Monday, April 29, 2013

Preview: DelFest May 23rd-26th


Allegany County Fairgrounds
Cumberland, MD


DelFest, the 6th annual celebration of both Del McCoury and all things bluegrass, returns to The Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD! This year's event takes place Thursday May 23rd through Sunday May 26th, 2013 & MusicMarauders is thrilled to be providing coverage!

This year's line-up includes:

Trey Anastasio Band (2 Sets), Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Masters of Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon, The Travelin' McCourys, Keller Williams with More Than A Little, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jerry Douglas Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, Red Baraat, The Campbell Brothers, Sarah Jarosz Pikelny, Sutton, McCoury, Bulla & Bales, Davisson Brothers Band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Elephant Revival, Danny Barnes, Aoife O’Donovan, Missy Raines and The New Hip, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, The Rambling Rooks, Hackensaw Boys, Joe Craven, Mamajowali, Spirit Family Reunion & More!

Tickets:

4-Day Pass: $175.00 (Until 5.20.13)
3-Day Pass: $160.00 (Fri - Sun)
2-Day Pass: $135.00 (Sat - Sun)

For additional ticketing options or to purchase your Delfest tickets, head over to www.delfest.frontgatesolutions.com

Late Nights:

Friday: Leftover Salmon & The Travelin’ McCourys
Saturday: The Infamous Stringdusters & Hackensaw Boys
Sunday: Greensky Bluegrass & Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Purchase late night tickets at www.lineup.delfest.com/events/shows

For additional event & activity information head over to www.delfest.com!

UMBowl IV 4.26.13


Park West
Chicago, IL

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel


Innovation has opened doors to progress throughout history. New, adventurous ideas were responsible for the invention of airplanes, television, computers, and smartphones. Adventurous ideas were also responsible for meatloaf icecream, chuteless skydiving, and bears riding tricycles... but they were bad ideas. I went to Chicago to experience some GOOD innovation in the form of Umphrey's McGee's UMBowl IV.

I've seen a lot of music over the years, and this experience was one of the most unique, groundbreaking, creative, and enjoyable concert experiences I've ever seen. Much like the Super Bowl, UMBowl was designed to be the ultimate experience of the year for Umphrey's McGee and their fans. The venue, Chicago's Park West, was chosen for its size, acoustics, design, and location. The 770 person capacity was perfect. It was intimate, comfortable, and open. Everyone could see, everyone could hear, everyone could rage, rest, and repeat. The security was a little stiff, but otherwise they chose a fantastic venue. The show was unlike any other. Modeled after the Super Bowl, there were 4 quarters rather than 2 sets. Each quarter had a theme, and they were all driven by fan voting/ suggestion. Each quarter was introduced with a small movie spoof where the band re-enacted scenes from Forrest Gump, and called the flick, "Forrest Umph." Joel Cummins played Forrest, Bayliss- Bubba, and Stasik as Lt. Dan. The best part came when "Bubba Bayliss" spoofed the many types of shrimp that can be made, with the many kinds of improv that could be made... "Jazz improv, funk improv, bluegrass improv, rock improv, trance improv, blues improv, country improv, reggae improv, etc." the band certainly explored a variety of the list's options as a monstrous show unfolded.

Quarter 1:

Billed as Raw Stewage, the band sent an email out to ticket holders with links to several of the most popular "Jimmy Stewarts" (structured improvisations), and allowed us to choose which ones we wanted to hear developed, expanded, and worked into an hour-long improvisation set. I have complained that Umphrey's didn't improv enough in the past, and this show confirmed that I prefer Umphrey's shows that are heavy on improv. Their ability to play off of each other and spontaneously compose incredible music has been among the most impressive I've ever seen. This set flowed well, had exciting peaks, and displayed what has been regarded as some of the finest musicianship in live music today. Using hand signals, previously developed concepts, and keen ears, the band deftly maneuvered through hairpin turns, stopped on dimes, changed directions, and generally displayed an inhuman ability to play cerebral, intricate, articulate, and engaging improvisation. Not to say they're aliens... but I thought it might be a possibility.

Quarter 2:

The earlier mentioned email also contained a list of covers/ rarities to vote on for the second quarter. Of my personal votes (Pearl Jam: Porch, Metallica: Orion, Beck: song from Songreader album, Pink Floyd: Echoes, and Jackson 5: I Want You Back), only Pearl Jam (nailed it) and Metallica were played, but the set included some amazing songs. A new Brendan song for Jake's son "El Diablo" was an excellent debut. I really enjoyed the tune from the first notes. "Cantina Band" from Star Wars was phenomenal and included a phrase from another Star Wars tune... "The Imperial March." The crowd was elated at this tune, and smiles were plastered on faces from wall to wall. Acoustics made appearances for "Bullhead City" and "2X2," and Brendan Bayliss also hopped on mandolin for a beautiful version of Led Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey What Can I Do." The quarter was rounded out with the Abbey Road Medley. It was truly an enjoyable set of songs chosen by the fans. This may have been my favorite quarter because of all the covers, but each quarter provided a unique, engaging, and entertaining aspect unlike any show I've seen before.

Quarter 3:

Dubbed "Stew Art", the third quarter was the most creative and exploratory set of the night. A phone number was provided for fans to text ideas to influence the improv. The first chosen text was "baby making music." UM dimmed the lights and played their best "Marvin Gaye writes an instrumental soundtrack to a porno movie" groove. From there into "jazz/ metal fusion" on to "sinister evil untz" the set got nasty. A lingering evil element bled into "simply ambient bliss." After they "moogatized us," they busted out "Gin and Juice" which Bayliss rapped. "Beach boogie" followed before a "bass and drum + Joel" breakdown. Next someone suggested "warrior marching into battle" an interesting theme to explore. The audience guided improv rounded out with a "hillbilly hoedown" resolving to "a tribal drum jam" and ultimately some sweet "70's disco." The lights were great during the disco jam. The set was fun to watch as the band interpreted ideas musically. Some were better than others, but conceptually, the quarter was off the hook.

Quarter 4:

The final quarter was a "choose your own adventure" style set. The band flashed 3 options on the screen and had the fans text votes to the special number. The votes were calculated in real time, and as the results were available, the band transitioned into the elected song. To open the set, the crowd chose "Wappy Sprayberry" over "Puppet Strings" and "1348." When they reached the improv section, the jam went into limbo as the crowd voted between "Eat," "Lenny," and the victor... "Higgins." The next matchup was a nail-biter as "Miss Tinkles" and "Hangover" battled each other for the win in a trio that also included "40's Theme." With a buzzer beater, "Tinkles" took the win, and eventually gave way to "Regulators" which trounced "Miss Gradenko" and "Rastaman Chant." "Smell the Mitten" beat out "Kimble" and "Dear Lord" before "Roulette," "Bad Poker" and "Get Lucky" battled. "Get Lucky" got lucky, and led us up to the final option... The closer, "Tinkles," "1348," or the audience's choice, "Puppet Strings." It was quite the sight to behold, and the song's tag line, "These puppet strings don't pull themselves...," held dual relevance. In this case, the audience was pulling the strings, choosing the songs, directing the improv, and shaping the show; but normally, the song's about questioning who's in charge. To the fans, the band were the puppet masters, making us all dance with the wave of a hand. In order to execute something so courageous, inventive, and downright incredible was a marvel that certainly involved some sort of mastery.

