High Sierra Music Festival’s top five performances

Tahoe Onstage

The spirit of Melvin Seals’ music is reflected in his eyes.

See Tahoe Onstage FESTIVALS category for full High Sierra coverage.

Larry Sabo moved faster than the speed of his Canon’s shutter during the June 29-July 2 High Sierra Music Festival. By using his mountain bike, he flitted from the Grandstand, Vaudeville, Big Meadow and Music Hall to capture images at the 27th annual festival in Quincy. Incredibly, Sabo photographed every performance on Day 1.

Shooting the first three to five songs from each set, he took more than 2,000 images on the first day and more than 1,500 on each of the next three days.

Man in motion Larry Sabo.

“I had to tightly schedule everything,” he said. “I tied a clock to my camera harness so it was right in my face so I could keep on time.  I couldn’t do this without the bicycle because it’s too far to get to the main stage and back without missing something.”

As he does every year, Sabo stayed on the scene by sleeping in his camper trailer just outside the fairgrounds. He faced some adversity when he lost his cell phone. “I didn’t have my phone the whole day on Saturday, even though it was returned to me by the stage crew of the Big Meadow stage early that day it had a dead battery and it took all day to charge it back up again.

Covering the festival was the fun part for Sabo, who is now processing all of his shots.

“I’m working on Tahoe Onstage stories, other requests from performers, vendors and crowd patrons first and then will go through each day as I can,” he said.  “It’s tough since I have shows to shoot over the next four days.”

Below, Sabo lists his five favorite performances from the 2017 High Sierra Music Festival.

Tahoe Onstage

Arcata’s Jerry Joseph rocks Vaudeville. Widespread Panic has covered seven of his songs.

5 – Jerry Joseph & the Jack Mormons. You can tell this guy has led a hard life and has an equal outlook on experiences, but boy can he put emotion into a song. Don’t let me forget to mention he’s a superb guitar player. I really want to hear more of him.

Tahoe Onstage

Lebo & Friends shine at High Sierra. Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, left, and Lesley Grant from Katdelic are pictured. The group included Melvin Seals, Bobby Vega and Jay Lane.

4 – Another gold standard will be the Lebo & Friends set with Melvin Seals, Bobby Vega, Jay Lane and Lesley Grant (one of my favorite female vocalists around).

Tahoe Onstage

Bokante’s Malika Tirolien sings in Creole and French.

3 – Next will be Bokante, which is a collaboration of superstars. Watch for this band in the future. With a sound like no others, I’m sure they will do quite well.

Tahoe Onstage

Fast, furious and astounding, Billy Strings gets down at the Big Meadow.

2 – Billy Strings has more energy and talent than you would think humanly possible. I mean, come on, have you ever seen someone do a back somersault while playing the guitar?

Tahoe Onstage

For the best performance of the 2017 High Sierra Music Festival, Tahoe Onstage photographer Larry Sabo picks the Troubadour session with members of Achilles Wheel, Lil’ Smokies and Kat Myers & The Buzzards.

1 – My favorite set was the Troubadour Session on Saturday night with Andy Dunnigan & Jake Simpson (The Lil’ Smokies), Jonny “Mojo” Flores & Paul Kamm (Achilles Wheel) and Kat Myers (& the Buzzards). These guys can just look at each other and communicate musically through osmosis.

Any one of these artists or bands alone was worth the price of admission!

Tahoe Onstage

Paul Kamm of Achilles Wheel, a band from Placerville.

Tahoe Onstage

Andy Dunnigan, left, and Jake Simpson of The Lil’ Smokies.

Tahoe Onstage

Have a cigar, Jonny “Mojo” Flores, for an outstanding Troubadour performance.

Tahoe Onstage

There is quite a buzz about Kat Myers & The Buzzards.

Tahoe Onstage

Multi-instrumentalist Keita Ogawa plays with Banda Magda, Snarky Puppy and, at High Sierra, Bokante.

Tahoe Onstage

Sacred steel star Roosevelt Collier gets down with Bokante.

About Larry Sabo

Larry Sabo is a real-estate broker with a passion for rock 'n; roll photography. He makes his living during the day selling real estate but you'll see him at night enjoying shows. Stop and talk to him anytime you see him out, he will always appreciate it.

One comment

  1. Kathleen Medley

    Tim Parsons, I’m with you, my highlight was the Troubadour session with Lil Smokies, Kat Meyers & Jonny “Mojo” Flores & Paul Kamm. Really enjoyed EVERY moment of this & videoed a lot of it! Please encourage folks to hire these fine musicians IF you know anyone interested. Nice write up!!!

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