By the time Six Star General (video here) took to the stage just after 4 p.m. Saturday, the crowd was ready for some noise.
Already, a handful of bands had played at the fourth annual Fusion Fest, which took over Blount Landing in downtown Warren all day Saturday. There was Mark Cutler, one of Rhode Island’s treasures, singing with just an acoustic guitar and, for his last tune, a duet with Warren’s Otis Read on harmonica. The Propellers, a trio that sang a song about Colt State Park. The Bob Kendall Band, Lloyd’s Llamas, Suicide Bill, Sentimental Favorites and Paul Rocha. There were others, too.
So when Six Star General started, the crowd was primed and ready. The band played through a minor electrocution (the bass player was fine, if buzzed), a technical problem with an amp, a cymbal that kept falling over, and a few minutes of light rain driven in by storm clouds that had threatened all afternoon before finally letting loose. By the time Six Star got around to its last number, a cover of Camper Van Beethoven’s “Take The Skinheads Bowling,” the clouds parted and sunshine poured down on the crushed clamshell stage. The crowd, dancing and clapping and singing along, roared.
Saturday’s festival, showcasing artists signed with Warren’s 75orLess Records, was a benefit for the FusionWorks Dance Company in Providence. It wasn’t just about the music. There were a handful of gourmet food trucks selling everything from pom frites to tacos and burgers, local beer and wine, and face painting and other games for the kids. At one point between sets, a flash mob about 100 strong broke into spontaneous dance.
The festival has grown every year, and organizers estimated that more than 1,000 people came and went.
“What a great day!” said Katie Dickson, one of the organizers.