Monday, October 31, 2011

Elephant Revival 10.21.11

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Elephant Revival is a powerful quintet hailing from Nederland, Colorado. They first formed in 2006 and their lineup includes Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard), Sage Cook (banjo, vocals, guitar, mandolin), Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo, vocals), Daniel Rodriguez (acoustic guitar, electric banjo, vocals), and Bridget Law (fiddle, vocals). It’s obvious that Elephant Revival is made up of incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists that bring a new vibrancy to acoustic music. Combining elements of folk, Celtic, bluegrass, indie, jazz, reggae and much more, they have created an amazing musical tapestry on which to perform. Their ability to play so well together is made all the more beautiful with the vocals of Bonnie Paine and the ability of Bridget Law to go from delicate to rough and tumble on the fiddle with a stroke of her bow. It’s a powerful group that can go from throwing a raging dance party to making the hair stand up on the back of your neck in a matter of seconds.

The members of Elephant Revival hail from both Colorado and Oklahoma where Paine is from. Several of them began playing together in the summer of 2006 with their first performance as Elephant Revival Concept at the Gold Hill Inn in October of that year. They decided to move ahead as a full time group but not before dropping Concept from their moniker. They released their first self-titled album in 2008 and last year released their second album Break in the Clouds. They are known well on the Front Range and are breaking out nationally with several festival performances this year, including the Northwest String Summit and the Hangtown Halloween Ball.

I’ve seen Bonnie Paine with Leftover Salmon and Bridget Law playing around town with various bands, but for some reason I had not caught the full band until I saw their Aggie show last weekend. Opening up was Boulder singer-songwriter Reed Foehl. Reed was performing with Motet guitarist Ryan Jalbert. He has a subtle sensibility to his playing, bringing a mix of tender vocals and sweet picking that made for an overall enjoyable performance. Reed took every song as an opportunity to tell a story. He plays with such emotion that it was literally like he was pouring his heart out onstage for all to see, not to mention how well Jalbert played during the performance. I’m used to seeing Jalbert kicking the wah as he busts into funky guitar solos with The Motet, but this show was a chance to see him in a whole new light. The kids at the show were rowdy which made it hard to hear from time to time, but the power of his lyrics were enough to break through the wall of sound, drawing the crowd in. By the end of the show, he had made a whole slew of new fans including myself. Highlights from the show included “The Kill and Wolves”. It was certainly an eyeopening and powerful live experience, a great way to start the evening.

By the time Elephant Revival came to the stage, the crowd was pretty worked up. I’m not sure if this a hallmark of college towns or The Aggie, but I notice this is a reoccurring theme whenever I head to shows in Fort Collins. Elephant Revival just blew me away. It would be easy for them to be a run-of-the-mill bluegrass band, but their unbelievable talent as musicians pushes them to reach for something so much more. Playing two amazing sets for the crowd, it was just an remarkable night of music all around. Since this was my first time seeing Elephant Revival, I don’t have a complete setlist. But I can tell you they had an enthused level of playing that is rarely seen these days. While watching them, I became upset with myself for not seeing them sooner. Not often do I feel like that when seeing a show live. One element that struck me was how the bandmates were just passing back and forth instruments between songs and showing their wide array of talents. The show was an absolute barnburner that went until almost 2:00 AM. It was just one of those musical experiences that will not be soon forgotten. Their blend of so many genres of music coupled with amazing musicianship equated to one great night at The Aggie. I left with a sense of satisfaction, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on Elephant Revival in the future.

Nicholas’s Photo Gallery

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Dead: 10.29.71

Words By J-man

One of the fun things many Deadheads do is search the Archive for their "Birthday show". In doing so, I found this gem from this day in Grateful Dead history! The band sounds extremely tight on this one and really explores the depths of their jams and transitions, at one point in the second set diving into "Crytical>Drums>Other One>Cryptical>Deal" as well as "Not Fade Away>Going Down The Road>Not Fade Away". The transitions are smooth and seamless.

This is one of the early Keith shows with the Godchaux filling in for Pigpen. His musical contribution would later turn into a full time slot with the band. This early show reflects Keith playing his heart out for the future considerations.

Sit back, grab a coffee or a beer and check out this great show from Cleveland, OH 1971...

Grateful Dead Live at Allan Theater on October 29, 1971.

Truckin', Sugaree, El Paso, Loser, Playin' In The Band, Brown Eyed Women, Beat It On Down The Line, Brokedown Palace, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, Mexicali Blues, Big Railroad Blues, Casey Jones Cryptical Envelopement-> Drums-> The Other One-> Me & My Uncle-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopement-> Deal, Sugar Magnolia, Ramble On Rose, Not Fade Away-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away, E: One More Saturday Night

Friday, October 28, 2011

MusicMarauders Live! Episode One

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Widespread Panic 10.14.11

The Fillmore Detroit
Detroit, MI

Words & Photos By Greg Molitor
(ReMIND Photography)

Good ol’ Widespread Panic. As a Yankee youngster, I don’t pretend to know like I totally get it. Doesn’t matter. If you’ve seen Panic, you probably have a good idea of what you’re getting into the next time around. Sure, you might not know the flavor, but it’ll more than likely be a gritty chew, aged in tradition and smell a bit like the whiskey your old man taught you to drink. On October 14, my good friend Adam and I made the two hour hike towards the State Theater (Fillmore) in Detroit. Hoping for just one more honest night of rock and roll to keep our spirits afloat, we were served up some delightfully freewheelin’ Southern comfort in its finest form, Panic style.

Upon arriving to the venue, we were met by a smaller crowd than anticipated. The floor eventually filled throughout the night, but a nearly empty balcony remaining for the duration. With ticket prices of $30 and $40, the turnout was puzzling. Those who did attend, however, certainly made the right choice, and as the band took the stage to a warm, welcoming Detroit ovation, I knew was exactly where I needed to be that night. Taking their time to dig into the surroundings, Panic slowed warmed up their chops over the first few tunes that included a take on Talking Heads’ “Papa Legba”. An eleven-plus minute “Greta” signaled that the band was ready let loose on some serious fireworks, and at this point, there was no looking back for the rest of the show.

Jimmy Herring… wow… this guy is completely unfair with his skills. His guitar work with Panic resembles that time you have to let your little brother or sister win a game of basketball, just to make sure they’re having fun too. No disrespect to Panic, but Herring’s talent far exceeds what their music requires. And that’s perfectly fine. He’s a musician, after all, and his playing not only fits their music, but you could tell that he has a deep understanding of what the music represents… the miles, the hardships, the triumphs, the stories told along the way… for someone who’s been with the band for less than ten years, it’s remarkable how in tune this guy is to everything that makes Panic what it is. Beyond that, his humble presence and matter-of-fact approach almost makes you forget that this is a legend-in-the-making onstage, completely owning his craft with world-class precision and accuracy. Wherever Jimmy Herring is playing within reasonable proximity, sign me up, I’m there.

After finishing the first set with a blistering “Papa’s Home”, Panic took a quick break then returned to absolutely tear the house down. Highlights were a plenty including an intensely energetic “Airplane > Aunt Avis, Fairies Wear Boots, Pigeons” segment as well as a “Chainsaw City” set closer that capped the evening with proper, raw authority. Panic wasn’t done yet though, and in true rock and roll fashion, they returned for a “Her Dance Needs No Body, New Speedway Boogie, Makes Sense to Me” triple encore that slowly picked up steam throughout. Delivering an authoritatively righteous ending to an incredible night of live music, the slammin’ final notes of “Makes Sense” had everyone ready to take on the world as we slipped into the Detroit evening afterwards. On the way out of the State Theater, many Spreadheads were in agreement… this was one for the books. Being their 25th year as a band, Panic has been through its share of emotional peaks and valleys. Through it all, they’ve survived, and if this evening was any indication of future offerings, their best work is yet to come.

Set 1: Old Neighborhood, Papa Legba, Wondering > Send Your Mind, Greta, You Got Yours, Angels on High, Hope In A Hopeless World, Cotton Was King, Papa's Home

Set 2: Heroes > Conrad, Pickin' Up The Pieces, Visiting Day, Airplane > Aunt Avis, Fairies Wear Boots, Pigeons, Don't Wanna Lose You, Chainsaw City

Encore: Her Dance Needs No Body, New Speedway Boogie, Makes Sense To Me

Greg’s Photo Gallery

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steve Kimock & Friends 10.22.11

Steve Kimock & Friends
WSG/ Organomics
Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

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

Denver is a mecca for live music. Clear evidence of the previous statement came in the form of a three night Steve Kimock & Friends run at Quixote's True Blue. Kimock was joined by Melvin Seals, Bobby Vega and Wally Ingram for the run with Motet offshoot, Organomics opening the Saturday and Sunday shows. We turned out for the Saturday evening show and in good company.

Organomics (Joey Porter, Garrett Sayers, Dan Schwindt & Daren Hahn) began around 9:00 pm, earlier than the typical Quixote's start. The crowd was thin, but grew rapidly as Organomics played. After seeing them only twice, they have become one of my favorite local bands. That night was a pure reflection of their individual and collective capabilities. Joey screamed on the keys, transitioning between long drawn out notes and impressive displays of melody/solo work. Garrett did what he always does, scared the shit out of me and made me laugh with the overwhelming ridiculousness of his skill. He smiled as he displayed consistent, mind blowing bass work. On the guitar Dan tore through a plethora of jazz scales. His playing was somewhat reminiscent of John Scofield. Daren's drumming was top notch, holding the group together and often leading the charge.

They were joined by guest vocalist Kim Dawson for a handful of songs. Kim's vocals fit well with the music and connected with the Denver crowd. Not only was the individual work impressive, but Organomics' collective ability to jam and communicate musically was fantastic. Their energy was hish and by the end of their set, the dance floor was packed with folks getting down to their tastefully funky grooves. Be sure to check out Organomics if you dig solid funk/jazz!

The environment out in the courtyard was relaxing and peaceful as the Billy Goats picked through their folk/bluegrass oriented set. With Christmas lights strewn across the courtyard, Paul grilled up his famous Jamaican jerked chicken. Quixote's was packed and the people were feeling it as was evident by all of the smiling faces, laughs and consumption of spirits.

Kimock & Friends took the stage around 10:30 and the main room filled in completely. Kimock has made a name as a cult/legendary guitarist, drawing out many fans of technical guitar work that may not have otherwise made the trip to Quixote's. The band sounded great. Melvin wailed on the keys. His bright tonal quality and soulful licks resonated throughout both Quixote's and my heart. On the opposite side of the stage Bobby Vega tore apart the low end. His intuition and ability so take ques and run with them continues to blow me away.

At the back of the stage Wally Ingram creatively killed it on the kit. His drumming molds to any project with ease and a sense of revitalized youthfulness. At the front of the stage with a smirk on his face, Kimock did as he always does with his guitar, blew minds. His fluid approach to the guitar is taken right from the book of Garcia, but with a spacier sense of exploration. His ambient tones and utilization of somewhat obscure scales, made for a unique sound.

Those who were paying attention to the set walked away from the evening with a sense of mind expansion, though as always seems to be the case at Kimock shows, the crowd was loud and chatty. I'm not sure if it's the ambient instrumental nature of Kimock's music that often leads people to conversation, but the last three times I have seen them, they were hard to hear over the non-stop chatter.

Following the end of the first set, we made our way to the exit. We enjoyed the music, we enjoyed the atmosphere, we enjoyed the energy... But having to tune out the crowd, just to hear the artist is near intolerable. There is ample room at Quixote's to stand and talk, it shouldn't be that the epicenter of conversation is in front of the stage...

J-man's Photo Gallery

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jam Band Spotlight: Springdale Quartet

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (

Continuing our series on bands you should know about, this week we are digging into the Springdale Quartet. When I first heard the name Springdale Quartet for some reason I thought they were a bluegrass band. Well, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. This four-member band out of Boulder Colorado is an eclectic mix of rock, funk, prog, and blues, with a uniquely classic sound. It would be easy to label them as a nostalgic rock and roll band, but a lot of what they do defies simple quantifying and pushes into fresh musical territory. Although they are anchored by the lockstep rhythm section of Greg Russell and Jordan Roos, it is Chase Terzian that gives them their signature sound with his Hammond B-3. Ben Waligoske shreds the guitar to really tie the room together, pushing the band up yet another notch.

Springdale Quartet formed on Springdale Lane in 2007. They’ve been playing up and down the Front Range and all across the country ever since, performing with some amazing bands such as Benevento/Russo Duo, Tea Leaf Green, The New Mastersounds and many more, and at some amazing festivals such as 10,000 Lakes, Telluride Jazz Fest, Snowball Music Fest, and Waterfront. Springdale put out their first album Noicefactory in May of this year. All signs point to a solid beginning for this young but incredibly talented group of musicians. I was lucky enough to catch them for the first time this summer at The Old South Pearl St. Jam Festival. I say lucky because they were a last minute replacement for the now defunct band Mountain Standard Time. They have an energy about them that oozes off the stage and rushes over the crowd. Their set at Pearl St. showed a vitality and virtuosity that is what I seek in a live performance. They were by far the biggest surprise of the day and I was stoked they got the last minute add, their hour-long set getting the entire festival off to a raging start. Playing several tracks from the new album, it was a solid introduction to the audience for what Springdale was all about.

This show was not taped but check out a soundboard recording of The Sprindale Quartet’s 8/22/10 show at The Fox:

Springdale Quartet Live At The Fox Theatre, Boulder CO 8/22/10 (Soundboard Recording)

Thanks for reading, and again, take a moment in the comments section to let us know what bands you think should be featured in this series.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Four Nights of The Motet's Funk is Dead

Words By J-man

Colorado's favorite funk band, The Motet takes on the material of The Grateful Dead for a four night run in three different cities. The run opens Friday October 28th at the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins. Night two will be happening Saturday October 29th at The Ogden Theater. Night three was an added bonus for Denver fans, with a show being scheduled for Sunday October 30th at The Bluebird Theater. The run closes out with a show on Halloween, Monday October 31st at the Boulder theater.

Expect top notch funk covers of one of the scene's most coveted band's, The Grateful Dead. The Motet will be putting a funk spin on the music and adding the feel of some of our favorites from James Brown to Michael Jackson to spice of The Dead's tunes!

Friday October 28th, Aggie Theatre- Fort Collins, CO

Saturday October 29th, Ogden Theater- Denver, CO

Sunday October 30th, Bluebird Theater- Denver, CO

Monday October 31st, Boulder Theater- Boulder, CO

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grateful Dead Madison Square Garden 1991

Words By J-man

When it comes to Grateful Dead era's, 1991 was a game changer. One year after Bruce Hornsby stepped up on keys, we have this gem reflecting his direct influence on the band. His heavy playing is all over this show from MSG in NYC pushing the band to new heights and challenging the boys to bring their "A" game.

"Feel Like A Stranger", "Bertha", "New Minglewood Blues" kick off a fantastic first set. "The Music Never Stops" and "Don't Ease Me In" close the first set with beautiful perfection. The second set opens with a killer "Mississippi Half-Step". Additional highlights of the second set include "Uncle John's Band", a twenty five minute "Drums>Space" that resolves into a "Going Down The Road" to ease your soul.

