|Me and Sally in front of the Brewery Stage. West End Blend is behind us.|
|The RoadJam set list.|
|Colin, Elizabeth, and my beautiful wife Sally in front of the Hop Yard Stage.|
|Lounging on the RoadJam sign, set up in front of the brewery building.|
We walked in just as West End Blend was beginning their set on the Brewery Stage but kept going, setting up camp for Arc & Stones, a hard rock band out of Nashville with a decided 90s sound. This reflected my personal musical preferences, and I really liked Arc & Stones, especially once they got into their set and opened it up a bit with their guitar work. In retrospect, however, I wish we'd caught more of West End Blend's set. They sounded good when we came in, and we caught their last song after Arc & Stones finished, and it was very impressive. They are very much what the Cool Kids are doing these days, at least in and around New York City.
Today: Stratford, CT - Jun 24 at Two Roads Road Jam Music Fest https://t.co/GzEMxkeLPv— Arc & Stones (@ArcAndStones) June 24, 2017
Temperatures hovered around 90 degrees yesterday, so we didn't really start drinking until after Arc & Stones left the stage. Two Roads had a good mix available in the Hop Yard, including a hefeweizen, a raspberry wheat seasonal, a session IPA, a saison, a sour gose, and a lime-sour gose, but in deference to the heat, they left all of their high-ABV brews back up in the taproom. This being my season of sours, I spent the afternoon drinking the lime-sour gose (4.5% ABV), and it was perfect for the conditions at hand. Two Roads also gave out free water bottles--with signs saying "Stay Hydrated"--and I took one every time I got a beer.
|Natural born hippie.|
|Still in full hippie-mode. Look at those arms!|
They didn't disappoint. Great set!
|Tree pose with hoola hoop & the Alpaca Gnomes.|
|The Alpaca Gnomes|
The Gnomes left the stage, and Colin, Sally, and Elizabeth went over to the Brewery Stage to catch the big band stylings of the Fogcutters. I stuck around in the Hop Yard and hung out with some friends, just shooting the breeze and drinking beer. Personally, I think I got the better end of the deal.
The Pimps of Joytime hit the stage almost an hour late, but they were excellent. After watching them online, I expected them to sound something like West End Blend, a kind of hip, jazz-influenced version of rock and funk. In fact, they turned out to be something like an epic jam-band, infused with plenty of funk but also lots of straight-guitar-based rock and a touch of electronica. Theirs was an unusual set, but I really enjoyed it.
We wound up buying their newest album as well, and I can't wait to give it a listen.
The Pimps left, and Colin and Elizabeth walked back across to catch Stratford's own Mates of State. Somehow the Mates live in our town, and their kids actually go to the same gym that my kids go to for gymnastics, and yet, we don't actually know them. Amazing! I thought I knew all the local Cool Kids, but apparently, there's a whole social scene that I've never encountered. I wouldn't have believed it.
Colin and Elizabeth loved the Mates' set, but Sally and I spent that time eating dinner at the Clustertruck. We went first to Chief Brody's Banh Mi, a Vietnamese/Euro-fusion food truck that I remembered as a highlight of last year's show. I had an epic brat hoagie topped with spicy kimchi and mango sauce that I just loved. Sally got some kind of noodle dish, also topped with kimchi, but it was a little too hot for her, and I wound up eating that too! I was very hot, but maybe because I lived in Korea for a year, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Plus, I respect that they gave us the heat rather than the "white people" spices, even if my wife couldn't quite handle it. Anyway, Sally wandered over to the Rice and Beans food truck and got... well, rice and beans, topped with beef and avocados. Also very good; definitely not spicy.
By this time, it was getting on towards eight o'clock, and Sally was thinking about getting home. Our kids had been at dance rehearsal all day, but despite the fact that our daughter Hannah is now a rising high school freshman, I think my wife was a little concerned that the kids were gonna burn the house down making dinner. That didn't happen, but Sally still headed out just as closing act Twiddle was taking the stage.
Twiddle is another epic jam band, with a sound that strays between southern rock, funk, and Blues Traveler, and though they are out of Vermont, they had a truly massive following in the Hop Yard at RoadJam. The first song they played ran a full ten minutes, and they just kept jamming after that. It was really something. Still, we headed out about halfway through their set, having been well-scorched and placated with plenty of beer.