Nov 10, 2010 08:13PM ● Published by Anonymous
Experiencing lackluster attendance throughout its course, the festival and its figurehead, Sarah McLachlan must have been hoping for the best at its final stop, and a venue that can bring musical fans from several surrounding regions (the tour stop was slated as a Washington, DC show yet Merriweather has been known to draw fans from nearby Baltimore, DC, and all over Virginia consistently). And, though the start of the day showed little promise, by the time the heavyweight acts rolled around (Cat Power, Court Yard Hounds, Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlin), the venue had filled to a level that I’d consider well past respectable. Though this was the last stop on a national tour filled with artist that could largely be considered serious draws, the placement on a Tuesday certainly didn’t help matters.
In terms of performance, the fest featured a set for most, if not any music fan. Though the artists catered mostly to the female gender (the audience was almost exclusively feminine and I received more than a few wayward looks as a rare male in attendance), there was a significant variation between musical styles present. One of the more impressive and enjoyable sets was the Court Yard Hounds. With two thirds of the Dixie Chicks as front women, (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison) I wasn’t expecting much more than some standard pop country fare. However, the up-tempo bluegrass and highly spirited set that ensued left myself, along with many others around noticeably blown away. When the girls invited Sarah McLachlan’s lead guitarist on stage for a tune, the night really started to cook- and the recently filled pavilion took notice and let the girls know.
Among other noteworthy sets, Cat Power (minimalist rocker Chan Marshall’s assumed stage name) held the attention of a crowd that was largely in attendance for the more mainstream side of the festival. Marshall’s haunting vocals, coupled with a talented backing band made for one of the more original and free-spirited sets of the night.
Though crowd response signified a well versed and diversely appreciative crowd, all mystery of intent for most was erased when accomplished Canadian songstress Sarah Mclachlan took the stage. Mrs. Mclachlan’s set was a mostly vanilla celebration of her well-known catalog- exactly what most late arriving fans had been anticipating. Sarah’s band, including her aforementioned lead guitarist, helped make the set more than simply a trip around the block, and turned it into what the Lilith believers had hoped for- a living celebration of womanhood, in a bold and enjoyable package.