The whole band sounds incredibly tight. The vocals are a step above a lot of the 90s material and with the addition of Bruce Hornsby, the music is played in an elevated state. If you're looking to explore the more mature side of the Dead, this show is not to be overlooked...

Grateful Dead Live at Madison Square Garden on September 16, 1991.

Set One: Feel Like A Stranger, Bertha, Minglewood Blues, It Must Have Been The Roses-> Dire Wolf, Queen Jane Approximately, West L.A. Fadeaway, The Music Nev

Set Two: Mississippi Half Step, Saint Of Circumstance-> Comes A Time-> Uncle John's Band-> Jam-> Drums-> Jam-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Attics Of My Life-> Good Lovin'

Encore: Johnny B. Goode

Friday, October 21, 2011

Primus 10.11.11

Michigan Theater
Ann Arbor, MI

Words & Photos By Greg Molitor
(ReMIND Photography)

The best bands change with the times. Truth is no fan of live music wants to hear the same song played the same way over and over again, especially us jammers. We need it fresh and expect nothing less. Enter Primus, the talented Bay Area trio that’s recently returned from a two year break from performing. Madman bassist Les Claypool pulled the plug in 2009 because he believed the project had run its course for the time being, and luckily for fans, the band has reinvigorated its sound in 2011, completely avoiding that common stale pitfall that spells doom for many acts who seek longevity. On Tuesday, October 11th, I made the short journey towards Ann Arbor to see if the guys still had it. And yes, they’re back in a big way, thankfully, still spooking us after all these years.

My crew and I ventured to the Michigan Theater around 8:50 PM and were greeted with a shocker of a situation. The folks at Will Call informed me that the box office had closed. Huh? “It’s almost set break, man. We don’t have your tickets.” the worker proudly proclaimed. “You have got to be shitting me….”

Worker #1 grabbed worker #2 who apparently had my tickets. “Nope, we don’t have your tickets.” Great, just great. After “requesting” an answer that would better correct the issue, worker #2 had a short conversation with worker #3, and what do you know, worker #3 was holding on to them just for me… right…. I then raced inside to extract as much awesome as I could from the remaining minutes of the first set. Upon arrival, the freak out session was already in full swing with Primus delving into some strange, spacious moments during “Eleven”. The set finished with “Bob”, “Jerry was a Racecar Driver”, and a version of “Tommy the Cat” so slammin’ that any malcontent lingering from the earlier troubles were trumped, torn apart, and buried by unbridled enthusiasm and bliss.

After an intermission that doubled as a Max Fleischer showing on the video screens inside and a delightfully messy hippie party on the streets, Primus came onstage for the second set and performed their newest album, Green Naugahyde, in its entirety. The new tunes resembled Claypool’s solo work more than Primus material, yet they still brought the signature dark quirkiness that’s defined the band since their early beginnings. Although Les Claypool and guitarist Larry Lalonde are the permanent mainstays, drummer Jay Lane stole the show.

Lane’s earliest successes came through his brief stint with Primus in the late 80s. Afterwards, he became a jam percussionist for hire, touring with Claypool’s solo projects, Ratdog, and Furthur. The journey has now come full circle with his reemergence as the man behind the Primus kit, looking more comfortable and in control of his playing than ever before. Throughout the night, the band continually walked down the filthiest of paths together as combination of Claypool’s rubber band bass, Lalondes’s atonal guitar bombs, and Lane’s tightly wound hi-hat work melted into horrifyingly enjoyable experience for those in attendance.

The encore offered us a two more classic tunes, the first being Claypool’s ode to smoking crack, “Harold of the Rocks”, and the second, “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”, which was dedicated to a youngster in the crowd that braved the psychedelically tuned concert with the rest of us weirdos. With a fiery old school attitude, both songs were masterfully done and driven home with more than enough power to quiet the loudest of doubters and most skeptical of nonbelievers. It was a contained riot of a show that’ll resonate with me for many years to come, and as I crept onto Liberty Street with the rest of the crowd, the after show environment seemed to glow a bit brighter than usual. From all indications, everyone else was feeling it too.

