Tuesday, June 24, 2014

moe. 6.13.14


Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellvue, CO


Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

Mishawka has a long and storied history with Northern Colorado locals. Once in the hands of irresponsible management the venue had fallen into disrepair. Now under the curation of Dani Grant, each year the Mish gets closer to its former untarnished glory. This summer’s concert lineup features everyone from Joan Baez to the newly formed super group Hard Working Americans. However the most enticing announcement this year was the return of moe. after a full decade away. The last time moe. performed at The Mishawaka was ironically the same weekend as Phish’s Coventry. It seems odd to wait so long to return to a place so beautiful, but with their various summer endeavors it’s understandable. Beyond that this was also Friday the 13th with a full ‘Honey Moon,’ which hasn’t been seen here in almost 100 years. I arrived early and got a chance to chat with Al, Vinnie, and Jim (stay tuned for the video.) Al seemed to think that rather than spread craziness, these factors would calm the crowd and make for a very relaxed show. Time would tell.

Tickets for this show sold in in just a couple weeks, meaning many last minute would-be attendees were left out in the cold. Speaking of cold… due to the nearly 1,000 people that needed to ride the shuttle up and a lack of buses, we were told the day before the show that there would be a DJ to open up the night and that moe. would not be going on until 10:00 PM. This was disappointing news that was exacerbated by the sheer lack of talent from said DJ. DJ Barley… or something along those lines gave us a nearly two-hour performance that served as little more than background noise for the eager audience. He would alternate between mild dubstep and inoffensive techno. Occasionally he would produce an electric guitar, but I never really heard a solo.



Finally at 10:00 PM on the dot moe. appeared for the first of their two sets. They opened with a snappy “Downward Facing Dog.”

moe. Live at Mishawaka Amphitheatre on June 13, 2014.



Set One: Downward Facing Dog, Deep This Time, It, So Long> Yodelittle > The Bones of Lazarus> Yodelittle, Zed Naught Z

Set Two: Smoke> Moth, Opium, Darkness> Same Old Story, Runaway Overlude, She

Encore: Bear Song

moe. took all of those lucky enough to be inside on a musical journey that will not soon be forgotten. This band’s ability to play in synch and stretch out through improvisation is without comparison. While other bands squabbled and took extended hiatuses moe. continued down the path diligently and without incident. They are still just a rock band from New York, but man can they play. “Deep This Time” and “It” served as a little warm up for the guys before they went into the far side of the deep end. “So Long” was the diving board for an epic musical tirade that was my highlight of the entire show. “So Long” into “Yodelittle” into “Lazarus” into “Yodelittle” lasted just under 50 minutes. Few bands these days take on a fifteen-minute song let alone three in a row. “Yodelittle” became the crux while the dueling guitars of Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier entranced the crowd. They finished the first set with a mischievous “Zed Naught Z” which featured the excellent percussion skills of Mr. Jim Loughlin superbly.

All night fans had waited for the elusive Honey Moon to emerge from behind the ridge. Unfortunately the moon remained hidden and fans had to wait until they made it down the canyon to see it. The setbreak seemed to stretch on before moe. returned to the old wooden stage. They began with a sinister “Smoke” that segued beautifully into the crowd pleasing “Moth.” “Opium” was another highlight with a deep jam that built steadily until it reached a massive peak. “Darkness” continued the sinister sound that permeated the second set. “Same Old Story” was the first track off of moe.’s new album No Guts No Glory. This tune takes on a jazzy almost big band feel and it contains the titular lyric of the album. They ripped through a heavy “Runaway Overlude” before ending the set with a gigantic “She.” The once-retired “Bear Song” reared its handsome head for the encore.

This show was definitely one for the dedicated moe.rons. The jams were deep and dark with lots of songs not on their ‘Greatest Hits Album.’ That freed them up for a lot of improvisation and exploratory back and forth. They are playing like a band that has been touring continuously for twenty-five years. Tight, smart, interesting performances have just become expected and moe. delivers. I’m glad that after ten years moe. found their way back to the Mishwakwa, let’s not wait another ten.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

www.moe.org

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MusicMarauders Four Year Anniversary feat. Dave Watts SUPER JAM

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO


Join us on Friday June 20th & Saturday June 21st for MusicMarauders' Four Year Anniversary Party with Dave Watts SUPER JAM featuring Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green), Todd Stoops (Kung Fu) & Gabe Mervine with special guests including Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident) on Saturday at The 1up - Colfax in Denver, CO!

Purchase FRIDAY Tickets: www.tinyurl.com/ndffkrh (With Tori Pater & Friends)

Purchase SATURDAY Tickets: www.tinyurl.com/p7f5zgc (With Genetics feat. Chuck Morris of Lotus)

www.the-1up.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

DelFest: Friday 5.24.14 & Saturday 5.25.14


Allegany County Fairgrounds
Cumberland, MD

Words By Parker Otwell Roe (The Lot Scene)
Photos By Will Rawls (The Lot Scene)


Saturday:

Cabinet - Saturday was one big, big day of music and we tried to see as much of it as possible! We started out at the Potomac Stage again, this time for Cabinet from our good vibes the night before. First and foremost, I have to say that more than any other band new to me at DelFest, people asked me if I was already familiar with Cabinet. I must have answered at least 10 folks in the negative before seeing them open for Greensky at Late Night so, needless to say, I was pretty psyched to see them again in the daylight. The fellows certainly didn’t let me down…you want dancing music? You’ve found some fat sawin’, mad pickin’, monster bluegrass dance times, my friends! And, even though I didn't have much prior experience to compare it to, I heard from several DelFesters that this was the largest crowd they had ever seen gather for a set at the Potomac Stage. Not bad, boys! Considering they went on before noon, that made such a large crowd all the more impressive. I would be pretty surprised to find Cabinet invited back for DelFest 8 and not be gracing the Grandstand. I don’t say this lightly: go see this band as soon as you can! If you love the grass, you’ll love this advice. Just have a little faith will you?

As we left Cabinet behind, we swept along through the day’s many fantastic music options and caught The California Honeydrops and the Carolina Chocolate Drops along the way, both of which proved to be pretty impressive. We waltzed through The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s “good crazy” one more time on our way to Del’s evening set, enjoying the bearded magnificence of the man, his magnificent big damn beard, and his monstrously fun big damn band.

The Del McCoury Band - Yet another incredible set from the man himself and his fabulous band. The reason for the season, so to speak, it is always a privilege and an honor to see Mr. McCoury and the musical powerhouse he’s assembled to back him. It is like watching decade upon decade of history and tradition and musical prowess in perfect harmony. The high point for me was when singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale came out for a haunting duet with Del — in one word: mystical. It certainly made the crowd hungry to find out what was to come from Skaggs and Hornsby around the bend.

Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, and Kentucky Thunder - Simply put, I was…not…expecting…that. Wow! I remember seeing Ricky Skaggs play Six Flags Over Texas when I was in my late teens and I must admit, his act has changed ever so slightly since then. As in completely. Not really a hint of the country sound I remember in the mix and with (the reinvented) Bruce Hornsby and Kentucky Thunder there to round out the roster, in the immortal words of Carl Weathers on Arrested Development, “You got yourself a stew going!!” Very interesting to watch Skaggs tearing it up on mandolin like a madman…certainly in contrast to my memories. It's always glad to form new ones, that’s for sure.

The Travelin’ McCourys - I have only had the good fortune of seeing The McCourys a few times before coming to their father’s festival this year. Suffice it to say, with the wickedly fast technical skill, unfathomable talent, and unparalleled bluegrass ensemble sound that these fellows seem to possess in a joyfully infinite supply, they very quickly made a life-long fan out of me. Ronnie, Rob, Jason, and Alan were joined as always by their buddy Cody Kilby on guitar for a lightning quick, honest fun, and damn tight set. I look forward to so much more raucous and magnificent bluegrass music from this band in my future, certainly jazzed to see they had been added to Strings & Sol this year.

Late Night - The Shook Twins - Railroad Earth - Having missed The Shook Twins on Friday and never seeing them before, I was looking forward to witnessing how they might warm up the crowd for Railroad Earth’s late night show on Saturday night. Certainly one of the highlights of their set was the girls singing and beatboxing The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly” backed by the lads from The California Honeydrops. Good stuff, ladies! Bravi! Railroad Earth finished out the night in their signature style, again giving the many RRE fans there present exactly the kind of fix they were hoping for.

Sunday:

Sunday started slowly. And warmly. But, DelFest rallied as a whole and we all got back on the mule for one more go round! I spent a good bit of the early day wandering the varied vendors of the fest, poking through Dead pins and tie dye and tapestries and guitars and all manner of lovely mementoes, keepsakes, and other necessary festy accoutrements. I must say I was very pleased with the offerings and the vendors themselves were as lovely as the patrons and staff. I even picked myself up a new kilt! After my shopping adventures I headed towards the main stage for a bit of music.

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn - The earlier shows on Sunday were all admittedly a bit calmer and more relaxed given that the Gibson Brothers set the tone with their special bluegrass gospel session at 10:45 that morning. Later that day I caught about half the Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn show at the Grandstand in the heat of the day, Sunday being the hottest and stillest of the weekend. While I found the music interesting in both form and fashion and Abigail’s anecdotes from her world music background fascinating, the crowd honestly seemed to find the set a bit slow, almost too much so, when compared to the general energy level of the entire fest up to that point. However, I also spoke with several folks who enjoyed the set very much, so I’ll chalk it all up to a matter of a difference in festival musical palate. But that is why we come to festivals like Del’s, no? A wide variety of music morsels to satisfy even the broadest of our melodic cravings? Quite so.

Hot Rize - Another one of the absolute stand-out incredible new acts for me this weekend, which is hard to believe since they hail from my native state of Colorado and have been an integral part of the bluegrass and newgrass worlds for many years now, was Hot Rize. Technical skills? Yup, they’ve got ‘em in spades. Talent and tenacity? The both of ‘em. A strange and dry sense of humor? Now that, they most certainly have. And repertoire-wise? Well, trust me when I say that, if you like grass, you’d love what Hot Rize has to offer. Plus, they have a, well, mirthfully “interesting” band-within-a-band act, too: Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, a cowboy group from the town of Montana, Wyoming…never before have I seen a guy with fringe on his shirt and his guitar or a madcap slide guitarist with a lunatic’s dinner jacket and quite the jokes to tell… but I certainly have now. Simply put, if you see this band on a local venue’s calendar, for the love of all that is a good time, get thee to the concert! After Red Knuckles and the gang morphed back into Hot Rize, Del came out rockin’ jeans and a shirt (no jacket!) during “High On A Mountaintop” and asked if he could help sing harmony. And boy did he ever! It was one of my favorite moments of the entire festival, as well as one for the crowd. Not a band I plan on letting fall off my radar screen now that they are on it…and make sure to get it on yours, my friends!

The String Cheese Incident - After just having seen the fellas from Cheese summarily shame Phish at Jazz Fest this year, with one of my favorite Incidents to date, it goes without saying that I was pretty pumped to see what kind of mirthful magical madness they would bring to Del’s 7th fest. I wasn’t the only one in the crowd wondering what the night had in store, but as soon as they walked on stage and took us on a soaring, Peter Pan-esque flight right up into the night sky with a mighty “Song In My Head,” we all were assured that hearts would flutter, pulses would race, feet would dance, and faces would melt as we all basked in the glory of our long-awaited Cheese. The list of notable guests was reminiscent of their Jazz Fest splendor and commenced with Joe Craven joining in for an unforgettable “Smile” and later with Del striding out for a rollicking “Sittin’ On Top of The World.” The Grateful Dead’s “I Know You Rider” featuring some classic Jeff Austin face (as well as mando) and Tim O’Brien and Nick Forster of Hot Rize quickly became a crowd favorite of the night. My favorite moment between both sets, however, had to have been the truly mind-boggling “Colorado Bluebird Sky” in the second wherein the Cheese boys were augmented by none other than The Travelin’ McCourys. I mean, really? Seriously? And the rather perfect “BollyMunster” encore to finish our night? Woswers! When I asked a euphoria-eyed lady behind me for a single word to describe her DelFest 7 String Cheese feeling she said, “Quite the Incident! That’s three words, but that’s the only way I can feel about this!” Quite the Incident, indeed…about the only way I can feel about it, too.

