Saturday, 4:00 PM — Garden Stage
Sometimes a gamble pays off.
Faced with competing sets between a sure thing (Trombone Shorty, who absolutely tore the place apart in 2010) and an unknown (Mingo Fishtrap, a group out of Austin that I only knew as a funny name before today), I decided to roll the dice and head over to the Garden Stage.
Mingo Fishtrap, as it turns out, is an eight-man juggernaut of classic soul, New Orleans gumbo, horn-driven power funk and slick big-band blues. They’re earthy and eclectic (there was even a bit of samba rhythm in the at one point) and ready to roll.
All cylinders are clicking early in the set: a tight three-man horn section, burning Hammond organ from keyboardist Dane Farnsworth, double trouble from drum kit and Latin percussion… But it’s Roger Blevins Jr. Who drives the machine, pouring it on with his blues-soaked, Mississippi-bred voice and guitar. The US Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying team screams overhead midway through one number, on their way to a nearby air show, but it might as well be part of the act: Blevins merely points skyward and keeps his groove going without missing a beat.
They tease us with the intro to Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” churning the familiar melody into what sounds like the beginning of an epic, but it’s just the start of a quick-hit soul medley. James Brown, however, gets the royal treatment towards the end of the gig. “Soul Power,” “It’s a Man’s World,” “I’ve Got the Feeling”… It’s Star Time on the Garden Stage, and the heat just keeps on coming. I still don’t know what the heck a mingo fishtrap is, but I’m hooked.