When They Say Best Fest, They Mean It

When They Say Best Fest, They Mean It

by JasonBryan / Sep 28, 2016 / 0 comments
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 to Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The people from Best Fest came to LA to perform what’s become an annual tradition: Petty Fest. A tribute to Tom Petty featuring the Cabin Down Below Band as the house band and bringing up guest musicians to play hits and deep cuts of the top-notch songwriter Tom Petty.

The night starts with house band (Alex Levy on guitar, Austin Scaggs on Bass, and Matt Romano on Drums) playing the song they get their name from “Cabin Down Below,” which serves as an invitation to the fun about to be had. If there are two things I love its Tom Petty and cover songs, which makes me a shoe-in for a concert like this. For the sake of rhetorical questions: what is better then hearing a song that has touched your heart performed by top-tier talented musicians sharing that touched it has also touched their heart?

The whole experience is amazing and there are so many acts that bring so much of themselves into each song, but amongst a sea of Awesomeness some moments still rise above the horizon. Here are some of my favorite moments.

Adriel Denae’s country folk vocals to “Angel Dream”. This was the first deeper cut of the night and she sings it so sweetly it transfers you into the dream the song is written about.

Allison Pierce and Catherine Pierce joined together to harmonize “Wildflowers”. They did some well choreographed dance moves and never hesititated to switch mics in the process, proving that the perfect harmony was all them and not a well crafted feat of audio engineering.

Lissie’s take on “Into The Great Wide Open” had a hint of her personal reflection on trying to make it in the music industry. When she sang about the single going up the charts she meant it, and when she talked about the A&R man not hearing a single on the next album she meant it when she said “The future is wide open.”

Chris Vos of The Record Company’s bluesier take on “I Won’t Back Down.” His vocals stay in the box provided by the house band, but he was able to delay his lyrics and punch them in a way that gave it some extra raw emotion to a song that taps into the inner core of the listener’s raw emotion, no matter who’s singing it. Also, him standing up and jamming out at the end with the lap guitar was something you don’t see every day.

The absolute best performance of the evening goes to Emily Armstrong of Dead Sarah. Her rendition of “Here Comes My Girl” was felt not heard. The emotion that poured out of her went straight to my heart. When she belted out “this feels so good and so free and so right, I know we ain't never goin' change our minds about it.” She was right that moment was as free and right and as awesome as the world can be and you will never change my mind about it. I was shell shocked, “wow” was all I could say as I wiped the bubbled up water from the corner of my eyes.

Steve Ferrone of the Heartbreakers showed up and played drums on “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. Does it even count as a cover if one of the bandmembers is playing the song?

Every musician at the event is successful by his or her own right, but you do get a few notable names that bring a little extra to the line up. The Children of Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison all played. Dhani Harrison was on and off the stage contributing to many a song, Jakob Dylan played a few tracks, and at one point these two filled in for their fathers on The Traveling Wilburys “End Of The Line”. And Norah Jones laid down two tracks of Petty’s Wildflower albums.

The show ends with everyone on stage for Learning To Fly and the audience despite hearing nearly 30 songs in a nearly 3 hour set are still left wanting more, and longing for the next Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour.

Here is the set list from Wednesday’s show:

Cabin Down Below – The Cabin Down Below Band
You Got Lucky – Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta
Don’t Do Me Like That – Eric Pulido
Listen To Her Heart – The Shelters
Angel Dream – Adriel Denae w/ Jason Roberts
Last Night – Elvis Perkins
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Allison Pierce & Casey Shea
Wildflowers – Catherine Pierce w/ Allison Pierce
Into the Great Wide Open – Lissie
Running Down A Dream – Justin Warfield w/ Jamie Arentzen
I Won’t Back Down – Chris Vos of The Record Company
Here Comes My Girl – Emily Armstrong of Dead Sarah
You Wreck Me – Jonathan Tyler
Saving Grace – Nikki Lane
It’s Good To Be King – Cory Chisel
Refugee – J-Council
Alright For Now – Cameron Avery
A Woman In Love – Summer Moon
Yer So Bad – Adam Busch & Danny Masterson
Don’t Come Around Here No More - Dhani Harrison & Steve Ferrone
Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Brandon Boyd w/ Gregory Rogove
The Waiting – Jakob Dylan
Rebels – Jakob Dylan
You Don’t Know How It Feels – Norah Jones w/ Jason Roberts
Time To Move On - Norah Jones w/ Jason Roberts
Breakdown – Matt Shultz & Matthan Minister
American Girl - Matt Shultz & Matthan Minister
End Of The Line – Dhani Harrison, Eric Pulido, Cory Chisel, Jakob Dylan
Free Fallin’ – Darren Criss
Learning To Fly – Cory Chisel with pretty much everyone who had taken the stage earlier in the night.

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Rating out of 11: