Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday Dead: New Years 12.31.91

Words By J-man

December 31st, 1991 marked the closing of a great year musically for The Grateful Dead. This show from Oakland, CA reflects an interesting time of transition. The energy seemed odd though the audio quality is great and the setlist solid:

Grateful Dead Live at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 31, 1991.

SET I: Hell In A Bucket, Candyman, Beat It On Down The Line, It Must Have Been The Roses, Black Throated Wind, West L.A. Fadeaway, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Help On The Way-> Slipknot!-> Franklin's Tower

SET II: Not Fade Away-> Eyes Of The World-> Estimated Prophet-> Drums-> Jam-> The Other One-> Wharf Rat-> Sugar Magnolia, E: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

That New Years would be the first without legendary promoter, Bill Graham. Bill died just months before in a tragic helicopter crash. There was a certain somberness to the band's music and although this show has gotten a lot of criticism, there are some great high points.

The show opened with a great "Hell in a Bucket," then fell off with a slow "Candyman." The music picked back up with "Beat is on Down The Line" before a crisp and heartfelt "Must Have Been the Roses." "Black Throated Wind" was followed by "West L.A. Fadeaway" then "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Up to that point the show was pretty lackluster. Then "Help On The Way>Slipknot," although it was slower than I prefer, had a euphoric vibe about it. "Franklin's Tower" brought a needed boost in energy as Jerry's vocals were on with the typical soulful, reaching sound. That would close a fairly mild first set.

The second set kicked of with some crazy banter. The countdown took place, they cleared the stage of debris and the band kicked into "Not Fade Away." It was a great start to the second set with the band then launching into a slow and spacey "Eyes of The World" that went into "Estimated Prophet." "Estimated" went into a jam before shit got weird. The music turned towards "Drums/Space" as the noises and nonsense heavily increased. In the middle of the second set the band literally segued into thirty five minutes of intense SPACE before resolving with "The Other One." The band then segued into "Wharf Rat" before an enjoyable "Sugar Magnolia" to close the second set. They encored with "Knocking On Heavens Door," which isn't my favorite, yet was fitting for the occasion.

All in all the show was decent. More than anything, I chose this show for it's historical significance and for the fact that the emotion and energy following Bill Graham's death was palatable. It marked yet another significant period of transition for The Dead and it marked the end of an era...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Melvin Seals & The Jerry Garcia Band 12.29.11

Quixote's true Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man
Audio Recording By Corey Sandoval
(Kind Recordings)

What better way to kick off the New Years run of shows than The Jerry Garcia Band at Quixote's? Located on the outskirts of downtown Denver, Quixote's is basically a mecca or a museum for Grateful Dead fans. Three nights of JGB seemed only fitting for such an establishment. Leading up to the event I spoke with promoter, Jay Bianchi, regarding upcoming ticket giveaways and he was kind enough to open up the guestlist to fans of MusicMarauders... One hundred and fifty people later, the ultimate miracle was in place.

I arrived at the venue shortly before 8:00 to find that the party had already begun. Folks were assembling and pre-gaming with a purpose. The venue looked great, lit with Christmas lights and a colorful array of artwork. In the back of the room resident painter, Don Callarman's beautiful work was on display for the wide-eyed fans. It's easy to get lost in Don's work and many did.

As showtime approached folks began to pour into Quixote's. It was great to see so many familiar faces as well as a delight to meet a bunch of new folks. People were so gracious and excited about being guestlisted that it elevated the vibe significantly. It was clear that the crowd came to get down on some soulful JGB tunes. Outside the weather was mild, creating a very accommodating outdoor gathering throughout the night.

The first band of the evening was Quixotes frequenter, Whiskey Tango. I have seen these guys open for bands several times at Quixote's and whereas they have always been enjoyable, what I saw that night at Quixote's seemed like a completely different band. The music consisted of less "sloppy" jamming and more structure. I really enjoyed the band's instrumentation and progressions. I look forward to checking them out in a headlining position.

While Whiskey Tango wrapped up in the main room, Shakedown Street began in the back room. Shakedown almost always impresses me. Their passion for Dead music is evident in their near perfect covers of Grateful Dead material. That night they performed some great versions of classic favorites to a sizable and appreciative crowd. Their tone was fantastic and reaffirmed why Shakedown Street is one of my favorite Dead cover bands.

Looking around the room, almost everyone was smiling and many were dancing as if no one were looking. It was a very free and open vibe. I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air only to find that even more friends had arrived. As the cosmos shifted, Quixote's became the center of the universe... and in the background, Melvin Seals' organ could be heard wailing from inside the majestic venue.

JGB Live at Quixote's True Blue on December 29, 2011.

SET I: Stop That Train>Second That Emotion>Run For The Roses, Strugglin' Man>Rhapsody In Red, Catfish John>Lonesome & A Long Way From Home

SET II: Get Out Of My Life Woman, Gomorrah>Lay Down Sally, Mission In The Rain>Don't Let Go, Waiting For A Miracle>My Sisters & Brothers>Midnight Moonlight

The Jerry Garcia Band opened with a beautiful "Stop That Train" that segued into "Second That Emotion." What a way to open their first set! The crowd was thrilled and you could feel the anticipation of what was to come. "Run For The Roses" followed with consistent sweet tones pouring off of the stage. Melvin smiled as the crowd reciprocated the incredible energy. "Strugglin' Man" went into "Rhapsody in Red," followed by "Catfish John". As I stood listening, I closed my eyes and was taken by the music.

The band sounded incredible. I was really impressed with Dave Herbert's sound on the guitar. He played the Jerry part as well as I've ever heard played and was an integral part of the magnificent chemistry that was taking place. As Dave noodled through scales I found myself in a state of extreme happiness. Also contributing to the sweet sound was Cheryl Rucker and Shirley Starks on vocals. Their pure, soulful vocals melted my heart and elevated the musical experience immeasurably.

The opening guitar riff leading into "Lonesome & A Long Way From Home" sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy. There were a lot of places to be in Denver that night, but it was then that I realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be. With The Jerry Garcia Band taking a set break, Shakedown Street came alive once again in the back room.

I sat with friends in the courtyard, enjoying the great company and incredible vibes when I heard "Scarlet Begoinians" coming from an open door into the back room. I wanted to remain in the refreshing open air of the courtyard, but was drawn in by the music. To the back room I headed where it was less crowded than their first set. Again, Shakedown was extremely enjoyable. I began to space out to the music and when I came to, the room was once again packed with adoring fans.

In the main room the second set opened with "Get Out of My Life Woman" keeping the dance party going as Melvin noodled on the keys. His vocals sounded good and fit well with the harmonies of the Cheryl and Shirley. Jimmy Tebeau sounded great on the bass creating a fantastic rhythm section with drummer, Peter Lavezzoli.

"Gomorrah" transitioned into "Lay Down Sally," followed by "Mission in The Rain" that went into one of my favorite songs that the JGB does, "Don't Let Go." The track clocked in over sixteen minutes and I loved the call and response with Melvin singing a line followed by the women singing "Don't let go, don't let go."

The evening closed with a great run of songs! It started with "Waiting For A Miracle" and went into "My Sisters & Brothers" then transitioned into a ten minute "Midnight Moonlight" to close the show. What a beautiful night of music it was!

There were many places we all could have been, but we came together at Quixote's to celebrate music, tradition, friendship and life. That night, Quixote's was indeed the center of the universe...

"We can all be together shakin' our hand when we make it to the promised land..."

J-man's Photo Gallery

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jam Band Spotlight: Railroad Earth

Words By Nicholas Stock (

In honor of their upcoming three night New Year’s run in Denver we thought we‘d turn our Jam Band Spotlight on Railroad Earth. Railroad Earth hails from Stillwater, New Jersey and got their moniker from a short story by Jack Kerouac. With elements of bluegrass, rock, jazz and Celtic music their eclectic sound has been a foundation of what RRE is all about. Beginning in 2001, the original lineup came together just to jam. Playing mostly Todd Sheaffer penned songs, within three weeks they had cut a demo and quickly after had nailed down a slot at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. This set ended up being their tenth live performance and catapulted them into the scene as well as landing them a recording contract with Sugar Hill Records. With the only real lineup changes coming in the bass slot, they've had a pretty solid union from the beginning. Finally, in February of 2010, Andrew Altman from the Codetalkers and Blueground Undergrass took the reigns on bass and it looks like he will be there permanently.

Let’s take a look back at Railroad Earth’s show from NYE 2010-2011 at The Ogden to see what we have in store for this year. Railroad Earth opened up the show with Bird in a House; here is the rest of the setlist from

SET I: Bird in a House, Dance Around Molly > Dandelion Wine, Just So You Know, Bread and Water, Stillwater Getaway, Said What You Mean, Roadhouse Blues

SET II: Countdown to 2011, Bringin' My Baby Back Home, Auld Lang Syne > Ophelia*, Auld Lang Syne, Right in Tune, Water Fountain Quicksand, Warhead Boogie > Spring Heeled Jack, Happy Birthday to Mike Partridge (with "Sweet Home Alabama" tease), Judy Judy Judy**, Mourning Flies, Storms, The Wheel, Fisherman's Blues***

ENCORE: Long Walk Home, Little Rabbit

2ND ENCORE: Railroad Earth

*with Vince "Baby New Year 2011" Herman on vocals and washboard and Jim Lewin on electric guitar
**First Time Played -- written by Todd Sheaffer
***with Adam Galblum on violin

You can find the audience recording on ARCHIVE, thanks for posting Dave.

The first set almost felt like an exercise to get the blood flowing. Without too many lulls Railroad Earth plowed through this stellar set of music, keeping the crowd engaged and happy. I may have said this before, but RRE's fanbase reminds me of how YMSB's fanbase used to be. They act like they were in on a secret and overjoyed just to be in the room. That's what it felt like on NYE at the Ogden. Highlights from the first set included the Dance Around Molly into Dandelion Wine and Stillwater Getaway. Their psychedelic bluegrass version of the Doors' Roadhouse Blues was just incredible and possibly the highlight of the entire show.

They came out on stage for the countdown. DHDave warned me that they had just cleared out the VIP section and something was going on over there. I found Chunk and company right below on the floor so I took up occupancy there. Vince Herman appeared clean-shaven and in a diaper dressed as Baby New Year. He was tossing something to the crowd before making his way on stage for a very raucous Ophelia. Highlights from the second set included a massive Warhead Boogie into an equally huge Spring Heeled Jack. They also debuted a new Todd Sheaffer tune entitled Judy, Judy, Judy. Their version of The Wheel was both elegant and beautiful. It was just built right from the ground up and their layering was something that can only be described as sick. The encore turned out to be pretty remarkable as well. Honestly, I felt invigorated for the New Year. As I made my way home I reflected a bit and smiled knowing that I would get to do it all again... next year.

It was a great show and it just leads me to believe that this year will go similarly well. So to wrap up this post I’d like to share the details of this year’s upcoming run.

December 29th, 2011 – Railroad Earth - Ogden Theater - Doors at 8 PM – Opening Dirtfoot and Andrew McConathy & the Drunken Hearts

December 30th, 2011 - Railroad Earth - Rock the Earth Benefit - Ogden Theater - 5 to 6:30 PM - Intimate performance & meet/greet

December 30th, 2011- Railroad Earth with Kyle Hollingsworth – Doors at 8 PM – Opening Bad Dumptruck Butterlips

December 31st, 2011 – An Evening with Railroad Earth (3 Sets) – Ogden Theater - Doors at 8PM

This run should be a special one so stay tuned to MusicMarauders for the upcoming coverage of night two and three. Be safe and have a wonderful New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Dead: 4.24.78

Words By J-man

Happy holidays to you and yours! Why listen to Christmas songs when you could listen to Jerry and the boys to celebrate holidays with family? This gem from Illinois State University in 1978 boasts one of the better setlists and quality recordings of that era. This often overlooked show features a setlist of incredible songs with mind-blowing jams and transitions. Look at the set... I don't need to tell you to listen all of the way through.

Just click play!

Grateful Dead Live at Horton Field House, Illinois State University on April 24, 1978.

