Bowlive V, Brooklyn Bowl 2014

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Photo by: Dino Perrucci

Bowlive, Soulive’s two week residency, is ending it’s fifth year tonight at the infamous Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.  I have been lucky enough to be able to catch all five years, and incredibly witness how each year seemingly gets better over the last year.

This year’s special guests have ranged from Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Susan Tedeschi and New Orleans’ legends George Porter Jr. and  Jon Cleary, to lesser known 11 year old savant’s from Brendan “TAZ” Neidermeyer, Eddie Roberts, Joe Russo, DMC and Talib Kweli, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, Sonya Kitchell, and Nigel Hall.

Photo courtesy of: Alan Evans

Photo courtesy of: Alan Evans

The Shows: Admittedly, I have not been able to hit all the shows as I have in years past.  However, I can tell the nature of the Bowlive residency has mellowed into a well-known two weeks of throwdown funk, with surprise guests galore.  I use the word “mellowed” because the players (Neal Evans, keys; Eric Krasno, guitar; Alan Evans, drums) have seemingly settled into the pace of this particular run.  I am certainly not saying these shows are mellow, they are anything but mellow.  From the opening night two weeks ago, you can sense the excitement, the high energy building in the club.  The second night was frenzied, but no one seemed to realize that the show was going long to allow Warren Haynes to come from the Upper West Side where  the Allman’s were playing.  Those who either knew what was happening, or those who just hung out, were treated to a 4 song set that lasted well past 2am.

For me, my personal highlight were the ones I have attended.  First night (Thurs), vocalist and keyboardist Nigel Hall brought us back to the first few years of Bowlive where he was a nightly staple to the Soulive trio.

Third night (Sat), I was grateful to see George Porter Jr., bring his personal brand of funkiness to the stage, and the Soulive men tweak a little to the NOLA side of funk.  Add Eddie Roberts, from the New Mastersounds and The London Souls and this night was way up on the face melting scale. Here is a clip of the night before, when Warren Haynes stopped by:

Highlights: Night 4:  Jon Cleary & John Scofield John Scofield needs no introduction. He also has played with the Soulive trio for years, and the chemistry between the four men is palpable.  You can tell the Soulive men adore Scofield, and this bounces back from Sco to the Soulive guys.  The riffs that Krasno and Scofield throw at each other are mesmorizing.  I am not sure if I danced or just stood there with my mouth open.  I wish there was video to share with you.

John «Sco» Scofield  (Foto: Vidar Ruud, ANB)

John «Sco» Scofield (Foto: Vidar Ruud, ANB)

Highlights: Night 5: Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, John Cleary.  “Turn on Your Lovelight”

THROWDOWN

The Food:  I ate the addictively delicious Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, but have to admit my new favorite is the Rock n Roll Fries.  I’ll let ya’ll in on a secret – it is fries and gravy with cheese on the bottom of the plate.  Fattening and delicious for sure.  With all the dancing I’ve done the past two weeks, I have no guilt at all.

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Tonight is the last night to catch BOWLIVE V.  Will you be there?  Hope to see you.  http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/470695-bowlive-v-soulive-brooklyn/

Bowlive IV, Night 1 and 2, Brooklyn Bowl

The birth of this music blog began four years ago, at the first Bowlive, Soulive’s yearly residency at The Brooklyn Bowl.  The Bowl had also just opened their doors around that time, and it seemed that View Skewed and Brooklyn Bowl has grown leaps and bounds since that time.

Brooklyn Bowl has become one of the top 10 destinations in NYC, and opening locations in Las Vegas and London.  View Skewed has been writing for such great publications like Jambands.com, Relix.com and now for The Capitol Theatre.  It is fitting that View Skewed returns to our roots by covering Bowlive IV.  The reviews of the first Bowlive shows, if your interested, for shits and giggles….

IMG_4012NIGHT 1 Highlights:  (set lists below)
The Bowl was packed, Kung Fu opened, with their amazing 100% in your face jazz/funk fusion fury.  Night 1 special guests were John Popper, from Blues Traveler, and Luther & Cody Dickinson, with an unannounced appearance from Tedeschi and Trucks Band trombonist, Saunders Sermons.