To end the show, "Forrest Umph" ran to Park West and joined the band for Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty." The crowd, a sea of smiles, sang along as we soaked up the last few moments of an unforgettable experience. In the end, the score was... We won.

Brad's Photo Gallery

www.umbowl.com

www.umphreys.com

Saturday, April 27, 2013

3/5’s of Old Shoe 4.17.13


Cambria Suites Hotel Lobby
Fort Collins, Colorado

Words, Photos, & Video by Nicholas Stock


Sometimes things happen. To the dismay of fans that traveled over a thousand miles to see their hometown favorites Old Shoe in Colorado, their first show of the run at Hodi’s Halfnote was postponed. A combination of three days of blizzard and cancelled flights contributed to the decision, but people were certainly disappointed. Personally I had been looking forward to the show for months, and given their place as renowned Summer Camp alumni, I was excited to see them live. CIT Dave Weckstein was traveling with the band and I met him early for some dinner and a beer. We were just finishing up when Hodi’s posted that they would not be having the show. I was baffled because the three days of blizzard had finally subsided and the sun was actually out. Understanding that they had many friends in town Old Shoe arranged to play in their hotel lobby at Cambria Suites at 10 PM. Word spread fast and as Dave put it, it was time for a “Party at the Moontower.” So feeling it was appropriate I donned my pajamas and headed down. The 3-piece consisted of Greg Fundis, Joe Day, and Matt Robinson. The lobby was an unassuming place for the random assemblage of Shoe fans that filtered in. They had a nicely stocked bar and I have to believe that the hotel sold more drinks than they ever had with about twenty or so fans refilling regularly. They opened with an acoustic jam on “Loco Motive.”

Acoustic: Loco Motive, Dust Bowl, Take That Road, How Mountain Girls Can Love

Electric: Day Rains Night, Family

For those that are unfamiliar, Old Shoe is an up and coming acoustic tinged jam band. They can pretty much do it all and they are a tight group with lots of talent. After the first song they slid their chairs up to be closer to the fans scattered on couches and chair throughout the lobby. The highlight was their take on The Stanley Brothers’ “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” The boys moved back to the electric set up and ripped through a couple more originals before we were told it was all over. With the hotel at 95% occupancy the sound had drifted up a couple floors and some of the patrons were none too happy. So after an awesome version of “Night Family.” The hotel asked them to stop. What did we expect really? I think the fact that Old Shoe even attempted this says a lot about their character and their dedication to their fans. I certainly appreciated it and it proves to me how special it is to live in Colorado where music seems to always find a way… for a little while at the least.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

www.old-shoe.com

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tiger Party's "Self-Titled" Debut Album & Release Party 4.24.13


Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis


Blake Mobley's brainchild, Tiger Party, a collection of musicians from an array of bands, released its debut self-titled album, Tiger Party, Wednesday April 24th at The Highland Tap & Burger in Denver, CO! The product is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign and hours of hard work in the studio. The album's intro starts with a Melancholy piano before launching into "Roar Like A Tiger," a track that incorporates a combination of samples and vocals that basically repeat the words "Tiger Party." "Rhythm of The Heart" may be the most obscure track on the album, offering layers of Latin swing, horns and poppy vocals from Jon Wood. Standing alone, the track offers no hints of the Tiger Party vibe and without being told, even the most passionate Tiger Party fans would have difficulty identifying the composition's originator. "Justified" returns to the TP vibe with funkier instrumentation, vocals that lean on soul and some killer slide guitar fills from Cris Jacobs. "The Sound You Make" opens simply, with straight forward drumming, screaming organ holds and vocals from Bridget McCallion that lead the charge. The song's instrumental breakdown is also simple, yet pleasant, carrying the song to its fading close.


"Taking it Back" begins with swagger and some interesting tonal work, but fails to develop into anything significant, instead opting for meandering horns. Blake's organ solo offers some promise of a get down, but then returns to the main section and concludes. "Tigers" features a developed composition, a danceable groove and an almost old-school funk vibe. Solid sax work from Patrick Rainey and Mario D’Ambrosio leads into a ripping guitar solo from Jody Mosser before the instrumentation melts together for a barrage of sound! "Show Your Stripes" features heavy piano from Blake and the drums of Nathan Graham. Much like a Marco Benevento song, the track has a lot going on sonically as it plays out in epic fashion. The album's closing track "Sound Reprise" fades in with a sort of R&B beat and clashing vocal lines that combine with sax and keys before the track and album's eventual close.

Through short compositions the album leans on more pop sounding arrangements that may or may not appeal to Blake's Colorado fan base, which has come to expect deep exploitative tracks. With the album being recorded on the east coast, the musicians involved utilized a different approach from the more recent characteristic live Tiger Party experiences. I had a chance to speak with Blake following his show at The Tap, and he eluded to consciously avoiding solos and the jam vehicle on this album.

Wednesday night at The Tap, everyone in attendance received a copy of the album, which to me sounded very different to the band we heard live. The line up at the album release party included Blake (Keys), Fleeb (Bass), Leah Concialdi (Sax, Midi), Peter Mouser (Keys), Seth Fankhauser (Drums) & Ashley Niven (Vocals) and featured a mainly jamtronica output. Through two hours of balls to the walls jams, the group dug deep into a range of compositions that reflected a growing chemistry and solid musical intuition from Blake. The party was a huge success with the small room at the Tap packed with folks who turned out to support the conceptual project. Stream or purchase the album below, but if more than anything, go see this band live!

Carly's Photo Gallery

www.tigerpartyband.bandcamp.com

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Max Creek 4.20.13


Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel
Audio By Corey Sandoval(Kind Recordings)


Max Creek Live at Quixote's True Blue on April 20, 2013.



