Everyone has his or her own story in the build-up to every show; whether it’s a long flight, a treacherous commute or a walk around the corner to your local venue. However, on Sunday night, April 17th, some 300 lucky patrons checked in at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower with the weekend security team in the corporate office lobby, went through a metal detector, up to the 66th floor, up an escalator and then up another elevator before reaching the Skydeck, some 99 floors and 1,300 feet above the sleepy Chicago loop for the evening’s show. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it was. Yet, in this unique venue, the Skydeck All-Stars—a quintet comprised of a who’s-who of the jam band scene—and Electron—a supergroup in their own right—shared the non-stage for an interesting evening of music bedeviled by various factors.Opening up the night was the Skydeck All-Stars—featuring Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee, Clay Parnell of Particle, Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff and Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce and Allen Aucoin of The Disco Biscuits—who got a healthy 75 minute set where they played about as random a collection of songs as imaginable. While hints of their own bands shone through, be it Aucoin sounding like he’s about to “Save the Robots,” the harmonic riff that opens Umphrey’s McGee’s “Booth Love” or Benny taking a sonic trek through the breakdown of “Madison Square,” the group shied away from attempting any of their own groups’ material in earnest.With takes on The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” or covers from James Brown and Marvin Gaye (with a tease from Shmeeans on The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”), the band showed a commitment to improvisation throughout their set. After a quick changeover, Electron got things started with a raucous take on the Biscuits’ “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” The bluesy romper gave guitarist Tom Hamilton (of Brothers Past, American Babies and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead fame) ample room to show off his full skill set. Hamilton’s tone sounds similar to the Biscuits’ Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig’s when he uses his Becker guitar; however, it’s heavy on the treble, cutting through the mix like a knife—and not always in a good way as he can overshadow the rest of the quartet. Up next was “The City,” a fitting choice, as 1,300 feet above Chicago felt close enough to 15 miles above on a mountaintop. With the Biscuits’ current drummer opening, it gave an interesting contrast between Aucoin and Mike Greenfield of Lotus who drums for Electron. Whereas Aucoin has the precision and speed of a drum machine on overdrive, Greenfield prefers to sit back a little bit more and isn’t quite as quick on his snare rolls.As the song moved, unlike the shorter takes on the song the Biscuits often deploy, the two members of the Biscuits—Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner—laid the foundation for Hamilton to soar over the top. Magner’s work was particularly strong on this song as he has a tendency to get lost in the mix with Electron; however, he did well to both provide the groundwork for Hamilton while contributing heavily to the jam.A quick romp through Brothers Past’s “Boy” came next, which saw Hamilton step to the mic for one of his own numbers. The song featured a jam that quickly peaked featuring all Hamilton as he flew over the top of the band. “Therapy” came next, which was the highlight to that point as Brownstein’s work on the low-end helped lay the foundation for a very dance-y groove. Hamilton’s chunky chords along with Greenfield’s four-on-the-floor beat allowed the song to build slowly toward its peak.While it felt like the band tried to reach the summit of the song, it plateaued for a minute; however, like a mountain climber running out of air, they let some of the steam run out before finding that extra gear to reach the zenith. A hard segue into an inverted version of “And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night” came next with Brownstein providing strong, slapped bass line. “Ladies” is a song traditionally sung by Gutwillig—along with many others that have made their way into the Electron rotation—that leads to an interesting mental juxtaposition in the heads of many fans of The Disco Biscuits. Nevertheless, despite a bass line that sounded reminiscent of The Biscuits’ “Basis for a Day,” the jam segued into the end of “Confrontation” with a wild peak that saw the crowd go wild. While the transition back into the beginning of the song was a bit sloppy, the crowd was lapping up the Biscuits-heavy set. To close out their sole set of the night—a gripe of the crowd as it was billed as a two-set show—the band finished out “Therapy.”In the encore slot, the band went with the also-fitting “Home Again,” a staple of the Biscuits’ encores to wrap up their 90 minute set. While the event had its ups-and-downs (the lack of a stage in earnest made seeing near-impossible), both sets of music had strong highlights and the setting was certainly one to remember.