NIGHT 1 Scene:  John Popper, special guest

Packed Bowl.  Packed for a Thursday, the most packed first night of Bowlive I’ve seen in the four years.  Soulive played first set and then brought out John Popper.  Popper sounds gooood, he looks good, and he sounded powerful and strong when he sang his tune, “Mulling it Over.” His signature voice sounds sweet yet tough, and it was great to see him up there. It’s always a treat for me to see Popper.

IMG_4038Second Set:  Luther and Cody Dickinson, special guests

It was all southern twang style with Luther and Kraz going tit for tat against each other, and Cody was playing some electronic drum next to Neal Evans’ keyboard rig.  Then Cody put on his infamous electronic washboard, and made those odd yet fun swishing sounds that I have come to love from the North Mississippi Allstars.  I turned to my friend and said, “This makes me feel like Wanee is close.”  Indeed, The Wanee Festival is about a month away.  Saunders Sermon strolled on stage to finish the last couple of songs with Soulive and The Dickinson Brothers.They played long on the first night, since DJ Questo couldn’t make his Bowltrain set, and we danced until around 1:15pm on a Thursday evening in Brooklyn.

Night 2

Pre-Show: Line to get in, packed house, people milling around for Sister Sparrow.  We got our drink, we said hello to some people, we found our spot near the stage, and watched the opening set. Continue reading

The Warren Haynes Band, Beacon Theater, May 12, 2011

The Warren Haynes Band is out on tour with their first album as a newly formed band including Warren Haynes, guitar, Ron Holloway, sax, Ruthie Foster, vocals, Ron Johnson, bass, Nigel Hall, piano/keys, and Terence Higgins, drums.  (Set List Below.)

Photo by Allison Murphy

The new album, “Man in Motion” has seemingly found a buzz surrounding the cd, and if you judged the response from opening night in NYC, the crowd is equally excited as it was energized.  I haven’t listened to the album yet, I have a penchant for live recordings, but have downloaded it from iTunes and plan to try to decipher the differences between what I heard at Christmas Jam, Wanee Festival and now at The Beacon.

First set at the Beacon, you could feel the energy amped for the Opening night of the Tour.  A heavy Gov’t Mule-head crowd represented.  I was seated next to the soundboard, and had a perfect shot of Warren and his guitar through the crowd. Unfortunately my neighbor had a few too many drinks a few songs too early, and wanted to be a chatty Cathy with me, while Warren and the band were busy playing.  Sorry guy, didn’t mean to be rude but when I go to a show, I go to listen to the music, not chat with strangers.  Sorry.

I was lucky though, one of my gals stopped by and grabbed me to go downstairs to the ladies room.  Thankfully she ended what could have been my torture for the first set, trying to listen and watch the band while some grabby guy wanted to chat and bump into me.  Thank you sister, you saved me from many bruises…

Photo by View Skewed

So – the scene is set, with the exception of the not such the coolest security guards ever, I can finally dance and listen.  They sound great.  The songs range from rock and roll to bluesy soul, to funky horns explosion.

Warren wails on his guitar.  Warren sings.  Warren banters back and forth with the amazing vocalist, Ruthie Foster.  Foster has this sexy, strong voice which she uses as backup vocals for Haynes, and then her power comes out when she banters with Warren’s guitar licks with her voice.  It’s incredible to watch.

Ron Holloway on saxophone.  Holloway is the man.  Click here for more and YouTube Videos.  Continue reading

22nd Annual Xmas Jam – TOP TEN

My Top 10 highlights of the 22nd Annual Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC.

10.  The Christmas Jam Ale was delicious going down.  But it crushed me the next morning.

9.  Dirty Dozen Brass Band opening the Pre-Jam, and setting the tone for the whole weekend.

8.  New band The Last Straw from Nashville TN.  Rocking southern sound, and wonderful nice people.  Can’t wait to see them in NYC!

7.  The Satellite Gallery showcasing incredible photos from Allison Murphy, Danny Clinch (this one being my favorite), David Oppenheimer, Dino Perrucci, Don Van Cleave, Jay Blakesberg, Kirk West, Stewart O’Shields.
Poster Art By: Eugene Serebrennikov (Hyp_inc), Gary Houston, Jeff Troldahl, Steve Johannsen & More

6.  Standing next to Artemis Pyle at the Emerald Lounge – no more than 5 feet from him.  Wow.

5.  VIP tickets for Christmas Jam allowing us to get into the Pre-Jam at the Orange Peel, and extra amenities at the Christmas Jam.  They fed me, and they had a separate bar line (albeit always very long), coat check and private bathrooms.