As I went back through my voice notes and videos and listened to Rob Clarke’s recordings of the sets, a quick, but special moment on stage re-emerged for me that I had to share as the closer for my DF7 SCI review. As the 10:02-long freaknasty freight train of “Colorado Bluebird Sky” finally came to a power crashing terminus, Ronnie McCoury exclaims into the mic, “Well that was an Incident right there!!” To which Billy Nershi replied with gusto, “It sure was!!” So, not only were we as the crowd feeling the soul-fulfilling musical connection of the Sunday eve, but so were the magicians assembled on stage who, as conduits to the ether, made it all possible. Looks like “Incidents” were trending all over, huh? Del Yeah!

Late Night - The California Honeydrops - The Travelin’ McCourys - To be completely honest with you, Late Night Sunday is a bit of an exhausted and tired haze for me, although I did manage to catch some of The California Honeydrops whose energy was mad fun for so late on the last night, as well as a bunch of the Travelin’ McCourys. Jeff Austin joined the McCourys and did an incredible version of “Pretty Daughter” after which I decided it was taco time and then bedtime. And so ended my DelFest music for the the weekend…glutted on great bluegrass and swimming in magnificent memories I drifted off to sleep as my mind tried to process all it had seen over the past four days. Zzzzz…

Monday:

Packing out at DelFest can be best summed up as easy, breezy, and beautiful. No real worries here that I witnessed. As for clean-up, The Lot Scene would like to extend a huge shout out to Clean Vibes for their usual outstanding job of keeping the grounds so clean and recycled! We couldn’t live this lovely life without the incredible unsung behind-the-scenes heroes like you and we thank you! Next, when sadly it comes time to leave on Monday morning, you will find it is just as easy as your arrival experience if not a bit easier due to the pretty staggered rate at which people pack up and vacate the premises (“…There’s a line in the sky, it’s jet exhaust…”). Enjoy your last morning filled with saying your good-byes and exchanging information…you don’t have to be gone until afternoon! A note about the weather this year — honestly I must admit that this was, without question, the best festival weather I’ve ever experienced! I know that so much of that is purely chance, but it is worth noting how incredibly wonderful weather affected the festival and all its patrons, including myself. Del Yeah!

My final DelFest 2014 moment came when I arrived back at the Denver airport on Tuesday evening. As I stood there waiting for my luggage I noticed a couple meeting up with their friend from my flight to give her a ride home. Since they were just behind me and excited to see one another I couldn’t help but overhear bits of their animated conversation… as soon as the term “DelFest” was spoken I turned around, unable to help myself, and said that I had just come from there as well. Instantly this kind lady and I shared hugs and memories and a few laughs about how amazing the weekend truly had been. After I had grabbed my last bag from the carousel it was time to head home, back towards my lovely Flatirons and beloved Boulder and my sweet family waiting for me there. As I walked by, her intricately henna-decorated elbow slowly rose into the air for one final “Delbow” of the weekend which I, of course, gladly and heartily returned. And thus, with a smile on my face and laughter trailing out behind me I finally ended my first DelFest experience. And, believe you me, it won’t be my last.

Will's Saturday & Sunday Photo Gallery

www.delfest.com

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DelFest: Thursday 5.22.14 & Friday 5.23.14


Allegany County Fairgrounds
Cumberland, MD

Words By Parker Otwell Roe (The Lot Scene)
Photos By Will Rawls (The Lot Scene)



I figured it would be a great idea to throw on String Cheese’s new album for the background when I sat down to write my reviews yesterday morning seeing as how the SCI boys were ablaze with musical magic last Sunday night. Halfway through “Colorado Bluebird Sky” I found my thoughts drifting back to how astonishingly ideal everything lined up that evening. My heart swelling in my chest and beating faster as the joy remembered flooded my veins forcing a happy flood of tears down my cheeks in response to such nostalgic regalia. And then I began to type my first review of DelFest… and it goes a little something like this:

“DelFest? Del YEAH!”

As I boarded my eastbound plane in Denver I was filled with a swirling wash of emotions: excitement, anxiety, joy, and a bit of sorrow at leaving my wife and family behind, but also an ever-building anticipation of a weekend of wonderment and musical wizardry away in the west of Maryland. I was headed to my very first DelFest and I was beside myself with unrequited bluegrass joys, but they wouldn’t be unrequited for much longer. After a brief stop in Northern Virginia to rendezvous with my Lot Scene cohorts for the weekend (Will Rawls was with me taking magnificent shots throughout) we headed westward towards Cumberland, MD, the annual home of DelFest. This year marked the 7th fest, so, here's to Lucky Number Seven!

Thursday:

Getting to Cumberland, MD, and to the DelFest site specifically, really couldn’t be much easier. The site lies not too far off the interstate helping to negate those annoying one-lane-road back-ups we all have come to loathe from other fests over the years. I found the in-processing scheme to be very smart and really efficient by having it off site at the nearby college. Running in a very well-organized manner, the whole thing went maybe as smoothly as that process has ever gone for me at a festival. The DelFest campgrounds are well-enough organized, plentiful, and beautiful with lots of different kinds of sites to vie for — down by the river, deluxe RV, near the gazebo (a popular late night pickin’ party location), et al. We found the staff very helpful and relaxed making for a simple and pleasant arrival experience. The nearby Potomac River has carved some lovely cliffs staring out from the green wooded mountains adjacent — what a perfect place to absorb the magnificence that is quality bluegrass music. Additionally, DelFest runs a radio station for the duration of the fest so you can catch the Grandstand acts in your campground or on the go, a service you will most certainly appreciate.

