The High Sierra Music Festival was a special four days of music that showed why it might be one of the best music festivals on the west coast. Tucked into the tiny mountain town of Quincy, California, who has embraced the festival and all of its shenanigans for the past 26 years, High Sierra emanates this ego-less spirit of inclusion and self-expression that seeks to bring passionate musicians and provide a sanctuary for people to come and enjoy soulful, life affirming music.The stages are intimate, the artists are exceptional, the campgrounds host its own party culture that rivals the music and you are allowed to bring your own alcohol to the stages to enjoy; what is not to love about this festival? The fact this is hosted on Fourth of July weekend makes High Sierra feel even more special and has become a tradition for many families and groups who want to forgo hot dogs, parades and in-laws for late-night concerts, impromptu camp jam sessions and mimosas at Sunday church service. LettuceLettuce has been on the warpath since the release of their latest album, Crush in November, to melt as many faces as it can across the country. Crush elevated the band’s sound above merely funk, to encompass all aspects of dancing music from electronica to hip-hop to psychedelic. To watch them play their set Saturday night was to feel a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds coming at you and to fall under its spell. What is so expansive about Lettuce’s sound is that it is always tinkering and modifying the songs to go someplace new and exciting on stage instead of just playing its albums out of bigger speakers. Hell, the songs feel like totally different entities once the band has its grip on them in front of an audience. Adam Smirnoff’s rippling guitar on “Phyllis” plunged into a rabbit hole jam and “Slippin’ Into Darkness” grooved through a surreal haze of sparkling horns and day-glo guitar solos. A sense of complacency can grown in you when you see a band as solid and consistent as Lettuce perform in a number of settings. You think you know the flow, the feeling, the experience. Lettuce blew that out of the water Saturday and reaffirmed their status as one of the most dominant live bands playing now. Greensky BluegrassThe hottest bluegrass band in the land is undoubtedly Greensky Bluegrass, as the group continues to fuse a number of styles into their Americana outfit. The band played two sets at the festival, hitting a late night on Saturday and returning for a full main stage set on Sunday. Is there no stopping this glorious band? Just watch the video of “Living Over” above, courtesy of Must Have Media, and find out for yourself!With another fabulous festival in the books, organizers finally relaxed on the dawn of the Fourth Of July, exhausted but comforted to know they had helped celebrate the birth of our great nation with a celebration purely in the spirit of our great nation. For a full gallery of images from our own Rex Thomson, click the link below: Below is a list of the bands that took High Sierra to new levels this past weekend.Industrial RevelationIndustrial Revelation’s set Friday at the Vaudeville Tent was something anyone who is inspired by musical artistry loves to experience. More than any other show over the week,end the band members played like the music was being exorcised out of them, pulled from their souls, into their veins and out of their fingers. Trumpeter Ahamefule J. Oluo plays with his eyes peering towards the heavens, and watching him you couldn’t help but feel like he was channeling something otherworldly into his instrument, not of his own body or volition. Industrial Revelation plays in this unique space it has created for itself that filters jazz through hip-hop, classical and soul filters with a knack for avant-garde compositions. If hip-hop producer Madlib were to take a band on the road to bring his scuzzy, velveteen beats to life, Industrial Revelation would have to be in on the decision process. They balanced its rhythmic power with melodic grace and let the music take them where it needed to go, inviting guitarist Jimmy James on for a greasy final take on “Bottoms Up” to close its set. Ben Harper and The Innocent CriminalsBen Harper has been touring and recording since the early nineties and has amassed a huge repertoire that mixes blues, folk and rock and can touch upon acoustic protest songs to psychedelic excursions into electric territory. This can lead his shows to veer too much in any one direction — either too heavy or too soft — but his set Friday night was a great blend of both his styles that left people feeling satisfied. “Better Man” turned from a percussive jam on record into a soaring, almost trance-like electric blues rocker that flooded the crowd in sound and the sugary funk of “Steal My Kisses” put a smile on most people’s faces. Listening to his classic campfire anthem “Burn One Down” from the back of the field as people flowed into the field, summer stars twinkled and groups of friends and family danced together in archipelagos of love, one got the sense it was all a part of a larger piece of