Allen Stone closes Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with all his “Free Love”

Allen Stone performs at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Sunday, October 2, 2016. Photo credit to Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle.

Allen Stone performs at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Sunday, October 2, 2016. Photo credit to Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle.

There are some performers who are like a breath of fresh air. Their voice is clear as crystal and pierces through your heart; their music gets under your bones, sending grooves and good vibes through your blood; and their overall set preaches love, joy and the simple act of feeling good.

Allen Stone, a Washington-born retro soul singer who takes a liking to Bill Withers and Al Green, is that breath of fresh air who knew just how to get the crowd moving and swaying to his soulful seven-piece big band music, all donning his funky plaid pants and long curly waves through the San Francisco air.

“I was watching the other performances and was so bored, I heard this guy and he was tearing it up,” I overheard an older gentleman say of Stone’s performance.

I’m not familiar with Stone’s discography, nor have I heard much of his music, but I have to say, he won me over with his live performance.

As he took the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Arrow Stage in the heart of Golden Gate Park last Sunday night, good vibes and high energy were felt all around. I haven’t seen a live performance that gave me that many goosebumps, cause myself to make a little “stank face,” or even been taught a lesson in swaying and clapping to the music with the crowd.

I have nothing but love for Stone’s performance. He’s got that authentic soul vibe and goofy quirk of a guy you feel comfortable dancing along with. And when he opens his set with high energy and a pure love of music that gets the whole crowd moving, you know it’s gonna be a good night.

“San Francisco, we love you so much thank you for coming out to the set,” Stone calls out. “We wanna let you know that right here right now is a safe place to enjoy yourself.”

And we sure did. I cannot even imagine how chilling it would be to hear Stone perform in a closed venue, with his music filling the room and sending chills down your spine–because even in that open (and free) music festival air, I could feel his soul sending his good, good love.

I’ve got nothing but love Mr. Stone. Nothing but my “Free Love.”

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