I was impressed to see that some food vendors were already serving by 2:00 PM which certainly made for a delicious and effortless lunch equating to good campsite set-up fuel. And, while on the subject of festy food, let me say that the offerings at DelFest are affordable and delicious with tons of variety and late night availability. Special dietary needs folks (such as vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free) can find some pretty delicious options as well (I’d recommend the falafel plate, the veggie tacos, and the pizza…oh, gods, the pizza!). The three venues, Grandstand, Potomac Stage, and Music Hall, were all excellent for their sizes and layouts. All proved excellent places for live grass music throughout the weekend. Cell phone service for At&T seemed to be the best with reports of Verizon and Sprint not doing so hot.

Lastly, DelFest is truly a family festival, which is a wonderful thing. Del has his family there…in his band, working the fest, in the crowd, on the stage, etc. Lots of families bring their children combining their wonderful, youthful innocent energy into the festival mixture which can be such an incredible addition. I think the idea of families gathering in the Music Meadow beneath the giant US flag during Memorial Day Weekend has, at its core, one of the very fundamental aspects of DelFest that makes it so incredible and different from other similar fests: the bluegrass family as concept.

The Deadly Gentlemen - The classic sound of this new-to-me band’s instrumentation combined with music clearly influenced by many sources outside of the grass world was a perfect way to open up my DF experience. Boston-based and pumping for their entire set, this is a band I’d gladly see again and look forward to following. I really wish I’d had the opportunity to catch more of their set!

The Devil Makes Three - Words I would use to describe my time with this band that evening would be "spirited," "driving," and surprisingly "full-sounded" for this Vermont trio. I had the chance to catch them at Red Rocks a couple of years ago and I could definitely see how this band has matured in both style and stage presence, including the addition of a little Irish tenor fiddle on one tune. They were a great addition to the DelFest line-up and one that pleased.

Greensky Bluegrass - Typical of the few other times I have had the pleasure of seeing this band so far in 2014, this showing was no exception. To say they are on a sky rocket ride up the jam grass circuit would be a towering insult of an understatement. Arguably, they bring one of the most intense energies to the stage in the genre and they made sure the opening night of DelFest this year ended with a bang. It was most assuredly apparent in the loud and positive reaction of the crowd who greedily savored note after note. Joe Craven, the dapperly-dressed, dry humor peddling MC for the weekend, said of the band by way of introduction, "These guys used to be the best kept secret in modern string band music, now they're just the best!” And, you know, I’d have to very much agree with the clearly intelligent and astute Mr. Craven! The apex of the set was when, halfway through, Del McCoury himself came out to join the band on lead vocals for “Beauty of My Dreams” and “I’ve Endured,” both of them magic incarnate to be sure. Of course, I’d be criminally remiss if I did not mention the utter spiritual fusion and infusion of Prince and Greensky as the lads closed enfolding us in entrancing, mesmerizing joyous lunacy covering “When Doves Cry” like a blanket of the purest blissful bluegroove bad-assery.

Late Night Pickin’ Parties - Obviously one of the best aspects of DelFest overall is the insanely large amount of instruments you will find floating through the campsites late at night after the music has wrapped (or even throughout the day). Seeing as how many of the artists are camped in and around you as well as the sheer amount of festival goers who come armed, oftentimes with multiple instruments apiece, it is almost impossible to not stumble upon world-class pickin’ parties and jam sessions scattered right through the entire festival grounds. So, if you are thinking of coming to DelFest one year and play an instrument, make sure to bring your baby with you so you can join in — trust me, coming from experience, you won’t be getting much sleep during the hours of darkness as a result (but don’t worry… many of the sessions are around campfires to keep you warm throughout…not to mention a little friendly ‘shine sharin’).

Friday:

And then it was Friday morning and time for more music…oh no! Please don’t make me go back to the Music Meadow, Pappy Del!!! Heh heh. After availing myself of the pleasantness of the permanent bathrooms and complementary showers (nice!), I was ready to garb myself once again in my festy gear and get back to those shows! My first stop was the Potomac Stage to get some Mo’ Mojo in my life…

Mo’ Mojo - One of my stand out surprise new bands for sure! A rather interesting and deliciously non sequitur instrumentation yielded a vibrant, energetic sound and, at times, a charmingly complicated texture. I ended up having the brilliant fortune to hang with their sax player, Davidione Pearl, throughout the weekend and get to know the band’s ethos more thoroughly through him. A total gypsy to be sure…and one helluva a musician and showman, not to mention all-around cool cosmic cat. The band describe themselves as a “Party-Gras” band and they certainly brought the party with them to DelFest and then promptly shared it with us! Great music for kicking off your flops and dancing barefoot in the grass. Memories I won’t soon forget so try and find them around if you can…you’ll be very happy you did!

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades - I just happened to meet two of the lads from the band standing outside the Music Hall before their set not knowing they were part of the talent - I handed them a couple of commemorative The Lot Scene buttons we had made for the DelFest weekend which they dug and so they asked if I was coming to their afternoon set…told me who they were and I went…and I was blown away. What an unexpectedly great sound with a varied rep to boot…their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” was an absolute kick-to-the-ass.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band - Went down to the Grandstand to check these guys out and was greeted with a blues-infused Americana grass detonation. My first brush with the good Reverend, I can really only describe what I saw as: crazy ass sound, crazy ass cats, and crazy ass everything with this band. But all in such a good way. Keep and eye out for this name and go see the good crazy for yourself!