Americana. Music festivals are a part of what makes the summer so important and special for many in America and Ben Harper tapped into that feeling Saturday night with a great respect for the experience. Chris Robinson BrotherhoodThe cosmic boogie of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood is the perfect fit for a festival like High Sierra. The high temperatures on Friday had the Grandstand stage field feeling more like a desert than a musical oasis as bands cycled through. A late afternoon set from the CRB as the sun began to drop behind the mountains was definitely the perfect relief, and the crowd felt like it began to go through a rejuvenation process once the band kicked things off with a rollicking “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” The band runs in the same vein of the Grateful Dead and its sound is built on a psychedelic mixing of blues, folk and country that saunters into your hips and keeps fans swaying for hours on end. In addition to favorites like “Forever As The Moon” and “Rosealee” the band stretched out its legs with tracks from its upcoming new album Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel. The easy riffage of “California Hymn” was enriching and “Narcissus Soaking Wet” felt like a Parliament song created in the shade of a lemon grove. It has potential to be a great summertime record from a great summertime band.Thievery Corporation2016 marks the 20th anniversary of D.C. based collective Thievery Corporation, and the group brought an invigorating night of music as the Friday night headliners to celebrate. The Grand Stage race track transformed into fluorescent a sea of lights in anticipation for the dance party and the band did not disappoint. What started as a project for producers Eric Hilton and Rob Garza to explore their bossa nova interests has become a luminary for incorporating elements of house, techno, and electronica into cultural rhythms like bossa nova, salsa and reggae that have been around for centuries. It was a dance party through and through that didn’t stop for an hour and a half, with “Lebanese Blonde” laying down a deep, full-bodied beat that was contrasted nicely by the atmospheric rise of “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes.” Friday night felt like a communal celebration of the world and its people, everyone sharing the same groove and cycling the love around in dance, smiles and hugs. Tedeschi Trucks BandTedeschi Trucks Band closed out the main stage at High Sierra Sunday night with an exclamation point that reiterated the fact this is one of the most talented and accomplished bands to come around in the last ten years. Born as a one-off touring project for guitar couple Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the band is now the main focus of the musicians. Their dedication has grown the band into a 12-piece behemoth of blues, funk and soul. The stage could barely contain the band as it ripped through feel-good blues anthems like “Bound for Glory” and an endearing “Don’t Know What It Means” from this year’s album release, Let Me Get By. Kofi Burbidge paired Tedeschi’s brassy vocals with calming flute that floated along to the rousing “Idle Wind,” where it then became a textured drum composition by drummers J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell. Trucks rode the gentle tide of “Laugh About It” with a stirring solo that highlighted his ability to change the course of a song with just his fingers. The pedigree in this band is unrivaled and it compelled many to just stand there and admire the musicianship laid bare in front of them.Joe Russo’s Almost DeadThere are few bands, if any, with a more hallowed musical legacy than the Grateful Dead. Its dedication to unique concert experiences bred a whole legion of fans that would follow them wherever they went and fawned over the set lists like ancient artifacts. Besides the multiple projects of the surviving members and the ongoing tour of Dead & Company with John Mayer, no band is really able to embody that legacy as convincingly and truthfully as Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. After a stellar set at last year’s festival it would have been almost a crime for the promoters not to invite Russo back for another year of Grateful goodness. The band wheeled through The Grateful Dead’s catalog with golden aplomb, creating its own magic out of the fairy dust strewn through the melodies, especially a magnificent “Eyes of the World.” While the band was essentially functioning as an accomplished all-star cover band for The Grateful Dead, it felt fresh and exciting and Russo was dazzlingly impressive as he zipped all over his toms and cymbals with beautiful power, creating the spirit and sound of two drummers on his own. Another one for the record books.The DipSeattle soul band The Dip took full advantage of its Sunday evening set at the Vaudeville Tent to bring some love and tenderness to the festival just as it was coming to a close. The band’s old school flavor is steeped in doo-wop melodies and soul grooves and released its first album last April, as well