4.  Steve Miller, a cappella and Carlos Reyes on harp.  Song dedicated to Les Paul.  Breathtaking, goosebumps.

3.  The Warren Haynes Band. No words.  Seriously.  Highlight: Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley

2.  Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes, acoustic, playing Melissa at the Pre-Jam.  Brought me to new heights.

1.  The Players:  Warren Haynes, Ruthie Foster, Ivan Neville, Ron Holloway, Ron Johnson, Terrence Higgins, Kevn Kinney, Audley Freed, Gregg Allman, Steve Miller, John Bell, JoJo Hermann, Umphree’s McGee, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cody Dickinson and so many more…

Warren Haynes Presents the 22nd Annual Christmas Jam

My first Christmas Jam.  My first visit to Asheville, NC.  I. Can. Not. Wait….

Just look at the lineup!  Hope to see ya’ll there!

Warren Haynes Presents
The 22nd Annual Christmas Jam
Featuring:

Steve Miller Band
The Warren Haynes Band
Gregg Allman
John Bell (Widespread Panic)
Umphrey’s McGee
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Missing Cats

w/ Special Guests
Mike Barnes
Cody Dickinson
Fred Eltringham
Sherman Ewing
Ruthie Foster
Audley Freed
John “JoJo” Hermann
Terence Higgins
Ron Holloway
Ron Johnson
Robert Kearns
Kevn Kinney
Ivan Neville

Another One For Woody – Recap: 11.22.10, Roseland Ballroom

This show could easily have been the best show of the year.

After almost a week, I believe I have processed this show enough to write my own notes.  I have floated all week from this gig, and many of my friends have also experienced the same.  Chad Berndtson has written two great write-ups for Glide Magazine, and Jambands also has reviewed the show.  I will try not to replicate, but put my own skewed view on it.

For a Southern Rock lover, this whole show was bliss.  From Warren’s first line, “Thanks for being part of this special night, we really appreciate it.” to the ending song by the Allman’s (Wish You Were Here), the place stood on their feet for six hours and we all lifted off the ground a few feet.  The ticket was pricey ($117 from Ticketmaster), but it was worth it.  Here are my own personal highlights, and why…

The line up consisted of:

7:45 pm  Set 1: Warren Haynes Acoustic (Warren Haynes, Edwin McCain & Kevin Kinney):

Edwin McCain on vocals during the second song, The Lucky One, literally made tears form in my eyes, the lyrics tugged at my heartstrings… seriously.  I knew we were in for a show, we were no more than 10 minutes in and here I was… moved to tears and goosebumps already. They end with I Shall Be Released which was àpropos since Edwin McCain sounded (to my ears) very Dylan-esque.  What a beautiful acoustic way to slide into this night’s magical soundtrack.

photo by: Dino Perrucci

8:15/8:30 pm Set 2: The North Mississippi Allstars (Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, keyboards, electric washboard) with special guests: Gordie Johnson)

They came out like a bat outta hell, raging on those guitars.  They sounded crisp and clear, and they looked like they were having a blast.  These guys are so fun, they have that beautiful twang of the guitar that makes me melt.  Slowing down for a second after the first 3 or 4 songs with Glory Glory, then bringing up Gordie Johnson for Po Black Maddie, this set really set the tone.  Shake up the audience a bit with nice lookin’ men up there with their twangy, slidy, southern guitars.  Mmhmm… The Roseland was lifting higher to the stratosphere…

photo by Allison Murphy

9ish  Set 3:  Gov’t Mule (Warren Haynes (guitar), Matt Abts (drums), Jorgen Carlsson (bass), Danny Louis (keys, trumpet) with special guests: Gordie Johnson, Jim Loughlin, Vinnie Amico, Chuck Garvey, Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Artemis Pyle, Rich Robinson, Robert Kearns, Audley Freed, Savannah Woody

If you know me at all, you know I’m a Mulehead.  So, obviously, I was in heaven the minute these guys took the stage.  But a few songs standout to me, and the only way I know this is because I’ve put these selects on repeat on my iPod since the show ended.

Gov’t Mule Highlights:  Simple Man, Soulshine, Dear Prudence, 32/20 Blues

Um, 32/20 was incredible, harmonica by Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson on guitar, Cody Dickinson on some sort of washboard instrument around his neck. The music was coming at you in 100 mph speeds… 

Dear Prudence was killer with moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey joining in on the fun.