SET I: The Promised Land, Ramble On Rose, Me And My Uncle -> Big River, Friend Of The Devil, Cassidy, Brown Eyed Women, Passenger, It Must Have Been The Roses, The Music Never Stopped

SET II: Scarlet Begonias -> Fire On The Mountain -> Good Lovin', Terrapin Station -> Drums -> Space -> Not Fade Away -> Black Peter -> Around And Around

ENCORE: Werewolves Of London

Friday, December 23, 2011

Garage A Trois 12.17.11

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man
Audio Recorded By Corey Sandoval
(Kind Recordings)

These are the shows I live for. Supergroups have come to embody what I love about our scene. In this situation, it came to us in the form of a well rehearsed, well established project. Garage A Trois has been out-putting intense and thrilling music for some time, but very rarely do the stars align for a tour. Realize, all of the members have other projects going on, so to find time that all are available to hit the road is a rare treat. That night in Denver would mark an epic musical experience for those who attended.

Initially I was curious as to how the turn out would be. The musicians are solid and reputable, but was the name "Garage A Trois" recognizable outside of a small group of folks? The answer was yes. With the opening band Zobomaze' hitting the stage to a respectable crowd, I was drawn to Zobomaze's organization and progressions. I recalled them doing a lot of funk when I last saw them, but that night at Cervantes they catered to the crowd and experience.

Patrons danced and moved to the unfolding arrangements of Zobomaze. The music was jazzy, kind of funky, but more than anything it was coherent and impressive. Each member, from the bass player to the drummer to the guitar and sx/keys reflected a poised approach to the music.

It was great to be surrounded by friends dancing and partying, anticipating what would be our ultimate demise. There was an elevated level of energy as there often is at Cervantes. Screams from the stage marked the beginning of Garage A Trois' set. We braced ourselves as the band eased into a bright progression via Mike Dillon's vibraphones... Then the jam dropped with fury.

Garage A Trois Live at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on December 17, 2011.

Enter Marco Benevento on keys, Stanton Moore on drums and the psycho on sax, Skerik. The music was a combination of experimental jazz coupled with immeasurable energy and rage. Then the music took a turn for the scary as dark radiating tones projected from the stage followed by some overwhelming percussion from Mike and Stanton. As with previous GAT experiences, I was blown away. The set did have it's low points, typically in the form of screaming or an attempt at rapping, but overall it was mainly high points... which were indeed breathtaking.

At Set break the band stayed on stage to sell merch, sign autographs and meet with fans. I'm not sure that I had ever seen that happen before. It was good marketing, but also came off as a little cheesy...

The second set played out similarly to the first, but with even greater intensity. There were moments when I would look around and noticed most of the folks within immediate sight literally looked horrified. The experience was overwhelming, especially if it was your first. What an incredible two set of music! That night was one of the best musical experiences that I had enjoyed in some time.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MusicMarauders Live! Episode Three

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 9th Annual Mark Vann Benefit 12.16.11

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man

The Mark Vann Benefit had been on the radar for a while. The line-up featured the ever-so-rare, Contribution, as well as Great American Taxi and The Everyone Orchestra, among others. Add to that "friends" and "special guests" and you've got yourself one hell of a night on music! I've listened to a lot of older Leftover Salmon recordings and I've heard a lot of Mark Vann's playing, but I didn't really know all that much about his life and who he was. We headed to Boulder to celebrate and find out more about Salmon's original banjo player and to enjoy an evening of music with friends.

We arrived at the Boulder Theater shortly following doors and headed next door to George's to grab a bite to eat with Pete Wall (Motet). Pete would be sitting in with a couple of the bands that evening, further elevating the stacked line-up. We dined and drank before heading over to The Boulder Theater. Pete informed us that not more than a block away, there was an acid jazz show/benefit for "Michigan" Mike. He considered making an appearance.

There were tables set up in the lobby of The Boulder Theater covered in autographed merchandise and other special items for the auction and ticket drawings that would take place. So many smiling faces hugged and greeted with excitement. I recognized several folks almost immediately and there was lots of catching up before stepping into the main room for the festivities.

Andrew McConathy & The Drunken Hearts:

the Drunken Hearts were a wise choice to open the evening. Their acoustic blend of folk/rock seemed to appeal to the early crowd. Instrumentally the music was nothing mind-blowing but was clean and well composed. Andrew's vocals were enjoyable and somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Vedder. Their set began slowly and with a delicate approach only to grow in both tempo, jamability and energy. They were joined by Tim Carbone for what would be the highlight of their set.