It was 4/20, and Denver's musical celebrations were plentiful. I decided to check out Max Creek at Quixote's. The New England based jam-band have been playing as long or longer than almost anyone in the business. It showed. I've seen an embarrassing number of shows in my life, and I have rarely seen a band who is so deeply in tune with each other as Max Creek. 40 years of playing together has made them masters of musical telepathy, and they delivered some of the most adventurous and well-executed jams you could hope to find. At the heart were guitarist Scott Murawski, key player Mark Mercier, and bassist John Rider... The same as it has been since 1973. New drummer Bill Carbone and percussionist Jamemurrell Stanley brought a youthful energy to the band much as John K and Joe Russo did with Furthur... injecting vitality and vibrancy into a band that has itself reached middle age. The resulting music was lively, original, creative, and refined. Quixote's fit the band like a glove. It's tapestry-lined stage and dizzying variety of show posters felt more like a house party than a bar gig, which has always been an appealing aspect of Quixote's, and has been a standard atmosphere for Max Creek shows. It was the last of a 3 night run where the band had the opportunity to get comfortable, leave their equipment set up, and essentially move into the place. I thoroughly enjoyed the bands' stage presence. Rider alternately made bored faces during simple riffs, and overly excited faces during his complicated bass runs. Mercier grinned frequently as he connected on musical ideas with Rider, Murawski, and Stanley. It was a joy to watch these musicians perform who were still so passionate about their craft after all this time. With a sound that shadowed the Grateful Dead stylistically, the trifecta entered improvisational passages where each instrument explored vastly different ideas simultaneously and managed to maintain a modicum of continuity before ultimately converging into synchronized resolutions as uplifting as parting clouds. In other words, they were really good. At set-break, I reflected on a first set full of improvisation and psychedelia, more like a second set than a first. The cascading jams seemed to flow from an endless source of creative expression.

Second set featured some of my favorite Max Creek tunes like "Orange Sunshine> You're the Only One for Me," as well as Paul Simon's classic "Late in the Evening." But nothing compared to the encore, a three song cover throw down... "Long Train Running," "For What it's Worth," and "Eminence Front," all of which were fantastic. Eminence Front was so rocking that I immediately went home and downloaded the Who album, "It's Hard." At the end of the night I was really excited about the decision I had made. While it may not have been the hottest ticket in town, I got to see a band with similar stage chemistry to the Dead perform at one of my favorite clubs, and the generous crowd passed around good vibes and more. Max Creek has continued to make music for 40 years because they love it. I saw it in their faces, felt it in their body language, and heard it in their sound. That has always been one of my favorite parts of a show, when I can tell the band is as energized by the music they're making as I am. It was a pleasure to watch. After 40 years of performing together, the band seemed as enthusiastic, friendly, connected, and talented as ever. They've worked hard throughout, maintained lifelong friendships, and created more music than most bands could imagine. Max Creek made me feel happy and excited that passion never dies as long as you don't let it.

Brad's Photo Gallery

www.maxcreek.com

Monday, April 22, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Bernie Worrell Orchestra & Vital Organ 4.8.13


Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

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


Does it get any funkier than Bernie Worrell Orchestra & Vital Organ sharing a bill on a Monday? The short answer is no. The long answer offers an explanation of sorts, although many would agree that an explanation is unnecessary. Arriving at Quixote's around 9:00 PM, I found an almost empty venue, as is often the case that early. Both stages were packed with gear, so I headed around back to go through the backstage entrance. Unfortunately, the door was closed and locked. A quick knock on the door and it was opened from inside by the Wizard of Woo himself, Mr. Bernie Worrell! "Justin!" Bernie yelled with a smile on his face, introducing me to his young bandmates who were present. It was good to see a couple of the guys whom I had previously booked with Bernie. Shortly to follow the gentleman from Vital Organ began to turnout and set up. For a short time it was a wild scene backstage.

Vital Organ kicked it off in the front room with raging jazz/funk that moved the crowd. The combination of Garrett Sayers and Joey Porter from The Motet is flawless. Add guitar slayer, Dan Schwindt and drummer Daren Hahn and you have instrumental perfection. The chemistry and level of skill that flows between this quartet may be the best in town. Through funk traditionals from bands like The Meters, the opening hour set from Vital Organ flew buy. Just as they were about to launch into the next song, the house music came up and The Grateful Dead took over on the speakers. Following a touch of confusion, the band announced they'd take a break and return in a bit. Folks headed over to the main room for some additional funk, as the evening's headliner, Bernie Worrell, took over.

Bernie Worrell Orchestra Live at Quixote's True Blue on April 8, 2013.



Setlist: JAM > Woo Together, So Uptight (Move On), BWO Is Landing, Thug, Y-Spy > Super Stupid, (Quixote's) Mothership Connection. Come Together > Take Me To The River, Get Your Hands Off

Encore: JAM > Red Hot Mama

Through Bernie originals, Parliament songs and funky jams, Bernie's Orchestra tore up Quixote's for a sizeable Monday crowd! The band dug deep into the funk pocket creating a grooving platform for Bernie to showcase his otherworldly abilities. Mind-bending melodies collided with familiar childhood riffs, as the band shifted into overdrive. Bernie's characteristic high pitched vocals were featured on several tracks, with the backing vocals complimenting the lead. One of the most noticeable aspects of the band was their tight rhythm section that included bandleader Evan Taylor (Drums), Glen Fittin (Percussion) and Scott Hogan (Bass). The front line of Andrew Kimball (Guitar), Kyle Cadena (Guitar) and Nicole Scorsone (Violin) fit the mold perfectly. Rather than overpowering Bernie, the three gave Bernie a ton of space to maneuver, jumping in with solid timing and musical insight. Definite highlights included "So Uptight," "Y-Spy," "Mothership Connection," "Super Stupid" and "Come Together>Take Me to The River." On a personal level, the overall highlight of the experience came when Bernie glanced over at me from the stage and said "I want to give a special shout out to my brother who brought me to Colorado on several occasions through the years, Mr. Justin Picard over there!" Folks applauded and my heart sank. I immediately headed to the bar for a drink.

Overall Bernie Worrell Orchestra was tight, funky, youthful and energetic! The band did great justice to Bernie's material and the material of some heavy hitters throughout their extended set. Bernie, as always, shined bright and captivated those lucky enough to be in the presence of one of the all time greats. The consolation of it all was that Vital Organ took the stage once again to close the evening. As the evening got later I left the venue knowing that I had a long week ahead of me. As I left, I reflected on how awesome of a night it was. The following Wednesday Garrett filled me in on a funny story from that night. Apparently Bernie came up behind Joey, covered his eyes while he was playing and reached over his shoulder to play along!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

www.bernieworrell.com

www.bernieworrellorchestra.com

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sancho's Shakedown Street 4.20 Celebration


Sancho's Broken Arrow
Denver, CO

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


Shakedown Street Live at Sancho's Broken Arrow on April 20, 2013.



What better occasion than the high holy day of April 20th to get together in the parking lot of the mile high city's premier counterculture bar for a 4:20 PM smoke out? Unlike the violent scene of gunfire that erupted at Civic Center Park, the peace was kept at Sancho's Broken Arrow just blocks away. Entering through Sancho's main entrance on Colfax Ave. I was greeted with a smile by Sancho's/Quixote's staple and my good friend, John. The energy was fantastic as folks bounced around the crowded bar with smiles on their faces and bells on their shoes. The party atmosphere carried all of the way to rear of the venue, into the parking lot that was fenced in and secured for the festivities. Familiar faces mingled among merch and beer/alcohol vendors. A stage was brought in for the get down and as the 4:20 mark on the clock approached, Grateful Dead cover band, Shakedown Street, scrambled to set up. The thought of a Dead cover band running late at Sancho's seemed all to fitting. As 4:20 came and went the stark contrast between the celebrating stoners and the police station that shared the same fence line, was a dynamic in which I have never personally experienced. Police looked on downwind as they came and went from their precinct. With The Fillmore in the background, The String Cheese Incident played loudly through the speakers.