But for me, the one that blew me away…. Simple Man with Skynyrd’s Artemis Pyle and Robert Kearns … holy hell, my head exploded, heaven…seriously…no words.  Look below for the video.  Good lord.

Then Soulshine with Woody’s beautiful daughter singing with Warren.  Savannah Woody’s voice is sweet and angelic, she seemed a little shy up there, but all the musicians around her on stage were propping her up, you could feel the love on the stage, from the audience and back again.  She stood up there, and Artemis ran up to her with a tambourine.  This song with Savannah – again it was a goosebump moment…. Breathtaking.

 

photo by: Dino Perrucci

11:45ish – Allman Brothers Band (Gregg Allman (vocals, keys), Warren Haynes (guitar), Derek Trucks (guitar), Oteil Burbridge (bass), Butch Trucks (drums), Jai “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums, percussion), Marc Quiñones (drums, percussion, background vocals) with special guests: Hook Herrera, Berry Oakley Jr., Rich Robinson, Audley Freed, Danny Louis, Chuck Garvey, Vinnie Amico, James Van de Bogard, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Gordie Johnson, Matt Abts

After a loooong set break, setting up for the last set, we got started probably sometime around the midnight hour with ABB in all their guitar glory.

Allman Brothers Highlights:  Black Hearted Woman/Other One Jam, Southbound, Whipping Post

My personal “woohoo” ABB moments: (1):  Jorgen Carlsson making eye contact with me at the bar, after he checked out my chest/Dose symbol t-shirt.  (2): Being so close to the stage that I made eye contact with Derek Trucks.  I am sure he was making eyes at me (hah!)

My feet were killing by this point.  Standing since 7pm by midnight my dogs were barking.  However, you endure amazing things while under the influence of incredible music.

Black Hearted Woman/Other One Jam was incredibly fast, loud, shredding glorious guitar banter.  Oteil dancing, turning his back to the audience, the whole stage jamming hard, fast, greatness.  Almost 13 minutes of tasty licks.  Yeah the boys are in town, and making a raucous about it.

Southbound was a guitar lovers feast, while Warren and Derek play tit for tat with each other.  Two mindblowing guitarists, trying to up each other with their licks.  Hook Herrera on harmonica brings this baby up another 10 notches.  Good frikkin lord, hot stuff, so hot.

At 1:30, I was willing to sacrifice what I would miss, unbelievably, as I made my way towards the door.  Right then, Whipping Post came on, and I couldn’t leave.  Derek Trucks wailed on that guitar, and it was the perfect way to end a perfect evening.  Close to 2am, floating out of the Roseland, I was grateful to be there and experience, speechless for days, and riding high on the whispers of southern guitars raging in my head.



Another One for Woody-Benefit, Roseland Ballroom, 11.22.10

Woody’s daughter came out and sang Soulshine with Mule.  Her voice was beautiful, to see her on stage with Warren and the boys, to feel the love from the crowd, to see her nervous up there… Wow.  Head blown.  Goosebumps.

Good lord, the Southern guitars churn my soul like no other.  Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule, Allman Brothers Band, North Mississippi Allstars, so many people coming and going, sauntering up on that stage.  The crowd was rowdy, the Roseland was packed, they played for six hours straight.  What can you say? But amazing…  Speechless.

Pictures and more video coming throughout the day…. I am still trying to form words.

Setlists:

Warren Haynes, Edwin McCain & Kevn Kinney @ Another One For Woody:  Set: Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), The Lucky One, I Shall Be Released

North Mississippi Allstars Duo @ Another One For Woody: Set: Sitting On Top of the World, Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, Glory Glory, Po Black Maddie (w/ Gordie Johnson), Straight To Hell (w/ Gordie Johnson), Whiskey Rockin Rolla (w/ Artemis Pyle, Danny Louis, Audley Freed)

Gov’t Mule @ Another One For Woody: Set: Railroad Boy > Blind Man In The Dark, Steppin’ Lightly, Banks Of The Deep End, I’m A Ram (with Gordie Johnson, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), Dear Prudence (with Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), 32/20 Blues (with Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson & Artemis Pyle), Stay With Me (with Rich Robinson & Artemis Pyle), Sometimes Salvation (with Rich Robinson, Robert Kearns & Artemis Pyle, without Jorgen Carlsson), Simple Man (with Artemis Pyle, Audley Freed & Robert Kearns, without Matt Abts & Jorgen Carlsson),Wishing Well (with Artemis Pyle & Audley Freed), Soulshine (with Savannah Woody & Artemis Pyle)