Yonder Mountain String Band - I might as well address the 800 pound bluegrass gorilla in the room first — the question on everyone’s mind: with Jeff Austin slated to be at DelFest as an artist-at-large, how would Yonder sound without him, what kind of set would they perform, and would they crush it? Well, they certainly crushed it, getting more than by with a little help from their friends. Many of us thought it was a smart move bringing out Jerry Douglas on dobro and John Frazier (FrazierBand) on mando and fiddle, even though, at times it seemed more akin to a Bluegrass Superjam instead of a YMSB show. The powerhouse sound from five stellar grassers such as this lineup really helped solidify in fans and other people’s mind that Yonder still has a future, and a bright one at that, even though obvious questions remain now that Jeff Austin has moved onto other projects. After we all settled into this different sound for the night, we relaxed in the cool dark air under the blanket of stars and got our (new) Yonder on good and proper. Once you added Rob McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter (The Travelin’ McCourys), and then Mr. McCoury, dressed down in starched jeans and a sport coat, to the mix the night exploded into a wall of pure bluegrass wonder. Needless to say we all left satiated, satisfied, and smiling like the good Del himself.

**I had written the above earlier this week before I really had time to analyze and synthesize the weekend experience to deeper and broader degrees, especially in conversation with my friends. Many of my people have been YMSB fans for much longer than I and have seen the band a vastly larger amount of times… as such, I feel the insight and perspective of informed opinion they offer below to be well-stated and of much value to the YMSB fan, both past and present. We strive at The Lot Scene to give you as close a feel to the experiences we attend in order to get you and your mind as infused with what went down as humanly possible. While seemingly critical in some ways, the candor and understanding found in the following statements falls directly in line with what we are trying to bring you:

“Yonder Mountain String Band has been one of my favorite bands for the last 10+ years, and while their set was one of my favorites of the weekend, it felt much more like an all-star bluegrass jam than a YMSB set.”

“Ben Kauffman has done an incredible job stepping up as band leader, and I still grin from ear to ear every time I see Ben and Alan Bartram playing a duet and trading off on the same standup bass (or bass fiddle, as Del would say). But beyond Ben, I found myself focusing entirely on the energy and musical brilliance of the guests on stage. Jerry Douglas, John Frazier, Del & Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, Alan Bartram... it doesn't get much better than that! But when you take them away, we are left with a shell of what YMSB used to be.”

“Can one person ever fill Jeff Austin's shoes in the band? I'm skeptical, but will reserve judgement until a permanent replacement is named. Until then, keep the guests coming, Ben!”

The Del McCoury Band - Del took to the stake like he was grandfather to the entire crowd assembled in the setting Friday sun. A crowd so big and vibrant that many veteran DelFesters remarked to me that it was more like a Saturday show than a Friday one, so I took that as a good sign. I was not to be disappointed. With his trademark smile spanning ear to ear he and his band wowed our hearts, souls, and minds with hit after hit after hit from their maniacally stupendous repertoire. Thank you Papa Del for creating this festival in the first place and continuing to throw down such powerful performances time and again — we are all so grateful for you and your music, kind sir!

Railroad Earth - Railroad Earth gave a fan-pleasing close to Friday’s main stage music offerings. Tim Carbone’s energy was very appreciated, as always, and the weather made for a perfect pairing for ballads under the cooling atmosphere. A very appropriate segue for campsite picking on the way to the Late Night show.

Late Night - Cabinet - Greensky Bluegrass - From my first exposure to the DelFest Late Night Show situation, I must say I didn’t really know what to expect. Located in the Music Hall where DelFest Academy and yoga classes take place during the day, at night the Center erupts into musical madness with festers working their way into the venue every way they know how. Once inside, you are treated to the most intimate bluegrass party on the planet in the dark and dusky night… Cabinet being there to get us ready for some Greensky to come. Greensky came out after the Cabinet boys took off and proceeded to melt faces and sway souls until the strike of 3:45AM Saturday morning. After Friday’s incredible showing, Saturday ensured that any DelFester who might have been unfamiliar with these Michigan lads would surely leave Cumberland new and outright fans of the band. And they’d be smart to do so. It's always great to see Greensky bassist Mike Devol and share a few words and pints with a good friend and his cohorts. One of the highlights of the evening was when we were standing with RRE fiddler Tim Carbone backstage as the Greensky boys tore it up and the crowd soaked in every riff and he remarked how DelFest patrons and fans are some of the most musically knowledgeable and experienced that he has ever encountered and how much of a pleasure it is to play for an audience like that. So, way to go DelFesters! That’s right… go ahead and give yourselves a big pat on the back from your Uncle Tim!

Will's Thursday & Friday Photo Gallery

www.delfest.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LOHI Music Festival June 14th, 2014


LOHI Music Festival
Denver, CO


Join us on Saturday June 14th for LOHI Music Festival with moe. (Two Sets), Pimps of Joytime, The Heavy Pets, Chrome Drones, Joey Porter's Vital Organ, Genetics and a very special Tiger Party feat. members of Lotus, GS3 & American Babies! Be sure to explore the VIP option and purchase your late night tickets for Everyone Orchestra/LOHI Allstars, Pimps of Joytime & The Heavy Pets at Cervantes in Denver!

Purchase your tickets at www.lohimusicfestival.com!

Monday, June 9, 2014

DelFest 5.22 - 5.23.14


Allegany County Fairgrounds
Cumberland, MD

Words & Photos By Jon Irvin


Thursday:

For the past few years Memorial Day weekend has meant one thing to me, DelFest. What other way to kick off the summer than a reunion with friends and thousands of other fun loving bluegrass fans? The 7th annual DelFest was held once again at the picturesque Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD and the McCoury family couldn’t have been more excited to be in the middle of “our people.” The weekend would no doubt be filled with some of the best bluegrass bands as well as amazing collaborations all while celebrating Del McCoury's 75th birthday.

