Saturday Summer Fest Round-Up

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What a full day of great performances yesterday! I enjoyed some great food between some wonderful performances. A little sampling:

On my way to see local singer Laila Smith on the Silicon Valley Stage, I stopped to hear a bit of Amanda Shaw’s performance on the Main Stage. The crowd was getting energized by her performance —  a great way to get the crowd ready for the rest of the day! Smith’s performance was nothing short of spectacular. The packed Club Regent crowd was receptive to both Smith and pianist Nick Lamb, who garnered plenty of applause. It was enough to shock Smith, who admitted that she couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. Standouts of the set were the duo’s near minimalist take on “My Favorite Things,”  featuring the eerie nuance of a thumb piano. Laila also brought some soul when she covered Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” solo.

When Smith’s set finished, I picked up the Poblano Paprika Pork from Pattiwagon at the Salsa Stage. The sandwich was a colorful, and tasty, choice. Kaiser Permanente’s water bar was a hit, with people lining up to try their five different fruit-infused choices. Even in the warm sun, plenty of dancers were already tearing up the pavement on San Fernando Street.

I continued down the street to the Blues Stage. Before making reaching the stage, I grabbed some recipes and made a flip book at the Whole Foods Market booth. The flip book is a great festival memento if you’re looking for a unique, and free, way to capture this weekend.

As it approached 4pm, I headed back to First Street to catch the delightful Yesberger band on the Cisco Bella Mia Stage. Just as Devon told me during our interview, their new tunes have an airy, expansive feel. Trumpet player JJ Kirkpatrick was a wonderful group addition, bringing just the right nuance to the Yesberger sound.

After Yesberger, I went back to the Blues Stage to catch Amanda Shaw. One song in, I could see why Shaw may well be this year’s breakout performer. She commanded the stage with her effortless performance and showed all the makings of a confident performer — all this at the age of 22. Before heading back to the Main Stage, I picked up a meat loaf sandwich from Grandama Catherine’s. A colleague told me this choice was a no-brainer, and I completly agree. Enjoying that sandwich on the grass by the Main Stage while being serenaded by the Jazz Crusaders is a memory I won’t soon forget.

It felt time for an intimate set, so I made my way to see Grooveyard Shift at the Metro Market Stage. Several attendees were sampling the great artisan stalls while watching the band get heavy into the groove. At about 9:45,  it was time to visit the Jazz Beyond stage to catch Subharmonic, who immediately got the crowd’s attention when Theis, tuba and all, led the group through the crowd before making their way on stage. “Jazz beyond” was the perfect term for the band, who brought accomplished musicianship to a set that saw plenty of experimentation.

With so much packed into yesterday, I’m excited to see where today takes me! Be sure to enjoy today as much as you can, because once Coco Montoya finishes his 7:30 set on the Blues Stage, you’ll have to wait all year for Summer Fest to return!

Find out what I caught on the final day of Summer Fest by reading my Sunday round-up.