Last month, Short’s Brewery announced plans to release a new beer entitled “Compression,” named after an electronic tool called the Vulf Compressor, created specifically by the fine gentlemen of Vulfpeck. (Learn more about the Vulf Compressor, which Jack Stratton describes as “the ultimate tool of a mix engineer and a really boutique, top-shelf Himalayan pink sea salt,” here.)The beer’s formula had very specific tastebuds to satisfy, as a press release quotes their requests to include “a funky sour that kwenchs Katzman’s desire for a mouth-crushing barnyard blanket to the face, whilst maintaining a sweetness akin to the Stratton-Satisfying Soft Parade, simultaneously capturing a yearning that wets Willia’s whiskey wishes, and yet has an overall drinkability that Dean’s discerning palette can simply not deny.”Vulfpeck’s Performances At Fool’s Paradise Were So Good, It’s Disgusting [Watch]The resulting concoction is described as “an Oud Bruin with plums aged in red wine barrels, a Sour American Brown Ale aged in red wine barrels, a Belgian Sour Wheat Ale made with blackberries aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels, and a Sour Stout aged in bourbon barrels,” according to the same press release.On April 30th, the “Compression” was released at Short’s annual live music event, Short’s Anni Party XII. But before heading to the Brewery, Vulfpeck made a few very important stops. Heel-toeing off their three-night New Orleans debut, the guys headed straight to the studio where they met up with Antwaun Stanley, beloved vocalist known for his contributions on Vulf hits “1612,” “Wait For The Moment,” and “Funky Duck.”Based solely off the looks on their faces, we can expect very good things from this in-studio gathering. This will be Vulfpeck’s sixth studio album, as they’ve put out a new record every year since becoming an official band out of Vulf Records.After the magic was created, they headed over to Short’s Brewery, who, somehow, pulled off their requests swimmingly. Watch how Joe Dart, Woody Goss, and Theo Katzmann react to their first tastes below:Just as Compression synthesizes Vulfpeck’s flavors into beer form, their Vulf Compressor software synthesizes many sounds into musical forms. The synergy is irresistable. The band extended that synchronicity to the Brewery’s anniversary party, delivering a sensational performance.Watch this pro-shot footage of “Outro” and “Fugue State” below:Vulfpeck : Short’s Anni Party XII from Mostly Midwest on Vimeo.Keep doin’ what you do, Vulfpeck.
Ween continued their run along the East Coast last night, hitting the House Of Blues in Boston, MA for a great Tuesday night showing. The band recently put the “Freedom of ’76” into Festival Pier at Philadelphia, PA last Sunday, and moved their way to Boston to keep things going. The band, which includes Gene and Dean Ween (aka Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo Jr.) with Claude Coleman,Jr., Dave Dreiwitz, and Glenn McClelland, got to work on a great show that featured very few repeats from the last show.The band opened with White Pepper track “Exactly Where I’m At,” and brought out rarities like “Japanese Cowboy,” “Papa Zit” and so many more that hadn’t been played since the band’s Terminal 5 run in April. Of course, the band worked in some of their biggest hits as well, like “Transdermal Celebration,” “Spinal Meningitis,” “Bananas And Blow” and more.One of the big highlights of the night came in the encore, when the Weens (aka Gene and Dean) returned by themselves and performed “Squelch the Weasel” from their debut album, GodWeenSatan: The Oneness. Considering the tension between them caused the band to split, it must have been an emotional moment to see the band’s co-founders playfully performing together on stage.Check out full video of the duo playing “Squelch the Weasel,” streaming below, courtesy of Evan Lips.You can also listen to full audio from the show, as taped by Jason Adler.Ween will head to LOCKN’ Festival this weekend, playing one set each on Thursday and Friday nights. You can check out the full setlist from last night, below.Edit this setlist | More Ween setlists
