Braving the rain and the unfamiliar at Pier Six's Sunday Funday

May 16, 2011|By Wesley Case

When I get tickets to a concert — as a fan, not on the clock — I typically only see artists I'm a big fan of, due to my own patience and bank account. Yesterday was different though. My friends convinced me to attend Pier Six's Sunday Funday, which featured many names I only knew in passing from working closely with WTMD: Bobby Long, Justin Jones, Mason Jennings, Josh Ritter, Eric Hutchinson and Amos Lee. All of the artists are classic singer-songwriters types, armed with their guitars and just enough accompanying pieces to give the harder songs an extra kick and to set the mood for the contemplative tracks.

Although I left before Josh Ritter and Amos Lee (it was a long day), I was surprised in a new way. The artists were moodsetters for a crowd mainly interested in sunbathing (pre-"Waterworld" phase) and talking with their friends. There was head-nodding and cheers, but the songs quietly played the background, never sounding harsh or intrusive to the relaxed atmosphere. And while this genre isn't my forte, I found myself enjoying the laidback show. (A blanket, Budweisers and good company played significant roles, too.) My friend Cara was most excited for Bobby Long and I can see why: his English accent is a subtle treat to his confessional songs and his guitar-playing impressed. Mason Jennings utilized his drummer's busy kick-drum for added dynamism. And Justin Jones, most recently featured on WTMD's Between the Grooves, wasn't afraid to muscle his songs with a well-placed wail.

The rain came midway through the all-day show. First, those in the pavilion (like myself) braved the drizzle — some even embraced it with typical wish-it-was-Woodstock dancing. But then came the downpour. We headed for cover under the pavilion and the Pier Six crew didn't blink when the empty seats suddenly became filled. I was exhausted by the time Ritter took the stage, and headed to Sip & Bite for a much-needed dinner. Despite the rain (or perhaps because of it for some), Sunday Funday delivered on its title's promise, and I owe my friends a thank you for making me break my concert-going policy.

(I happened to run into b's Brian Krista, who was on hand shooting photos. Check out his gallery here.)

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