(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)
Rendezvous Fest Schedule
**All Shows are free
Thursday, March 19 (Tram Stage, 3 p.m.) – Screen Door Porch
Friday, March 20 (Jackson Town Square Stage, 5 p.m.) – Robert Earl Keen, Jason Spooner Band, Wyatt Lowe & the Mayhem Kings
Saturday, March 21 (Tram Stage, 3 p.m.) – Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons
Saturday, March 21 (Rendezvous at the Mountain at Teton Village Parking Lot, 5:30 p.m.) – Mix Master Mike, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mandatory Air
Sunday, March 22 (Tram Stage, 2 p.m.) – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Chanman Roots Band
Rendezvous Fest brings warm spring weather
When the man behind the crime-spree song “The Road Goes on Forever (and the Party Never Ends)” tells you that he’s “had some killer times in Jackson” and “had the worst hangover of [his] life there thanks to [his] good friend Kip Attaway and that madman Don Wackerman,” there’s reason to believe that our small community holds some late night memories for him. Building on legendary, Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen is a hard-edged story man, capable of engulfing you in the intricacies of a moment, a social situation, a feeling, and do it within the context of a five minute tune.
For much of his eighteen-album career, beginning with No Kinda Dancer [1984/Sugar Hill], Keen has been able to balance this sensitive story telling (“Corpus Christi Bay”) with rowdy barroom sing-a-longs (“That Buckin’ Song”)—all the while contributing to the what would emerge as the genre of alt-country sometime around 1998. His introduction into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame puts him alongside his longtime college buddy Lyle Lovett, and the heralded Townes Van Zandt. Keep an eye on his fans during his shows—they’re completely committed to his lyrics and the ride that ensues.
“The audience is like the Twelfth Man in Aggie land,” commented Keen on the importance of crowd rapport, making an analogy to his Alma mater Texas A&M’s Twelfth Man tradition, a story in which a plain-clothed student was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the remainder of a 1922 football game victory. “We could do it without [a dedicated audience], but it’s no fun and everybody loses. Every night there are throngs of fans that want to sing along, hear their favorite song, take a selfie with me. Always.”
Keen is one of several bands headlining slots during Rendezvous Fest this weekend, which kicks-off 3 p.m. Thursday with Americana, roots-rock quartet Screen Door Porch on the Tram Stage and concludes Sunday at the same location with ripping blues rock guitarist Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (4 p.m.) along with roots-reggae eight-piece Chanman Roots Band (2 p.m.). What will transpire in between includes a daily lineup of free music both in Teton Village and in town.
Keen and his five-piece band will play on the Town Square Stage (5 p.m. Friday) along with guest openers Jason Spooner Band, who have an R&B-groovy, singer-songwriter-esque, soulful vibe, while teenage rockabilly phenom, Wyatt Lowe & The Mayhem Kings, open the evening. Lowe is poised to release his debut LP, Songs From a Bottomless Well, next month.
Next up is groovin’, funkin’, dance-folk sextet Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons, owning the Tram Stage at 3 p.m. Saturday in advance of the main stage show—dubbed Rendezvous at the Mountain—which will feature what is becoming the staple headliner, hip-hop/pop/rock band Michael Franti & Spearhead, followed by the legendary Mix Master Mike. Rendezvous at the Mountain kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in Teton Village parking lot.
Turntablist Mix Master Mike’s association with The Beastie Boys plays out in an interesting timeline of top-notch beat makers, though he originally made a name for himself as a three-time DMC World DJ Champion. Mike worked with the B-Boys on Hello Nasty (1998), To The 5 Boroughs (2004), and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011). From the studio to world tours, Mix Master Mike was effectively the Beastie Boys’ resident DJ, having replaced DJ Hurricane, who was preceded by Doctor Dré (not to be confused with Dr. Dre), who replaced Rick Rubin, also known as DJ Double R.
Enjoy the Teton kick-off to spring, and utilize the START Bus and taxi cabs should you decide to indulge!
All concerts are free; private reserve tickets are available to guests who prefer access to a private viewing area adjacent to the stage as well as complimentary food and beverages, starting at $75. JacksonHole.com.