Arroyo Seco Weekend, Day 1: A Good and Plenty and Young Saturday

Neil Young & Promise of the Real

There are many ways to describe the 2-day event that took place on the Brookside golf course in Pasadena. One way is its given name, Arroyo Seco Weekend. Another way is – despite the presence of flower crowns (for sale at $15) – the antithesis of fellow Goldenvoice fest, Coachella, due to its easy, breezy, relaxed and extremely family friendly ethos. We’re not mad that at all.

With three stages and activations aplenty (hello, NASA!) there was much to musically sample and explore whether you chose to dart back and forth among them or camp in one spot for the day (kudos to resolving last year’s annoying chairs/blankets issue by officially designating where they were and WERE NOT allowed).

Day 1 highlights include:

  • Shakey Graves and the expanse of his newfound, full banded sound.
  • Scotland’s own Belle & Sebastian.
  • The Milk Carton Kids stepping outside of their traditional folk duo formation rather beautifully.
  • Chrissie Hynde and her Pretenders dedicating songs to your mom and in fine classic rock form as long as you didn’t pet them.
  • Jack White blazing through a condenser mic-fuzzed set of songs seemingly from every band he’s been in.
  • Neil Young and Promise of the Real were loose and rock and roll laid back eschewing anything that remotely resembled a setlist in order to fly (and occasionally extensively jam) through songs like “Powderfinger,” “Lotta Love,” “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” and “Ohio” and it’s never not a pleasure to see Lukas Nelson’s POTR (with brother Micha Nelson) working their skills as Young’s backing band. Generations collide.

All photos: ZB Images