Just prior to the set starting, owner Jay Bianchi stepped up to the mic to say a few words about how "we're taking over state by state," with the best quote coming in the form of this gem; "The people have spoken... and they are high!" Shakedown Street hit the stage about 35 mins late and jumped right into "Sugar Magnolia!" The atmosphere was extremely unique with folks clearly in a hazy daze as they got down. Shakedown street sounded as consistent as always. With solid instrumentation and average vocals, the band powered through several fan favorites. Shakedown's following got down as if they were seeing the Grateful Dead, as I reflected on how grateful I was to have a character like Jay Bianchi in my town...

www.shakedownstreetband.com

www.facebook.com/pages/Sanchos-Broken-Arrow

Friday, April 19, 2013

Leftover Salmon 4.13.13


The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock


Leftover Salmon is a Colorado tradition. They are the source from which so much jam and bluegrass flows. String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and so many others would not be what they are today if it wasn’t for the trail blazed by Salmon on a cold night in Crested Butte over twenty years ago. Leftover has gone through some transitions through the years. The passing of Mark Vann, the departure of Jeff Sipe and Bill McKay, the search for formidable replacement on banjo that ended with Andy Thorn have all had an effect on the band. They have persevered and their music is as vibrant as ever.

Their show at The Aggie Theater in Fort Collins was completely sold out meaning tight quarters were the order of the night. I staked my spot Vince side on the rail. They took the stage just before 10 PM with a quick “Liza.”



Leftover Salmon Live at Aggie Theater on April 13, 2013.



Set One: Liza, Gulf Of Mexico, Voodoo Queen Marie, Aquatic Hitchhiker, Gold Hill Line, Sing Up To The Moon, Morning Sun, Highway Song, BooBoo*, You Can Find Some Other Man, Lonesome Johnny Blues**, Danger Man**

Set Two: Gonna Have A Party, Here Comes The Night, Walking Shoes, Bend In The River, Light Behind The Rain, Riding On The L & N, The Other Side, Mr. Wrong**, Come On Baby**, Out In The Woods**, Railroad Blues**, River’s Rising

Encore: Euphoria

*W/ Friends on Drums
**W/ Johnny Hickman on Guitar, Harmonica, and Vocals

This show was a non-stop shredfest that showcased the new era of Leftover Salmon. The setlist is a mix of fresh and classic with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. “Gulf Of Mexico,” which is basically an indictment of BP and the devastation they caused to the coastal waters, was a nice touch. Their zydeco was showing with “Voodoo Queen Marie,” but it was “Aquatic Hitchhiker” that made jaws drop. This instrumental song built so beautifully, relying heavily on Andy Thorn’s banjo. Andy really has revitalized this band in a big way and continues to keep the energy at peak level. “Gold Hill Line” was a quick, but passionate version with Drew on vocals before they invited a few friends to help with percussion on “BooBoo. “You Can Find Some Other Man” kept up their breakneck pace before they called their old friend Johnny Hickman to the stage. Hickman is from the alternative rock group Cracker and he, along with David Lowery, recorded bluegrass versions of their songs with Leftover Salmon performing as the backing band. The result was an album entitled O Cracker Where Art Thou?. Hickman is an accomplished guitarist with a rowdy, bluesy feel to his style. Much like what Bill McKay brought to the table, Hickman transformed Leftover Salmon into a rocking bar band. They blasted through two Cracker tunes, “Lonesome Johnny Blues” and “Danger Man” before taking a short set break.

Thirty minutes later the band opened up round two with “Gonna Have A Party.” We were treated to a subtly stunning “Here Comes The Night,” before coming back to one of their newer songs, “Walking Shoes.” There seems to be a more tuned in consciousness in their lyrics than some of their early work. There is a maturity that only comes with being on the road for two decades and it is seeping into everything they do. Drew busted out his fiddle for “Bend In The River,” which is always a treat, but the highlight of the show was the Andy Thorn sung “Light Behind The Rain.” They slamgrassed us with “Riding On The L & N,” before Drew’s mandolin took the driver’s seat with the Salmon classic “The Other Side.” They invited Hickman back to the stage for a four-song run of both Cracker and Salmon tunes that left fans happy. The version of “Out In The Woods” was yet another highlight in show filled to the brim with high points. They closed the set with an absolute barnburner rendition of “River’s Rising” that showcased the evocative vocals of Mr. Emmitt. There is something about his voice that stays with you long after the amps have been put away for the night.

Leftover Salmon came back to the stage with a quick “Euphoria” and as quickly as it started it was over. This is the type of show that leaves you all bubbles and sunshine. The rain had begun to drizzle as the capacity crowd filtered out into the night. Exhausted smiles dotted the faces of the people as they wiped the sweat from their brows. It was a good night of Salmon and an energizing way to spend a Saturday evening in Fort Collins. For a band that has been on the road for so long it would be easy for them to become blasé as well. However, LoS is always innovating, inviting guests, and generally leaving it all out on every stage they play. This is a new dawn for this band and I for one am happy to be witnessing their rebirth.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

www.leftoversalmon.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three Nights of Lotus at Boulder Theater 4.4.13 - 4.6.13


Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn


Let’s make this very clear from the beginning, when I requested to cover the recent 3-night Lotus run in Boulder I was expecting to attend only the Thursday show with a critical perspective and go on being a non-Lotus fan with an overall disdain for the “Jam-tronica” scene. Upon arriving at the glorious music venue known as the Boulder Theater I was immediately greeted with a massive crowd of Coloradoans itching to get their dancing shoes going and party faces melting, with a very diverse range of ages that is always good to see. After waiting approximately 30 minutes to attain my various tickets for the evening I entered through the awesome, yet surprisingly still secret George’s entrance and slammed my usual Vodka Tonic to help me enjoy what I was about to hear. I chose the awesome Boulder Theater balcony for my first viewpoint and just as I was settling in, the lights went down and this “Jam-tronic” 3-night rage fest began.

The Boulder Theater was rocking from the moment Lotus took the stage on Thursday night to the last time we saw them on Saturday evening. Everyone in the crowd was dancing their asses off from the first note that this Philadelphia based group gave us, and wow was the energy off the roof! In my six years attending shows at the venue on 14th Street in downtown Boulder, it would be hard for me to find a more excited and passionate crowd than the Lotus freaks who came out for this mostly ridiculous 3-night extravaganza. Drinks were flowing, people were smoking, and the party was raging HARD with each and every song that Lotus brought to the table. Some of my personal highlights from Thursday night were “Slow Cookin," “Wooly Mammoth,” and the funky as fuck “Spaghetti." Trading unique guitar riffs back and forth Mike Rempel and Luke Miller, the two guitarists of the band, brought the Boulder crowd to a frenzy with each progressive note.

Following the absolutely disgusting Italian food funk, Lotus gave me something I hadn’t heard in a very long time... The Zelda theme song! What a treat for the nerds in the crowd as this version of the video game cult-classic’s theme song was ripping and roaring from start to finish. Night one came to an end in a personally unsatisfying “Womp-tastic” fashion, but the flat-brimming audience members were digging the bass and all of the cool sound effects that came with dub-step. So now, I had to make a very hard decision. Attend night two or not? After a good talking from my best buddy on how amazing night two would be, I started to pack my show stuff and get ready to rage it once again. Friday nights at the Boulder Theater always have a party atmosphere surrounding them and this one did not disappoint in the slightest. Lotus kicked off the night with a great dance/party starter, “Spiritualize” and kept bringing the heat from there on out. Pieces such as “He Ain’t Well” and “L’immeuble” were executed flawlessly with the transitions from bass to guitar leading right into great rhythm progressions. My personal favorite Lotus song “Behind Midwest Storefronts” was even better live than on the recordings, and while almost dropping my camera a few times I quickly realized that this night was going to be off the chain.



Now I will take a moment here to discuss some of the things that not only confused me with Lotus, but also disappointed me greatly. I must do this to keep some level of standards for my musical appetite, and I am sorry if I offend any Lotus freaks out there with the questions I have:

-Since when is 30% of Lotus’ music dub-step?
-What is up with the computerized vocals? You guys can’t afford a live singer?
-Does Jesse Miller (bass) really need a keyboard/sampler, or could he focus more on slapping that bass even harder than he does?

I ask these questions because not only did Lotus change my mind completely about what their music is over this run, but also I quickly became a fan of what they do. I appreciate their unique take on the “Jam-tronica” genre and their fans obviously love them to the core. So why not play more instruments, and less computers?

Friday night quickly came and went, but all of us party animals knew that we had one more raging night to have Lotus melt our faces and tire us out. The anticipation I had for night three was palpable, as Friday night simply described was a fucking awesome time. Ripping through songs such as “Middle Road,” “Gilded Age,” and “Tip of the Tongue,” Lotus’ first set on night three was jam-packed with melodic transitions and crazy tone changes. Set Two was much of the same and the Boulder fans were noticeably not excited for the end of this epic run. The “Sunrain” sandwich to close the night was great, and the crowd could be heard yelling down the block “One more Song!” But, what would the Philadelphia ragers do for their 3-night run encore? After a nice “Kodiak” and “The Surf,” Lotus gave the crowd what they really wanted, a slow and melodic “Colorado” to end it. Personally, I thought this was a truly pathetic way to end a raging 3-night stand but as the Stones say… ”You can’t always get what you want.”

To sum up the Lotus extravaganza I will admit, I am now and will be for the unforeseen future a definite Lotus freak. The energy the band brings to each show is almost drinkable, and it was hard to find a moment where I wasn’t dancing my ass off. I highly recommend Lotus and their dancy dub-step, and will 100% be catching every Colorado show they have in the near future. Us music-obsessed Coloradoans won’t have to wait too long, as Lotus announced a Red Rocks date in mid-September. So go out and dance the night away to the sounds of Lotus, because I promise you will not have a bad time.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

www.lotusvibes.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Preview: Rob Drabkin at The Fox Theatre 5.4.13


The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO


Join us on Saturday May 4th at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO for Rob Drabkin! The show comes on the brink of the release of Rob's new full length album and in support of his Pledge Music Campaign!

Doors: 08:30 PM
Show: 09:00 PM
$9 ADV / $12 DOS + $2 for under 21 tickets
All Ages

Purchase Tickets Here:
www.foxtheatre.frontgatetickets.com

Facebook Event: Rob Drabkin at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO

www.robdrabkin.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Greyboy Allstars & Dumpstaphunk 4.12.13


Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel


As winter and spring battled for the upper hand in Denver, I ventured out for some music that was as swinging as the temperature. While we waited in line at the box office, I heard a fan on the phone with his friend, "We're good dude, Dumpstaphunk hasn't even gone on yet." Surprise. Surprise. I hadn't even realized they were playing. Bonus. Dumpstaphunk has laid down some of the dirtiest, baddest funk on the planet. Bass player, Nick Daniels III slapped and popped his way into my favorites with a thick, rich tone and more bounce than those old Nike Basketball commercials where everyone did the fancy dribbling. If I had only one thing to say about the evening, it was that Daniels was an animal. Dumpstaphunk took a lot of their sound from Daniels' work, and while the other musicians were proficient, none stood out so clearly. The bass has always been paramount in funk music, and Daniels' playing was just how I like it... bold, full, punchy, and danceable. He laid in that super-funky slap/pluck style, rode the pocket, and dropped bombs as appropriate... like a Buddhist fighter pilot. (Do they exist?) Don't get me wrong, Ivan Neville lit up the keyboards, and Ian Neville and Tony Hall contributed concise guitar to the driving funk. Drummer Nikki Glaspie also kept a metronomic pace as she banged out inspired, enthusiastic rhythms with force. With an explosive opening band like this, the bar was pretty high for the headlining Greyboy Allstars.

Fortunately, Karl Denson and company were experts of jazz, funk, and boogaloo. As a fan of Denson's primary band, the Tiny Universe, as well as Robert Walters' 20th Congress, I've always really loved the Greyboy Allstars. I've seen them at some key times in my life. I listened from beyond the fence as they closed out Telluride Jazz Fest the night before Phish's 2010 Telluride run. They were also the first show I saw when I moved to Colorado. I met two of my very good friends, Ryan and Lindsay at that show, and have enjoyed some good fortune as a result... In fact, if it weren't for those friends, I may not have had the pleasure of writing this very article. The long and short of it, I've been receptive to the positive energy that the Allstars have created.

To be honest, high-flying, energy filled, adventurous pieces of music that utilize tension and release, and climb to emotional peaks have always been my preference in a live show. The Allstars did not always keep my attention on Friday night. Their musicianship was top notch, but after Dumpstaphunk's funky assault of my senses, I was numb to some of the smoother jazz's lighter tones, airier leads... like pastel next to neon. However, from time to time throughout the night, the band revved the engine and hammered on it. Their instrumental take on Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," had me smiling, and Walters, Denson, and guitarist Elgin Park each had impressive solos throughout the show. Chris Stillwell (Coach C) was versatile and consistent with his bass-lines, but not nearly as intense as Dumpstaphunk's thunderous rump shakers. On the whole, the band was tight, the grooves hit, and the musicianship was excellent. Karl Denson commanded the room's attention with his soulful saxophone and his affable energy, and the band was as tight as you're likely to find at a club in Denver.