as an EP full of instrumentals this May. Frontman and guitarist Tom Eddy was downright dreamy on stage as he crooned the hell out of the audience with his honeyed voice on “Ain’t Necessary (The Prince)” and the sensuous “Don’t Make Me Wait,” while also laying down smooth licks on his six-string. The band really took off as it ran through its Daptone-inspired instrumentals, the best being on the flirty “Chantrelle.” Listening to them you could feel yourself getting swept up into the feelings of summer love and delight and it just warmed you up from the inside out.J.J. Grey and MofroJ.J. Grey and Mofro led a tent revival Friday night that whipped everyone into a soulful frenzy. He played a coveted late-night set that stretched from 11:30 p.m. to close to 2 p.m, plenty of time to save both the audience and himself from damnation. Grey doesn’t feel like a throwback to the era of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and Muscle Shoals as much as he feels like a direct link. The Hercules horns are crunchy, the rhythm section is tight yet loose and the songs touch upon all the inevitable joy and sadness that passes through you like a river out to the ocean. He let his southern-fried pipes do all the preaching on the uplifting soul number “Brighter Days” as it stretched into a testimonial about love, loss and redemption. People tore up the dance floor on the backwoods burner “Country Ghetto” and swayed serendipitously on the nostalgic “Lochloosa.” Grey can touch on a myriad of emotions with his music and the emotional roller coaster left many people drained but fulfilled when they left in the early morning from Vaudeville for their next adventure. Papa Mali Gospel SetThe Sunday morning gospel set at the Big Meadows stage has grown to be almost a High Sierra tradition. Artists used to informally congregate to the stage and sit in a circle taking turns leading old folk, gospel and blues songs and now the festival has begun to book specific bands and artists to bring down the glory. This year paired Luther Dickinson and John Medeski with Papa Mali and his Rhythm Council and the collaboration proved to be very spiritual. With people imbibing in vices through the Sunday service, they ran through old standards like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” with grace and happiness and were getting as much enrichment of the soul as the crowd. The guys playing were legends and they didn’t need to be up at 10 a.m. playing music to get another paycheck from High Sierra. They did it because they love the music and and they love the connection with the fans, which is really what it is all about. Load remaining images
Vulfpeck is a band that refuses to play by the rules. They will maintain their strength through perfection and consistency, they will not cheapen their own product, and they do not need to overplay. They will continue to release new music every year, and they will continue to do what they want. This is Vulfpeck, a Michigan-based rhythm quartet who deserves more than just your 60-minute festival-attention.Internet-famous since 2011, the funk-influenced musicians have only just begun receiving widespread recognition and national attention – as they’ve performed at Fool’s Paradise, Bonnaroo, Tipitina’s, Red Rocks, Lockn’, Outside Lands Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival, and Central Park SummerStage in just the last six months. While many fans caught on to Vulfpeck’s music after their 2015 Thrill of the Arts release, true fans have been tuned in since the beginning – and they are not the ones complaining about setlist structures.By nature of Vulf, the band does what they want. It takes a unanimous vote for them to even consider playing a gig. With bandleader Jack Stratton playing virtually every role of the management team, the band is using themselves as somewhat of a business-social experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t in the music industry – and we are just the guinea pigs. From Sleepify to Flow State, two projects that have gone way beyond the box to poke fun at industry practices, this band has continuously pushed the boundaries of standardized thinking – and they’ve grown exponentially as a result of such risk-taking behaviors.Yet, Vulfpeck has received mixed reviews to their season-spanning setlist, especially getting some serious heat after playing two similar setlists back-t0-back at Lockn’. To a lesser extent, the same is being said of their recent NYC gigs. What gives? This isn’t Phish; they haven’t been a band for thirty years; they are, by no means, a “jam band.”This is a band that is introducing their music to large-scale audiences for the very first time. They are going to play the songs that are statistically well-received by their loyal fanbase, and they are going to play them flawlessly. If consistency is the key to perfection, then why must those naysayers shake their fists at the band’s strive to expertise? They are catchy, quirky, and completely uninhibited by the dark walls of this industry. Let. Vulf. Be.The thing is, their music certainly appeals to a higher-level music