Manchester, TN – Although the Toms River, NJ collective, River City Extension, was the first band to step foot on a one of the festival’s major venues, essentially opening the entire festival, River City’s work wasn’t done.
On Thursday evening, the party wasn’t on a main stage, under a tent, or at a silent disco, but at a private party on the festival grounds curated by the Toms River natives Danny Clinch, the world renown Rock N’ Roll photo-journalist and documentarian, and Tim Donnelly, one of the Garden State’s top music writers, producers, creative consultants, and former Asbury Park Press music journalist, and headlined by none other than River City Extension.
“We had River City play today, Nicole Atkins on Sunday, and Danny’s party tonight,” said Donnelly of his hometown’s presence at the festival. “We’re renaming it River Roo this year.”
Clinch’s role in the gala wasn’t limited to host as he jumped on the makeshift stage, a series wooden planks on a pile of soil with acoustics projected forward by a pair of strategically positioned removable walls, joining the opening acts The Hog Slop String Band and James Wallace & The Naked Light on harmonica.
The openers drew such onlookers as the budding comedian, burgeoning Rapper, and star of the NBC comedy Community, Donald Glover, Wavves vocalist and guitar maestro Nathan Williams and Country songstress Abigail Washburn who not only swung on the dirt dance floor with any man willing to take her hand, but joined both acts for backing vocals as well as banjo plucking.
The evening came to an aflamed climax when River City Extension ripped into a series of cuts from the groups full-length, including the crowd pleasing “Mexico” and “Something Salty, Something Sweet,” the audience engulfing the stage in dance during the latter.
Clinch’s backyard carnival commenced with a Super Jam as members of both The Hog Slop String Band and James Wallace & The Naked Light ran through a triplet of Swamp-Rock classics including Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and camp-wide sing along of “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain When She Comes.”
More Photos From River Roo ’11: