My brothers band, Too Indecent asked me to check out their newest released single, “Extra Extra' While many of you may know, I am not into new hip-hop or rap that out there today, it doesn't appeal to my rock 'n' roll aesthetics or senses but Too Indecent, blends rock, hip-hop, rap, reggae and ska together to form something different,while still remaining familiar to popular audiences.
'Extra Extra' is our response to all this shit that the world has been going through. It's
easy to feel hopeless, until we're reminded of how fragile life is and the importance of utilizing our time on Earth.” - Danny DeMarais (Guitarist)
'Extra Extra' has a politically driven message that I think everyone should hear. Bringing up topics ranging from political to social issues, 'Extra Extra' tries to shed light on today's political atmosphere while allowing their fans to let off some steam, as well as, think about the world around them. This track is very well mixed up and thought out. Too Indecent seems to be growing with the times around them, and embracing new techniques and popular concepts from the American zeitgeist. I look forward to hearing what could they bring in the future.
Once again, I find myself in the heart of New York City, traveling, writing and seeing live music. Spafford has been gaining a lot of attention this past year and I was lucky enough to see them last year at a very small venue, near my hometown in Virginia. I decided to head up north to see them again and also check the Brooklyn Bowl off of my must see venue list. Staying in Midtown Manhattan is like stepping into a different dimension. It's quite different then the rural mountains I am used to and getting acclimated to the city can be quite difficult. The lights, the people, the honking of countless horns can make it seem like heaven to some and hell to others. I always enjoy my time in the city and I try and see something new every time, experience new foods, sights and sounds. This time I decided to check out Central Park and as much as Manhattan as I could. I traversed the depths and underbellies of this thriving metropolis to make it to Brooklyn via the F train to the station at Where The F*** Am I and beyond. At times the chaos and hectic nature of the subway feels like the seventh layer of hell but I traversed Hades and returned like Hercules, stronger and wiser. Outside of the Brooklyn Bowl a gentleman handed me a free ticket to the show and even tried to get me a date with a young woman off the street. Hats off to you good sir.
The venue itself is truly one of a kind, with full bowling alley lanes, projectors streaming the show while you bowl right underneath, never needing to take your eyes off the lanes. The bowling was a little bit pricey but seemed well worth it and in New York City what doesn’t cost an arm, a leg or an unborn child? I will answer my own question, Pizza… The sound in the venue was also very well done and the carnival art displayed on the walls was one of the coolest aspects, as well as, the ornately painted bowling pins that line one area of the venue.
Spafford began slow and steady, like an engine warming up before a big race with “Shake You Loose.” The venue resonated with an excitable axiomatic energy that the band seemed ready to ignite, feeding off it, building it up until it was ready to be released, exploding into the crowd. This show would mark only my second time seeing Spafford but this show was immediately different and enhanced. Add a new drummer, Cameron Laforest into the mix and the fact that this was to be the first live broadcasted show from such a significant venue, may all contribute to the change of flow that I experienced. At times, Spafford can delve into some deep trance-EDM sounding Jams like “On Fire” but they always bring it back home with Phish-esque jam qualities and moe. like transitions with songs like “Electric Taco Stand” and jazzy “Slip and Squander.” The cover of the ultimate early 80s classic from Men At Work, “Land Down Under” was much faster paced and almost off putting a first. I feel as though the band could have just as easily slowed it down and picked it back up, starting with the original tempo of the song and then building it up to a climatic conclusion. Honestly though, hearing anyone play that song live puts a smile on my face.
The encore and jam in-between “All In” was one of the most high-energy and riveting performances I have seen in quite a while. One of my friends who attended the show with me came out with a new favorite band and I don't blame him. That's the kind of intensity that Spafford brings to the stage; the real question is can Spafford keep this momentum up for more than a few tours? The lead guitarist and singer, Brian Moss holds this band on his shoulders but I did see the bass player Jordan Fairless and keyboardist Red, step up and help with some of the spotlight burdens. Without this band working together as an equal unit they may burn out but Spafford seems willing to give it their all and that's what really counts. I would love see this band add more improvisational elements into their performances and possibly some sit-in performances from members of the Jam community.
May The Jam Gods Be With You,
When seeing live music, it comes down to the improvisational Jams for me. When offered a free ticket to the Sold Out Glass Animals at the 9:30, I perused their catalog on Spotify and thought it would be a change of pace and something different to write about for my ever-growing portfolio. With that in mind, I'll just jump right in.