appreciator, much like those found at jam shows. Vulfpeck’s compositions are intricate, their technique is refined, and their musicianship is about as tight as it comes. It’s no wonder that jam band fans are joining the so-called “Vulf-pack”; they’re just downright good at what they do. The problem comes when you start drawing comparisons, something done easily at a jam-centric festival like Lockn’.With all that being said, there are a few truths to come out of this jam scene test-run.1. The band shines the brightest as a small venue act. Regularly selling out all of their shows, from multi-night runs at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC to London, it is a guarantee that the room will be filled by fans and critics alike. They deserve this professional setting to prove themselves. No one standing in a field and coming off a 24-hour acid trip needs to experience Vulfpeck. Their music is here for the enthusiastically interested only.2. It is when there are multiple players beyond the core four that Vulfpeck’s geniusness is truly most palpable. The nature of their tightly-knit, one-of-a-kind compositions are fully revealed when there are additional musicians contributing to them. Especially when playing alongside professionals like Bernard Purdie, Cory Henry, Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, Rachael Price, and other fantastic players, the band is challenged to up their game. And it’s in these instances that their technical musicianship is truly displayed.3. Vulfpeck only performs things to perfection, because that’s what your money is going towards. You don’t see pop icons performing a half-anything. Vulfpeck is no different.While the “jam band” world thrives on diverse setlists and extended jams, that’s just not what Vulfpeck is about. They are about musical respect and appreciation. They play the songs that we all know and love so that every attendee gets what they came for. They introduce covers only with reason. They aren’t playing songs from the new record because they aren’t ready to spoil them. While largely instrumental, their compositions exceed normalcy with ease.When The Beautiful Game comes out, it will be like Christmas morning. That’s how records are supposed to be, a surprise. With only a few details known about the ten-track album, we can all be sure to know that it will be satisfying. It’s Vulfpeck. Expect nothing less.Finally, I’d like to point something out about this week’s performances in New York. This tweet from May 31 ties together a string of occasions: Stratton has been mixing vintage videos of groove master Purdie with other live performances for years, starting with this mix of Ethel Caffie-Austin, then Herbie Hancock, Ziel, and Cory Henry. Needless to say, the Vulfmon’s obsession with Bernard “Pretty” Purdie has been evident since the beginning.So, to see Vulfpeck share the same stage with Purdie for four days straight was a treat. But not only that, they debuted all three of the previously mentioned songs; one for each night.The fact that they played “Kid Charlemagne,” “Ooh Child”, and “MMMBop” for the first time, alongside Pretty Purdie, was extremely unique to what most band’s are capable of doing these days. Live music is about producing your best efforts while simultaneously making dreams come true. This is exactly what Vulfpeck is doing, and they aren’t going to slow down any time soon.Carry on.
Talk about a complete 180! A very exciting partnership between reggae star Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and the California cannabis company Ocean Grown Extracts has just been announced, which will allow the entities to repurpose a former prison into a fully operational marijuana facility. The 77,000 square-foot space on the twenty-acre Coalinga, CA property will be used to cultivate, manufacture, and test cannabis products within the state of California.Not only is the new Coalinga facility legal, but it’s also going to be a boon for the local economy. The press release states that 100 new jobs will be created, and will ultimately generate over one million dollars annually in tax revenue. The new cannabis facility has literally brought Coalinga out of debt, as the group paid $4.1 million to purchase the complex from a city that was $3.3 million in debt.In a press release, Damian Marley posits, “Many people have sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up. If this helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.” Kelly Dalton, founder of Ocean Grown, adds, “Damian is our perfect partner, who operates with integrity and shares in our belief in the amazing medicinal benefits of the plant. He is honest, humble and always puts quality first. We were honored that he has been involved in every step of our journey.”The two groups are also teaming up to release the Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley Speak Life cannabis vapor pen, with Marley working alongside a PhD chemist from Ocean Grown Extracts to pick only the purest strains for the new pen. The waste-conserving product and more can be found on the Ocean Grown Extracts website.