Last weekend, the annual Mountain Jam Festival returned to Hunter Mountain, NY for four glorious days of music. The fest has been a longstanding tradition with Warren Haynes, a guitarist already known for his guesting penchant. With so many musical talents to choose from, it’s no surprise Haynes kept busy throughout the weekend.One of those great collaborations was with jam rockers Umphrey’s McGee, who performed on the first night of the festival. Haynes came out for a fiery “Higgins,” catapulting the song’s energy to new heights. Thanks to the festival, we can share pro-shot footage of the performance.Watch “Little Gift” into “Higgins” with Haynes, below.Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee at Mountain Jam, Hunter Mountain, NY – 6/11/16Set 1: Similar Skin, Rocker Part 2, Attachments, Little Gift > Higgins, The Linear > Booth Love, Breathe > Mulche’s OdysseySet 2: 40’s Theme, Bridgeless > Upward, Speak Up, The Triple Wide > Educated Guess, Conduit, Frankie ZombieEncore: Hajimemashite > Bridgeless with Warren Haynes on guitar “dub” version; with Marco Benevento on keys[Photo by Patrick Hughes/Faces of Festivals]
Gov’t Mule already has a busy 2016 plotted out, as the group has upcoming tour dates with both Blackberry Smoke and ZZ Top on the horizon. They’ll add some more to the mix, as the band has just added a five-night stretch in the Northeast on Halloween weekend.Halloween poses an interesting dilemma for bands, as the holiday falls on a Monday in 2016. We’ve seen some artists opt to play the weekend before, and others, like Phish, decide to go all out for what is sure to be an intriguing Monday night performance in Las Vegas. Interestingly, the newly-announced Mule run stretches from October 28-30, sklps October 31st, but includes shows on November 1st and November 5th.The tour dates include stops in New Haven, Albany, Montreal, Toronto, and Rochester, bringing their rock and roll vibes to some fun venues in the process. Tickets will be available next Tuesday, August 9th for fan club members, and the following August 12th as a general on sale. Check out the tour dates below!
Last night brought the hip-hop out of pedal slide guitarist Roosevelt Collier, along with The Heavy Pets‘ side-project Lather Up!, complete with Jim Wuest (keys), Tony D’Amato (bass), and Jamie Newitt (drums) at the Funky Buddha Lounge in Boca Raton, FL. The South Floridians revitalized the tunes of Eminem, Ice Cube, Parliament Funkadelic/Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, A Tribe Called Quest, Lil’ Kim, Jay Z, Outkast, Pharell Williams, and more. It was a night of seriously smooth grooves and throwback tunes, keeping the vibes on point for a 90-minute set of happiness. Thanks to CHeeSeHeaDPRoDuCTioNS, you can listen to the full set below via Mixcloud and enjoy some video:“Electric Relaxation (A Tribe Called Quest)~Crush On You (Lil’ Kim)” Full ShowRoosevelt Collier Featuring Lather Up! – Hip Hop Set – Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery – Boca Raton, FL – 2016-8-12:Setlist: My Name Is (Eminem) > It Was A Good Day (Ice Cube). Let Me Ride (Parliament Funkadelic/Dr. Dre) > Tha Shiznit (Snoop Dogg). Electric Relaxation (A Tribe Called Quest) > Crush On You (Lil’ Kim). White Lines (Grandmaster Flash) > Umi Says (Mos Def). Jigga What, Jigga Who (Jay Z) > SpottieOttieDopaliscious (Outkast).E: Frontin’ (Pharrell Williams) > Beautiful (Snoop Dogg)
Load remaining images The second day of the LOCKN‘ Festival, in Arrington, Virginia, was stocked with non-stop music around the venue. Though the oppressive heat and humidity didn’t keep people away, as the crowd continued to pour into the main field throughout the day. The first full day of music featured everything from local acts to national headliners. This year, the event was being live streamed for free, making it easy for fans to couch tour around the world who have an internet connection.Donna The Buffalo opened up the day at the Blue Ridge Bowl stage. This was the perfect setting to wake everyone up, as it’s situated in the middle of the venue. Moogatu, winners of last year’s Rockn’ to Lockn’ opened up the day’s events on the main stage. Each day will feature a winning Rockn’ to Lockn’ artist. Today was their day. These guys deserved it. They waited long enough for their moment on the big stage. They were winners of last year’s contest but, due to the micro-burst that blew through the venue causing the first day to be cancelled, they were unable to perform. However, this year, they were scheduled on the first full day, finally getting their moment to shine. They wasted no time getting things started, as they took over a few minutes before noon. Their stylistic sound was incredibly tight, tossing out tones that picked up and took the crowd on a wild ride. What a way to wake up! They had a funky sound full of high energy that got the festival off to a great start. Their set consisted of quicker paced jams that rolled along from one tune to the next, without taking a breather. They squeezed every last drop of fire they had into one massive performance. As soon as Moogatu finished, the stage turned and Turkuaz got underway without a break in the tunes. As if it wasn’t hot enough outside, their set broke the mercury. Jazzed up sax solos early on made sure to get the crowd out on the field and down from their sites. Their super colorful costumes lit up the stage. The female power duo of the band, Shira Elias and Sammi Garrett, beautified the set