Widespread Panic wrapped up a powerful first leg to their fall tour last night, ending an extended run with the second of two smoke shows at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL. WSP made the tour finale count, treating fans to one set that lasted nearly three hours (167 minutes, to be exact) for a marathon performance. After the group welcomed Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi during the first night of the St. Augustine run, the band closed out the run with a scorcher.The show fittingly opened with “Let’s Get The Show On The Road,” before featuring classics like “Contentment Blues,” “Love Tractor,” “Gradle” and more. The set featured a pair of Neil Young covers in “Don’t Be Denied” and “Last Dance,” as well as NRBQ’s “Flat Foot Flewzy,” Professor Longhair’s “Red Brains,” Talking Heads’ “City of Dreams,” and Tom Waits’ “Goin Out West.” The set closed with a great rendition of “North,” a fan favorite and a fitting number to close the set.With just a few minutes to spare, Widespread Panic made it count with a great encore of “Expiration Day” and Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” The great one-two punch for the encore left fans smiling, putting a cap on a fantastic marathon tour finale. The band won’t stay off the road for long, however, as they’re heading to Milwaukee for a three-night run from October 21-23.Listen to full audio from the show, courtesy of Jam Buzz.Check out the full setlist from last night’s show below, courtesy of PanicStream.Setlist: Widespread Panic at St. Augustine Amphitheatre, St. Augustine, FL – 9/24/16One Set: Let’s Get The Show On The Road, Contentment Blues, Love Tractor, Gradle, Thought Sausage, The Last Straw, Hatfield, Angels Don’t Sing The Blues, Flat Foot Flewzy, Action Man, Don’t Be Denied, Last Dance, Pilgrims, Red Beans, Machine > Barstools & Dreamers, City of Dreams, Goin’ Out West > Drums > Saint Ex, North (167 MINUTES)Encore Expiration Day, Dear Mr Fantasy (11 mins)
Phil Lesh had a busy night yesterday, both hosting a Friends concert in his venue’s new outdoor space as well as announcing another special performance. Lesh brought on an incredible roster of musicians for last night’s show, including Melvin Seals, Stu Allen, Barry Sless, Jason Crosby and John Molo. The band was electric, as you can see in the videos of “Dire Wolf” and “Stop That Train” posted below.Dire WolfStop That TrainLesh also made a very special announcement yesterday, of a new Phil Lesh & Friends performance that will pay tribute to Dylan & The Dead. Taking place on October 23rd, Lesh will bring out a lineup that includes Rob Eaton, Rob Barraco , Stu Allen, John Molo, Barry Sless, Scott Law and Ross James for the occasion. You can see the full details in the announcement below:It’s a great time to be a Phil fan!
As a music news outlet, part of our job is to find and report on announcements from our favorite bands across the live music scene. Yesterday, the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre that kept us particularly busy, announcing a total of six large scale performances to their 2017 calendar in the same day. From the untz of Papadosio and Disco Biscuits to the twang of Railroad Earth and Leftover Salmon to whatever onomatopoeia you can come up with for Primus, it’s going to be a great year for music fans in the Colorado area!Check out the six shows announced below, and head to the Red Rocks website for more information.May 6th: Papadosio’s Re:Creation Red Rocks With SunSquabi, Alex & Allyson Grey, Desert Dwellers, and SupersillyusMay 16th: Primus with The Claypool Lennon DeliriumJune 3rd: The Disco Biscuits with ShpongleJune 18th: Portugal. The Man with Local Natives and Car Seat HeadrestJuly 6th: Pink Martini w/ The Colorado Symphony with Rufus WainwrightJuly 14th: Railroad Earth and Leftover Salmon with Keller & The KeelsJuly 29th-30th: Tedeschi Trucks Band “Wheels Of Soul Tour” With The Wood Brothers & Hot TunaOf course, this isn’t the extent of the venue’s calendar, just the extent of what was announced yesterday. Other bands, like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Umphrey’s McGee, Santana, Trey Anastasio Band and more, have shows scheduled at the famed outdoor venue. The full calendar can be found here.