Allman Brothers Band @ Another One For Woody: Set: Don’t Want You No More, Ain’t My Cross To Bear, End Of The Line, No One Left To Run With, Black Hearted Woman > Other One Jam, Who’s Been Talking (w/Hook Herrera), Midnight Rider, One Way Out (w/Rich Robinson & Berry Oakley Jr), Statesboro Blues (w/Berry Oakley Jr), The Weight (w/Audley Freed & Danny Louis), Franklins Tower (w/Chuck Garvey, Vinnie Amico & James Van de Bogart), Southbound (w/Hook, Luther, & Cody)
Encore: Whipping Post, Wish You Were Here (Warren w/ Berry Oakley jr., Gordie Johnson, Danny Louis & Matt Abts)

[Setlists Via @GovtMuleBand]

The Royal Family Ball featuring Soulive, Lettuce, Nigel Hall and special guests, Terminal 5, 10.2.10

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

“Please note: Tonight’s show at Terminal 5 starts EARLY so please plan accordingly. We don’t want to miss any of your (melting) faces.”

- Royal Family Records website


photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

Cast of Characters:

Eric Krasno, guitar; Soulive/Lettuce/Chapter 2
Alan Evans, drums; Soulive
Neal Evans, Hammond B3, bass keys, clavinet; Soulive/Lettuce
Nigel Hall, vocals, keys; Soulive/Chapter 2/Nigel Hall Band
Adam Deitch, Drums; Lettuce/Chapter 2
Sam Kininger, saxophone; Lettuce
Rashawn Ross, trumpet; Lettuce
Ryan Zoidis, saxophone; Lettuce
Erick “E.D.”aka “Jesus” Coomes, bass; Lettuce
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, guitar;  Lettuce

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

Special Guests:

John Scofield, guitar
Warren Haynes, guitar
Big Sam Williams, trombone, vocals
Talib Kweli, vocals
Maurice Brown, trumpet
Christian Scott, trumpet


photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

The show started early, in good ‘ole Terminal 5. I was dressed for a ball, and have to note, the “ragers” this night forgot to read the title of the show – it was billed as The Royal Family Ball… why weren’t there more ties and dresses? Anyways, I had a dress on, bling around my neck, my hat and boots were rocking and I was ready to dance proper with the Royal Family.

photo by: Dino Perrucci

This evening extravaganza builded like a crescendo, each band (and there was 3 of them) set the bar to out”rage” the next set.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a show like this.  Soulive and their Royal Family friends are all raw power, highly technically sound musicians who are relentless.  Relentless in the way that the energy these guys put out is matched by their fans appreciation.  They filled the 3,000 capacity Terminal 5.  They are recognized by the greats, why else would artists like Scofield, Haynes, Derek Trucks continue to cross their paths?  They are on the verge of the next level, you felt it last night.  I can’t wait to watch these guys soar to the next stratosphere.  We will all be lucky when their music goes mainstream.


photo by: Denise Sullivan

Nigel Hall Band: At 7:45-ish, Nigel Hall took the stage.  By the time I get into position I see Nigel Hall, Zoidis, Kininger, Deitch, Brown, Smirnoff, Krasno and the Evan’s brothers (Neal on keys, Alan on guitar) and 2 backup singers (who are they?) on the stage.  Nigel’s incredible voice, raging, wailing, screaming into the mic for us to all stand alert and stamp our feet, and nod our heads into the same groove.  Yessiree, the funk has landed in midtown NYC.

Lettuce: Full rage, and we haven’t even gotten to the Soulive part of the evening yet.  By this point there were 5 horn players (Big Sam, Maurice Brown, Kininger, Zoidis, Ross), John Scofield on guitar, Krasno on guitar, Coomes bringing on the funky bass with his bad self, Talib Kweli comes on and hip hops his way around Nigel Hall blasting back at him, Neal Evans on keys, Alan Evans, percussion.  The place goes nuts, the floor full of bouncing heads and dancing ragers.


photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

I’m on the 3rd floor (thanks Peter!), looking straight down at the stage, the epicenter of where the sound explosion had begun bouncing all around Terminal 5′s rafters.  I’m in awe, not boogie-ing yet – still trying to decipher the sounds of what is happening all around me, trying to hone in on each artist’s playing.  Krasno so technically perfect it is mouth-gaping, Coomes going so low, keepin it all together, Adam Deitch kickin it on those drums, loud and crashing, the horns blasting this craziness into the stratosphere.