with their gorgeous yellow and pink outfits respectively. Bassist Taylor Shell got down and dirty with slaps dripping in funkaliciousness that melted faces. Their early afternoon set was a power house.Vulfpeck busted out their set immediately after the last note dropped from Turkuaz. Tenor sax mayhem was created when Turkuaz’s Greg Sanderson took to the stage with the band early on. Once again, this playful group just had a blast on stage switching instruments and getting participation from the crowd. Antwaun Stanley jumped right in early on and added extra spice to Friday’s set. His soulful vocals dug deep as they pulsed right through your veins. Bassist Joe Dart banged out a juicy solo towards the end of the set. Overall, they had a more chill performance today, but fantastic. White Denim spun into view while beginning their show on the turntable. It was clear that not only the fans were enjoying the new stage, but the bands were having a blast on the rotations as performances started. Fans were already anticipating this band to blow the roof off. Scott Metzger joined in early on for a few tunes, beginning with their track “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah).” White Denim blazed their tunes in the intense heat. Bordering on jam and rock, they crushed it and easily gained some insta-fans. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires came out of the gate running. Horns blaring and drums beating made for one hell of an entry. Charles Bradley then made his way on to the stage for a performance full of high octane energy. Bradley’s powerful voice beamed over the audience. Explosive vibes were spread out around the main field and sprinkled down upon the fans. The sounds of soul filled the venue throughout his set. He gave words of wisdom before kneeling and making a heart above his head at the end of the show. The band played on as he walked off. The crowd then yelled thank you’s to him as he left. Peter Wolf came running out after the band eased into their first tune, “Wasting Time.” Good ol’ rock and roll was in the house. He busted out the harmonica, stepping it up even higher. The J. Geil’s Band’s huge hit “Love Stinks” had the crowd revved up. He closed out his heavy rockin’ set with “Musta Got Lost.”Ween busted out to a crowd that was so ready to hear a second night of their music. Fans were yelling out song names from all areas of the venue, hoping to hear their favorites played. Once they got underway, smoke filled the stage throughout the first part of the set. Today’s set was crammed with the heavy hits, including “Mutilated Lips,” “Bananas and Blow,” “Voodoo Lady.”Before Phish went on for their first set of the evening, the Super VIP Lounge got treated to an early evening performance by Anders Osborne. He gave a wonderful acoustic show for about 100 people in an intimate setting. He took requests from the audience and performed what people wanted to hear, which included “Flower Box” off his new album.Friday’s main stage headliner, Phish, gave an explosive performance, with one of the sickest light shows on the scene right now, pulling from a career-spanning setlist with heavy hitters “Fuego”, “Ghost”, and “Bathtub Gin” before ending the second set with a YEM for the ages. The full rundown of the two set show is available here.Following Phish, Circles Around The Sun played deep in the woods for a late night set. This was their first time performing as a group since they were first introduced as the walk-in music for the Fare Thee Well shows last year. The extreme demand by fans contributed to an album release, which in turn helped put together this rare appearance by the group at Lockn’. The Woods Stage, set far back in the venue, drew a packed crowd. The music, from Interludes For The Dead, fit perfectly with the dimly lit forest area, as trippy, mystical and mysterious tones flowed in and out of the trees, through the crowd, back to the stage, and around again. There could not have been a more perfect place for this debut performance to occur. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead blew up the Blue Ridge Bowl once again on Friday night. Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger have a way of playing ‘tag, you’re it’ with the guitars. Back and forth play makes for an exciting performance with one of the most intense jam bands out there right now. Their shows never disappoint. Marco Benevento took “Shakedown Street” on a trippy ride through the keys midway before sliding into a tasty jam session that seemed to go on forever. Psychedelic tones trickled in and out of the evening’s performance. “China Cat Sunflower” moved along like a lazy river slamming into a sudden rush of rapids. The energy released was explosive when they brought the jam to the back end. The crowd was dancing their ass off to “I Know You Rider.” Nicole Atkins took to the stage as “Dancing In the Street” began and stayed put to lend her powerful vocals for the remainder of their set. The late night crowd was on fire and ready to keep the party going.They played well into the wee hours, as “Jazz & Woods” featuring DJ Logic, kept the night owls going until 3 am. Overall, a successful first full day of performances gave attendees plenty of music to shake their bones.Stay tuned as Lockn’ heads into the third day of the festival!More information regarding Lockn’ can be found at their official website.Words by Sarah Bourque. Follow on Twitter.Photographs by Sam Shinault Photography.