I was unimpressed with this group, which has gained immense popularity over the past few years and it makes me feel as though I am disconnected with the younger generation in today's society, especially musically but I suppose that's what growing up is all about. There were people at this show who seemed like they had their life changed, people singing every word, jumping up and down, woman swooning. I haven’t seen anything like it in the Jam world, where musical prowess exceeds catchy lyrics and electronic “drops.”
Glass Animals needs to find their funky side, get in touch with the roots of the music they are playing, instead of accentuating the pop bullshit. There were some moments within their performance that were well done, thought out and original but these seemed to be overshadowed by the musical/performance process itself.
While high in energy, Glass Animals could only keep my interest for a short time before ultimately, I kept wondering, "When will I hear a freakin’ guitar solo?" The musical capabilities of this band seems highly limited and very pop-keyboard centric, which with all due respect, takes a certain skill set of its own but it's not really in the same class of musicianship that I am used to seeing; it's more learning to synthesize and arrange computer sounds. The lyrics to their songs were catchy and again, pop oriented but I could see something there beyond the surface level. I would suggest that Glass Animals searches these depths to find the true nature of their lyrical qualities and musical abilities. Perhaps visiting the Talking Heads catalog and learning how to incorporate true musicianship and lyrical competency into what they are trying to achieve.
I am an extreme Frank Zappa fan; you can ask anyone who knows me and I'm sure many of them will roll their eyes, but they will agree. I found Frank Zappa my senior year of college and everything changed. It was as though, a dam burst and flooded all of my musical knowledge/experience and only the genuine, real music floated to the surface, while everything else drowned like a witch.
Zappa's music is genius, obscure and controversial. Now, added to the controversy of the music itself, we must include the ongoing lawsuits and legal battle between Dweezil Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust, run by Ahmet and Diva Muffin Zappa, to this controversy. I have included links to Dweezil's statements, as well as, the ZFT and you can check out some more detailed information about the lawsuit here:
Recently, this sibling drama has unfolded further but this time with hordes of angry Zappa fans coming out of the woodwork, declaring their disdain for the Hologram Frank Zappa tour scheduled in 2019. As much as I dislike the idea of this hologram, where exactly were all these Zappa fans when Dweezil was touring? Heck, I didn't even know there were this many Zappa fans left out there!
Anyway, with resounding negative comments regarding ZFT's recent hologram tour announcement, l have seen arguments between fans and even fans belittling and attacking many of the musicians involved. The rift between Zappa fans grows even further and the ongoing battle between Dweezil and ZFT has leaked over into the public’s reaction and perception of things to come. Most fans seem to be in the Dweezil camp but there are others that support this holographic move; many are interested in the lineup of the backing band, which could include original Zappa band members. ZFT has reached out to former members of Franks band and asked if they would like to be involved. Many of these musicians have confirmed that they that did in fact talk with Ahmet and have allowed him to use their names. Dweezil was also name-dropped but it was obvious that he would have no part in this upcoming tour.
Comments from musicians:
I reached out to Dweezil a few days ago and I am still hoping to hear back from him regarding this subject. Many of the other musicians said to be involved, have released statements such as, Steve Vai, Arthur Barrow and Adrian Belew. While I am unequivocally with Dweezil on this, there does seem to be an even larger problem between Dweezil and many of Frank Zappa's ex-band members. It seems that Dweezil does not get along with some of the former band members and his list of performers that he would work with is "short." Is this because Dweezil has an ego problem or is there some other issues taking place here? I see Dweezil Zappa/ Zappa Plays Zappa/ Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever The F$%# He Wants, whenever I can and even took the pilgrimage last year to Red Rocks to see him perform an amazing rendition of "Inca Roads." I have personally met Dweezil on several occasions and can attest to his sincerity and graciousness with his Dads fans and by proxy, his own.
I will admit, I was taken aback and appalled by the holographic announcement but I have since warmed up to the idea after thinking about seeing some original members performing Zappa music; beyond the hologram, just the musical aspect. I have seen hundreds of arguments for and against this tour but after seeing a patent that Frank Zappa himself designed using some sort of optical illusion on stage, I'm willing to give it a shot and if the old band members are in then why not? I will go check it out once and I will give my honest opinion. I will be the first to tell you like it is, if this tour is an abomination, I promise, I will tell you. If I am blown away, I will also tell you. I hold Frank Zappa’s music up to the highest integrity and so I would cover this event with the upmost honesty and truthfulness.
