With an expansive lawn, selling out the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) proves to be quite difficult. However, the first show of the summer season on June 4, did just this. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones attracted such a varied audience that every inch of the lawn was taken — whether it be by hip young professionals eating olives, cheese, and wine or older couples eating a hot box of Bojangle’s fried chicken.
The show started around 8:15PM, the perfect time to sit back and enjoy the 90-something day finally cooling off. They played newer music off their most recent album, Rocket Science. And not to go with the intentional pun, but deciding whether to buy that album isn’t rocket science.
This show is different than many in the past few years, as Howard Levy joined the band yet again. Levy, an amazing harmonica player, seems to tie the whole group together. Percussionist Futureman is about as interesting as a percussionist can get. He plays a hand-made drumitar, and has many other unique inventions based in scientific principles and pure awesomeness. If you’reever wondering which one is Futureman, just look for the pirate. Futureman’s brother plays bass in the Flecktones and hot damn! is he good. I don’t usually like bass solos, but Victor Lemonte Wooten definitely had my attention. Of course, I hardly even need to speak of Bela Fleck’s virtuosity at the banjo. Futureman made the joke that Fleck is proof that banjo jokes aren’t true. Casey Driessen, violinist of The Sparrow Quartet joined in for more of the bluegrass/folk numbers.
The concert went on until about 10PM, the lightning bugs and ambient lighting of the grounds of NCMA provided a perfect setting for the soft strumming and beats of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. If you missed out on this show–do not fret– they will be coming back to North Carolina in August! Associate acts Ben Sollee and Abigail Washburn frequent this area, so be on a look out for them as well.
If you need your weekly Bela Fleck dose, you can always tune in to Americana Blues and Company Saturday mornings from 10-12, as we are known to play an occasional Bela Fleck number.