One of the (few) perks of working downtown are all of the free music events, most of which happen during lunch hour. But come summertime, the floodgates open, and there are all sorts of free outdoor music events, such as today's 4Knots Music Festival and the River to River Festival, which wraps up tomorrow night at the Schimmel Center with a performance by Alarm Will Sound.
This past week, though, it was all about the Blues, courtesy of the 2nd annual Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival. Wednesday brought legends John Mayall (who was perfectly decent) and Buddy Guy (who, at 75, was bad-ass and brilliant) to the World Financial Center Plaza, outside the Winter Garden. Also on the bill was Buddy's 13 year old protege Quinn Lawrence, who's been playing with Buddy on tour the past few months. The crowd was big and well-behaved, though not as large as you might expect for a guitarist of Buddy's caliber.
Thursday's show was more rock and soul, courtesy of Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires and Neko Case, who managed to channel her earth-mother vibe despite a good bit of technical issues with the monitors. "We can't hear anything," she kept apologizing. "Hope it sounds alright out there." (It did.)
If all of that weren't enough, George Clinton and Parliamentfor Funkadelic also played free Thursday night just a short stroll up the Hudson to Rockefeller Park. By the time I got there, they were wrapping up their set and Clinton - who had traded in his mulitcolored dreds for a flowing white robe and fedora - was basically goofing off onstage, but the crazy synth-and-guitar swirl and onstage pandemonium went on well past sunset.
By the way, did I mention all of this was FREE? Say what you want about the corporate sponsors behind this stuff: they don't have to do this, and aren't really trying to sell you anything, other than a good time. Sounds like a good deal to me.
More pics below and on the photo page.