When it was last call, I realized that I had forgotten to check out the Werks, a Midwest band I'd heard great things about, so I snuck next door for a quick glimpse. From the limited time I watched them, I'd say they had the sound of a typical jamband... happy, energetic, improvisational rock. While I didn't find the sound very unique, or innovative, I was very impressed with the execution. Each member seemed to know their role, their instrument, and their bandmates well... key ingredients for a successful band. With my curiosity piqued, I returned to the ballroom and slipped through the intoxicated beauties, and lingering hippies, out onto Welton Street where spring continued to wrestle with winter.

Brad's Photo Gallery

www.greyboyallstars.com

www.dumpstaphunk.com

The Manhattan Project: Atomic Bomb Party vol. 3


Words By J-man

The Manhattan Project, one of the northeast's newest powerhouses, came on to the scene in 2010 and is further making a name for itself with the release of Atomic Bomb Party vol. 3! The album's opening track, "Endless Nights," builds from the start into an all out barrage of sonic output layered with tasteful precision. Deep tonal exploration collides with danceable grooves for a menacing yet satisfying start to the party. Police sirens scream out in the background as Shawn Drogan's drums continue to build the track for one last explosion of sound. The synth-heavy "Full Bounce" eases its way in with Charlie Lindner at the helm before the beats hit. Enter a layer of dub bass that tactfully wobbles in the background and the track is in full swing with a plethora of hihat chops. The breakdown is soothing and reflects a great contrast and range in the duo's highs and lows. Beautiful vocals come and go taking the mind with them and returning it to the track just in time for the beat. "Bitcrusher" welcomes powerful vocals, a couple of sizeable builds and captivating melodies for a sonic ride that may be the album's shortest track in length, but also may be its strongest in regards to fan appeal.



What starts out as light percussion and spacey synth builds oh so slowly with a focus on effects, before the bass enters the picture and the listeners finds themselves in the full swing of "Hiroshima." The combination of middle eastern and Asian influences is evident and reflects a well-round arsenal. The EP concludes with "Aftermath," a piece that begins with an almost apocalyptic buzz, chirping birds and the eventual warning of an "emergency." Heavy bass drops and the composition takes off, with soaring highs, clashing with deep lows in the albums' ultimate build and release. The Manhattan Project's overall output far exceeds that of a typical duo, though nothing about this duo or their music is typical. They are the past in their utilization of worldly influences. They are the future in their tasteful innovation. Atomic Bomb Party vol. 3 offers listeners a fresh perspective on a constantly developing music.

4.20 The Manhattan Project EP Release Party @ Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY

The album officially releases on Tuesday April 23rd!

J-man's Conversation With Shawn Drogan(Drums):

J-man: What are your thoughts on the new album?

Shawn: We're really excited about this one for a couple reasons-; It's very different than the previous 2 EP's. Not only are the BPM's of each song slower than the last, we explore different rhythms and feels on this one. There's still a lot of variety like the last and it still sounds like us, but I think people will hear some evolution in the music. Another reason, is that this was an important one to get right and I think we did it! It's been two years since we've released a studio album and we felt like we had to take it up a level this time around. A lot of the music came together fairly quickly in the weeks going into the studio. We only had a certain amount of time to write songs we felt good about and I feel we ended up producing some of our best stuff to date.

J-man: What is your thought of the direction of "mainstream" electronic music and where do you see TMP in relation to a lot of the mainstream music?

Shawn: I think music in general is in a great place! Popular music is popular for a reason. Our music definitely hits on certain levels of mainstream, but also offers something more for people that want something deeper.

J-man: Can you talk about why it is you gentleman opt out of utilizing laptops in your live performances?

Shawn: We both come from a very instrumental background and wanted to utilize that element mainly when we started, but take it somewhere new. We never really planned it out that way, but as we started to develop our sound, we didn't feel a need for laptops to perform. Now I guess it kind of sets us apart in a way.

J-man: What does TMP have coming up this spring/summer that you guys are most exited about?

Shawn: We'll be hitting a lot of new cities in the next few months which is always fun, and we'll be announcing some more festivals very soon.

www.themanhattanprojectlive.com

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great American Taxi 4.5.13


Ghost Ranch Saloon
Steamboat Springs, CO

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


With all of the work that we've been outputting in the city, we thought it best to head to the mountains for a weekend of rest and relaxation. We hopped into the Jeep and headed up just a few hours away to Steamboat Springs. Our time there would be spent hiking and visiting Strawberry Park Hot Springs as opposed to seeing music as we always do. While having lunch, we checked the local night activity in the town and noticed that Great American Taxi was playing over at Ghost Ranch. "We don't have to go," I said to Carly, "but I would like to poke my head into the venue just to check it out." Following lunch we headed across the street to Ghost Ranch and the friendly staff invited us in to check it out. The open room was crafted from beautiful wood, with columns that supported an upper floor/balcony. Throughout the room were a wide array of taxidermy that added to the rustic saloon vibe that Ghost Ranch does so well. The large bar area featured well-crafted arches filled with liquor and across the room from the bar was the elevated stage. As we left the venue, I had a feeling that we would be returning that evening for some Taxi.

"Hello, my name is J and I am an addict." With little to no convincing, we did indeed return to Ghost Ranch that evening and found a spot at the bar where a kind bartender filled us in on some info about the venue and the music scene in Steamboat. She informed us that it was usually pretty happening but since it was the beginning of "mud season," business had begun to dry up and Ghost Ranch would be closing for a short time. We asked for some food recommendations and ended up with a burger and Buena Vista goat cheese. Both were fantastic and eluded to Ghost Ranch's abilities as both a venue and restaurant. The man of the hour, Vince Herman, wandered around greeting folks while catching shots at the end of the bar as bearded mountain men and skiers came through the door for some Americana/folk. Outside of the bar a young group of talented musicians picked and sang as they waited for the show to start.

With Ghost Ranch filling in, Great American Taxi took the stage and began. The venue's sound was great and the energy palatable as mountain wookies got down. Taxi has never really impressed me with their loose sort of party music, but that night they sounded a little tighter and a little bit more focused than some of the previous shows I had seen. Regardless of what I thought, there was a room full of people who had a blast. Vince and guitarist, Jim Lewin, went back and forth with rockabilly sounding trade offs, as keyboardist Chad Staehly filled in the gaps with tasty licks that at times took the focus. The rhythm section of Brian Adams on bass and Chris Sheldon on drums didn't really blow minds, but seemed to hold its own and fit the compositions well. Drinks continued to flow, the music went on and the evening turned to early morning. Our time at Ghost Ranch, though unplanned was the perfect addition to our mountain "escape!"

J-man's Photo Gallery

www.greatamericantaxi.com

www.ghostranchsteamboat.com

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MathGames & Genetics 3.30.13


Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

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


Genetics Live at Quixote's True Blue on March 30, 2013.



