Rhythm N' Blooms has become a very special weekend for not only Knoxville's music community, but the community as a whole. The 2017 festival was one to be remembered for sure. It's impossible to cover everything, but we've put together some highlights and themes on which to report from Rhythm N' Blooms 2017:
Headliners Showed Why They're Headliners
In the hours leading up to Gogol Bordello's set on Saturday rumors were buzzing around The Old City about their wild antics. As the sun was going down they totally delivered and lived up to the lore. Frontman Eugene Hütz jumped about the stage at times wielding a bottle wine, and the stunt of throwing a kick drum into the audience and crowdsurfing on it will be a talked about RnB memory for years to come.
Young The Giant was a solid main course for the Sunday slate. Sameer Gadhia danced around the stage in a blue jumpsuit and had the crowd captivated form the moment he sang the first note. Hands and cellphone flashlights were in the air, and there was dancing and jumping and jubilation from beginning to end under the I-40 bridges in perfect East Tennessee spring weather.
New Stages Were A Great Addition
Pretentious Beer Co. hosted several Secret Shows throughout the weekend on their beautiful patio in front of the backdrop of downtown Knoxville buildings. They'll start having regular live music there starting this Thursday with Christian Lopez Band, so that'll be something to keep an eye/ear on.
Lonesome Dove's stage setup was really cool. It had artwork on all sides, clear blue skies above, and the smell of burgers coming off the grill. How's that for ambiance! It was a great way to to find a spot to sit down, rest up, and grab some food without having to take time off from live music.
Some Knoxville bands like William Wild and Jubal were making their triumphant return to the festival, while others like Josiah & The Greater Good and Night Colors were making their Rhythm N' Blooms debut.
One of the beautiful things about this festival is that with such a good mix of locals and touring acts, it's easy to happen upon a band that sounds good and then be pleasantly surprised that they're from right here in Knoxville.
There was a moment in particular that stuck out to me in a packed out Pilot Light for Josiah & The Greater Good. Standing in the doorway, I overheard some people next to me say that they were on their way to a different show but heard them from out the door and had to check them out. They said that ended up becoming one of their favorite sets of the weekend.
Dave Eggar Was A Festival Hit Again
Talking to friends before the festival, Dave Eggar's name came up as a can't miss act. During the festival, his name came up a bunch as a favorite. At the end of the weekend, folks were still talking about what a unique set he puts on.
On Saturday afternoon at Jig & Reel, they had the doors in the back open and people standing on their tippy toes in the sidewalk trying to catch a glimpse. That's not a normal thing.
His quirky personality, boss cello skills, and one-of-a-kind show, complete with breakdancers, made him a festival hit. Oh and if that weren't enough, he showed up to the Midnight Merry Go-Round to play "Gangsta's Paradise" wearing a flippin' cape!
Epic 90s Midnight Merry Go-Round Was... (Wait For it.) Da Bomb
Teen Spirit and a battalion of special guests really raised the roof, or whatever other arcane vernacular from the 1990s you'd like to indicate that they put on one hell of a show.
There were special moments all around. Cruz Contreras came out with his son Cash (which btw, how baller is it that Cruz named his son Cash.) on trumpet to do Cake's "The Distance." Black Atticus came out with local blues musician Crawdaddy and shared the stage for Outkast's "Rosa Parks" with Atticus rapping and Crawdaddy playing harmonica.
The finale of Blink 182's "All The Small Things" with everyone in Jackson Terminal screaming the "na-nah na-nah na-nanah na na na na" was a memorable moment for sure.
The Black Lillies' Secret Got Out
Having one more Secret Show on the lineup at Barley's right after YTG's Sunday set certainly raised a few eyebrows, as well it should have. Word got around throughout the afternoon that it would be The Black Liillies. It was realy cool to see a band that you'd usually have to get a ticket to the Tennessee Theatre to see on that Barley's stage. The energy in the room was electric, and that set combined with The Royal Hounds after-after party was one heck of a way to close out the weekend.
Check out some more amazing photos from Rhythm N' Blooms from Sydney King!