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

Talib Kweli brings it down to the ground, funky, loud, head banging raging insanity, trading licks with Nigel…..phewww boy it had gotten hotter from the heat rising from the stage, before Scofield comes on stage, -at first, his guitar sounds like a sax- and he continues blasting us all into a Funky Cold Medina with his trippy, groovy jams.  My neck began to hurt from the heavy funky nodding/dance we had all commenced in.  The Lettuce was dirty…dirty dirty Lettuce.

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

Soulive w/ Special Guests: Rubber Soulive goes down in full effect.  A melody of classics from The Beatles, John Scofield and Eric Krasno in a musical tit-for-tat game both going just sick on their instruments of power.  My notes are all jumbled.  Can’t seem to read my handwriting.  I have to somehow write this down from memory (and without any setlists yet – none are released at this time)…

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

My eyes settle on Alan, one of my personal top 5 drummers, and he’s frikkin wailing on the drums. His whole body raging into the beat, um, he’s setting the beat, fast and dirty, damn Al!,  Neal Evans and his freakishly absurd hands playing keys and the bassline, at the same time!  Eleanor Rigby flows into I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and by this time, my mind is floating, I’ve succumbed into the funkiness that is Soulive/The Royal Family, and my head gets light, I close my eyes, I shake my ass, and… that’s it folks.


photo by: Dino Perrucci

I watch Sco leave the stage, and Krasno and Alan bring him back, like “No man, you’re staying for this”, when I hear Krasno introduce Warren Haynes to the stage.  Right.  Warren.  Head was light, now eyeballs are falling out.  So, to recap, there is Eric Krasno, John Scofield and Warren Haynes on the stage – three of my personal top 5 guitar players.  Holy hell, my head exploded all over the 3rd floor – I know mine wasn’t the only one.  Warren with Sco and Kraz on Born Under a Bad Sign.  Ridiculous.  The night ends with an encore from Nigel and the Royal Family for a killer James Brown Medley.  It felt like seven bagillion people were on the stage.  Can. Not. Wait. For. More…….

photo by: Allison "Ruth Rocks" Murphy

Mountain Jam VI, Day 2 – Saturday, June 5

photo by: Ross McKillop

I woke up to the most glorious, beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the sky was that perfect not-a-cloud-in-the-sky blue, the lush green off the mountains were vibrating.  I was ready to shake on the mountain, and I was able to find iced-coffee to boot.  Fabulous!  I was in for 8 sets of music today.  That ice coffee would help.

Weather: Beautiful.  Sunny, warm, a bit sweaty.  I kept saying all day, “I can’t believe the weather is so gorgeous.”  Last year’s Mountain Jam was cold.  I was in flip flops the last night, it was 37 degrees cold.  This Saturday it was bikini weather.

The day started off with a bit of London Souls.  These guys are incredible.  They have a shredding, Led Zeppelin sorta, old school rock n’ roll thing going for them.  They rocked out, and dancing has commenced.  Again, if they’re in your area, be sure to catch them.

photo by: M Berke

Drive By Truckers: They were a nice warm up to Yonder Mtn. String Band.  I’ve never seen them before, and that was my first impression, with their rockin’ guitar riffs.  They were solid.  I was wandering through the vendor area while they were on stage,

Lettuce is probably my first personal highlight of the day.  Because of the schedule change with Dr. Dog, we were blessed with 2 sets of Lettuce on Sat.  Lettuce’s core members are Eric Krasno, guitar, Neal Evans, keys; Adam Deitch, drums; Jesus Coomes, bass and The Shady Horns, Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis.