It was a packed evening of sold out (or close to sold out) shows in Denver, as is often the case on any given weekend. A lot of thought went into which show(s) to attend for a lot of people, but for me the decision was clear. Guitarist, Fareed Haque, would cover Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Deja Vu with his band MathGames. Leading up to the event Fareed reached out to me about needing keys for the project. There was only one person who could properly field the material and keep up with Fareed, and that person was Patrick Lee (Garrett Sayers Trio). I was also asked by MusicMarauders' client, Genetics, if they could get onto the bill as Fareed was one of their all time favorites as well. Calls were made and the gig was set.



Just prior to their opening slot, I headed backstage to let Genetics know that we were set up and ready to go. I also informed them that I would be living vicariously through them on that evening and to not fuck it up. I like to add a little pressure to an already tense situation, as it was confirmed, Fareed would sit in with Genetics. Genetics took the stage at the nearly empty Quixote's and as they began folks made their way into the main room to experience the young Fort Collins band. Genetics eased their way into the set with the energy building in a slow yet calculated manner. Solid guitar riffs soared over heavy bass and consistent drums as the music went through all sorts of flowing progressions. Adventurous musical concepts whirled around the stage in a collective and cohesive manner as the band launched into Oyterhead's "Mr. Oysterhead!" The song was well-executed and one of the highlights of the set, foreshadowing May 11th's "Genetics Performs The Music of Oysterhead" show at Quixote's! Then it happened. The true highlight of the extended opening set came with Fareed Haque's entrance to the stage. The excitement was clear on the faces of the young band, who once again worked its way into a composition, as Fareed mocked the melodies then took them to another level. Fareed glanced at the young guitarists, encouraging them to "have at it," though it was clear that no one wanted to step up. With that, Fareed tapped his pedal, leaned back and took off into ripping guitar work. The music built, the band thanked Fareed and jumped back into heavy progressive jam before concluding their set.

Math Games Live at Quixote's True Blue on March 30, 2013.



Up next was Fareed Haque's MathGames, who instead of playing numeric jazz, took a different approach to their sets with their take on Deja Vu! Fareed's acoustic guitar sounded crisp as he nailed every single note with larger than life tone and accuracy. Alex Austin's bass, combined with Greg Fundis' drums reflected great chemistry and the perfect platform to feature Fareed. That night MathGames welcomed special guest Patrick Lee to the mix. Patrick fit in perfectly, outputting the material like a true pro and reading Fareed like a book, keeping up with every chop. It was cool to see Fareed's excitement with Patrick's approach to the music. Songs like "Teach your Children," "Carry On," "Almost Cut My Hair," "Woodstock" and more, featured a new perspective on the material and a specific mastery that only Fareed could bring to the table. Through two set of covers and original material, MathGames blew minds, encoring with crowd favorite, "Carry On."

Though the turn out was low, the vibe and the music was fantastic. Fareed and MathGames' approach to the material of CSNY was incredible and overwhelmingly interesting. In addition, Genetics put on a solid opening performance that reflected focus, immense practice and progress from their previous performances. What more can you ask for from a young band beside constant improvement and progress? I see great things for Genetics and look forward to the next time I am able to catch them and/or my favorite guitarist, Fareed Haque!

J-man's Photo Gallery

www.fareed.com

www.geneticsmusic.com

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ron Miles Quartet 3.30.13


Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

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


As is often the case with Ron Miles' shows, that evening at Dazzle was sold out! The sell out was well deserved as Ron always brings an assortment of world class musicians. That night Ron was joined by Eric Gunnison (Piano), Kent McLagan (Bass) and Alwyn Robinson (Drums) for a powerhouse group that at times even made Ron smile with excitement. Through beautifully charted material, the quartet resembled a well-oiled machine. Gunnison's key work was all over the map, with Alwyn keeping a close watch as the drums were often chasing the piano. Kent kept up with Alwyn, while all the time being aware of what Ron was looking for musically and nailing every note on the fretless upright. There is something about Ron Miles' playing the resonates deeply with jazz fans. Whether it's his ability to cross genres, circular breath for an incredibly extended note, or the raw talent that seems to pour out of such a humble man, Ron is one of the most coveted member of the Denver jazz scene.

Folks dined on beautifuly prepared food from the Dazzle kitchen and enjoyed wonderfully concocted beverages from the bar, as the Quartet gave folks their monies worth. A special point in the evening came with Ron thanking Dazzle Music Director Kevin Lee, informing the crowd of Kevin's upcoming show at Dazzle, then launching into an excellent version of "Mr. Lee!" The amount of reciprocal respect at Dazzle is and was palatable. The musicians play and the audience listens. It's a beautiful thing and has definitely spoiled many in regards to other less attentive crowds. The show ended what felt like a short time after it began and music fans made their way into the Dizzy Room for some "Blues & BBQ!"

J-man & Carly's Photo Gallery

www.facebook.com/ronmilesmusic

www.dazzlejazz.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Perpetual Groove & Ghost Owl 4.5.13


Georgia Theater
Athens, GA

Words By Scott Shrader
Photos By Lance Bryant


Perpetual Groove Live at Georgia Theatre on April 5, 2013.



Indefinite Hiatus: two words that any music fan dreads to hear from their favorite band. Unfortunately, Perpetual Groove announced their rift earlier this year by releasing two press statement’s; one from Brock Butler and the other from the remaining members of the band (Adam Perry, Matthew McDonald, and Albert Suttle) announcing that the band would officially go on hiatus April 6, 2013. As one story ends, another begins. The three remaining members will begin touring under the name “Ghost Owl” and will be experimenting with a new sound and visual stage presence this Spring. Brock will be focusing on his health and taking some time off from extensive tour life. Don’t fear, the guitar wizard will still be touring solo later this Spring and has no plans to stop playing music anytime soon. To those who know Brock personally, this announcement may have not been a surprise. His announcement to the fans was truly sincere and he even gave an apology to those he has let down over the years. The man has one mission; to become happy and healthy.

The band continued on with their previously scheduled Winter tour and made their rounds to some of their favorite towns and venues that they've played in the past 12 years. Making stops in CO, FL, TN, GA, MS, AR, NC, and even headlining at Aura Music Festival for a special two show appearance. The band announced their final 4 shows would be Knoxville, Nashville, and two Athens shows; one being an intimate acoustic show the night before the final show at The Georgia Theater. I was fortunate enough to catch the Asheville and Knoxville shows before the final stand in Athens. The Asheville and Knoxville shows were no doubt the best playing I’ve witnessed from the band in my 7 or so years of seeing them. Even those shows could not prepare me for what was in store for the last at the Georgia Theater.