As previously reported, January 4th was declared the “Day of the Doors” in Los Angeles on Wednesday. This designation falls on the 50th anniversary of The Doors’ debut self-titled album, whose influence has solidly permeated rock culture with its classic hits such as “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” “The Crystal Ship,” “Light My Fire,” and “The End.” To honor one of the most celebrated bands of the 60s, City Councilman, Mike Bonin, joined original drummer John Densmore and original guitarist Robby Krieger in Venice, CA, to pay tribute to the band’s humble beginnings in California and the influence they grew to have.To a packed crowd of around 500 who braved rainy, winter (albeit California winter) weather for the historic event, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin took the stage first to comment on the impact the Doors had on Venice by starting off with noting that “The Doors put Venice on the map.” He then moved into comments about the band’s transcendent qualities, but not before joking about the presence of young people in the crowd, jabbing that 99% of the crowd was not alive at the release of the album The Doors. He closed with these comments trying to verbalize their generation-defying appeal: “When you listen to the Doors, you don’t just hear music. You get taken to a land of imagination, fantasy, and delight.”Up next were comments by the remaining original band members of the Doors, Robby Krieger and John Densmore. Krieger made reference to the cyclic nature of life, noting that “We started up right here in Venice, and we’re ending up right here in Venice too.” Densmore’s comments were more nostalgic, recalling anecdotes about deceased bandmates, smiling as he described Jim Morrison being inspired to write “Moonlight Drive” by the California ocean as when rent for former keyboard player, Ray Manzarek, in the neighborhood was a mere $75 a month. Overall, the tone was still light and jubilant, as Krieger joked, “On January 4th, forevermore, everybody gets off of school, in Venice, anyway, and off work,” upon receiving the resolution from a grinning Councilman Bonin.Krieger and Densmore played for a little under 20 minutes to end the evening’s festivities. To kick off their short, celebratory performance, Krieger teased the opening lick of “Moonlight Drive” before the duo kicked off “L.A. Woman,” a video of which can be found below courtesy of youtube user FeelNumb.[H/T Rolling Stone]
Load remaining images The Wood Brothers are truly something special. The band, comprised of brothers Chris and Oliver Wood with multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix, continue to captivate with soulful performances of music steeped in the Americana tradition. They certainly captivated fans at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA earlier this week, playing the renowned concert venue and bringing their best to the stage. After an opening set from the Shook Twins, it was a non-stop celebration with the Brothers, bringing a bounty of original music to the Northern California venue. They encored with fan favorites “Luckiest Man” and “One More Day,” sending folks home smiling after a long night dancing.Check out the setlist and a full gallery below, courtesy of Christopher Baldwin.
The second annual Suwannee Roots Revival is going down Thursday, October 12th, 2017 through Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, FL. This year’s Suwannee Roots Revival lineup includes Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, The Wood Brothers, Peter Rowan Dharma Blues featuring Jack Casady, Donna the Buffalo, Steep Canyon Rangers, Jim Lauderdale, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp, Rev Jeff Mosier Band, Willie Sugarcapps, Joe Craven & The Sometimers, River Whyless, Seth Walker, The Honeycutters, Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Grass Is Dead, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Nation of Two, Dread Clampitt, Belle and The Band, and more.In addition to all the stage music, Suwannee Roots Revival will pay tribute and remember some of the beloved artists who have passed on with a memorial Vassar Sunday. However, there will also be very special memorial musical presentations earlier in the weekend. Verlon Thompson and Shawn Camp will join forces to present a special set of music by the legendary Guy Clark. There will also be a special set to honor the amazing and also legendary Col. Bruce Hampton – details will be forthcoming.The family-friendly festival includes four days of music, camping, campground pickin’ sessions hosted by Sloppy Joe at Sloppyland and Quartermoon at Bill Monroe Shrine, the Dance Tent, hands on and performance workshops, yoga, a Kids Tent, and much more! Visit the festival website for more information.Suwannee Roots Revival Initial LineupBéla Fleck and Abigail WashburnThe Wood BrothersPeter Rowan Dharma Blues featuring Jack CasadyDonna the BuffaloSteep Canyon RangersJim LauderdaleVerlon ThompsonShawn CampRev Jeff Mosier BandWillie SugarcappsJoe Craven & The SometimersSeth WalkerRiver WhylessNation of TwoThe HoneycuttersThe Grass Is DeadRumpke Mountain BoysDread ClampittGrandpa’s Cough MedicineThe Pine Box DwellersBelle and The BandThe Adventures of Annabelle LynQuartermoonSloppy JoeHabanero HoneysJeff BradleySuwannee Spirit Kids Music CampTania & Magic Moon Traveling CircusMore to be announced…[photo by Jason Koerner Photography]