photo by: M Berke

Kofi Burbridge comes on and plays pretty much for the full set on his flute.  Eric shreds his guitar, Adam Deitch going all Animal on the drums, and Jesus Coomes on the bass, yeah… these guys are really tight.  Then there is Neal Evans.  I don’t know what to say about this guy except he is amazing, I always become absolutely blown away. I remember thinking, “oh yeah…I know that nasty key playing sound.  Oh yeah, silly me, how could I have forgotten.”   Then, one by one, in this short 1 hour set, on the small stage on Hunter Mountain… well, it got kinda craaazy.  Nigel Hall walks in and starts wailing soulfully into the microphone, like only Nigel does.  Oteil Burbridge comes on stage with that beautiful bass of his.  Derek Trucks comes on to shred a bit with Eric.  Susan Tedeschi comes on stage to sing along with Nigel.  By the end of it there were about a dozen people on the stage, raging out, people on the mountain were bouncin their heads to the same beat at the same time, we all got all sorts of funked up, and it got hot and steamy.  The heat had nothing to do with the sunshine.  The heat was radiating from the stage.  Oh my my my.

photo by: Ross McKillop

To slow down the pace a half a beat (or more), Yonder Mountain String Band, joins the main stage for some bouncy bluegrass string ‘ole time plucking.  I do love the Yonder, and if you like bluegrass at all, I’m sure you’ll like them too.

Dave Mason: No recollection at all.  Unknown.

Photo by: Ross McKillop

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band:  So excited to hear these guys.  Between Derek’s shredding of the guitar and Susan’s incredible voice, the Brothers Burbridge and Brothers Trucks on the stage… yeah.  No words. The talent in this band is palpable, it kind of oozes off the stage into the crowd.  They have so much fun playing together you can feel it and the crowd’s energy bounces off the band.  A wonderful cycle.

The band: Derek Trucks – Guitar, Susan Tedeschi – Guitar & Vocals, Oteil Burbridge – Bass Guitar, Kofi Burbridge – Keys & Flute, Tyler Greenwell – Drums, Duane Trucks- Drums & Percussion, Mike Mattison – Backing Vocals, Nigel Hall – Backing Vocals

photo by: Ross McKillop

Highlights: Love Has Something Else to Say (Susan belts it) into Midnight in Harlem (my newest favorite song, getting good rotation in my iPod lately…gosh I love that song) into Susan screamin her way through Love Was All in My Mind.  I’ve never heard this song before, but the jist of it was this woman loved this guy, stood by all his crap then she finds him hangin w/ another chick.  Susan belts this song like Etta James and Aretha put together.  Incredible power.  Mike Mattison and Nigel Hall on background vocals turn this into a hard core blues explosion.  I laughed, I danced, I stood and just watched her.  I need the lyrics to this song.  Loved it.  Good lord almighty. Check the video below.

Photo by: Ross McKillop

During Nobody’s Free, Derek literally destroys his guitar.  3 strings, gone.  He keeps playing though, odd sounds bouncing around, the band keeps up with him… kinda.  Finally Derek just goes off and hits those strings in “Trucks’ Time” and phewwww.  Susan says, “I don’t know how he did that with 3 strings, or something…. destroy that guitar, honey.”  She’s a great front woman for this band.  Look Around was another highlight, Derek shredding, Susan wailing, Oteil getting really low with his bass, a great blues song.  These guys are a great blues band, but then they go funky with Serve it Up. Insane keyboard playing by Kofi Burbridge, jammin out with the great beats from the drummers and his brother Oteil, then Derek goes off, whooo boy.  Hot stuff.

At one point in I’d Rather be Blind, Crippled and Crazy, I believe the mountain went silent.  I’ve been at DTB shows where the audience literally goes silent before, and it happened during this song.  I love that stuff.  Warren joins the stage and sings with Susan on Comin’ Home, the whole stage, the whole mountain… bounces.  Into Drums.  Yeah, Derek’s little brother Duane can play is an understatement.  Tyler Greenwell is a force to be reckoned with as well  They end the 90 minute set with Joe Cocker’s Space Captain. And I floated away…

Set Break: I had lost my posse during Derek and Susan, and I was on a mission afterwards to make sure I had a beer for Mule.  As I settled into our homebase near the Karma Wash I see one of my buddies from Boston just standing there.  Alone.  I ended up hanging with him the rest of the set and enjoyed every moment of it.  I also found my long lost cousin whom I only happen to see at shows.  Fellow music lovers unite!