I knew this weekend would be great right from the start when I discovered they had moved their off-site check in to a much easier and quicker location. After securing our credentials, we made the quick drive down to the DelFest Fairgrounds. Now onto everyone’s favorite part of a festival, the unpacking and numerous trips to your campsite. Unfortunately, Delfest does not allow car camping, but thankfully most trips are done on flat ground and there are numerous staffers with atv’s willing to give a helping hand. We were lucky enough to have Ryan do most of the hauling, which was greatly appreciated. Once camp was all set up I took my usual stroll around the grounds and went to meet up with fellow Marauder, Will Rawls, who was also covering DelFest.

After a quick dinner it was finally time to check out some music. We entered the grandstand stage as The Deadly Gentlemen were halfway through their set. The somewhat pop sounding Deadly Gentlemen have an easy going feel to them, especially on the title track of their newest album “Roll Me, Tumble Me." Next up was The Devil Makes Three, whom I made a point to check out this year after only catching a glimpse of their set two years ago. The trio thrilled the early weekend crowd with a set filled with songs that brought out the darker side of bluegrass. The day was long and I was spent, I decided to skip Greensky Bluegrass, knowing they were playing late night on Friday.

Friday:

Friday came with the promise of a heavy side stage lineup with most of my concentration on newer bands that I have not seen before. This year DelFest changed things up and replaced the Bluegrass Band Competition with an Open Artist Submission. Festival organizers looked over hundreds of band submissions and chose six groups that they would showcase on Friday and Saturday. I did some research and planned to check out a few starting with Dead Horses, a great new folk-grass band from the Midwest jam scene. The youthful group charmed the crowd with foot tapping songs driven by a powerful female vocalist. I checked out most of their set before skipping over to the Del Music Hall to see another open artist act, Kitchen Dwellers. The Kitchen Dwellers were the first of many high energy bands that surprised me this year. With a slight trippy sound and a talent on the fiddle, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a bigger billing in the near future. After the conclusion of their set I once again jumped back to the nearby Potomac Stage for the third artist submission of the day, Mo Mojo. DelFest seems to usually host a band with a little New Orleans flare and this year was no exception. Mo Mojo is an eclectic band, think Blues Brothers meets Cajun, with an accordion, rub board and a saxophone blended well to give that zydeco/southern bluegrass twist. I thoroughly enjoyed their song “Big Storm Blues” that seemed to resemble Phish’s “Guelah Papyrus.” Replacing the competition with the open artist submission was a huge success. Overall, I felt the quality of music was hands down better this year.

As I was on my way to grab late night tickets, I heard some horrible rumors and came to find out they were true. Late night sold out. No Greensky for this guy. It seems like each festival I usually miss out on one band that I had planned on seeing, unfortunately this year Greensky Bluegrass was that band. After a quick lunch and rest I headed back to the Music Hall to check out a band I looked into before coming to DelFest. I always make sure to listen to each group on the lineup before I head to a festival and the band that caught my ear the most was Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. Yet another high energy and A+ set by a relative newcomer. At times they were peaceful, then when you least expected it, they quickly took you on a 100 mph train ride. The highlight of the entire set had to be their original song “Whiskey” that included a transition into a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time,” only to come back and finish “Whiskey.” You could tell they were feeding off of the growing crowd and even made a comment that “good festivals attract good people.” So far my Friday was filled with some of the best new acts and now it was time to see a band that amazed me last year, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. With Reverend Peyton ripping guitar teamed with gritty washboard and hard drumming, his band is the epitome of power-grass. Most songs are played with a hint of anger that brings passion to the music which holds the attention of the masses.

I headed to the back of the music meadow to lie down and rest up a bit before the start of the Yonder Mountain String Band set. With Jeff Austin leaving the band I wasn’t sure how they would go on and was very hesitant heading into DelFest. Joined onstage by Jerry Douglas and John Frazier, the remaining boys from Yonder Mountain put together a great set. I’ve seen Jerry Douglas before and at times I felt like this was more of a Jerry Douglas & Friends show than a Yonder Mountain String Band set. Though the performance was enjoyable, it just wasn’t the Yonder Mountain that I grew to love and I’m curious to see them with Allie Krall at Catskill Chill later this summer. Friday night closed with one of the classiest and easy going bands I have ever seen, Railroad Earth. Todd Sheaffer’s vocals teamed with Tim Carbone’s joyful violin never disappoints with music that filled your body with positivity, particularly on “When the sun gets in your blood.” Though I was bummed about missing Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth ended my night on a high note that I would ride until the morning.

Saturday:

Saturday started bright and early on the Potomac stage with Cabinet, who seemed to still be reeling from their late night show. A local Pennsylvania band that I have listened to many times, but had never had the chance to see live, drew possibly the largest crowd I have seen at the Potomac stage in the 4 years I have attended DelFest. Halfway through, the Railroad Earth sax player, Andy Goessling, was invited to join them on stage for the remainder of their performance. These fast pickin' boys turned a lot of heads over the weekend and by Saturday afternoon more “High on Pennsylvania Bluegrass” shirts were visible throughout the crowd. I stuck around for the next act which was another non-traditional genre blending band, The California Honeydrops. The Honeydrops brought a very soulful, early R & B sound to the stage with bluesy lyrics and raucous horns.

I had a little break in the action for some food and another dip in the Potomac to cool off before heading back to catch the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Another returning artist from last year, the Chocolate Drops brought their old ragtime-jugband songs to the Grandstand stage with an interesting mix including slave hymns and Scottish jigs. The Chocolate Drops were the perfect band to slow the tempo down and to get the crowd ready for a more laid back evening of bluegrass.

The host with the most and member of the Grand Ole Oprey, Del McCoury, was geared up to hit the stage for his third set of the weekend. Del and the boys are the epitome of traditional bluegrass and should be served as the main course for any fan new to the scene. Even at age 75, Del can still belt out the high notes and is as lively as ever on stage, sometimes seeming to have more fun than the festival goers.

