in performance: christ the king oktoberfest, day 2

gary louris re-teamed with former jayhawks mate mark olson at the christ the king oktoberfest on saturday.

gary louris re-teamed with former jayhawks mate mark olson at the christ the king oktoberfest on saturday.

How curious that the biggest musical attraction of Oktoberfest’s second day would get underway around 1:30 on Saturday afternoon. Following a highly electric noon-time wake up call from local power trio fave Slo-Fi, Gary Louris and Mark Olson re-teamed for a cordial, comfortable set of Everly Brothers-esque harmonies that celebrated, subtracted from and, at times, built upon their storied ‘90s music with The Jayhawks.

Nearly a third of the 90 minute performance focused on new material from Ready for the Flood. Although the duo cut the album over 18 months ago, it won’t be released until early 2009. The Flood fare was lighter and looser in design than the more country-savvy fare The Jayhawks favored. But there was still a quietly dour cast to Turn Your Pretty Name Around and a lovely, wistful air about Saturday Morning on Sunday Street (talk about a tune with an appropriate sense of time and place) that nicely suited the duo’s still-infectious harmonies. Of course, when vintage Jayhawks tunes both familiar (Waiting for the Sun, Blue) and overlooked (See Him on the Street, the sublime Clouds) surfaced, the duo’s inherent chemistry – a clear union of complimenting singers, songs and harmonies – simply glowed.

For my money, this was the highlight of the festival, But then again, Oktoberfest was free, so what does that tell you?

Evening sets by Peter Rowan, Justin Townes Earle and Tim Easton revealed their own modest delights.

Sound problems plagued much of Rowan’s performance, though nothing detracted from the brilliant, show-opening Dust Bowl Children. Rowan also took honors for tackling the festival’s riskiest material by performing a new political rant called Chopping Down the Trees for Jesus on the church grounds of Christ the King Cathedral. Few, if any, feathers seemed to be ruffled, though. After all, we’re talking here about a church event with beer sales and bingo tents. Rowan also dealt with a busted guitar string during Land of the Navajo, but still used his handicapped instrument to sail into the otherworldly chant that long ago distinguished the piece.

Earle stuck to heavily traditional fare that mixed music from his Yuma and The Good Life recordings with vintage songs first popularized by Charlie Poole and Flatt & Scruggs. But of the cover material, the Lightning Hopkins blues staple My Starter Won’t Start This Morning, a tune Earle credited the late local bluesman Joey Broughman for teaching him, was a highlight. With accompanist Cory Younts on harmonica, My Starter was a rootsy detour from a country repertoire steeped in the vocal and songwriting inspirations of Hank Williams.

“I always wanted to go on between Hank Williams and the Beatles,” Easton said at the onset of his 40 minute set, alluding to Earle’s obvious influence and a Fab Four cover band called 8 Days a Week that would later close Oktoberfest. Though he opened with the decade-old Just Like Home, Easton focused heavily on new, narrative heavy tunes like the boogie fortified Burgundy Red and an engaging work of personal and political reclamation called The Weight of Changing Everything. As with all of Easton’s frequent visits here, the performance was earnest, entertaining and thoroughly involving.

Sales tracker says ‘Cyber Monday’ sales up 33 pct

AP Worldstream November 29, 2011 | MAE ANDERSON NEW YORK (AP) ?ˆ” Online sales rose 33 percent on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a report by a sales tracking agency said Tuesday.

The average order rose 2.6 percent to $193.24 on the day known as “Cyber Monday,” when retailers amp up online promotions, according to IBM Benchmark. It didn’t give comparative total dollar sales numbers, however.

The agency said about 80 percent of retailers offered online deals.

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans’ growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop.

Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, have been offering more and better incentives like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It’s important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. site cyber monday sales

“Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend, said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Smarter Commerce.

About 6.6 percent of online shoppers used a mobile device to shop, up from 2.3 percent in 2010. Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad were the top mobile devices for retail traffic, with Android devices coming in third.

Web traffic rose 28 percent on Monday, according to another firm, online content-delivery firm Akamai. The peak was at 9 p.m. Eastern when shoppers on both the East and West coasts were online.

The numbers echo a strong shopper showing in brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday weekend. A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to the NRF. And sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, rose 7 percent to $11.4 billion, the largest amount ever spent, according to ShopperTrak, which gathers stores’ data. cybermondaysalesnow.com cyber monday sales

A clearer picture of how holiday sales are shaping up will come on Thursday, when major retailers report November sales.

The term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by The National Retail Federation, a retail trade group, to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

MAE ANDERSON



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