Black Dirt Music Festival 2022 Day 1 with Kaleo, Houndmouth, Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs, and Leah Blevins
Downtown Bloomington, Illinois
The best outdoor music festival is one in your small town. Black Dirt Music Festival has returned for third year. The bands being brought to the stage have gotten huge.
Friday night started hot with temperatures starting at 88 with a heat index of 97. The humidity was not as bad as some days during July in the Midwest. What we say in Illinois is if you don’t like the weather, just wait, it will change. The festival is an eclectic mix of Rock, Folk and Americana.
Leah Blevins started the night off. Leah is from Kentucky and her music is definitely rooted in Country She has a classic beauty and great voice. Her band was the perfect compliment to her style. Most of the fans stayed in the shade which was plentiful in the back.
The next band on the lineup was Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs. Mike Campbell is a member of The Heartbreakers and co-wrote many of their hits with Tom Petty. Mike had been performing only in Los Angeles with The Dirty Knobs but finally decided to go on tour after the death of Tom Petty. We got to hear “Runnin’ Down A Dream” first. When Mike first walked out on the stage, he was having some small, technical difficulties. He was not happy with the sound for the first few songs. After getting dialed in, the band sounded great performing their songs and also Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers songs. Before performing the song with the expletive, Mike wanted to warn the crowd that there was a bad word for the kids but they’ll have to learn some day “F*ck Tht Guy”. During the set, they performed a stripped down, melancholy verson of “Refugee” Of course, the breakdown was still very rocking because it just has to be played that way. Mike Campbell lamented that 40 years ago, there was a lot of reasons for writing that song with Tom Petty and still to this day, it is relevant and dedicated to those people who needed it. The crowd got to see the band just jam and rock out for their final song. It was great seeing such talent at Black Dirt Music Festival. Many of the other artists at the festival were humbled to share the stage with Mike Campbell.
Houndmouth were favorites and had been at The Castle Theatre numerous times before. So many people told me that was their favorite band of the evening and that is who they were there to see. Houndmouth is from New Albany, Indiana. The band has been steady on the scene with performances at SXSW Festival, Bonnarroo and Lollapalooza. Their style is definitely Americana with roots in Rock. They have had some lineup changes but remain a band. They performed “Las Vegas”, “Honey Slider” “Darlin’” and of course, “Sedona” Houndmouth is one of those bands who you could dance all night to their songs and just feel them. Well, they had to make room for the Friday headliner, Kaleo.
Kaleo is a an Icelandic blues rock band. Their hits include “Way Down We Go” which has been certified as double platinum in the United States, “All The Pretty Girls” and “Rock ‘n’ Roller”, “No Good” and “ Break My Baby”. The band consists of Jökull Júlíusson aka JJ, drummer Davíð Antonsson, bassist Daníel Kristjánsson, lead guitarist Rubin Pollock and harmoncist Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson. Kaleo released their third studio album, Surface Sounds, on April 23, 2021. JJ has an amazing voice with a huge range. The band sounded great. You know when you want to go see your favorite band live and then you hear them and maybe they do not sound as good live as their album. That is not the case with Kaleo. They sounded better than their album. The harmoncist, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson, had great energy bounding around the stage and playing with passion that is rarely seen with a harmoncist. The fans were there to rock out and Kaleo helped them achieve their goals.