My closing statement is short and sweet. Go see Dweezil Zappa live whenever you can. Go see Frank Zappa’s music live whenever and however you can. Experience Frank Zappa music whenever and however you can. We need to keep this Zappa musical legacy alive not bastardized with lawsuits and bullshit. I know everyone likes to speculate what Frank would or wouldn’t do; "WWFD?" but he is dead and doesn't care what we do, that I know for sure. Here he tells us that: https://youtu.be/GBfoTUG41i4?t=529 Spinning Sheik Yerbouti today on vinyl…
More Trouble Everyday,
Jam Band Purist
Grateful Music and Jam Band Purist are extremely excited to be covering The Marcus King Band Family Reunion in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend! The lineup includes not only my favorite up and coming Jam artist MKB but also Blackberrry Smoke, Brandon "TAZ" Niederauer, David Shaw, Muddy Magnolias, George Porter Jr, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, Big Something and More! Tickets are extremely reasonable for this event which is taking place at Pisgah Brewery in Black Mountain NC, near Asheville. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/marcus-king-bands-family-reunion-tickets-37132058988
If you haven't heard of Marcus King let me illuminate you, Marcus is a 21 year old southern guitar sensation. I was introduced to his music this past year and have had the pleasure of seeing him perform at various music festivals this summer including Lockn' Music Festival. I am always blown away by his guitar virtuosity and playing ability. I have a feeling Marcus King is on a meteoric rise to the top!
Check this video out if you want to hear more. https://youtu.be/xBkWcd-glL8
It's always a treat when any band worth seeing comes to my small town in rural Virginia and even more of a rare treat when they are an up-and-coming Jam Band like, Fletcher’s Grove. I have been watching Fletcher’s Grove for about a year now and as many of you may know, I have been trying to see all the newest up-and-coming Jam acts out there in the scene today. This past year, I have seen almost every one of them from Twiddle to The Marcus King Band. I am excited to check Fletcher's Grove off of this list and even happier that this review will be a positive one.
Coincidentally, my little brothers band, Too Indecent was scheduled to open for Fletcher's Grove at the Golden Pony, a local staple in the Harrisonburg, Virginia musical community, small though it may be. Killing two birds with one stone, I headed into town to review both performances. Too Indecent is a unique blend of Hip-Hop and Ska but lately the band has been taking a new direction; trying out new songs and tactics to keep their sound innovative and fresh. They played the usual songs from their freshman album and added some Eminem/Dr. Dre in for good measure. I am not a fan of rap music or of that culture in general; I just don't understand it and cannot relate although, at this point, even some of our parents have grown up with Dr. Dre and NWA so, I guess this has become normal and a part of the American zeitgeist. One of the bands newest songs, “Star Power” was by far the coolest song Too Indecent played during their set and it showed a lot of potential; incorporating music from The Mario Brothers video game specifically, the music that plays when Mario consumes the star energy and becomes immortal for a short time. Overall, I was impressed with Too Indecent’s set and this is coming from an older brother, who happens to be a Music Critic and isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. With some practice and a lot of hard work, Too Indecent could mold themselves into a serious force to be reckoned with. Playing as many gigs as they can and finding their niche within the music industry should be their top priority at this point in their careers.
Fletcher's Grove hails from Morgantown, West Virginia and have been playing together for over 10 years. Their Appalachian roots are inherent even from within the first songs they begin to play. I was immediately drawn to the persona of the lead singer Ryan Krofcheck, whose unique smile is inviting and friendly. Percussionist/vocalist, Matt Marion puts his heart and soul into those congas and the guitar work from lead guitarist Wesley Hager, shows a phenomenal skill level. He cannot only the play the guitar with expertise but the flute, as well. The musical prowess of this band allows them to stay fluid and the members to work together harmoniously. Fletcher’s Grove have played countless music festivals like: Allgood Music Festival, Hookaville Music Festival and Camp Barefoot. I can see them really getting down at a festival performance and they would be a great act for many of the Jam festivals I attend every summer.
From the first song to the last, Fletcher's Grove keeps a steady groove covering classic Jam inspired songs and their own original tunes. One thing I really like about Fletcher's Grove is there honesty and willingness to call themselves a Jam Band and how that traditional aesthetic of improvisation overlays their entire performance. I could immediately hear influence from bands like moe., The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and many of the heavy hitters in the Jam community. Fletcher’s Grove went on to cover everything from Dr. Hook to Colonel Bruce Hampton's “Fixin’ To Die.”