[Video: Farm Aid]“Cortez The Killer”[Video: Farm Aid]“Human Highway”[Video: Farm Aid]“Comes A Time”[Video: Farm Aid]“Heart Of Gold”[Video: Farm Aid]“Cinnamon Girl”[Video: Farm Aid]“Like A Hurricane”[Video: Farm Aid]“Rockin’ The Free World”[Video: Farm Aid][H/T Jambase; Photo: Sam Watson] For most of 2017, Neil Young has been laying low, apparently due to health. The legendary rocker canceled the vast majority of his shows this year, including his scheduled appearance to induct Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, instead only performing publically during a cameo at Willie Nelson’s set at Stagecoach this past April and at his long-running collaborative Farm Aid benefit with Nelson and John Mellencamp. However, according to Lukas Nelson—frontman for Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real, a group that toured with Young in 2015 and 2016—good news and tour dates are on the way.Farm Aid 2017 Hosts Huge Performances By Neil Young, Dave Matthews, And More [Pro-Shot Video/Photo]As Nelson told the Statesman about his plans for 2018, “We also did a record with Neil Young, a new one that we just finished, and that’s coming out sometime soon, too. And we’re going to go on tour with Neil. So next year is going to be crazy. Neil’s our priority; we’ll wipe out the whole summer for him.”While this is officially unconfirmed by the Neil Young camp, word directly from a member of Neil Young’s backing band is just about as good as it gets. Stay tuned for more news about Neil Young’s plans for next year! Plus, check out videos from Neil Young’s much-talked-about performance with Promise of the Real at this year’s Farm Aid below!“Fuckin’ Up”
Last night, Dave Matthews, Trey Anastasio Band, Aaron Neville, and Hurray For Riff Raff teamed up for a special benefit concert supporting hurricane relief efforts in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico dubbed A Concert For Island Relief.Following the first opener, Hurray For Riff Raff, Aaron Neville took the stage, who played a number of familiar covers, such as “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, “This Magic Moment” by The Drifters, “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, and a rousing tribute to Bob Marley with “Three Little Birds” into “Stir It Up”. With the support of a guitarist and pianist, Neville’s vocals shone, and his patented falsetto was on full display all night long.Trey Anastasio Band opened with the bouncey, world-music inspired “Mozambique”, which showcased on-again/off-again member Cyro Baptista‘s vast array of auxilliary percussion. Relatively new song “Everything’s Right” was up next, making an appearance just a few short days after Anastasio performed it with Phish on night one of their 2017 New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden.Following a run through uptempto rocker “Valentine” and a quick thank you from Anastasio for helping them to raise money for the devestated Virgin Islands, TAB dropped “Sand” on the excited audience. The crowd was noticeably split between Trey/Phish fans and Dave/DMB fans, but “Sand” really got the whole audience engaged and finally all standing and dancing in unison.The band continued to harness this energy while delivering an epic take on “Dark and Down”. During the number, the band’s horn section—made up of Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, Natalie Cressman on trombone, and James Casey on saxaphones—took a short break during to give the band’s core quartet of Anastasio, drummer Russ Lawton, keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, and bassist Tony Markellis a chance to shine as an improvisational unit.TAB shifted gears with their fun cover of “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz, which operated as an opportunity for Hartswick to show off her powerful pipes. Turning the song’s rapped lyrics into a soulful vocal part, Hartswick once-again showed her prowess as a performer, taking the classic song and transforming it as her own. The band then brought the main portion of their show to an end with two Trey Anastasio Band classics: “Money, Love & Change” and the euphoric frequent set-closer “Push On ‘Til The Day”.As the band took off their instruments, the audience assumed