Federal Street Music Festival
April 29, 2007
With Cross Street shut down from Light Street to Charles and stages flanking each end, people crammed in for a full day of live music at the Federal Hill Music Festival in downtown Baltimore.
After stellar sets by the Eva Castillo Trio, Basshound, and the Cheaters (among others), The Bridge closed out the day with a two hour set that marked the band’s first appearance in their hometown in almost two months. The set, which had been billed as “A Special Guest Band…” with no mention of The Bridge, surprised many in attendance, except for those people who had been trolling the band’s message boards earlier in the week where the information about their set had been briefly “leaked”.
Starting off with their signature song “Super Funk,” the band moved through the first half of a set that saw them touch on all realms of their repertoire. From the deep blues of “Station Blues,” to the infectious snap of “Good Rhythm,” to the groove-infected “Pakalolo,” the band brought out it all.
From there, they moved into the highlight of the set, a “Shakedown Street > Just Kissed My Baby > Shakedown Street” sandwich. This adventurous journey through the Grateful Dead classic seemed to infuse the band and the crowd with a sense of shared excitement that set the stage for the rest of the show.
An old school favorite, “Rising Sun,” gave way to a nice jam and transition that led into “Use Me Up.” A recently debuted tune, “Dirtball Blues,” came next and with lyrics that were wholly appropriate on a lazy Sunday afternoon, guitarist Cris Jacobs, mandolinist Kenny Liner, and bassist Dave Markowitz traded verses.
Then as the sun was setting behind the stage, casting long shadows across the crowd, Liner started to strum a simple reggae line, and the band broke into the Bob Marley classic “Small Axe.” While not the end of their set, the final two songs and encore that followed were just icing on the cake to a near flawless set that saw The Bridge deliver a stellar “surprise” homecoming show to all those shakin’ on down on Cross Street.