they were going to have a drag show and since I hadn’t been to Synergy’s (shame on me!) we decided to check it out. Amazing! Deonna Sage, of course, rocked the house, but one of the girls, at the end, came out with what looked like black electrical tape that was “strategically” placed. That was effing phenomenal! Yes, ladies, I wish I’d known you would be there ahead of time. More people should have seen it, although if that room had gotten more crowded, I think I would have had to punch somebody.

After Synergy, we head to the Rookery for MagTard. When their set starts, they come out in what appears to be home made work out clothes and headbands. The saxophonist, Dan Zook, had yellow socks up to his knees and a shirt that declared him Old Man Zook, while Justin Cutway, bass player who is also known as Trendlenberg, had a shirt that said Little Miss Sunshine with these cool ass rainbow knee socks. We won’t talk about his shorts. Vinnie, the drummer, looked the same except he had a headband on, and Chris Nylund, the lead singer and guitarist had on a new MagTard shirt (Ellen Manas designed – a dinosaur eating people with MagTard as its spine) but on the back, it said El Hefe. Yes, Nylund is their leader. Fortunately, the sound was done right at the Rookery (thank you sound guy) and you could hear everyone playing, even Dan Zook stomping around the stage playing sax. I love these guys!

We left halfway through to check out Nomenclature, who were so loud and so good. They played such a good set, even calling Floco Torres, Jubee from City Council and Moira Glennon on stage for various songs. It was good to see Denny on stage again (it’s been a while for me, since I missed them at the Golden Bough the Tuesday before), but I hate that I missed Truffalina (The Honey said they were his favourite band of the night and may replace Roly-Bots *gasp* as his top band – We’ll see on August 8 when they play the ‘Bird). I heard they were really good.

Ahhhh, such good music. In part two, we will talk about the food (because, yes, there was food) and then we will get to the people – that means pictures and videos. Yay!

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