Pat Travers and Dave Mason, all in one week

Two Saturdays ago, I went to the Winchester Blues House Festival, an all-day outside event. It was hot and buggy  but still fairly well attended.

I planted underneath a rare tree offering shade, sat back and enjoyed. Blues is the daddy of rock and roll and, these days, when rock and roll is pretty much dead and buried, I have to get a fix somewhere.

And it was a good fix, a hot shot. The Skyla Burrell Blues Band (careful, the link has instant music) was sooperior, that chick Skyla playing one kickass blues guitar. Ron Holloway, who has played with just about everybody, sat in for one set. Good stuff.

But then, the reason I came: Pat Travers. You know, Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights? Man.    Just blew us away.

But Travers wasn’t the headliner; these guys, the Ori Naftaly Band, were. A blues band from Israel. I don’t know about you, but when I think “blues,” Israel is not one of the places that comes to mind, immediately or belatedly. It seemed like they had structured their act on what they gleaned from music videos, so there was an odd “movie made about rock” vibe to them, but they were okay.

Despite the Moving Wall of Old People  that, with unerring accuracy, placed itself in my view regardless of where I sat, it was a good time. Especially with characters like these running around:  

Then I took myself off to Orkney Springs for the first concert of the 50th Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, headlined by Dave Mason. When I harken back to those golden days of rock, Dave Mason becomes my avatar. I mean, one of the founders of Traffic, played on Electric Ladyland, opened for Blind Faith…man, the guy was everywhere. So, of course, I had to go.

Orkney Springs is waaay out there, up a treacherous mountain road that would be no fun in the winter. Good venue, though.  

It was raining, but I had pavilion seats so did not suffer with the peasants.  The rain cooled things off but didn’t do anything for the bugs. Mason’s drummer, at one point, had to stop and spray himself down to keep the rabbit-sized mosquitos off.

The show opened up with a local duo named Chatham Street Theirs was music for slashing your wrists by. They were on for only thirty minutes, thank God, or I would have jumped off the mountain.

Then it was Dave Mason. No pictures or video because they requested we do not do that, and I am a respecter of arteests. Just take my word for it, it was out freakin standing. Although I would never have recognized the bald old guy up there swinging a guitar if I happened to pass him on a street, it was, obviously, Dave Mason. Hasn’t missed a lick, even if, as he attests, he can no longer assume sitar-playing position. Broke a string in the middle of a set, so that gives you an idea. The guy with him, Jason Rohrer, is one jaw-dropping guitar player in his own right. Can’t give you a reference on him because it was supposed to be Jon McEuen but on-stage banter strongly indicated Rohrer had been playing McEuen’s spot the past couple of weeks. No idea what happened.

No matter. Got my fix. Now I’m lookin’ for the next one.

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