In 1968, The Beatles’ fantastical animated musical comedy, Yellow Submarine, was released, with the film gaining high marks from critics and fans alike. As the movie rounds toward its 50th anniversary next year, the cartoon will be reimagined in comic book form, adding to the artistic legacy of the film. The Apple Corporation just revealed that it authorized a comic adaptation of the Beatles’ film, which is written and illustrated by Bill Morrison, the incoming editor of MAD Magazine. The Beatles: Yellow Submarine is due out in 2018 via Titan Comics, and, like the movie, follows The Beatles and their various romps with the Blue Meanies. As Chris Teather, current publishing director for Titan Comics told the Hollywood Reporter, “We’re thrilled to be publishing The Beatles: Yellow Submarine for the 50th Anniversary of this fantastic movie. . . . We can’t wait for Beatles fans to experience this official adaptation.”[H/T Rolling Stone]
On Wednesday evening, Dead & Company continued their Fall run with a performance at Philips Arena in Atlanta GA. Gambling is a common thematic thread in the Grateful Dead‘s extensive catalogue, but on this night in Georgia, the latter-day Dead incarnation bet heavy on the nods to games of chance. In the end, the bet paid off, and the band turned in yet another top-notch performance.The “game” began at a leisurely pace, as the band took the stage and eased into a meandering “tune-up” jam that hinted at the long, strange trip to come before cashing in their chips for “Truckin’” to start the show in earnest. A quick Bob Weir-led “Smokestack Lightning” slipped in smoothly from there.Watch the opening “Truckin’” from Atlanta via the Dead & Company YouTube page:Next up was reliable early-set energy boost “Feel Like A Stranger”, followed by a spirited John Mayer-led reading of “Dire Wolf” featuring a ferocious piano solo from Jeff Chimenti as they played cards with the song’s titular murderous monster. “Loser” followed, featuring Weir at the helm and a heated riff battle between Mayer and Chimenti to boot. Next, the band rode their inside straight through a heavily improvised show-highlight “Cassidy” > “Bird Song” before, finally, the “Deal” came ’round for some blistering in the set’s final “hand.”The second set began in classic Grateful Dead fashion with “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower”, the “Slip” portion receiving the majority of the segment’s creative attention. Next, Oteil Burbridge got the call to deliver his now almost-nightly turn as lead vocalist, this time on Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter ballad “Comes A Time”, a song that’s become a heartstring-tugging favorite in Dead & Co’s repertoire since its debut last summer at Citi Field.Watch pro-shot footage of the entire “Help” > “Slip” > “Franklin’s” set-opening segment below, via the band’s YouTube page:The slinky “Viola Lee Blues” gave Mayer a chance to let loose, showering the thick groove with increasingly intense blues riffing. From there, it was time for Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart to do their thing on “Drums” > “Space” their nightly foray into the rhythmic ether that’s become increasingly interesting as this tour has gone on. “Wharf Rat” drifted in from there, and it’s breezy bob was matched by the steady charge of the “Throwing Stones” that followed. Finally, “U.S. Blues” closed the set as the “we’re all confused, what’s to lose” line echoed the show’s gamblin’ man theme–whether it was by design or merely coincidence. An earnest and emotional “Brokedown Palace” rounded out an excellent evening of Dead in ATL.Listen to crowd audio from Dead & Company’s Atlanta show below via taper Dillon Fries:Dead & Company’s tour continues tomorrow in Dallas, TX. For a full list of upcoming performances, head to the band’s website.SETLIST: Dead & Company | Philips Arena | Atlanta, GA | 11/29/17I: Truckin’, Smokestack Lightning > Feel Like A Stranger, Dire Wolf, Loser, Cassidy > Bird Song > DealII: Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower > Comes A Time > Viola Lee Blues > Drums > Space > Wharf Rat > Throwing Stones > U.S. BluesE: Brokedown PalaceCheck out the full gallery below from photographer Emily Butler.Dead & Company | Philips Arena | Atlanta, GA | 11/29/17 | Photos by Emily Butler Load remaining images
