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Tag: "Newport Folk 2008"

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Powerful Cat: Chan Marshall @ Newport Folk

A few years ago, Chan Marshall’s reputation as the most frightened stage performer in indie music was legendary. Stories of drinking, drug abuse and bizarre stage antics circulated through the blogosphere like wildfire. With dozens of show cancellations, buying Cat Power tickets had turned into a twisted game of Ticketmaster Roulette.

Would she show up? And if she did, would she stay? And if she stayed, would she behave?

Well, today at the Newport Folk Festival, it became clear that this Cat has come full circle. With confident poise, Chan absolutely crushed. She waved to children in the audience, sang with confidence and even walked through the crowd after jumping off stage.

Congrats Chan. You have truly come full circle!

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She & Him…& Him

Jim James and Zooey Deschanel at Newport Folk Festival 2008

Jim James and Zooey Deschanel at Newport Folk Festival 2008

M. Ward at Newport

M. Ward at Newport

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel have already capitalized on the power of combined celebrity by joining forces as She & Him. Today at the Newport Folk Festival, they upped the ante by calling My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James to the stage for a song. Mr. Ward returned the favor later, appearing on a few songs for Mr. James’ set.

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The Earle of Newport

If you thought Steve Earle would be one of the few artists maintaining the acoustic tradition of the Newport Folk Festival, think again.

Though he did open the set with several traditional songs, all bets were off when he brought out a DJ to provide electronic beats. Though I preferred the acoustic stuff, it was cool to see him try something new. Notably, he ended the set with a hip-hop infused rendition of the theme song to The Wire (on which he played a recurring role as an AA group leader).

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Young @ Heart @ Newport Folk

I’ve seen a lot of good shows this year. But I’m not sure if anything compares to the performance of the Young @ Heart Chorus at the Newport Folk Festival this morning. And it wasn’t just the novelty of watching a group of elderly people singing Sonic Youth’s Schizophrenia (though that was pretty incredible).

The fact is, the chorus displayed more musical range and emotional depth than any of the other performers at Newport. From a tear-jerking rendition of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” to the uproarious take on James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” Y@H left no melodic or emotional stone unturned.

Other standout performances included a bittersweet version of “All We Have is Now” (Flaming Lips), a stunning medley based around “Walk on the Wild Side” (Lou Reed) and a mischeviously fun interpretation of “Heaven” (Talking Heads).

Stay tuned later this week for a video interview featuring members of the chorus and their fearless leader, Bob Cilman.

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