Waterloo Music Festival | Shakin' The Cheese
On Friday September 7th, the Austin jam scene descended on Carson Creek Ranch, 10 minutes outside of Austin, Texas Town for the Inaugural Waterloo Music Festival. Grounds were dry, temperatures were hot and steamy. All was good in the world thanks to Austin’s new jam festival. String Cheese Incident got the nod for the top spot, headlining three nights. JRAD was one of the most talked about bands leading up, as it’s their first jaunt in Texas. Mamafesta, a local ATX jam band opened up the first ever Waterloo. The rising Austin jam band is putting out great original material led by band leaders Zach Morgan and Lowell Carrico.
If it’s one thing Austin music fans know it’s great music! The music we heard at Waterloo was top-notch. The lineup was packed with some of the best jam bands touring today. String Cheese Incident was the obvious choice to get people talking about the new shakedown spot at Carson’s Creek.
Night one for the americana/jam/electronica band started on a high note. Busting out the deep cut “Texas Town” a song they wrote here in Austin, was the perfect nod to that special place in their heart for this scene. The first show was no warm up, the group sounded road seasoned, and that was just night one.
New-York band, Tauk, closed out the first night. They blew everyone’s minds with their instrumental blend of rock, hip hop and jazz. Great way to end an amazing day of music.
Day two had a lot of buzz surrounding it with Brooklyn based jam juggernauts JRAD playing a set. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead plays the Grateful Dead songs we all know and love. What sets them apart from all the other tribute bands is their improvisational prowess. The band leader, being a drummer from New Jersey, says a lot to what Joe brings to the big stage, and that’s drive. He plays with tons of energy reminiscent of the late John Bonham. Joe’s drum tech needed to come out mid set to fix a ride symbol that he had just obliterated during the bands lights out jamming. This happens a lot at JRAD shows.
Cheese continued on the main stage on night two kicking things off with Hi Ho No Show, which got the show started off with a bang. Next up was the perfect slice of paradise reggae cheese; Best Feeling. This Best Feeling written by their pal Keller Williams, had a deep jam, reggae vocals and some Texas picking by Billy over some ambient space laid down by Kyle and Jason. The MVP of the run must go to Michael Kang, he absolutely crushed it.
The biggest surprise of all was the debut of the Cake rock tune “Short Skirt/ Long Jacket”. Kyle threw up his hands in true style while ripping through the A side cut from Comfort Eagle. That was great music, and a fitting slice of 90s frosted cheese cake. As headliners do, they dictate the vibe with their jams and song selections. Shakin’ the Tree would peak its leafy head into the Encore spot but also forecasted what was to come just 4 hours after the band walked off. Rain, mud, shakin’ trees, and lots of it. The Yousson N’ Dour and Peter Gabriel original was the perfect fit, beautiful harmonies and placid percussion.
Patrons wandered the grounds on Sunday, wide-eyed at the mud surrounding them. Luckily, the soundtrack for those faithful that would come, no matter what the weather, would prove to be worth the hassle.
New Grass magicians Railroad Earth crafted a smooth setlist highlighted by “Mighty River”, which was appropriate for band and crowd alike. Tim Carbone (fiddler) was spotted backstage with trash bags on his shoes. Meanwhile the front area of the sound board was empty due to a large pond that formed overnight.
The Loud Music crew had the privilege to interview Boombox before they closed out the instant classic jam fest. His set was packed with high energy and positivity, the perfect end to any festival. From Zion’s funky look to the creek that ran behind him, Boombox was in the right place here in the artist dubbed, Oasis in the Desert.
Zion’s take on the Texas Town:
“Austin has one of the best vibes, when you land here, you can feel there is something deeper in the air. There is this geological energy that helps keep things positive. Last night I was here thinking about kids, ya know. Second and third grade kids in Austin are like “Wahooo” and “Yeaaaaa”…that’s what’s going on in Austin Elementary schools… positivity and constant…”Wahoooo” and “Yeaaaa.””
Boombox’s new album Western Voodoo is due out October 19th of this year. The music’s slick speak easy vibe is dripped in bluesy molasses. It’s some of the duo’s more edgy and down beat arrangements to date. Check back next week for the full interview with the classy and genuine Boombox.
Photos by: Melissa Bordeau
String Cheese Incident Setlist
Friday, September 7th:
Dudley's Kitchen > Close Your Eyes > Betray The Dark, Manga, Texas Town, You've Got The World, Vertigo > Sirens > Desert Dawn
Nothing But Flowers, Black Clouds
Saturday, September 8th
Hi Ho No Show, Best Feeling > Song In My Head > Windy Mountain, Get To You1, The Big Reveal, Joyful Sound > Rumble, Rosie > Short Skirt Long Jacket > Rosie
Shakin’ The Tree^, Colorado Bluebird Sky
1 with Lyle Divinsky From Motet
^ Peter Gabriel / Youssou N'dour
Sunday, September 9th
Sweet Spot, Let's Go Outside > Restless Wind > Pygmy Pony, Illegal > It Is What It Is
Live Forever > Texas