I don’t think the reality of saying goodbye to the band forever really hit me until my buddy and I made it to Athens on April 5. We walked up to the doors around 8 to already find a nice sized crowd inside holding down spots, socializing, catching up, and preparing themselves for what was ahead. We made our way to the rooftop bar to grab a drink and check out the crowd. From the start, it was obvious that this was a tight knit family affair and while enjoying our drinks we swapped and shared stories with other “perps” about seeing the band over the years. I was shortly reminded that this was not a “bittersweet” affair but more of a celebration with friends, family and strangers. Soon enough we were united with our crew and made our way to our balcony seats when Ghost Owl was about to take the stage.


The three piece has been writing songs since early January and seemed to be excited and prepared to show off their new project to the sold out Georgia Theater crowd. Albert holds down the drums of course while Perry and McDonald are both surrounded by various electronic setups consisting of samplers, keyboards and laptops but both also play guitars while sharing vocal duties. The band’s experimental dance sound has a fresh spin while still not straying far from their roots. The grooves were sometime similar to a “pgroove jam” but still different at the same time. Matt’s guitar playing was on point and was a treat to see him behind the guitar the whole night. The band focuses more on structured songs than creating jams and swapping impromptu solos. I was intrigued by the visual aspect of the show; which was a half dozen or more screens projecting psychedelic visuals that were synced up with the music. Overall, the set was fair. While they had great production for their first show, the project definitely needs experience on the road to grow.

The time had finally come and anticipation hung thick in the air as everyone waited for the house lights to go down. The band soon hit the stage and before launching into their last show they were presented a plaque from The Georgia Theater. A token of the venue’s appreciation for all the years of music from the band. In the 12 years of the band playing the theater they played a total of 68 shows, 44 of which were sold out. 55,256 tickets sold and a whopping 12,930 minutes of music was played. The band was also thanked for the several donations they gave to the Georgia theater over the years for different repairs and renovations. It was obvious that no other band holds a place in the Georgia Theater quite like Perpetual Groove does.

The band kicked things off with a pleasing “Crowded Tub,” a song that started the night off on the right funky kinda note. The laid-back riffs of “Tub” gave everyone a chance to find their dancing shoes for the night and get comfortable. The band soon landed themselves into a hip-shaking version of “La Casa Bien” which was led by Adam Perry with his contagious bass lines. All four members took a little time to lock into each other as they carried through the jam but soon found their places. About this time it was apparent that the Georgia Theater was sold out and that every person was here to celebrate and enjoy one more rock and roll show from their favorite band. Albert began the intro to “Stealy Man” while Brock stepped up to the mic to address the audience; “Is everybody having a good time, are you enjoying yourselves? That’s how it’s always been, that’s been the main thing.” The crowd responded with a roaring cheer as everyone in the room knew that this truly was the case and had always been. The band began to hammer through “Stealy Man” and showed no mercy. Brock shredded each note with persistence and executed them with ease. Soon enough the vibe had turned from a grooving dance party to a full on head rocking extravaganza. If I’m not mistaken Brock even threw in an “Estranged” tease by G&R during the heavier jam.

The band brought out Gary Paulo for an intimate and touching “Walking in Place” to cool things down. The audience sang in unison with Brock for most every word and typically I am not the biggest fan of “sing-alongs” but the this was an exception and it made the song that much more special hearing a sold out room sing along at the top of their lungs. During the slower breakdown of the song, Brock addressed the crowd once more with a sincere message telling everyone how much their support has meant to him over the years and how much it’s appreciated.

After the soothing sounds of "Walking in Place" the crowd was served up a thrashing but heavy hitting version of "Speed Queen" that had every fist pumping and every head rocking in the building. The jam put an exclamation point on a solid first set and left the crowd wondering what possibly could be next.

Before launching into the last half of the show, the band proceeded to thank everyone from their crew to the crowd and even those who aren't with us anymore. Brock made it very clear how much they have appreciated the support over the years and then opened up with my personal favorite "Cairo." The places I've seen the band take this song never ceases to amaze me and this version was no different. Busting out of the gates from the start, Brock weaved in and out of the ambient tones laid down by Matt. His notes seemed to ring louder than ever and his playing definitely hit home. The combination created a trance induced jam that turned into a roller coaster ride but never stopped roaring down the tracks until the band hit its peak before bringing the song back to earth.

The opening notes of "Robot Waltz" were welcomed with a roaring applause and signaled that the band was putting it all out there for this last set. The band executed the piece with top notch playing and were honed into one another from the start. By this time the song really began to shine and each member seemed to take the spotlight for different sections before bringing the tune to its ending stanza. "Paper Dolls" offered a breather session for the crowd but was still a stellar version. It's been a pleasure seeing this song grow into what it's become. The jam seems to evolve from every version I’ve heard but this definitely showcased how much the songs grown. "Man With All The Answers" brought the energy back up with its infectious dark riff and hard rocking chorus. The crowd ate this one up and it almost felt as if the Georgia Theater was shaking along with the song.

With the rumor of "no repeats" for the final four shows floating around, it was a nice surprise when Adam dropped into the opening bass line of "Teakwood Betz". It was great to see the guys smiling while watching the crowd enjoy themselves one last time. Soon the music found its way to an epic tapping solo by Brock that left minds blown and jaws on the ground. The crater that was left in everyone's skull was soon filled by the heavenly intro of "Three Weeks," a Pgroove staple that really hit an emotional spot for everyone. Especially once Brock sang the line "I gave all I had then they showed me the door" while a single spotlight shined on him during the line. A moment that is sure to stand out in fan’s memories for years to come. The jam soon took off of the ground and achieved lift off while reminding every fan why this band has meant so much to them over the years. From creating new friendships to adventures that may have never happened without the band; this wasn't just a last show, it was a celebration of an era. The band ended the piece on a rocking high note and left the stage.

Albert came out by himself for the encore and kicked off the intro into “Two Shores” with a rock solid beat. The rest of the band soon followed and joined in with Suttle for what would be their last encore. The lyrics seemed to really hit everyone in an emotional way as the entire building was singing along with Brock for the chorus. By this point it didn't matter if the band completely missed a section or flubbed a song, it was all about enjoying this last moment with the band, friends, and family. The triple song encore was almost predictable but there’s no other way I could have asked for the show to end. LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” started up the second half of the encore with the audience clapping in unison and belting every line with a fiery passion. Most everyone was there saying goodbye to old friends while enjoying themselves one last time with the band that brought them all together. Even if this wasn't the band’s greatest performance, it’ll sure go down as one last gathering of friends to celebrate the four guys that brought everyone so many memories and music over the past 12 years. “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” was chosen as the last song of the encore and I don’t think anyone in the room would have disagreed with a better note to end it all on. Brock delivered one last solo that seemed to tug at everyones heartstrings, meanwhile emotions swept over the crowd. It was truly a beautiful ending for a last show. I’m confident to say this was a night that I will remember forever and I’m positive that I’m not the only one who agrees. For now there’s no future for P-Groove but there’s no doubt if the band was to ever return, there would be a sold out crowd waiting for them at The Georgia Theater. Thank you Brock, Adam, Matt, and Albert for all the music and memories over all these years.

www.pgroove.com