SETLIST: Phish | CoreStates Spectrum | Philadelphia, PA | 12/3/97SET 1: Punch You In the Eye > My Soul, Drowned, The Old Home Place, Gumbo > Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy MyselfSET 2: David Bowie -> Possum > Jam -> Prince Caspian > Frankenstein > Harry HoodENCORE: Crossroads Late 1997: what a time to be alive for Phish fans. With the band at the peak of their technical and improvisational abilities, virtually every one of Fall Tour ’97’s 21 dates–collectively referred to as “Phish Destroys America”–can be singled out as a career highlight for the band. Their performance at Philadelphia’s CoreStates Spectrum arena on this date was no different. Coming off a similarly stellar show at the same venue the previous night, Phish delivered an absolute gem for the Philly faithful. After a blistering “Punch You In the Eye” opener, the band gave a tight rendition of Clifton Chenier blues staple “My Soul”.Watch Phish Play Their Longest Jam Ever In Worcester, Twenty Years Ago [Video]While “Punch”>”My Soul” served as a high energy, if somewhat textbook opening segment, the “Drowned” that followed was far from standard fare. The band took the Mike Gordon-sung The Who cover for a funktastic 16-minute ride that stacks up with some of the tour’s best pieces of improv. With Page McConnell leading the way for much of the song’s structure, the jam morphs into an all-out dance party, with each member of the band connecting on seemingly telepathic levels. This “Drowned” is the epitome of the sound that’s become the hallmark of ’97 Phish– “cow funk”–a moniker inspired in equal parts by the existing “cowpunk” sub-genre, the baffling number of cows in the band’s home state of Vermont, and a quote from Trey in Richard Gehr‘s The Phish Book: “What we’re doing now is really more about groove than funk. Good funk, real funk, is not played by four white guys from Vermont. If anything, you could call what we’re doing cow funk or something.” The top-notch first set continued with flawless takes on “The Old Home Place” and “Gumbo”, before the band sent the show to halftime with a fantastic “2001”>”You Enjoy Myself”.The show’s second frame kept up the energy that highlighted the impressive first set, as the band patiently works through an extended intro (including pieces of “Charge!”, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, and “Baby Elephant Walk”, and a Simpsons signal, taboot) before going Type-II for a captivating major key jam clocking in at over 26 minutes in length. “Possum” came next, followed by a funky “Jam” segment that bled beautifully into “Prince Caspian”. The rest of the set was Phish feeling good, with Page laying down the groove for “Frankenstein” before closing it out with a beautiful “Harry Hood”.The band had one more trick up their sleeves for the encore, as they busted out a cover of blues classic “Crossroads”, originally by Robert Johnson and popularized by Cream. With that, Phish bid farewell to Philadelphia, and hit the road through the midwest for a soon-to-be legendary weekend run.You can watch both sets in their entirety below, courtesy of YouTube user Tyler Penn:Set 1:Set 2:  Simpsons signal. Unfinished.NOTES: Drowned included a Couldn’t Stand the Weather jam. 2001 contained Super Bad teases from Trey. Bowie was preceded by a Charge! tease, included Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Baby Elephant Walk teases, a Simpsons signal, and was unfinished.[Cover photo via LivePhish, from MSG 12/29/97]
On Friday night, Trey Anastasio continued his late-2018 solo acoustic run with a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA. Once again, Trey mused about the location of the day throughout the show, reminiscing about amusing experiences in the City of Angels including the one time Paris Hilton declined to sit next to him at a Hollywood party, how Phish recruited Rose Stone for Hoist, and more.The performance began with Phish‘s Undermind track “Secret Smile”, marking its first appearance in a Trey acoustic show since Rothbury Festival more than ten years ago. Next Anastasio offered up his only acoustic debut of the night, recent TAB original-turned-Phish jam vehicle “Set Your Soul Free”. The show continued with a number of go-to acoustic numbers like “Brian and Robert”, “The Inlaw Josie Wales”, and “Mountains In The Mist” before moving into the second “Free” of this young solo tour. A rare “Two Versions of Me” was up next, followed by a crowd-requested rendition of Trey/Amanda Green collaboration “Summer of ’89”.