The intersection between Phish and Ween has always been tense, but the latest post from Dean Ween puts everything on the table. Though Deaner has previously thanked Phish for introducing Ween to their fans via “Roses Are Free,” he had some less than savory comments to make about the band, their fans, and the Lockn’ Festival in a new post on his recently-revived forum website, AskDeaner.com.After talking about their upcoming hometown performance in Philadelphia, Deaner turns his sights on the whole Lockn’ situation. In the article, he mentions not knowing that the band was playing two nights, and rails on Phish, saying he wanted to “rupture their fans’ ear drums and harsh their ‘vibe.’” He continues, saying “I wanted to kill them [the fans] with our music and un-fuck their minds from their normal listening habits.” He also criticizes Phish for their lengthy stage set up, but claims he didn’t watch any of their show.You can read the full rant in the copied sections below:Now then, Lockn—Ween at a festival is something that leaves everyone half-hard—no one more than us. Ween for 75 mins, 90 mins, meh… When the sun is out? Forget it. I should be asleep still, and I usually am. Now all I knew about the Lockn Festival is that we were opening for Phish. I swear to god I had no idea it was 2 nights either. I was surprised to learn that one night we were headlining and the SECOND NIGHT we’d be opening for Phish. i’d be lying if i said that opening for Phish wasn’t a big deal. all i’ll say is that we really wanted to play our asses off in front of those guys, who we’re friendly with going back a long ways. call it friendly competition, but it exists with every band. read: i wanted to blow their fuckin’ asses off the stage and rupture their fans’ ear drums and harsh their “vibe”. so there it is. u happy now? i hate their fans, they hate Ween, and I wanted to kill them with our music and un-fuck their minds from their normal listening habits. that would be like trying to convince a gay man that he was really straight though. ok, i think i just crossed the line. don’t like phish fans, so next off…….. i mean I didn’t even know this shit til right when it was happening, the whole “headlining one night” and “opening for phish” the next. i thought it was one gig opening for Phish and that was it. not that it really matters because we prepare the same for every show. Any ideas that we made it “more brown” on one night than another is imagined. So we get there. The festival is different somehow than most—the stage rotates, the bands go right back to back on a spinning stage. in theory we coulda played medleys with the openers, and Phish, had they not needed 19 hours to set up. the first night we just played and played. it went really well. it was a new high for us at a festival. i felt like for the first time since the reunion we achieved at a festival what we do in clubs. it was fuckin’ rad. i left a lot of other of our fave tunes for the next night so we didn’t shoot our entire load on night one. The 2nd night rolls around quickly, we go out and deliver a measured ass whooping, but this crowd is somehow indifferent. they’ve taken a lot of shit from ween fans for many years, we are officially on the scale. we do in fact whoop their ass, but nothing compared to the first night when it was OUR crowd. basically they reacted to us like you would to any opening act when you’re waiting to see the headliner, who u follow around, altho i know we made many converts this night. and that’s how simple Lockn 2016 was for Ween. killed it both nights, but we were the opening band on the 2nd night. i could micro-analyze it but we came offstage feeling like we killed it and that’s how i measure a gig, on how we feel when it’s done. a 40 minute poopship destroyer wouldn’t have done anything but looked cool on paper. phish went on about 80 minutes after us—we didn’t watch them. i thought their long setup was a buzzkill from the vibe of the one-two punches of the other bands on the two days before they showed up, they brought EVERYTHING, production, lights, video, sound—it was excessive i thought. we were too busy relaxing after 4 nights of gigs and being finally done. my favorite part was peter wolf from j. geils opening, we met before and he loves ween. he was the only dude at the festival i could relate to at all. like, the only motherfucker except the guys in my band that really understands rock and roll and is still doing it. a survivor, like me, and aaron, and claude, dave, and glenn.