The tradition of improvisation is heavily embedded into Appalachian Folk and Bluegrass music. Without influences from these early music hierarchy’s, bands like The Grateful Dead and many of the 1960s counterculture musicians, would take the improvisational tactics and techniques of this musical quality and apply it to their own original psychedelic sound. Fletcher's Grove keeps the Jam tradition alive and adds their own Appalachian flare into the mix.
I talked with the band after show and they graciously discuss their influences, improvisational music, up-and-coming Jam Bands and of course Frank Zappa. (I always have to discuss my love for Frank Zappa with my fellow Jam enthusiasts.) I am not only impressed with Fletcher's Grove’s musical ability but their musical knowledge and as Ryan Kofcheck said to me, “each one of us brings our own musical tastes and perspective.” After seeing this band for the first time, I am already certain that they will only get bigger and amass a larger following with time. Keep the tradition alive, continue working improvisation into each performance and be willing to take chances; don't be afraid to take a darker approach to songwriting and be willing to fail at all cost, if necessary. I was given a copy of their recent self-titled album and I look forward to reviewing it.
See you on the road,
Jam Band Purist
It was my pleasure sitting in with Gingerfunk Allstars this past week for a few songs: The Meters "Cissy Strut" and The Grateful Dead's classic "Franklin's Tower" in Shepardstown, WV. Thanks guys and especially Niko Howard! 🙏 Full videos to come soon but for now here are some self-indulgent pictures. I am always looking to Jam or sit-in with anyone!
Groove Fetish’s newest album ‘See It All” is one of my favorite up-and-coming Jam acts most recent studio accomplishments. I've had this album for a few months now and haven't had the time to review it in full length. I keep this album in my car, and listen to it whenever I get the need for some extreme jamming.
From the opening song, “Lost Souls” to the end track “gods of nature,” ‘See It All’ truly has something for everyone’s musical tastes within it. My favorite track has to be “The Wizard” just because of its dark and foreboding transitions. Groove Fetish stays on the edge of high-powered jams and a mix of heavy rock-metal, without overdoing it.
The vocals and songwriting are well done and that adds an element that is rare within the Jam world. While still approaching this album with a Jam sense in mind, I believe Groove Fetish takes many influences from alternative rock, grunge and 90s music in general. They do not however rely solely on these influences and add jazz, blues and rock standard techniques to give their music a traditional balance, as well as, making it highly accessible to any audience. Drew Massey is a great drummer but I think he is an even better businessman, single handily running the Southeastern Jam scene. I love his artwork-posters and business attitude. Keep up the good work Groove Fetish and I look forward to seeing you perform soon.
If you haven't checked out GF or ‘See It All’ do it right now!
One of my new favorite up and coming acts from Canada, my friends After Funk gave me this album to check out. I keep the album 'Til The Sun Comes Up' in my car at all times. I love the theme of the album which is apocalyptic in nature; I listen to it over and over again.
After Funks most recent album, 'Til The Sun Comes Up’ is a must check out for any Funk and Jam band lover out there. This album goes from R&B to Funk, at the drop of a hat. The album itself is a story about a dancing zombie apocalypse and highly ambitious for the first studio album from such a young band.
There are a few songs that resonate with me personally on this album, including “Elephant Walk” and “Zombie Dance Apocalypse” which is by far my favorite tracks on the album; bonus points for originality and creativity. I don't get a chance to see After Funk live as much as I want and I know they are growing exponentially, musically and otherwise. I am positive that this band will go on to do many great things.
Check out After Funk and their album! I can't wait to see what they have in store for us! Thank you!
Another year and another Lockn' down. I always like to reflect for a few days after a major festival, begin to sift through my thoughts, look over my notes and decompress. Lockn' Music Festival 2017 was an event that needed even more time; my head is still spinning from the amazing musical experiences that I had this year. I seem to always count my years, not by New Year's days but by Lockn's. It's what I look forward to most about summer and about festival season; meeting with all my friends, who travel to the Jam Mecca from all across the country, seeing my favorite bands and communing with my fellow Jam enthusiasts.
