Just got back from the Taste of Westmont in Westmont, Il.. Had a fantastic time out there visiting with CrankyDave and his less CrankyWife.. (Have I mentioned that it’s more than 100 miles from my house to theirs?)
The music was better than last year by a wide stretch.. There is the annual Sunday tribute to Muddy Waters, so that never really changes and can be missed, but Friday and Saturday we awesome.. At least this year’s headliner was worth seeing..
Saturday night features the Moods, a Motown group.. Great music, great show, especially if you like Motown music.. The headliner was American English, the Beatles tribute band.. These guys are good.. Especially if you like the Beatles.. Personally, I’m not a huge fan, and with the depth of the Beatles’ catalog even after two hours of playing I was still hearing people (ahem CrankyDave) complain that their favorite song wasn’t played.. My guess is that the concert would take all day for everyone to be happy.. BTW, I could see me wearing George’s orange suit from the Sgt. Pepper days.. Friday was better for my music wise.. Could be because I only really enjoy the mushroom days of the Beatles and not so much the rest of their stuff..
On Friday they had what they billed as the battle of the tribute bands featuring Reckoning (REM Tribute Band), One World (Police Tribute Band), Elevation (U2 Tribute Band), and Think Floyd (Pink Floyd Tribute Band). The night started early with Reckoning opening, followed by One World and Elevation, and closing the night out with Think Floyd.
I’m not a huge fan of U2 so that probably taints my view of their performance.. I really only liked the first album and after that it just got more and more pretentious to me.. The music was well played, and ‘Bono’ did reasonably well on most of the songs, but of all the bands they seemed to try to hardest to “be” the band they were paying tribute to, and it just comes off as a stage show to me and more acting than singing..
We only caught part of Reckoning.. But what I did hear was fantastic.. Unfortunately they got the 4pm slot on Friday afternoon and it made it hard to get there to listen, especially since it meant sitting in the middle of the street in 90 degree weather..
One World rocked! A couple of the band members play in both One World and Elevation so they had to pull double duty.. The music was outstanding, and they didn’t try to act like the Police.. I think that’s where a lot of tribute bands fall short.. They spend so much effort on trying to ‘look’ like the band that they forget to work on the music.. I would have changed the rotation of the bands and put One World 3rd on the night opening for Think Floyd..
Think Floyd, if you get the chance, go see them!! They were by far the best band of the weekend.. Outstanding guitar work, great vocals, and just a fantastic tribute to one of my favorite bands..
They didn’t try to ‘look’ like Pink Floyd, just played with a lot of heart and talent some great music..
Once again the village of Westmont seems to have forgotten that a “taste” of Westmont should include a lot of tasting.. But each year there are fewer and fewer food vendors out there.. This year there were a claimed 13 or 14 food vendors, but we only counted 8 after you dropped the pop/water vendors and things like Dairy Queen selling ice cream.. Maybe it’s the claimed $800 booth fee, maybe it’s the crappy layout that makes it too hard to actually sell anything, or maybe Westmont doesn’t have any decent restaurants any more..
Fortunately places like Johnny’s showed up with the most amazing roast beef and sausage combo (with Jardinara peppers) in the world.. Uncle Bub’s BBQ was there as well, fantastic BBQ ribs, and some small (?) catering company that shows up with these amazing Cuban sandwiches.. KoC was also there with corn on the cob..
Unfortunately that’s about it.. There are a couple of other vendors there, but none worth standing in line for.. Fortunately none of the other booths seem to have much of a line..
I’d like to suggest that the village of Westmont do something about the food.. Maybe lowering the booth prices for the local vendors so that they can afford to be there would be a good idea.. After all, if the local restaurants generate new business from the Taste then they will be paying more in taxes to the village rather than trying to justify the overhead of being at the festival..
Just a couple of suggestions for next year..
- More food!!! Lower that price, there are enough corporate sponsors that there is no need to milk the local restaurants and force them to stay away..
- Fix the traffic flow around the food vendors.. They used to be in 4 boot blocks making it easier to get around, the way they are now it’s a nightmare to walk around with a friend or wife, you can’t stay close together because of the massive lines blocking everything..
- PROBLEM CHILD!! Problem Child is a tribute band for AC/DC.. One of Chicago’s best local bands and they would be a blast to see at the taste of Westmont.. Maybe even a double feature with AC/DShe, nah, that might be too much to ask..