October 05, 2011

California Celtic Fest and more

I'm writing this at about 4:00am on my red-eye flight back home from a pretty awesome week out in California. And I'm listening to Beck sing Golden Age. Good song. Anyway, The Andrew & Noah Band played at KVMR's Celtic Fest up in Grass Valley last weekend. Sweet gig! It was something of a catch-all festival. You had your Irish bands and your Scottish bands of course. Bagpipes, accordions, fiddles, flutes, harps, bodhrans, etc. Lots of lovely accents. The unavoidable Celtic nyckelharpa player. The obligatory Celtic djembes. The essential Celtic Grateful Dead covers. Not to mention all the Celtic paraphernalia... Celtic broad swords, long swords, short swords, fake swords, real swords, curvy swords, daggers, battle axes, cross-bows and face glitter. Then there were Celtic faeries. Celtic elves. Pretty sure I saw Peter Pan at one point. Celtic pirates, wizards, ninjas, hobbits and bellydancers. Celtic fire-breathing dragon?Check. How about giant Celtic wolfhounds?Check. Then there was a Celtic stilt juggler...Celtic knights in armor, working on their skills...And Celtic fencing! Not to mention copious Celtic libations. Basically, it was like a regular music festival... in Narnia. But we had a great time! I actually flew into San Francisco a few days early and got to hang out, get some work done, go birding. Caught up with fellow Ashokan alum (and founding member of The Young & The Restless) Alyssa BusseyAnd I got to see ROBERT PLANT, for FREE(!) at
Hardly Strictly BluegrassActually, the pic above is of the Del McCoury Band / Preservation Hall Jazz Band set which was good. And M Ward was pretty good too. But Robert Plant & Band of Joy... wow! Such a great performance. Of course, having Darrell Scott, Patty Griffin and BUDDY (frinkin!) MILLER as your backup band didn't hurt. Buddy Miller is so awesome. The whole set was great. Okay, here are some more CA pics...The Celtic four-piece Andrew & Noah BandOur dueling keyboard players: Dana and RachelGot to catch up with my cousin Elaine. We had a terrific sushi dinner and talked politics and religion for a couple hours. Felt really good.Also got in some decent birding on this trip. Saw three birds that I'd only seen once before: Tricolored Blackbird, American Dipper and Hermit Warbler. Trip list came to 90 species. So yeah, it was a really nice week. Looking forward to getting home though. My next flight should be boarding soon. So tired. Wanted to say THANKS SO MUCH to Susan and Lauren for their hospitality and generosity. Absolutely couldn't have done the trip without their help. Oh, one more thing. Saw these in a grocery store...Halloween-themed corn chips. That's like the stupidest thing I've ever hear of. Just sayin...