2017 was a defining year for Lockn' Music Festival and for myself, as well. While this festival grows and matures, so do I and so does the community around me. Lockn' feels like my festival, it feels like it was made just for me, but I think that is a collective feeling and that Lockn' is in fact made for us all, perhaps created to give a new light and meaning to what a Jam Fest could be. This year's lineup remained strong with heavy hitters and new jam acts alike. The attendance this year was much smaller than previous but this intimacy only increased the necessity for kindness and a family-type atmosphere that can only be found in this community. I am extremely grateful and humbled by my experience this year, getting to meet with many artists and media/staff personnel. I feel a part of this community even more than I ever have before. My commitment to this music has only increased after such a life altering festival experience. Thanks to everyone I encountered this year, you made this Lockn’ the best one yet.
Thursdays musical adventure began with a local act from Charlottesville, Virginia; Kendall Street and Company which must have been a dream come true for this young, small, up-and-coming band. They did a great job warming up the crowd with their original musical style but you could tell they were nervous. It was refreshing to see local musicians getting the opportunity to perform at such a high level festival before some of the biggest names in Jam music.
In all honesty, I am not an Umphrey's McGee fan. I have seen them almost a dozen times and I suppose, I just don't get it but I respect their musical ability and they have become a Lockn’ staple act, playing for the past few years. Umphrey's McGee rounded through some of their popular songs like, "Mantis" and “Draconian” accentuating their Prog-Rock style. While I was side stage, I got to take a closer look at the bands stage presence and interactions with each other; this band is truly talented and they play together efficiently. I even found myself enjoying many of the jams, until they transitioned into hard metal riffs that make me cringe and grit my teeth, like someone is running rusty nails down a dirty chalkboard.
The String Cheese Incident came out swinging with a high-energy "Restless Wind" but they kept it strict to the set list for their first performance of the evening. Bill Nershi looked in much better condition from his recent sickness and the band played a tight and effortless performance. Back with Umphrey's McGee for their second set, which seemed much more my style. I was super impressed with the Talking Heads cover of "Making Flippy Floppy" and they seemed to guide the crowd into a psychedelic journey that most bands only dream of achieving. The String Cheese Incidents second set was highlighted by sit-ins from Umphrey's McGee members in a fitting tribute to the Allman Brothers band with "Jessica." The String Cheese Incident always puts on a performance that is diverse and intriguing from electronic sounds to Bluegrass/Celtic Jams. String Cheese consistently proves that they are one of the best in the Jam scene every time they play Lockn’.
The Disco Biscuits were up late night on the adjacent Relix stage. The entire layout of Lockn’ and Infinity Downs had been transformed and moved around. I felt the show field was a bit small for the crowds that this festival produces and when the headlining acts came on, there wasn't much space to traverse the sea of spunions that littered the ground. It had been about seven years since my last Disco Biscuits show and after talking with Marc Brownstein (bass player) at the Baker's Dozen this year, I was disappointed that they did not play Frank Zappa's, "Pygmy Twylite" but after the show, Marc commented that it was originally on the set list but that they were unable to perform it due to an injury. The Disco Biscuits debut performance at Lockn’ Music Festival brought mixed opinions from the audience but after re-listening to this set on nugs.net there seems to be a time and a place for what The Disco Biscuits do and why not late night at Lockn’?
Friday's performances started early but the weather for the weekend was absolutely perfect. The Marcus King band took the stage a little after noon; I have been professing my newfound love for this band all summer. Having just lost their keyboard player, Marcus King still shows great professionalism and phenomenal guitar playing skills that rival any guitarist well beyond his years. At just 21 years old, Marcus King can play circles around some of the best players in this scene and I look for a meteoric rise for MKB. Lets bring Marcus back next year but with a better time slot. I talked with Marcus and the band backstage and was able to ask him about his love for Frank Zappa and a possible collaboration with Dweezil Zappa in the future. I'll see what I can do! I also imparted my sincerest hopes that Marcus King will continue the tradition of improvisational music and Southern Rock within our scene and the importance of real music vs. electronic is inherit in this musical subculture.
Tauk played a simple, yet explorative set, accentuating their funky and deep level jamming but I see Tauk, as more of a late night experience and not really a band to see in the middle of a hot summer day. When Lockn’ posted earlier this year on their social media, "Who do you want to see this year at Lockn?” I immediately responded with the Antibalas and they took my advice. I think their rhythmic afro-beat performance is a perfect fit for this festival and the music is infectiously danceable. Unfortunately, after just a few songs, the Antibalas were cut short and could not continue their ritualistic performance. I would like to see them return to Lockn' next year to finish what they started.