Bill McKay Band:

The Bill McKay Band was what you would expect from the keyboardist of Leftover Salmon. It was solid, sort of popular rock that featured both Bill's fantastic piano playing and sound vocals. Just a couple of songs into the set, Bill called out Pete for some Saxophone. The following three songs were the highlight of Bill's set. Pete played well, showing what he was capable of with a couple well executed solos. Again, another good choice for an early band on the line-up.

The Herman Clan:

Vince Herman and family came out for an unscheduled set. It was sloppy, the stage was packed and we figured it would be a good time to step out...

Acid Jazz "Michigan" Mike Benefit:

We headed a block over to Shine with Pete Wall to catch a song or two at the Jazz Benefit. We ducked in and found ourselves in the middle of an odd room that reminded me of an art gallery. The minute we walked in, Pete took his sax out and made his way up onto the platform stage.

I noticed a few familiar faces; Dave Watts (Motet) on Drums, Scott Messersmith (Motet) on percussion and couple of others that I recognized. I was really impressed with the guitar player, whom I had seen earlier in the fall in a bluegrass setting. When Pete stepped up to the mic, all hell broke loose. The next several minutes included by far the best playing that I had ever heard from Pete. I was blown away.

I glanced down at my phone to realize that The Contribution's set was about to start. We made our way back over to The Boulder Theater.

The Contribution:

The Boulder Theater was packed by the time The Contribution (Tim Carbone, Keith Moseley, Matt Butler, Jeff Miller, Phil Ferlino & Sheryl Renee) hit the stage. You could feel the excitement and anticipation for their set. That night would mark Matt's first gig with the band, replacing Jason Hann on drums. Immediately the elevated level of production was evident. Tim and Sheryl's vocals were strong and impressive, captivating the near full house.

The songs translated well live, the jams were coheisive and enjoyable and the chemistry was evident. Matt Butler fit in well, displaying some of the best drumming that I have seen/heard from Matt. The crowd, as well as the band, clearly loved the set. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to more live shows from The Contribution.

Great American Taxi & Friends:

The evening's headliner hit the stage to a packed main floor. The balcony remained almost completely empty throughout the show, though the main floor was another story. Folks got down to the sloppy folk/jamgrass that unfolded as the stage slowly became crowded with guests filing out. Vince seemed to be having fun as he lead the jams with his head nods and glances. Though the set was cluttered the energy was high.

The Everyone Orchestra:

This was for me the most anticipated set of the night, though the Theater was near empty following Taxi's set. Matt Butler's Everyone Orchestra almost always delivers and I was curious as to who would be involved as the set began. To my dismay, the stage remained packed with more folks being added. I felt bad for Matt Butler, as it was clear that these folks had no idea of what the concept of the Everyone Orchestra was. It was clearly a picking party, which often occurs at the end of shows.

There were folks on stage who hadn't been on stage prior that evening. Vince took over as he often does with these style of jams. It was no longer an Everyone Orchestra set. There were points where Matt was standing on the side of the stage with his hands in his pockets. In a battle for control of the set, Matt continued to write on his characteristic white board to communicate the direction of the jams.

At one point the command was to "sit". The massive group of musicians sat on stage as the crowd caught on and the whole place was in a low/sitting position. I had never witnessed anything like it. The band rose to their feet, the jam climaxed and broke for a couple of banjo players. They picked as the microphone sqeeled. The musicians behind them cringed with the crowd. When the sqeeling stopped, you could hardly hear the banjos. It was pretty much a disaster.

The night came to a close with "Knocking on Heaven's Door" which may have been an appropriate choice to close the evening, but it translated poorly and came off as very cheesy. The music stopped, the musicians stepped to the front of the stage and sang the chorus repeatedly accapella. The crowd seemed to eat it up, I however was left disappointed.

The lights came up, the theater cleared out and Carly and I approached the stage to thank Tim and Matt who were meeting with fans.

"What did you think?" Matt asked me with an almost shy cander.