Perhaps one of the most well-known crossover moments between the world of Phish and Grateful Dead worlds came in April of 1999, when bassist Phil Lesh hosted a Phish-y Phil & Friends performance at The Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, CA. The run took place between April 15-17, with a first-rate lineup including Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell from Phish alongside Steve Kimock and John Molo.Yesterday, full video of the first show of the run surfaced on Facebook, courtesy of taper Art Granoff and uploader Kevin Tobin and several others. The videos kept trickling in, and now videos of the full run have emerged.You can watch all three of these monumental shows below:April 15, 1999 – Phil Lesh & Friends – Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CASet 1: Viola Lee Blues, Big Railroad Blues, Jack-A-Roe, Cosmic Charlie, Wolfman’s Brother, Uncle John’s BandSet 2: Alabama Getaway, Sugaree, Like A Rolling Stone, I Know You Rider, Row Jimmy, Shakedown Street, The Wheel, Not Fade AwayEncore: Mr. Tambourine ManApril 16, 1999 – Phil Lesh & Friends – Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CASet 1: Help On The Way, Slipknot, Franklin’s Tower, Wish You Were Here, Tennessee Jed, Stella Blue, AlligatorSet 2: Bertha, Prince Caspian, Saint Stephen, The Eleven, Unbroken Chain, Chalkdust Torture, Mountains Of The Moon, Scarlet Begonia’s, Fire On The MountainEncore: RippleApril 17, 1999 – Phil Lesh & Friends – Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CASet 1: Dark Star > It’s Up To You > Days Between > Dark Star > My Favorite Things, Mississippi 1/2 Step, Bird SongSet 2: Terrapin Station > Down With Disease > Dark Star > Friend of the Devil, Casey Jones, Morning Dew, Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad > And We Bid You GoodnightEncore: Box Of Rain
The Disco Biscuits hit the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas last night, playing the first of three shows at the prized Sin City venue. While the next two nights are post-Phish late shows, the band had the city all to themselves last night, playing a monster performance to get early arrivers in the dancing mood.The show started with a set from the New Deal, who brought the house down with their jamtronica fusion. The Biscuits immediately started on an exciting note with a cover of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” a song that has been in their repertoire throughout 2016. The band then kept the jams flowing non-stop, bringing a great run of songs throughout both the first and second sets.Watch the official stream of “Let’s Go Crazy” below, courtesy of the Disco Biscuits and nuts.tv.Check out the full setlist below, and catch a stunning gallery from Erik Kabik Photos as well.Setlist: The Disco Biscuits at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, NV – 10/27/16I: Let’s Go Crazy, Voices Insane-> Rock Candy-> Munchkin Invasion, On Time-> Caterpillar (ending)II: Highwire-> I-Man-> Great Abyss (inverted)-> And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night (inverted)-> I-Man -> HighwireE: I Remember When Load remaining images
The Breakout Fall Tour 2016 was a big moment in the rise of Spafford. Finally busting out of their homebase in the Southwestern United States, Spafford kicked off their tour at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO. Playing a headlining set after the Kitchen Dwellers, Spafford brought the house down with their unique blend of danceable funk.Lucky for us Kontagium was there to catch the set in all of its glory. Here is 10 minutes of thunderous funk coming in the form of “The Reprise”. From a deep groove to an explosive peak, this video perfectly encapsulates what has so many new fans so excited for the future of Spafford.Catch Spafford at American Beauty in NYC for Phish After-Parties on 12/30 and 12/31. Buy Tickets to 12/30, 12/31, or a two-night pass here.In 2017 Spafford will take the road for a coast to coast national tour with jam heavyweights Umphrey’s Mcgee. See below for a full list of Spafford tour dates!
Though they’re both natives to the Bay Area in Northern California, performances featuring both Bob Weir and Phil Lesh have been few and far between in recent years. While Phil Lesh has committed to doing “Phil & Friends” runs, Bob Weir has settled nicely into the touring schedule of Dead & Company, as well as his recent solo project Blue Mountain.The two did come together earlier this year, when Phil Lesh hosted Weir for an surprise performance at Terrapin Crossroads. Watch here. The two will once again appear on the same stage, as they’re both special guests for Jackie Greene’s birthday party at The Warfield in San Francisco tomorrow night, November 26th.Though it is unclear whether the two will actually perform together at the birthday show, having both members of the Grateful Dead in the building will certainly make for a special night. You can find more information about the show here.