Above: Devon Allman jams out to the crowd as the sun goes down at the 2015 Syracuse Jazzfest. Photo Credit Justin Gorelick.Last night, the Syracuse Bluesfest returned to Clinton Square with a vengeance. An incredible line up of blues musicians played to a delighted crowd of all ages, and the food wasn't too bad either.
It was a warm day over the Cuse yesterday, and some people including this reviewer would get pretty sunburned. However, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was a perfect weather day for the event. Blues fans of all ages flocked to the Square to show their appreciation for a festival that brought some incredible and amazing blues musicians to Syracuse, including Robert Randolph & The Family Band.
One of the first groups of the day was one of the better ones that performed. The Swamp Drivers put on a great show and talked to the crowd as well as put on an entertaining performance with an unusual set of hand made instruments. These included a Jack Daniels cigar box guitar and an actual drum set made of cans. These different set of instruments actually sounded fantastic and were a great starter up for the Blues Fest.
One thing that was awesome about Blues Fest was that the sound was perfect. It was one of the better sounding stages this reviewer has heard all year. The sound continued to be great for Los Blancos, who played their usual set of swank country blues that were a different but good fit for the fest.
John Primer provided a superb set that brought the blues back to its origins. He joked about Chicago and all the great musicians he played with while still putting on great sounding tunes that included a great cover a Muddy Waters classic.
Shortly after Primer, Carolyn Kelly brought her own soul blues to the festival. Her voice was the highlight of this set, and it was awesome seeing her being joined onstage by the soul of Syracuse.
The highlight of the day Devon Allman rocked the house with his band, and musically might have been the best performer at the Syracuse 2015 Blues fest. Even though you could tell that he was the one force for the band, it's a force not to be messed with. Devon shredded his guitar through a set of blues rock that would make his daddy proud, and he even sang out an Allman Brothers tune near the end of his performance.
Closing out the festival, New Jersey native Robert Randolph jammed out to the Cuse once again. A fellow cuse performer now, Robert must be a big fan of Upstate NY since he's performed here several times each year during his annual tour. Although the Westcott performance last year was a bit better (I mean who could really disagree there?) the Rolling Stone Magazine top 100 guitar still put on a great show. A few people from Nashville even came all the way up to Syracuse, NY to see his performance.
Like with every show, his setlist changed which is always a good thing with well known artists when they do that. Instead of inviting multiple crowd gutiaritsts up to his set, Robert invited Devon instead to jam out with him near the end of the evening which was by far the Highlight of the entire festival.
Robert was cool as ever and rocked the slide guitar as always, and as always, also invited a group of dance friendly women on stage to dance with him for a tune.
The festival was a great success this year, and even the food from Dinosaur BBQ was great as well as the music playing all day. It was a great mixture of blues musicians that were excited to perform with each other and extremely grateful. Syracuse couldn't have asked for a better day of music, especially for free.
Photo Credit to Justin Gorelick
Carolyn Kelly Blues Band:
Devon Allman Band: