High Water 2022 Day 1

             

High Water 2022 saw the local festival get back on its feet after Covid put a temporary halt to the North Charleston exhibtion of both local and international musical talents. As always, under the curation of South Carolina emisarries of the arts, Shovels and Rope, the show returned with a hefty amount of star power and a venue that was filled with lots of Charleston-area food and beverage choices. Acts still rotated between two big stages so breakdown and setup times for bands would not affect the next act's schedule; the show ran like a well-oiled machine in this respect. The Edisto Stage started the music off with MIssissippi blues troubadour Cedric Burnside and his fingerpicked electric guitar power wowed the slowly developing crowd early in the day. His fiery performance was off-set by his soft-spoken stage banter which included references to his win for best blues Grammy this year and an invitation to the crowd to visit his freshly built juke joint back home in Mississippi. Moving to the Stono stage, we got to experience of the homecoming of South Carolina native Adia Victoria and her moving take on her self-proclaimed gothic blues sound. With her full electric band ably backing her, she ran through an intense exposition of why her current tour has been blowing minds across the country.

Next up was the Felice Brothers and its no mystery that Americana/ folk rock bands of this style have been a strong part of High Water lineups since day one, with the New Yorkers showing why they have been so beloved for many years. The brothers Ian (guitar) and James (keys, accordion) took turns pumping up the crowd with charismatic lead vocals. Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, as expected, were welcomed back with open arms by a crowd that is rabid for them every time they play the Low Country. Delta Spirit brought a more rocking sound to the fest and were a change of pace from a lot of the more introspective acts thats preceded them. Local Natives kept the rock energy going and the L.A. band was as happy to hit the opposite coast as fans here were to get to see them. Bahamas brought the set back down to Earth with their low key, smooth jazzy folk, which had the crowd dancing in stride.

Whatever harder-edged rock power the fest had been lacking so far, it was soon delivered by veteran indie-rockers Modest Mouse, who put in an hour long set culled from pretty much most of their catalog. The expected guitar and drum theatrics coupled with a crowd that was going bonkers dancing along to their manic energy gave the event an adrenaline boost as dusk began to settle in. Caamp took the moment of dark approaching and calmed the crowd down with a fun and energetic folk rock set. As headliners My Morning Jacket made the stage, there were still stragglers entering the venue and it was super-packed by this time, a mass of people drinking, eating and enjoying the chill vibes of the evening. Finally getting a chance to expose the Low Country to the charms of their latest self-titled album was a treat for both them and fest-goers and we all left both tired and expectant for the next day's lineup.
 

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