Friday, May 25, 2012

Blood on the Tracks Express Has Something For Everyone

The Freelwheelers filled the American Legion dance floor with rockin' renditions of Dylan favorites. There were plenty of smiles to go around.
I was told that I really shouldn't miss the last night's Blood on the Tracks Express, and I didn't. What a great capstone to a great week of events here in the North Country where Dylan's birthday was celebrated by fans young and old alike. Yesterday Bob turned 71.

The train boarded at Fitgers Brewery Complex at 5:30, departing promptly at 6:00 p.m. for Two Harbors. Six bands or all stripes performed on the way up and back on the train and at the American Legion once stopped at the other end of the line.

There were far more rail cars than I expected, perhaps eight or more. Two styles of performance took place. At one end of the train there were acoustic musicians like Sarah Krueger and Jim Hall. At the other end Dirty Horse and the Black-eyed Snakes took the crowd away and back. The Bitter Spills and Silverback Colony also performed, with the heart of the night being devoted to a fantastic set by the Freelwheelers (a.k.a. the Boomchucks) at the Legion. 

John Bushey never ceases to amaze.
Highlights for myself included being able to do a few harmonica riffs with Jim Hall and seeing John Bushey dazzled friends and fans with a bit of mind-befuddling magic along the way, including what must be a favorite, Little Bunny's Card Trick. Most know Bushey as host of KUMD's Highway 61 Revisited radio program, which airs Saturday evenings on 103.3 here in Duluth and re-airs Mondays at five, but he is also a well-known professional magician. Interestingly enough, I learned last Sunday night at the Dylan trivia competition that Dylan once said if he could go back and time to see one event it would be to see Harry Houdini perform his famous underwater escape at New York's East River. My guess is that Bushy, too, would have loved the opportunity to see Houdini perform.

As for the music, it was top-notch all around, though Alan Sparhawk's Black-eyed Snakes took the crammed front car to the limits of capacity and borderline insanity before it was all over. Lots of wriggling and writhing in that jammin' little space. 

If you've still got the gumption for more, head up to Hibbing for the weekend where Dylan Days is underway. Here's the page where you'll want to begin.

And if you're not heading north, there's still plenty happening here in the Twin Ports. The Ochre Ghost Gallery is having an opening with details at their Facebook page. Also, at Teatro Zuccone there is another night of local writers reading Zenith City Tales. $5 will get you a seat for something that promises to be exceedingly satisfying, thought provoking and entertaining. On Sunday there is the traditional Battle of the Jug Bands at Amazing Grace, with a pre-Battle evening of jugband music Saturday night.

In short, you just might want to get out this weekend and drink in some music an entertainment. Have a good time... and enjoy.

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