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Sunday, July 04, 2004


I figured Ben Folds as a sort of late 90's Billy Joel, and by the time I realized that this was not such a bad thing to be, I realized as well that it was not a particularly good description of Folds, either. To Uncle Sam's Jam yesterday, Day One of a two day free festival put on by the GooGoo Dolls on the steps of City Hall. Can't say I've ever been a fan of the Goos-- they impress me as mostly derivative and uninteresting, but I'm a fan now. This festival is how it should always be done: local acts and national acts; smooth short transitions between sets; no lines at the concessions or the Port O Sans; clean Port O Sans; acts bring on other acts for a number or two-- I'm impressed. I made downtown in time for The Juliet dagger, a power punk trio fronted by two women. They were good for what they were-- a power punk trio fronted by two women, but I don't mean to damn them with faint praise by any means. They turned in a respectable set that looked like it was a lot of fun to play, and I'll want to see them again. Folds was up next, and he was terrific. I suppose a great deal of his appeal is that he traffics so heavily in irony, but I am a sucker for hooky pop, and he brings a lot of that. Rufus Wainwright followed. I'm a fan, I guess, but a whole set, or a whole CD is a lot of Rufus to take at once. He has a great voice, and he knows it: it is not hard to imagine him growing up, belting out songs in the unselfconscious way that Marcus sings in "About A Boy", Kate McGarrigle beaming approvingly in their Montreal kitchen. He brought Guster on to play "One Man Guy", and it was pretty terrific. We didn't stay for Guster's set-- in the end one of the problems I have with festivals is that the time investment is too great. I'll go tonight and see Ani DiFranco and the GooGoos, (EGA likes Ani, CLA loves Johnny Reznik).  Posted by Hello

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