"Dude, I thought it was great! I thought you fit in perfectly and it was some of the best drumming that I've heard from you" I replied.

He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. "Thanks for coming out," he said.

"Justin!" Tim yelled with a smile.

"Thanks for having us out, Tim," I said appreciatively.

"What did you think?" Tim asked in regards to The Contribution.

"It sounded great" I said with a smile.

With that, Tim smiled, we shook hands and said our goodbyes. We headed back out into the cold Colorado evening. Though the show musically wasn't all that I had hoped it would be, we had a lot of fun.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Monday, December 19, 2011

Garage A Trois 12-15-11

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (

Garage A Trois is a super group of epic proportions. Skerik, Mike Dillon, Stanton Moore, and Marco Benevento come together as an all out audio assault on any music fan brave enough to witness them live. What began by Moore as a side project to his main gig with Galactic has truly transformed over the years. Originally created with Charlie Hunter on guitar playing a few dates a year has continued with Benevento as a still somewhat rare live experience. Mainly because of a solid relationship between Scoo, the owner of The Aggie, and Skerik, we are lucky enough to get to see this project on a somewhat regular basis. I caught them last year with Zobomaze opening at Cervantes but saw the original lineup many years ago at the inaugural Bonnaroo.

The show began with Scoo giving an introduction that sounded like an extended inside joke with the members of GAT taking the stage in their signature tracksuits. What followed was some of the most aggressive and sometimes scary music I have seen in a long time. Individually they are so good, but together they use their powers for evil. By that I mean it really is such high-energy attack on the senses. Musically ranging from jazz infused funk to dissident smash jam, the range of what’s going on with each musician is absolutely mind boggling. Skerik blasted off in between some of his signature facial expressions and the combination of Dillon and Moore's percussive talents was something that falls into the “have to experience live” category. Focusing mainly on instrumental jams that even the most stalwart metal head would find impressive, Garage A Trios literally slayed the audience with sound. Other than one Scoo-led rendition of what can only be lightly described as Zeppelin’s "Immigrant Song" and some guttural chants from Skerik and Dillon GAT maintained their instrumental approach.

With powerful bowel shaking bass coming from the percussion and Benevento’s keyboard at times both Amy and I had to retreat to the back of the venue. The onslaught was nonstop throughout the two sets we were treated to at The Aggie. It was one of the most enjoyable live experiences I’ve had since moving to Fort Collins. The main reason has to do with the fact that seeing GAT puts you out of your comfort zone. It’s such a powerful live experience that it can’t help but leave an impression and shift your expectations of what constitutes seeing live music. I look forward to their inevitable return to the Front Range.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rehearsal With The Contribution

Words By J-man
Photos & Video By Carly Marthis & J-man

It was a standard Thursday in Denver. My girlfriend Carly and I sat on the couch in our living room eating dinner after a long work day. We had just popped in a DVD to watch as we wound down for the evening when my phone rang. The name "Tim Carbone" popped up on the screen. I knew the Contribution was in town rehearsing so I figured Tim was calling to grab a bite to eat following their rehearsal.

"Hey Justin, how are you, man?" Tim asked. "We've been rehearsing all day and we'll still be going for a couple of hours if you want to come by" he said with a sense of excitement.

Based on his tone, I assumed the rehearsal was going well. We shifted gears and headed out the door with our equipment into the cold Denver night. A short twenty minute drive would take us to the doorstep of Paul Brown, one of the owners of The Highland Tap & Burger. We were greeted at the door by what could only be described as a jolly Tim Carbone. There was excitement in the air. We kicked off our shoes, ditched our coats on the couch and headed down into the basement.

We were welcomed by a handful of smiling faces as Tim introduced us to the band. It was an extremely comfortable environment with an Oriental rug, some great posters and a tapestry. The band continued to rehearse as we watched and smiled as Tim Carbone (Guitar/Fiddle, Railroad Earth), Keith Moseley (Bass, String Cheese Incident), Matt Butler (Drums, Everyone Orchestra), Phil Ferlino (Keys, New Monsoon), Jeff Miller (Guitar, New Monsoon) and Sheryl Renee (Vocals) played. I've seen the band perform a couple of times and I appreciate their solid sound and production.

