I'm starting to think there's a competition among Blues Tent performers to outdress each other. I'm having a hard time choosing a winner so far, but Lil' Ed (pictured at right) is certainly in the running. Showy regalia aside, I'm a big fan of his recent Alligator Records release Full Tilt and was pleased to find that energy fully intact for his Jazz Fest performance. The tent came alive when he broke out his 50's rock 'n roll goofball barnburner "Don't Call Me". A small few in the crowd had even gone the extra mile and crafted their own construction paper fez hats in homage to the man behind the guitar.
Marva Wright and the BMWs kept people from filing out of the the Blues Tent with raw power. Before Marva came out though, it seemed the crowd would have been happy with the BMW's alone, as they tore through a quick instrumental session of shredding, funk, blues, and the "Peter Gunn" theme. When Marva made her entrance, the audience's enthusiasm became downright scary — and Marva's energy matched theirs in response. Unfortunately, she had to stay seated due to arthritis, but this put no restrictions on her vocal pipes.
Blues singer extraordinaire Margie Perez made a cameo appearance as well, clearly feeding off the energy of the headliner and the crowd.