Sunday, September 07, 2008

Love and Hope at UC Music Fest Review 2008

This years Music fest in Cranford NJ put on by the County Freeholders and sponsored by a myriad of corporate sponsors including the love hope and strength cancer foundation was a very ambitious undertaking. Complete with two nights and three stages. Day 2 suffered from lots of excess rain from the hurricanes. I could not got go to day 1 because I was working and totally tired on Friday night but did manage to catch the first half of Day 2 before the torrents of water. We made sure to get there right after nap time first to catch Dan Zanes & Friends along with every other cool parent in the area. Former Del Fuegos guitarist has morphed into this folk rock niche without being too corny that with his real target audience being me. He played a bunch of tracks from his new album Neuvo York with lots spanish versed songs. All good btw. If you have kids and they remotely like music this performer is for you. Their set time worked out perfectly at 11 AM and then the clouds started to hint of what was to come even though Zanes tried to make it go away with some voodoo. Next up on the 3rd stage was New Brunswick's Roadside Graves who performed after some BMX'ers. Yes, dudes doing these flips on their bikes over a large ramp. Quite impressive I must admit but sadly the crowd of kids dispersed before RG's set. Not sure if it was their crowd and it was kind of wierd having a rock stage tucked away by bathrooms. The bands best moment was at the end when they sounded more like the Stones and less like this washed out version of Jack Johnson if there could be such a thing. I've seen them play better at the court tavern but alas not easy to command a festival crowd.

The highlight was Mike Peters from the Alarm playing with the NJ symphony Orchestra. Every classic Alarm song was smooth and reached a couple moving points when Mike referenced his own fight with cancer and 20 years of marriage to his wife. His voiced sounded as good as it ever has and it was great to see him perform in front of tons of dedicated old school fans in the spirit of 76'. Can't wait till next year and hope there is no rain to spoil the show.

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