eMusers at Big Ears Festival 2019

So, I'm here in Knoxville.  Some of you may be, too.

I got into town Friday afternoon.  What I got to see:

Harold Budd and Mary Lattimore in a beautiful church
Ralph Towner in a beautiful church
Spiritualized in a cool concert hall
Fire! in a cool dive

I ate at a crappy sushi joint on Gay Street (Nama).  Literally inedible.
I ate an EXCELLENT Asian restaurant called Kaizen.  I mean, it was so good, it made me want to move to Knoxville just so I could eat there full-time.  I had the fried oyster fried rice bowl, which had fried oysters, kimchi, fried egg, tamarind-chile syrup, fried shallots, fresh herb.  I also did two steamed buns... the thai sausage and the eggplant.  I was in heaven.
Also, had some nice tea and an iced latte in a pretty serene environment in a place called Jacks.  It's conveniently located venue central on Gay St.


  • Never mind food get over to The Casual Pint on Union or Suttree's High Gravity on South Gay St for a beer or three. (Officially a bit jealous now!)
  • Today is the Kepner Melt at Tomato Head (not a band).
  • @djh Those joints are both on my list now.  I've seen both on my strolls up and down the streets of Downtown Knoxville.
  • edited March 23
    I had a wonderful brunch at OlieBea.
    I had hot dog, fries and beer at The Curious Dog.  It was very fun and very filling.

    I saw Matt Wilson Honey & Wine at the Bijou Theater
    I saw Thumbscrew at The Standard.

    They have some very cool AACM t-shirt available at the Big Ears central merch store.  I'm posting a pic of the shirt on my twitter account.

    Coming up tonight, the Coltrane/Dejohnette/Garrison trio.

    Then I have to choose between seeing one of Nils Frahm or Makaya McCraven or Bill Frisell oh fuck I still don't know what to do.

    Later tonight, Sons of Kemet at the Mill & Mine.
  • I need a bloody mary bar for tomorrow morning.
  • Good god, that Coltrane/DeJohnette/Garrison show was amazing... in that way three pros who are totally in synch with one another and their instrument can weave pure magic out of thin air and give it shape as music.

    That said, Makaya McCraven was the show of the night... maybe even the festival.  I'm so glad I made that my choice for that time slot.  Just everything you could ever hope for out of a live performance.  Sons of Kemet followed them, and were amazing in their own right.  Those dudes have tons of energy.  Just started playing and never stopped... one piece leading right into the next.

    Tomorrow I've got Nik Bartsch's Ronin and Irreversible Entanglements on my dance card, plus hopefully a bloody mary bar, too.
  • edited March 24
    I wish I had the energy before caffeine this morning to write more,
    but I’m totally with you about McCraven. He said they would “work hard for us”
    and damn if he wasn’t kidding. They started late and so it pushed ...Kemet back,
    so I didn’t make it to bed until nearly 3AM. DeJohnette made me break down in tears
    twice during the performance.
  • Great four days of music, music, music!

    Saw: three films of Beatrice GibsonOren Ambarchi,
    Yunohana Variations (YoshimiOSusie Ibarra,
    Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe), Moor MotherJoan LaBarbara,
    Alvin LucierCode GirlStephen O’Malley,
    The Comet Is ComingLarry GrenadierTomeka Reid,
    Jlin, Fire!, Columbia IcefieldThumbscrewCarla Bley 
    w/ Andy Sheppard & Steve SwallowThis Is Not This Heat,
    Jack DeJohnette w/ Ravi Coltrane & Matt Garrison,
    Makaya McCravenSons of KemetRoscoe Mitchell 
    w/ Junius Paul & Hugh RaginWadada Leo Smith
    w/ Bobby Naughton & Dwight Andrews, and finishing off
    with what was billed as The Art Ensemble of Chicago 
    but was more like the AACM Large Ensemble.

    When can I sign up for next year?
  • Wow, I didn't get to nearly that much.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get down there until Friday afternoon, and had to leave early Sunday evening, but this was haul:

    • Harold Budd & Mary Lattimore in some big church
    • Ralph Towner in a different big church
    • Spiritualized in this cool industrial looking venue down by the railyards (The Mill & Mine)
    • Fire! (the trio, not the orchestra) at a normal, smallish venue The Standard
    • Matt Wilson Honey & Wine in this fancy theater (The Bijou)
    • Thumbscrew in the same place as Fire!
    • Dejohnette/Coltrane/Garrison in a different fancy theater (Tennessee Theater)
    • Makaya McCraven in that same venue by the railyards, The Mill & Mine
    • Sons of Kemet immediately following McCraven in the same joint
    • Nik Bartch's Ronin in the second fancy theater (Tennessee Theater)
    I was sad I didn't get to see any of the films or the stuff going on at the MCA.  The rescheduling of Irreversible Entanglements was also a disappointment.  I can't believe I didn't see one thing with Bill Frisell in it... that guy had his hands on like a dozen different projects for the festival.

    Makaya was my favorite show of the fest.  Spiritualized was amazing and personally gratifying for me.  Budd & Lattimore in that beautiful church was breathtaking.  The Dejohnette trio was pretty damn intense, I agree.  The Matt Wilson show was really good, though admittedly it was my choice just because there was nothing else in that time slot I liked better.  Thumbscrew was a bit flat, I thought, but it may have been an expectations skew... I really adore their Ours/Theirs recording, and that's a pretty high bar set for them.

    It was maybe the best music weekend I've ever had.

Sign In or Register to comment.