Next up on the schedule was one of the most anticipated shows of the weekend, Grammy award winner and remarkable duo of Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs. Backed by Kentucky Thunder, Hornsby’s piano and Skaggs’s mandolin playfully bantered back and forth with each other brilliantly. Their entertaining set was filled by great collaborations as well as magnificent story-telling, including a little tongue in cheek joke about 2Pac before playing “The Way it Is.” Saturday evening ended with the ever so talented Travelin' McCourys. Not just a backup band to the host himself, this collection of kin and friends can tear it up with the best of them. Every member is a star in their own regards, but for me the torch is carried by 2014 Fiddler of the Year, Jason Carter. The Travelin' McCourys have a traditional way about them, but they can open up and let loose on many tunes including personal favorite cover of Waylon Jennings, “Lonesome On’ry and Mean.” For most of their set they were accompanied by talented Kentucky Thunder guitarist, Cody Kilby, as well as inviting special guests, Bill Nershi, Tim Carbone and the weekend’s first sight of artist-at-large, Jeff Austin, to end their set with “Raleigh and Spencer.” Saturday was yet another long day of great music without a single disappointment or raindrop.

Sunday:

Hands down this has been the best DelFest I've had the pleasure of attending. Not only was the music amazing, but the weather could not have been any better. After a peaceful and relaxing afternoon I took my last trip down to the music meadow. First up was the husband and wife banjo tandem of Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn. Any fan of the banjo can’t miss an opportunity to see Bela play and especially not a chance to see a loving duet with the sweet sounding Washburn. Bela Fleck continues to amaze fans with his flawless style that's made him known to most as one of the best musicians on Earth. After some grub and one last trip around the merch stands it was time to see the fourth and final set from the Del McCoury Band. Their final appearance was just as fulfilling as the first three and ended up being a high point for me as they performed two of my favorites, “Nothin Special” and “Who Showed Who.”

The day and the weekend were coming to an end as the entire crowd was amped with anticipation for the Sunday headliner. It was time to get melted as the String Cheese Incident looked to close out DelFest with a monster two set show. SCI delighted the seemingly record breaking audience with a mix of old hits like “Can’t Stop Now,” as well as some new material from their first studio album in nine years, “Song In My Head.” During their first set they invited friends Joe Craven, Del McCoury, and Jeff Austin to the stage. The second set was the real treat as they opened up their bag of tricks and really explored, especially with set opener, “Bumpin Reel." I must say Micheal Kang continues to amaze me, shy of spouting blasphemy, he has somewhat of a "Gilmorish" sound especially during “Shine.” What an amazing performance to end an amazing weekend! DelFest continues to improve year after year and solidifies themselves as one of the best festivals I have attended!

Jon's Photo Gallery

www.delfest.com

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" feat. Members of The Motet, Leftover Salmon & Big Gigantic 5.15.14


The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)


Colorado loves "super jams." This is evident by the plethora of mixing and matching that occurs on the Front Range and the copious amount of Coloradans that flock to Jam Cruise on an annual basis. With this notion in mind, the conversation began between myself and Roosevelt Collier about a Colorado run. When it came to bringing the funk, Joey Porter (Keys), Garrett Sayers (Bass) and Dave Watts (Drums) of The Motet received the first calls. Rounding out the line-up would only truly require one more member and for that role, we reached the opposite direction into the bluegrass realm for Any Thorn (Banjo) of Leftover Salmon. From that point, phone calls went out to potential guests. With the ease of the line-up assembly, we thought guests would be no issue. As the run of shows approached, guest after potential guest informed us that they were on the road, in the studio and/or unavailable. As the dates grew nearer, so too did the anticipation, with folks sharing the events all over Facebook and gearing up for what would inevitably be one hell of a weekend in Boulder and Denver!

The night prior to the run we picked up Roosevelt from the airport and made our way to a restaurant for some late night grub. With our bellies full we returned to our house and began to talk "strategy." My girlfriend, Carly Marthis, brought up the fact that Lettuce was playing Red Rocks that Saturday, to which Roosevelt and I looked at each other dumbfounded. Of all of the potential guests that could join Roosevelt, how could we have overlooked Lettuce? The following morning Roosevelt made a call to Dave Watts to let him know that the plan would be that they would not have a plan, to which Dave seemed receptive and excited. Shortly to follow, Roosevelt sent out "threatening" messages to his band letting them know that he was coming for them, then messages to his possible guests confirming their participation. A quick visit to Red Rocks translated to Roosevelt shifting focus to playing Red Rocks, before re-centering on the evening show at the Fox Theatre.

A smooth load-in lead to the moment we had all been waiting for. "What is this thing going to sound like?" I wondered to myself. As sound check and rehearsal began, I was overcome with excitement. The band sounded great and it was truly special to watch everyone workout their role in the compositions. Following what was a magical sound check, we headed next door for some Mexican food before returning to The Fox. The marquee lit up and a line began to form out in front of the venue. That evening's show was the one night that we were unsure of as it was a Thursday in Boulder and school was in the summer session.

The Other Black, a large funk ensemble, hit the stage to warm up the crowd. Backstage, Roosevelt and his bandmates went over a few licks and discussed possible songs to play. The realization that there had been no rehearsal and really no discussion of approach other than "letting it happen," hit me. This was going to be interesting.

Roosevelt Collier Live at Fox Theatre on May 15, 2014.



The "band" took the stage and following the introduction of his friends, Roosevelt's "Colorado Get Down" began! "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" came first with ripping instrumentation and screaming steel! Andy took over on banjo, transforming the whole musical conversation with fast-paced picking, before Joey stepped up on the keys. The weekend was only one song deep and the energy was through the roof when Roosevelt threw a solo to Garrett to chew up spit out before the song came to a close. Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" came next to the surprise of the quickly filling venue. Andy and Joey hurled notes back and forth before Rosie returned to the forefront of the jam and took on Andy. One of Joey's selections followed with Joey tearing apart his keyboard with fury and funk. After the extended jam, Roosevelt took a second to give a shout out to Jam Cruise for their support of the show. "Higher Ground" came next with LaDamien Massey on vocals. For having to walk-on with limited rehearsal and structure, LaDamien nailed it! The first set came to a close with roaring applause.