“Everything’s Right” came next, followed by fan-favorite Hoist ballad “If I Could”. The set continued from there with “Limb By Limb”, “Prince Caspian”, and “Till We Meet Again” before Trey gave a nod to Phish’s upcoming Riviera Maya destination event with the first acoustic “Mexican Cousin” of the tour. A pair of newer-vintage tunes came next in “Mercury” and “Rise/Come Together” before Trey took things back to 1996 with Bill Breathes ditty “Talk”, marking its first acoustic performance since 2011.Following “Talk”, Trey took a moment to reflect on a couple of Phish’s more bizarre early album covers and the way the images came about, including the awkward close-up of Mike Gordon‘s face on Billy Breathes and the horse in a harness on the cover of Hoist. On Hoist, Trey explained, the prevailing thought was, “This music is so powerful, and it feels like you could levitate, you know what I mean? It’s making me feel like my feet are leaving the ground—and there’s the line in ‘If I Could’ like ‘I wanna feel my feet leave the ground.’ We should do a cover where the most grounded of creature is, like, lifting, just slightly, into the air…what about a horse? And it’d just, like, floating into the air. … I don’t know what the album was gonna be called, but it was this concept. We got this cool photographer that was gonna do it, and they were like, ‘Where do we find… a horse?” [laughs]. And our friend Amy—our first festival was at Amy’s Farm, right?—she was hanging around. And she said, ‘I have a horse, I have this horse, Maggie, come to my farm. So we went to take this picture, we brought the photographer. And she had this contraption…that Maggie had been in before—no animals were harmed in this story [laughs]—but she’s trapped Maggie in this thing and, like, horribly lifted her up like ughh… her back was curving…It was, like, nothing, nothing like we had conceived at all [laughs]. It’s just, like, a horse in a horrible contraption.”“We imagined this beautiful, ethereal thing,” he continued, amused, “And then they took a picture… We did the same thing with Billy Breathes—it’s like, we were out of time, we need the cover tomorrow, it costs too much money, and that’s it, that’s the cover. We’re stuck with this thing. And then we didn’t have a name, so we’re like ‘eh, just call it Hoist,’ cus it’s going up like this [makes jerking motion]… Just, like, a nightmare [laughs].” He went on to talk about the album’s photo insert, which accentuates Jon Fishman‘s “private bits and pieces—so I thought, we should just put that on the cover and call it Hung Like A Horse.”Shifting his focus to another song from Hoist, “Wolfman’s Brother”, Trey mused, “This was my favorite part of making that album. On the outro of this tune—it’s a funky kind of tune and has these funky vocals—and we were like, ‘Man, I wonder if Rose Stone from Sly & The Family Stone still lives in L.A.?’ I will say that, when I was a kid, I used to look at these Sly & The Family Stone covers, and it would be all these men and women and black and white and singing these songs like ‘Family Affair’, all together, and I always wanted to have a band like that. I actually ended up kind of modeling TAB after that. … Anyway, we wondered in the middle of this recording if Rose Stone, Sly’s sister, who sang all those songs was around… so we called, and she answered the phone and said she’d sing on the record. She came in and gave us, like, a soul lesson. It was an incredible thing to hear. If you go back and listen closely to the album version of this, you’ll hear the same person who sang [cups hands over the microphone and sings], ‘It’s a family affair.’ So you gotta imagine Sly’s sister.” The subsequent rendition of the song featured an appropriate “Family Affair” quote.With time left for a few more, Trey worked through “The Wedge” and “Blaze On”, which in turn segued into “Bathtub Gin”. Anastasio began to get up out of his seat as the song hit its final refrain, putting his foot up on his chair and encouraging the crowd to keep singing as he took his bow and headed off the stage. The crowd was still singing as he retook the stage for his encore, which featured renditions of “Waste”, Kasot Växt “cover” “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”, and upbeat Big Boat anthem “More”.You can watch a selection of crowd-shot videos from the performance below:View VideosTrey Talks About The Hoist Album Cover[Video: Mitch Dorf]“Set Your Soul Free”[Video: Paul Giza]“Everything’s Right”[Video: Paul Giza]“Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”[Video: Paul Giza]“Bathtub Gin” > Encore (Partial)[Video: Mitch Dorf]Trey Anastasio’s solo acoustic tour continues tonight, Saturday, December 8th, with a performance at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA. For a full list of upcoming Trey acoustic dates, head here.Setlist: Trey Anastasio Solo Acoustic | Walt Disney Concert Hall | Los Angeles, CA | 12/7/18Set: Secret Smile, Set Your Soul Free , Brian and Robert, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Mountains in the Mist, Free, Two Versions of Me, Summer of ’89, Everything’s Right, If I Could, Limb By Limb, Prince Caspian, Till We Meet Again, Mexican Cousin, Mercury, Rise/Come Together, Talk, Wolfman’s Brother, The Wedge, Blaze On > Bathtub GinEncore: Waste, Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S., More First acoustic performance by Trey.