Trampled by Turtles Setlist
Dr Dog Setlist
Father John Misty Setlist
The Trampled by Turtles-curated festival, held again in the inside greens of the horse racetrack at Canterbury Park in the southwest suburb of Shakopee, triumphed once more in its sophomore year, as a prime example of a highly enjoyable, expertly-run day of music.
The result was a little claustrophobic compared to the previous staging, but no less enjoyable, with the only very occasional interference being the sound checking on one stage, bleeding over a couple times to the full performance going on at the other stage. The rest of the festival grounds featured food trucks, traditional and specialty food vendors as well as other beverage and merchandise stands.
With summer’s last breath of warm sunshine in the afternoon followed by the impending fall’s slight chill in the evening, this year’s weather was perfect and a welcome change from the previous year’s storms that evacuated the grounds briefly.
1:30pm Lowest Pair (30 mins)
Their dual banjo-picking roots sound with gentle harmonies on songs like ‘Irene’ and the new ‘Minnesota Mend Me’, was a worthy appetizer for the full day ahead.
2:05pm Lydia Loveless (35 mins)
Her latest full-length is last year’s Somewhere Else (Bloodshot Records) and her sound on songs like ‘Head’, ‘Chris Isaak’, and ‘Out on Love’, sound like a revv’d up Maria Mckee (of Lone Justice fame), or maybe what Chrissie Hynde would do, if she ever went bluegrass.
2:45pm Calexico (45 mins)
Martin Wenk played some fierce accordion on ‘Sunken Waltz’, the new ‘ Bullets & Rocks’ seemed especially poignant in light of the refugee crisis in Europe, and an “old song from San Piedro, CA”, their cover of The Minutemen’s ‘Corona’ was a Latin-transformed pleasant surprise. Set ender ‘Cumbia de Donde’ got most in the crowd shuffling in place, transposing them to the Mexico City borough of Coyoacán that inspired the song and the new album.
3:35pm Laura Marling (45 mins)
In support of the this spring’s Short Movie (Ribbon Music), Marling entranced the hushed crowd starting with opener, ‘Take the Night Off / I Was an Eagle’ and for the next 45 min. with a Joni Mitchell-like set of poetry and folk. Marling remains notoriously shy - not saying much between songs, and probably comforted by the shade covering her face for the first half of her performance.
“We’re gonna do a Dolly Parton cover… to lighten things up a bit” she said mid set before launching into a butterfly delicate ‘Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?’ She overcame a few feedback issues following, ending somewhat sad but no less resonant on ‘Alpha Shadows’ and 2010’s ‘Rambling Man’.
4:30pm Shakey Graves (45 mins)
There is a raw fuzziness to his music, evident in his mission to “raise the turbo out here in the racefield” that he declared early-on, and prompting the crowd for “oohs” and clapping throughout the set. Playing live, the band is more raw and loud than on record, with an additional grittiness added to songs like ‘The Perfect Parts’ and ‘Where a Boy Once Stood’.
A bit gloomy in the narrative Dylan way, the band ended with the brooding ‘Late July’, about a man murdering his gold-digging wife – “I’m eager, young, and starry-eyed” Garcia sings in the song and with newfound fans discovering his music at the festival, no one can argue with that verse.
5:18 pm Benjamin Booker (45 mins)
Any local fans of early Replacements or Hüsker Dü responded in kind to the punk elements of Booker’s music, often done at breakneck speed with raspy vocals and little abandon, but there was also a soul influence shown on his Otis Redding cover and a swampy country/blues element on ‘Falling Down Blues’, played only with fiddle and mandolin.
Set closer, ‘Have You Seen My Son’ evolved into an almost ten-minute long blitzkrieg crescendo of feedback and guitar jamming before Booker and bandmates casually walked off, like nothing at all had happened.
5:56pm Father John Misty (60 mins)
Father John Misty
Opening with the title track of his latest, I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop Records), Tillman and band immediately raised the anthemic level of songs and kept momentum going, for most of his hour-long time.
The always self-effacing Tillman mocked himself for trying to dance with Laura Marling during an instrumental of one of his songs, and intro’d ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.’ as a “horrible little folk ballad”.
‘I’m Writing a Novel’ had a Beatles “Paperback Writer”/Simon and Garfunkel upbeat feel to it, he praised the day as one of “authentic, listener-supported folk rock”, and ‘Bored in the USA’ was pre-empted by tuning at the nearby Satellites stage, prompting Tillman to say “Should we have an Organ-Off, buddy? – I will not hesitate to strap on a keytar”.
7:10pm Dr Dog (60 mins)
The band hasn’t had a studio album since 2013’s B-Room (ANTI- Records), but did release a live album earlier this year, with new music in the offing soon. Singers Scott McMicken (lead guitar) and Zach Miller (keyboards) traded off on lead vocal chores, with McMicken’s sounding more laid-back and Miller being the higher-pitched of the two.
“You guy’s got a killer sunset out here”, McMicken noticed before ‘Broken Heart’, getting everyone to turn right to see the last rays on the horizon. The band smartly stayed with mostly upbeat songs, culminating with an Architecture in Helsinki cover of ‘Heart It Races’to end their hour.
8:20pm Trampled by Turtles (90 min.)
Trampled by Turtles
“It’s been quite a day for us, as fans of music” singer Dave Simonett said, finally speaking twenty minutes in, before a harmonizing ‘Empire’. The aching ‘Winners’ about their hometown, seemed appropriate with its opening line, “There were dreams on a full moon night” as a fall chill and clear night embraced the jacketed crowd.
Mandolin player Erik Berry shined on ‘New Son/Burnt Iron’ and bass player Tim Saxhaug took over lead vocals for The Band’s ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’- done very faithful to the original, yet with that TBT trademark twang added.
Banjo player Dave Carroll took centerstage for his own ‘Truck’ as the band teased Outkast’s ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ while tuning up. The string quartet that accompanied the band like last year, reappeared for a haunting ‘Midnight on the Interstate’, rounding out the song with a rousing elegance.
When you thought that couldn’t be topped, the encore of ‘Alone’, complete with a large troupe of bagpipers that took the song into ‘Amazing Grace’, exceeded everyone’s expectations. The only negative was that the stage was still lit so minimally, it was hard to tell just how many people were on stage for the finale, but that didn’t take away from the majestic performance.
And with another successful day in the books, next year’s Festival Palomino has already started their planning for 2016, which will no doubt be a three-peat, in terms of success. Never has a full day at a horse track sounded so good.
Trampled by Turtles at Festival Palomino, Shakopee (19 September 2015)