During Blackberry Smoke and before the Phil Lesh and Friends performance, I got to meet and speak with Grahame Lesh, son of Phil Lesh. I have recently done an album review for his band Midnight North and you can check it out here: http://www.gratefulmusic.com/2017/06/midnight-north-album-review-lights-by.html
Grahame was kind and gracious in person and during his performance, I could see his growth and musical maturity shine through. During Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family Band, Warren Haynes sat in for rousing "St. Stephen" and after this, I begin to lose track of all the sit-ins, collaborations and amazing renditions of classical Grateful Dead tunes. I only took a break from the over-saturation of Grateful Dead music later that night in hopes to talk with Sam Cutler, former Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead Tour Manager, about his recent Phish comments but to no avail. He only replied with “No more questions about that, then.” I just truly wish I could have bought him his first doughnut.
Gov’t Mule plays an introspective and heavy, "Thorazine Shuffle" and many tunes from their new album, "Revolution Come... Revolution Go." I've always been a fan of Gov’t Mule but sometimes their jams/songs become slow and drawn out. They can always surprise you though, especially with jazzy covers of Weather Reports, "Birdland." Anne Wilson of Heart joins Gov’t Mule on a few covers: Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin but surprisingly, she only sings one Heart song, “Magic Man.” Gov’t Mule returned like a well-oiled machine and finished out their set with high regards.
Of course, Bobby and Phil played the album Terrapin Station in its entirety with so many musical collaborations it made my head spin but really all of this was overshadowed by JRAD, who in all honesty, out did Bob and Phil themselves; turning the tables on Grateful Dead classics like “Shakedown Street,” “Uncle Johns Band,” and “The Other One.” Joe Russo is like a six-armed Hindu God, as my friend and fellow fanatic would say, "His pockets have pockets!" JRAD turns the head on Grateful Dead standards and flips them around, finding new ways to come at them, bend them, warp them, and transmogrify them. While Darkstar Orchestra adheres to the traditional standards of what the Grateful Dead represent, in juxtaposition, JRAD takes that to another level completely and topples all preconceived notions of what a “cover band” can do.
Saturday was again, filled with such amazing music that it's hard to cover it all here without writing a 100-page essay on the inner workings of musical collaborations and the terrestrial dynamics of improvisational music. Holly Bowling started off the early mornings with her great piano renditions of classic Dead songs and I saw her many times backstage enjoying the great music all weekend; she is a true fan. Keller Williams brings back his Virginia home-style jams to Lockn’ and it wouldn’t not be the same festival without some Keller Williams Grateful Gospel on Sunday morning.
This would be Greensky Bluegrass's first performance at Lockn' but they were a major hit and I am sure they will be back again. I enjoyed their songs “Living Again,” “Windshield,” “Old Barns,” and their rendition of “Atlantic City” was top notch. If you haven't seen Greensky Bluegrass yet, do it as soon as possible. John Butler Trio came out blasting high volume treble in my ears. I have never heard or seen John Butler Trio before but they seemed to be one of the out of place acts. They had their moments but for the most part it was heavy alt-rock, not much jamming going on here. "My little Pony On Crystal Meth" was the most interesting tune that I can recall and they did get into some rocking grooves but nothing to write home about. Special shout out to Steven Siegel out there in the crowd! Did anyone actually know he has a band?
It was my first time joining the photographers in the pit for John Fogerty. The bass upfront is so loud, it feels like it could stop your heart. Now I know how many of my photographer friends, like my partner for this event, Ron Adelberg feel; that rush of adrenaline and the power of the sound waves is addicting. Fogerty and his band had a lot of energy. They played all the hits and classics like: “Travelin’ Band,” “Green River,” “Born On The Bayou,” “ Proud Mary,” “Susie Q,” “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” “Looking Out My Back Door,” “Fortunate Son,” and so many more; all of them extremely well done and played with explosive high energy. Fogerty impressed, doing all kinds of master guitar tricks and sweeps on a PRS. The only song that I didn't get into was some country song, a duet with Brad Paisley that was not very good. I even enjoyed the baseball bat guitar for “Centerfield.” All in all, Fogerty pretty much rocked our faces off, unexpected and welcomed.