Mule: Did I gush about Mule in Day 1 enough?  No.  No, I did not.  3 hours of Mule.   Mostly crazy cover set with incredible special guests sitting in.  Derek Trucks, Eric Krazno, Matisyahu, Kofi Burbridge, Sam Kininger, Ryan Zoidis, Jackie Greene.  Uh huh.

Woodstock, played near Woodstock.  Yep, it felt right.  Broke down on the Brazos ROCKED. That song gets better and better every time I hear it.  Sad & Deep as You with Kofi.  This rendition was not quite as drippingly sad as it was at Wanee, and yet was so

photo by: Ross McKillop

beautiful.  Kofi’s flute makes it all that more tender, he makes the flute flutter… damn. Flute + Mule = Sweetness.  Kind of Bird with Derek.  They shredded guitars in pure Allman Brothers style.  Fast, loud, yes please. Blind Man in the Dark, I love this song because of its slow rolling nature to crazy riff endings.  The Mule was on fire.

photo by: Ross McKillop

The Joker what? really?  Yeah, Steve Miller with a reggae beat.  Warren began the sway, singing as he told us that we were going back to Jamaica. Matisyahu comes out and taunts the crowd with this one, schooling us for what was to come with his Day 3 set.  I laughed my butt off as I shook my hips and tried to bounce on the mountain.  10 something pm on a sloped hill, 2 days into a festival, yes, this takes skill by this point.  Zeppelin’s D’yer Maker – no need for words, just amazing.  Rockin’ in the Free World, Neil Young cover.  If you know anything about me, you know my love of Neil so, you could imagine my happiness.  Hendrix’s Machine Gun rocked me away, total instrumental guitar insanity riffs holy hell.

photo by: Ross McKillop

These guys were relaxed, enjoying themselves, and the Mountain once again was bouncing and swaying then we went back to Rockin’.  Um, wow, a 15 minute Rockin with Machine Gun thrown in there.  Amazing.  Warren says “ohhh, it’s about to go down.”  And Eric Krasno comes out with the Lettuce Horns for the Stones’ The Spider and the Fly.  Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis show us how they throw down those saxophones while Krasno decides to shred his guitar up there with Warren.  “my, my, my, don’t ya tell lies…”  yeahhhh…. beautiful.

photo by: Ross McKillop

Things get fuzzy by this point – Jackie Greene comes up and plays 2 songs and then for encore Mule throws out Pearl Jam’s Black. The posse had come back to the Karma Wash by this point and we all raged to the Pearl Mule Jam that was going down. Aerosmith’s Train Kept A Rollin’ kept us rollin’ on.  Yeah.  MULE.  See ya next year, on the mountain.

Lettuce/DSO (late night set) I have to admit, Mule blew my face off my head so I have no set list.  I have nothing except the Lettuce was crisp, and by the end of late night, about 2 hours later, the Lettuce was Shredded.  God these guys were so damn hot, the place was packed, I was dancing, laughing, my buddies were all around me, the posse went up right to the front and I stayed back.  I needed my space to groove.  And then I went into music schizophrenia mode because I really wanted to see a bit of Dark Star Orchestra.

I ran up the mountain to hear Goin Down The Road Feelin Bad. Then I ran back for Lettuce, looked for my friends-couldn’t find them, closed my eyes and shook my ass to the rage that was Lettuce.  Gosh, it was going DOWN in the Colonel’s Hall.  I must have ran back up the hill to catch DSO again, because the notes say I was there for The Eleven>Shakedown Street>Tangled Up In Blue.  I guess I couldn’t leave DSO while they were playing Dylan.

Evening into Morning: As I said, it gets very fuzzy around this time.  I do know I ended back down at the Hall because I ended up with the posse, walking back to the campsite, and then hanging out in one of the VIP tents on the mountain until the sun came up.  It was nice in that VIP tent, they had couches to relax on.  And we were hanging with the Karma Wash Crew. It is nice to make sure your Karma is clean, and it is nice to have people to clean it for you. As the Tiny Rager and I walked back to the house it started to rain.  Which was fine.  We had beds, which were waiting for us all warm and dry.  I slept like a baby for about 5 hours.

Ed note:  I am grateful that Ross McKillop let me use his pictures, instead of my grainy whacked out photos.  He reminded me to shout out to two great photographers who have incredible photos and prints, and capture the most amazing musical moments:  Dino Perrucci and Allison Murphy.  Check ‘em out, check their work, and pay respects. Thanks Ross!