Each member contributed their sound to the mix for what translated into deep musical compositions. I had heard The Contribution jam, but not like this. The addition of Matt Butler to the band came just recently and the Mark Vann Benefit will have marked his first performance with the band. Replacing Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident, EOTO) comes with it's challenges, but Matt fit in perfectly. When there were mistakes from any of the members, the band would stop, correct them and move forward to the next fork in the road.

The level of visual communication was heavy as the band stood in a circle running through sections of songs. The music just got better and better. Matt pointed out that Tim and Jeff's vocals were beginning to strain after the nine hour session. With that, they decided to listen to a previous recording of a version of Led Zeppelin's "Song Remains The Same." They joked as they listened, poking fun at each other with friendly banter. They stopped the tape and began on what was by far one of the best Zeppelin covers that I have ever heard. I couldn't help but feel excited and grateful for what we were experiencing.

As they finished the song it was easy to tell how excited they were. They began to tell crazy stories about Led Zeppelin. Keith mentioned the "West Was Won" collection and I spoke up to tell the story of how those DVDs were created and how the archivers had to develop a process to transfer the tapes to a current format. The process risked the permanent destruction of the tapes if not done properly. The transfer was successful resulting in the "West Was Won" collection. Everyone seemed blown away. More than musicians, I was speaking to fans. It was great to see how excited everyone was.

The session came to a close triggering an impromptu jam that began with Matt Butler. Keith followed with a funky bass line and everyone else joined in as if it were a team stretch after a sporting event. After the session I assisted Keith in loading his car with the gear to be transfered to The Boulder Theater for The Mark Vann Benefit.

To close the evening, I sat around a large table with the band for an audio interview to follow on the upcoming podcast for MusicMarauders Live! Its nights like those that make me appreciate the scene, the music, as well as Denver on another level. Next would be The Benefit...

J-man's Photo Gallery

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Garrett Sayers Trio 12.14.11

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man

Wednesdays have become an escape from the work week grind at The Highland Tap & Burger in Denver's Lower Highlands. This week The Garrett Sayers Trio's residency rolled on with a continuation of great vibes coupled with masterful tunes. Looking around the room, many familiar faces could be seen both doing their part for the scene and enjoying the music.

On the left side, Ryan Garrett stood behind his Hi-def digital camera filling the evenings affairs. On the keys, Patrick Lee contributed massive instrumentation and lively chops that impressed the room. On bass, the man of the evening, Garrett Sayers, flew through scales and progressions with virtuoso-like precision. Watching Garrett play is like watching a kung-fu master strike his opponent. Between Garrett and Patrick was Ed Simon's audio rig, recording the output to be uploaded to The Archive for free download. Sitting in on the drums was Josh Moore, who meshed with the project perfectly. The communication and chemistry of Wednesday's Trio was fantastic.

All the way to the right sat owner, Paul Brown, controlling the soundboard with a smile. It's easy to see that Paul is more than just the owner/man responsible for the music, he is a fan. It's great to see him right up front dancing and enjoying the music with the die-hards. Also in attendance that evening was Matt Butler (Everyone Orchestra) to enjoy the music. We stepped outside with Paul and Matt for some fresh air, when Matt was approached by a fan and questioned about joining The Contribution: Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth), Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident), Phil Ferlino & Jeff Miller (New Monsoon) and Sheryl Renee. Matt seemed excited about the new relationship and hinted that if he could make it through The Mark Vann Benefit on Friday that he would be fine. I reassured him that it would be a good fit.

At set break Garrett and a few friends joined Carly and I on the patio to discuss the residency for our new podcast, MusicMarauders Live! Following our conversation we headed back inside for the second set of music. The night went on and the crowd began to thin out as the effect of the work week hit folks about mid-way through the second set. The music continued with the same energy and prowess into the evening. Wednesdays at The Highland have become a community of music fans and good folks getting together to drink, converse and enjoy great music...

Garrett Sayers Live at Highland Tap & Burger on December 14, 2011.

Note: Garrett Sayers Trio is off for the remainder of the year, but will return following the New Year. Next Wednesday (and Friday) will feature The Joey Porter Trio.

Carly & J-man's Photo Gallery