Greg’s Photo Gallery

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ultraviolet Hippopotamus 10.7.11

Words & Photos By Shea Haddad (

The Mitten’s own UV Hippo kicked off their fall tour with a two-night run in the front room at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It had been quite a few months since I had been to a Hippo show, and being that it was only the third show I’d seen since guitarist Sam Guidry left the band, I was interested to see them play.

Just like any other Michigan Hippo show, the whole Grand Rapids crew, along with some Fort Wayne fans, got together to have a good time. The Section was full of friends and family catching up, partying, and doing some good ole’ fashioned crushing. Once the music started, the front room turned into a full-blown dance party.

The first set consisted of mostly songs off of their newest album, Square Pegs Round Holes. The jams were clean, on point, and explosive. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially the band members! One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Hippo shows is how pumped the band is to be playing for a crowd. Nothing beats bassist Brian Samuels’ smiling face and playful demeanor during a great song. Hippo’s happiness came into full effect during the closing of the first set when they covered Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” and everybody in the crowd sang along.

The second set was equally exciting, including some all-time favorite tunes such as “North Coast”. What’s great about this band is that the moment you think a jam is about to slow down, they pick it right back up, and the crowd keeps on dancing. This show was definitely a crowd pleaser as everybody walked out with a smile on their face, ready to continue on to the after party. I’m sure I can speak for the rest of the Michigan crowd when I say that I look forward to their next local show, which is at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo on the 27th of this month. Hippo sings it themselves, theirs is the kind of music that will never let you sleep, and they will sure keep you on your dancing feet!

Shea’s Photo Gallery

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Freekbot 10.14.11

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

Both myself and Carly had seen Freekbass with Headtronics (Steve Molitz, DJ Logic, Freekbass). We dig what Freekbass does, so we turned out to Quixote's in Denver to see his newest project, Freekbot. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds opened the evening to a modest crowd. However, those in attendance would dance their asses off to make up for the limited attendance.

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds brought a lot of energy through their fast-paced blues/funk/soul jams. The quick harmonica paired with the horn section and some raging vocals from their tiny vocalist was memorizing. They played late and I was impressed. Around 11:30 PM, they exited the stage.

The crowd ventured into the courtyard for some fresh air and to experience some mellow jamtronica from a band with zero draw. The music and instrumentation was tight, but their sound lack any original characteristics.

Around 12:15 AM, Freekbot hit the stage following an introduction by road manager Paul Carter. The thin crowd returned to the dance floor and the jams began. Freekbass's characteristic bass thumping was clean and funky, though I would desire more variation and range than what I experienced. Tobotius mixed away on the turntables and although it was solid, I wanted a little bit more.

I watched as the crowd struggled to figure out how to dance to the fast-pace, spacey funk jams. After a few songs, we closed our tab and made our way to the exit...

J-man's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adrian Belew Power Trio 10.6.11

The Magic Bag
Ferndale, MI

Words and Photos by Greg Molitor
(ReMIND Photography)

I arrived to the Magic Stick with my buddy Adam a few minutes before the start of the show. I’d never seen the venue as packed as it was this night, and at first glance, I thought I’d taken a wrong turn towards a chess match reunion rather than a rock show. Adrian Belew (King Crimson, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa) and his power trio took the stage to an almost motionless crowd. In fact, the crowd was hardly responsive throughout the entire night. Maybe they were veterans that knew what they were getting into? Who knows? One thing for certain... Adrian Belew is an masterful guitarist, quite possibly the most expressive I’ve ever seen at his instrument. Channeling some seriously sick tones right off the bat, he and his power trio played mostly his solo tunes during the first set, the majority from his latest album titled E. Belew was flanked by bassist Julie Slick and drummer Tobias Ralph, both youngsters who clearly were enjoying their time onstage with the journeyed axeman.

