Fair concert series rocks and rolls

Stephen Underwood, Reporter

Bakersfield hosted this year’s 100th Kern County Fair, which featured a combination of both old and new artists on multiple stages. The mainstream acts, those who are still relevant, all performed on the Budweiser Pavilion stage on different nights. Some artists were local and up-and-coming, but the established artists that performed at Budweiser were from areas other than Bakersfield. Some highlight artists on the bill were The Commodores, Clay Walker, Boyz II Men, Queen Nation and Hinder.

It’s a shame the legendary The Commodores found themselves as an opening act on the very first night of performances. They should have been on one of the last nights of the fair. Despite performing without Lionel Ritchie, the crowd was very responsive on Sept. 21. Being a funk band, they definitely had people dancing. When they performed “Brick House,” women were moving around everywhere to the beat, and they kept telling ladies in the audience to scream “Tyrone.”

Country artist Clay Walker performed his own brand of country with elements of blues and alternative rock. This included a cover of “Hard to Handle” by The Black Crowes. That was just one out of multiple standoffish things during his performance, and his concert included video footage blasting behind him with beach balls being thrown around the crowd and stage. At one point during the show he told everyone in the audience that Bakersfield was “number one,” and said, “We should just give away our new album for free here.”

Boyz II Men had more fans in attendance for their R&B show than most other acts at the fair. Many fans were forced to stand up outside of the fence and bleacher area because chair space was limited. By the end of their set, many red roses were laying around the performance area, and many young girls and women were walking around with them in their hands and smiles on their faces.

Alternative rockers Hinder were one of the artists to perform on the last three nights of the fair. Many people showed up to see them, but it wasn’t crowded as with other acts. They seemed sluggish on stage when they started performing. The lead singer mentioned on stage to the fans that he was drinking whiskey, so it’s understandable that they weren’t at their best.

Even though this may seem like a petty excuse, they were also short a bandmate. Their guitarist was not in attendance for the show because his wife was having a baby.

Local radio stations and media even blasted and criticized their performance afterward, but they held their own on stage better than most artists would under the same circumstances.

Fans at the show witnessed a drunk vocalist sing higher pitched notes different from the band’s original singer while being in a group that’s had lineup changes, but he and the band managed to keep the crowd excited and receptive with old and new Hinder songs.

Lead singer Marshall Dutton joked in his microphone and responded by saying, “It’s not exactly my color.” The situation was helped by a decent cover of Stone Temple Pilots “Wicked Garden.”