Widespread Panic comes back to Lockn’ with a glorious “Fishwater” opener for my 73rd Panic show. I was again down in the pit for the beginning of Widespread Panic and I've never had such an amazing experience. To be that close to JB and the boys is an encounter I will never forget. I am so glad that Panic made it back to Lockn’ and have returned home. I went backstage and saw Phil Lesh watching the show, getting his fill of Panic. I was hoping for a sit-in but just having him right there near me was a cool experience, knowing he is there as a fan, just like me. Talking with some of the staff and security at Lockn’ they seem to truly love this crowd and this type of festival is much more laid back than most country or metal shows. Widespread Panic covers Leon Russell’s, “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall” a song that has been following me around since before Red Rocks this year. The highlight of this year’s performance was the blistering “You Should Be Glad” and a “Blue Indian” with a real Texas swing to it. “Chilly Water” had great improvisational breakdown but I still felt like Panic left us hanging with no encore and no, “Goodnight Ladies and Gents.” I hope that they will be back next year for more than just one performance.
Setlist: Fishwater > For What It's Worth > Who Do You Belong To? > Fishwater, Junior, Ride Me High > I'm Not Alone, Airplane > A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Rebirtha > You Should Be Glad, Blue Indian, B of D, Chilly Water
Late with JRAD was phenomenal and Joe Russo says it best about the sit-ins with Bob Weir: "Bob Weir ladies and gentleman, god damn!”
Sunday started for me with one of my favorite live acts The Eric Krasno Band, who I have covered twice already this summer. Kraz is an exceptional guitarist and master improviser. His band includes some talented musicians as well. I look forward to seeing Kraz and his band as much as possible in the future. Jorma Kaukonen with Moonalice brought those vibes back to Lockn’ that only a classic psychedelic 1960s rock legend like Jorma can bring. Sunday had a laid-back feeling all together. There also seemed to be a heavy police presence this year at Lockn’ from dogs searching patrons at the front gate, to 30 sheriffs closing down Garcia’s Forest late Saturday night. I hope this heavy police presence does not start affecting the positive and peaceful activities of the festival and the festivals patrons. JJ Grey and Mofro just made me hungry with all that talk about Creole food. Margo Price was straight up country-folk. While The Revivalist were more Alternative Rock than anything near a Jam quality performance. They put on a high-energy show though and the lead singer got down in the crowd and sang with the audience.
Sundays musical choices seemed a bit slower and more popular in nature then Jam worthy but Phil.moe was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness some of my favorite musicians collaborate and play songs from the Grateful Dead canon. Phil Lesh sat in for moe. bass player Rob Derhak, as he undergoes treatment for cancer. While Rob could not attend the festival in person, he did attend it virtually via a robot that he controlled on stage during the show. How cool is that? Only moe. could pull such crazy high jinx.
Many may disagree with me but I was unimpressed with the Avett Brothers original material. I know, I know, perhaps I am being a bit too critical but it seemed too pop folk oriented and extremely emotionally charged for me to get too excited about. I need something a little heavy to get me going. The Grateful Dead covers with Bob Weir sitting in were well done and definitely drew my attention in more. I finally gave in by the time they played “I Shall Be Released” which ended this festival perfectly.
Lockn' Music Festival and Infinity Downs is a place beyond time and space, beyond past and present. A place where you can find yourself, lose yourself and be reborn, all in the same weekend. It’s an experience that every Jam fan, fanatic or enthusiast should put on his or her bucket list. I have never had such truly amazing, consistent musical experiences anywhere else in my life and for five years Lockn’ brings this experience right to my back door. I am so grateful that this music has a home and that people like you, still care about real music! You know what I mean, none of this Pop BS, rap-hip hop, neo-country, electronic sacrilege but the true Jam. Lockn’ Music Festival is the definitive gathering place and sanctuary for all us. This has been a hard year for music festivals and especially the Jam scene. It seems we are getting smaller and now is the time to come together and make this even stronger and more influential than every before. Tell everyone about Lockn’ Music Festival and the bands you see. Turn someone on to good music. Explore new up-and-coming Jam acts and get involved. We all have that person that turned us onto good music, be that person. I will continue to support Lockn’ and I am again, so grateful for my experiences this year and every year. I hope that after reading this you will understand how important Lockn’ is to keeping this whole community alive and thriving. Thank you all for reading and I hope to see you in 2018. This must be the place.
Virginia is for Lockn’,
Musicologist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.