During the second set, the Adrian Belew Power Trio was joined by openers the Stick Men. Consisting of two of Belew’s former band mates, Tony Levin (bass, Chapman Stick) and Pat Mastelotto (drums), as well as Chapman Stick virtuoso Michael Bernier, the Stick Men added a fullness to an already explosive sound. The hybrid sextet moved through the King Crimson-heavy set with dominating ease, performing tunes such as “Red”, “Frame by Frame”, “Dinosaur”, and “Indiscipline,” a song that capped the performance beautifully with its progressive time signatures, modal melodies, some insane vocal babbling by Belew that had the crowd on their toes, anxiously anticipating the next wild instrumental ride within the tune.

After a very short encore break, the sextet returned to the stage and nailed the Crimson classic “Thela Hun Ginjeet”. After they concluded, the entire band came out and took a bow. The older audience that had remained relatively subdued throughout the show finally loosened as it give the band an incredible ovation that was much deserved. I left in a confused state, wondering what I had just seen. It’s very rare that I leave a show thinking, “How in the hell did the band just do that?” It’s a welcomed feeling, and I encourage any fan of King Crimson or Adrian Belew to check this group out for themselves. You won’t regret it.

Greg’s Photo Gallery

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Congress: New Jam That Rocks

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (

Jumping back into our series about emerging jam bands that deserve our attention, I would like to write a little about The Congress. The Congress is a rock-infused act from Denver, Colorado, who have truly impressed me the couple of times I’ve caught them live. They incorporate elements of rock, blues, Southern styling, and jam to create a rich musical experience that is truly unique in our scene. Having only started touring in May of 2010, they have already created quite a name for themselves nationally through a full performance schedule and stellar musicianship. This past summer alone, they played at High Sierra, Wakarusa, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Groovefest, Targhee Fest, and The Pearl St. Jam Festival. The fact that they’ve had such extensive inclusion in this wide array of prestigious and well-known fests is a testament to how big of a splash they’ve made in the world of jam. The Congress put out their self-titled EP in March of 2010 with plans for their first album to be released in the beginning of 2012. Saying they’ve had a busy year and a half would be an understatement. Jonathan Meadows who takes the role of lead singer is perhaps the most striking member of the band. His vocals are simply stunning with a clean and refreshing delivery that adds a component of brilliance. Their original songs which are mainly collaborated on by Meadows and lead guitarist and backing vocalist Scott Lane demonstrate not only a fresh approach but also a reverence for the bands that influenced their gritty, raw, and yet somehow polished sound.

Originally hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Lane and Meadows were consistently gigging and had been leading a local jam session under the name The Grove. They focused on a more psychedelic rock sound. It was when Lane moved out to Colorado for music school that he urged Meadows to make the transition out as well. It took him a year but the night that Meadows arrived in town, Lane had already scheduled a gig for them. And the rest is history as they say. They have been putting on great shows on The Front Range and around the country ever since.

The first show of The Congress that I caught was when they opened up for moe. in Breckenridge as part of the Spring Fever festivities. Snow was blowing across Peak 8 as they took the stage. Kids were filtering in from the gondola and the slopes as The Congress began their incredible set of music. Like moths to a musical flame, the crowd filled in rather quickly. Meadows or rather his voice stole the show. I was in awe from the moment he began singing. There was an amazing juxtaposition between their coarse Southern rock sound and his melodic vocal tone. It was truly an impressive to watch. They ended their show with a funky version of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Na├»ve Melody)”.

These guys work hard and they deserve everything that they get. In my humble opinion, it’s only a mater of time before they are playing bigger and bigger festivals if they continue to wow audiences across the country. I look forward to their forthcoming studio album, and if you are in Denver, you can catch their last headlining gig at Cervantes’ Other Side on 11-11-11. It’s sure to be a great show and definitely worth the trip.