Excessive Water isn’t only a music competition. It’s a celebration of the capital-S South, a area wealthy in custom, tradition and character. And the occasion curated by Charleston’s personal Shovels & Rope takes particular care in assuring all three of these parts are well-represented. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, the married musical pair behind Shovels & Rope, have hosted the music and meals competition for 3 years now at Riverfront Park in North Charleston, and this yr’s occasion not solely highlighted among the finest and most fun acts in roots and rock (Mitski, Jenny Lewis and Shovels & Rope themselves amongst them), but additionally artists of a distinct selection: southern cooks, sommeliers, brewers and bakers. The competition continues to be in its infancy, however Hearst and Trent, together with plenty of assist from these aforementioned makers, have already achieved the best steadiness of music and experiences—no straightforward feat in competition planning. This weekend we sat family-style on the Cross the Peas brunch occasion on Saturday morning and broke bread with whole strangers. We shared Lagunitas brews at The Porch, a bit of nook of the park stocked with respite-ready rocking chairs. We watched Texas-born headliner Leon Bridges rock the group into bliss together with his soulful blues. We danced with New Orleans jazz giants Preservation Jazz Corridor Band. Excessive Water belongs in Charleston, top-of-the-line locations within the South for meals, drinks and pleasant people. From Mitski dancing on a desk to the goat cheese tortelloni we’ll be speaking about for months, listed below are the perfect moments from Excessive Water 2019.
The Battle and Treaty’s soul-healing songs
Shovels & Rope
weren’t the one married couple acting at this yr’s Excessive Water fest. Michael and Tanya Trotter, who report as The Battle and Treaty, gave a beneficiant, jubilant efficiency on Saturday afternoon, sharing songs from their 2018 album Therapeutic Tide. Michael has mentioned of their The Battle and Treaty: “I would like individuals to really feel we care.” And their heat is definitely contagious. The Trotters’ songs are soul music as catharsis. The love they’ve for one another is so plentiful it ripples into the group and lifts everybody off their toes.
Mitski’s breathtaking efficiency artwork
In a lot the identical approach that the colourful characters on Be the Cowboy are principally fictional, Mitski’s stage persona is very exaggerated. She places on a entrance, and her Excessive Water set was as a lot a efficiency artwork piece because it was a musical showcase. Dancing, rolling and laying, she acted virtually the whole set from atop a white desk, which, somewhat than a guitar, served because the centerpiece. In destroying the standard setup, Mitski constructed a mesmerizing new universe on stage that was unimaginable to show away from.
Phosphorescent’s dusky daydreams
As this weekend proved over and over, Shovels & Rope actually customary the proper springtime invoice. Phosphorescent adopted by Lord Huron on Saturday night was a festival-goer’s dream come true—each artists focus on blooming, experimental ballads filled with pure imagery and attention-grabbing textures. Phosphorescent’s Mathew Houck carried out songs from 2013’s Muchacho, together with the beloved “Track for Zula,” in addition to cuts from the follow-up, 2018’s C’est La Vie.
Lord Huron’s escapist folk-rock
Lord Huron’s music is supposed to be heard outside: on the seashore because the solar is rising, by a dwindling campfire or as you’re strolling these Unusual Trails described on their 2015 album. The scenic Riverfront Park was a pure setting for the indie folksters to air their cavernous, transportive songs. And it didn’t harm that the solar was sinking under the Cooper River proper as their set was drawing to a detailed, portray competition goers in an orange gentle. Their most up-to-date album, final yr’s Vide Noir, sounded decidedly extra rock ‘n’ roll, so their set was a wholesome mixture of full of life new materials and their extra peaceable classics, just like the woodsy marriage ceremony hit “Ends of the Earth.”
The livewire Jenny Lewis
It was utterly darkish outdoors by the point Jenny Lewis appeared on the Edisto Stage Saturday night time, however her individual was vivid sufficient to gentle the whole Riverfront Park—and never simply because she donned a floor-length sequined gown. The songs on her gorgeous new album On The Line are positively radiant. Every glows and gleams with a form of glam solely Lewis can pull off, and watching her carry out these dazzling tunes—from the searing rock ‘n’ roll of star single “Purple Bull & Hennessy” to the hang-loose declarations of “Wasted Youth”—was additional proof On The Line could also be her finest solo effort to this point. Maybe maintaining the competition setting in thoughts, Lewis additionally handled the group to Rilo Kiley hits (“Silver Lining,” “With Arms Outstretched”) and her fashionable solo gems like “She’s Not Me,” “Simply One of many Guys” and “The Voyager.”
Leon Bridges’ romantic grooves
On his first album Coming Dwelling, Excessive Water headliner Leon Bridges launched himself as neo-soul’s subsequent suave suitor. With the follow-up, final yr’s Good Factor, Bridges appeared extra grown up—not simply suave, however attractive. He proved on “Past” and “Forgive You” he’s the nonetheless tender, big-hearted beau who sang love songs like “Coming Dwelling” and “River,” however he can simply as effortlessly transition to the lustful lover on tunes like “If It Feels Good (Then It Should Be)” and “Mrs.” This weekend he was a bit of little bit of each—candy and clean as he glided throughout the stage, then smouldering. He incited a crowd-wide swoon when he sang of lifelong dedication on “Past,” then he persuaded just a few thousand blushes upon the supply of “If It Feels Good (Then It Should Be).” In abstract, each side of Leon Bridges are pleasant to behold.
Preservation Corridor Jazz Band’s cellular occasion
Day two of the competition was off to a spirited begin when the New Orleans jazz vets in Preservation Corridor Jazz Band introduced many years of musical custom and vitality to the stage, transmitted it to the group after which carried it down the stage steps themselves. With tuba participant Allan Jaffe, who based the collective within the early 1960s, on the helm, the full of life septet honored one southern metropolis’s musical historical past whereas performing for an additional. Moderately than exit stage proper or left on the finish of their set, Jaffe led the whole band by way of the group in a form of conga line. Viewers members latched on, and a jazz present collapsed into a celebration.
Hayes Carll’s gritty nation wit
Nation followers convened on the Edisto stage on Sunday night to soak up Hayes Carll’s enlightened southern tales and good-humored harmonica. People in Jason Isbell t-shirts and bandanas dotted my periphery as Carll dryly advised the story of a soured relationship on “None’ya” to the sound of beneficiant whoops and hollers that appeared to say “We’ve been there, dude.” Later, he divulged the tragic backstory of “Jesus and Elvis” and admitted a bard’s deepest needs on “If I Could Be So Daring,” each highlights from his new album What It Is. Carll’s immersive set was like a bit of slice of Nashville on the riverbanks in Charleston.
Cross the Peas Brunch
The apply of breaking bread with different individuals has grow to be hastened. We rush by way of meals like they’re simply one other job on the ever-expanding to-do listing that shapes our busy days. So after we sat down at lengthy, family-style tables to the unfold on the Cross the Peas brunch occasion, flanked by strangers on both facet, it felt luxurious. However then the 5 (!) programs flew by. Cross the Peas shouldn’t be your common brunch with mimosas and gossip—it’s a culinary expertise, curated by grasp native cooks (in Saturday’s case, Jacques Larson, the mind behind high-class eatery Obstinate Daughter in neighboring Sullivan’s Island, and China-born, New York-raised Shuai Wang, just lately nominated for the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef). Every course was accompanied by libations hand-picked by Cappie Peete, one in all solely a handful of superior feminine sommeliers working within the area. The expansive menu included cocktails created by Craig Nelson (the mastermind at native drinkery Proof), pistachio cake, contemporary seafood, goat-cheese stuffed tortelloni and, after all, a spring pea salad.