The second set began with Joey Porter leading the charge with wailing organ work, before Andy took over on the electric banjo reciprocating with a barrage of notes. With the next song came Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic to the stage to get down on the action! I find Big G to be most enjoyable in a funk/jazz super jam setting and they did not disapoint! "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody" came next with Dominic Lalli remaining on stage and the return of LaDamien on vocals. The instrumentation during the jam was almost overwhelming, with the front line throwing solos at one another leading into a massive peak that resolved to vocals. The next jam found its place before Roosevelt brought it to a hault to re-group before a full charge with Rosie calling out members of the band to step up. That sort of on-the-spot calling out yeilded incredible musical results. Solo by solo the "band" powered through twenty plus minutes of ripping jam, before Roosevelt called me out on stage for an unexpecteded round of applause for my involvement in the assembly of the project and tour. I was humbled and taken aback as the second set came to a close. As the evening turned to morning, and as the 1:00 hour came, Rosie and friends returned to the stage to appease the demanding crowd! A fifteen minute version of Jaco Pastorius' "The Chicken" closed the evening with consistent mind-bending shredding. Garrett "The Incredible Hulk" Sayers took one last bass solo for good measure before the evening's close.

"And that was only night one," I thought to myself. If they had this sort of chemistry and jamability in the first show, what would night two and three sound like? It was a great feeling to see a band that we created do so well on its first play, which happened to be on a weekday in Boulder when most of CU was out for the summer session. The full potential of the project began to dawn on me...

Kevin's Photo Gallery

www.facebook.com/RooseveltCollier

www.leftoversalmon.com

www.themotet.net

Monday, June 2, 2014

Head For The Hills with The Grant Farm feat. Benny Galloway & Gipsy Moon 5.17.14


Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellvue, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)


It’s been ten short years since Head For The Hills first took the stage at Mishawaka. This particular annual concert has evolved from humble beginnings into a springtime celebration and the official opening of the summer season at The Mish. In more recent years it has become known as ‘Pickin’ On The Poudre.’ This year’s lineup made for a hometown throw down and an absolute celebration of Colorado Grass… a bluer strain perhaps? Not to mention it was bassist Matt Loewen’s birthday so things were bound to get crazy. I opted to ride up with a friend as we encountered a strong spring storm as we turned past Ted’s Place and up the Poudre Canyon. The rain subsided by the time we arrived and after grabbing tickets I again found myself smack dab in the happiest place in Northern Colorado.

Gipsy Moon continues to spread the their brand of foot-stomping; jazz-inspired bluegrass up and down the Front Range and well beyond. With sets at Palisade Bluegrass, Northwest String Summit, and Arise Music Festival, this summer alone it’s obvious that this band will stop at nothing to spread the ‘Gipsygrass.’ I originally took notice of this band given the fact that Vince Herman’s progeny, Silas, was playing mandolin. However over the last few years, I have seen this band grow and their focus on the music is evident with every performance. Their opening set at Mishawaka had everything I’ve come to expect from these Nederlanders. The more recent addition of Andrew Conley on cello elevated their sound to a new level as he utilized his bow to great effect. In honor of the precipitation Gipsy Moon performed a beautiful, driving pair of originals “Spring Rain” and “Rain Song.” Their vivacious style of jazz infused string music is infectious plain and simple. As they played on the skies cleared and the venue filled with happy music fans.

It was dark before The Grant Farm took the stage. Tyler Grant has dedicated everything to this group as a vehicle for his passion to play and write music. This show follows the release of their newest album Plowin’ Time, which was funded by a Hail Mary push on Kickstarter. Grant’s band has evolved from its roots with Andy Thorn and Keith Moseley and now he leads a group of young guns that rip it up convincingly. Adrian Engfer on bass, Stephen Thurston on keys, and Sean Macaulay on drums back flatpicking master Grant on his electric guitar. Many come to a Grant Farm show with certain expectations based on Tyler’s history with Emmitt-Nershi Band and his ability to destroy an acoustic guitar. This versatile group who can go from reggae to face-melting rock to funk effortlessly shatters those expectations. They treated us to the reggae-grass-tastic title track of "Plowin’ Time" before honoring Benny “Burle” Galloway. Grant wrote “The Song of The Wayward Son” about Burle, which they played before inviting him out for the remainder of the set. They went into a rough sawn version of JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze,” which felt spot on.

“This one goes out to all of you, especially… all of you.” –Benny “Burle” Galloway

Galloway is a Colorado legend who has lent his picking and songwriting services to just about everyone of note in this picturesque state. Most famously with Yonder Mountain String Band’s album Old Hands on which he wrote all 13 tracks. He was a welcomed addition to the night’s festivities.

Finally, it was time for the main event. Head For The Hills came to their instruments as the bubbly Poudre River raged just behind the stage. The clear sky reassured the crowd and the temperature didn’t drop as it has in previous years. It was the perfect night for an acoustic explosion, and that’s exactly what was on the menu. H4TH played two sets with a break that was maybe 15 minutes. They invited Tyler Grant and company back to round out the first set. The show itself was the perfect blend of new and old from their catalog. Now classic tunes like ”Goin’ down” and “Dependency Co.” dotted both sets. Fans were treated to a new song written by fiddle player Joe Lessard that has yet to receive a title. In fact, Matt asked the audience for suggestions, I would call it “Prescribed Addictions,” but I’m a cynic. They also invited keyboardist James Thomas out for the bulk of both sets. He adds another dimension to their sound, giving a fullness and crispness that is truly appealing. Their instrumental tunes induced a dancing frenzy where fans locked in with the band. This set was another amazing experience at the Mishawaka. This place is magical and worth a visit even if a band is not playing. Thankfully, on this peaceful night in the Poudre, three absurdly talented bands took the stage and gave a sold out crowd something to remember.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

www.headforthehillsmusic.com