Playing outside of Nashville for the first time didn't seem to phase Adia Victoria and her band. Before she even played a single note on the main stage at the Secret Stages Festival in Birmingham, she confidently commanded the crowd milling around the stage to move in a bit closer. Those who ventured further in for a closer look and listen were enchanted by her devastatingly expressive and original voice painting pictures of her South. A South many of us Southerners often gloss over with cloying stories of lightning bugs, sweet tea, and "yes ma'am's" on our way to church. In truth, there's rarely much of that famous "hospitality", it's oppressive, cruel and unflinching.
The rest of the band was up to the task of playing the main stage too. Drummer Tiffany Minton's pace slowed to match the bluesy tone, bassist Ruby Rogers shook the asphalt with her elegant bass work, and Mason Hickman set fire to it all with adept handling of his guitar.
It's hard to believe that a band with just one song in the wild could be this good. Based on the strength of that one song, Stuck in the South, Adia Victoria was on my short list of must see artists on Saturday. The soul packed bluesy rocker is a modern day distillation of Mississippi Delta Blues, and is lights-out fantastic. Yet, it's the only thing I could find from the band. Stuck in the South is today's Song of the Day, listen below.
The rest of the set was just as good -- passionate, raw and urgent -- and makes me anxious to hear the material on a full length album.
The rest of my photos from the show can be found on my Flickr page. Sadly, I couldn't get a clean shot of the drummer, Tiffany, during this set. And that's sad because she was photogenic, smiling and energetic. Later, when she sat in on the drums with Pujol, I still couldn't get a clean shot. A few other photographers took to climbing the stairs behind the stage for those shots, but I didn't feel comfortable doing so.
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