Anastasio’s set was over, but the group surprised the room when Anastasio took a spot on stage in between Casey, Hartswick, and Cressman, and the four of them delivered a gorgeous, harmonized cover of traditional Scottish song “The Parting Glass”. The beautiful ending was a touching exclamation mark on an impressively energetic set from TAB.After a short break, Matthews waltzed on stage to a loud roar from the crowd. He seemed somewhat stunned, having agreed to follow his good friend Trey and his tight band with a solo acoustic set. Matthews made several mentions of Trey’s “bad band” and promised that he would work through his solo acoustic songs quickly before bringing out some special guests. While Matthews may have been bashful, he delivered a set of Dave Matthews Band classics and rare solo material that engaged the room and got almost everyone singing along.It’s been quite some time since Matthews and Anastasio shared a bill, and while it may have taken some time for the crowd to get used it, by the time Matthews delivered his opening duo of “Don’t Drink the Water” and his solo classic “Stay or Leave”, the audience was singing loudly in unison and clearly enjoying themselves. Matthews peppered his set with more hits, such as “Funny the Way It Is” and “Grey Street” and fan favorites like “So Damn Lucky” and “Samurai Cop”, but the most special moments of his set came when he invited Dave Matthews Band member and son of a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Rashawn Ross, to the stage.“Samurai Cop”[Video: Tips2LiveBy]Matthews mentioned that Ross’ mother had to be evacuated after the hurricanes that hit the islands, and that it only made sense to have Ross there to play for this special cause. Ross delivered an emotional trumpet solo on “Mercy” and stuck around for excellent versions of “Sattelite” and “Save Me” which also featured Ben The Sax Guy. Finally, Matthews finished his set with a quick switch to electric guitar for the dreamy “Some Devil”, followed by his classic “Dancing Nancies”.“Mercy”[Video: Dave Thomas]After taking a short encore break, Matthews returned, now with Anastasio in tow, and the audience went crazy. When the pair strapped in on acoustic guitars and—just like they did on the Dave Matthews & Friends tours of the early 2000s—delivered an acoustic take on “Waste” by Phish, which Matthews proclaimed was his favorite song. To say that this performance was surreal would be an understatement, as two of the most iconic musicians of our time finally reunited to perform together once again.“Waste”[Video: Live For Live Music / by Reena Napolitano]After this emotional take on “Waste”, the rest of Trey Anastasio Band returned to the stage along with Aaron Neville. The band worked through an excellent and fun version of frequent Dave Matthews and Jerry Garcia Band cover, Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker”. The ensemble followed this up with a rendition of “Iko Iko”, during which Neville dropped in verses of the classic Bobby Freeman song “Do You Wanna Dance”, which brought a giantic smile to Anastasio’s face as he watched a master at work. Finally, the night was brought to a close with a raucous cover of “I Want To Take You Higher” by Sly & The Family Stone, a fitting ending for an exciting evening that was centered around raising money and awareness for such a necessary cause.“The Maker”[Video: linusj]“Iko Iko”[Video: linusj]“I Want To Take You Higher”[Video: linusj]Setlist: Aaron Neville | A Concert For Island Relief | Radio City Music Hall | New York, NY | 1/6/2017Set: Stand By Me > Chain Gang > Stand By Me, Bird On A Wire, This Magic Moment, Drift Away, A Change Is Gonna Come, Three Little Birds > Stir It Up, Please Send Me Someone To Love, Louisana 1927Setlist: Trey Anastasio Band | A Concert For Island Relief | Radio City Music Hall | New York, NY | 1/6/2017Set: Mozambique, Everything’s Right, Valentine, Sand, Dark and Down, Clint Eastwood, Money, Love and Change, Push on Til the Day, The Parting GlassSetlist: Dave Matthews | A Concert For Island Relief | Radio City Music Hall | New York, NY | 1/6/2017Set: Don’t Drink the Water, Stay or Leave, Funny the Way It Is, So Damn Lucky, Samurai Cop, Grey Street, Mercy*, Satellite*& Save Me*&, Some Devil, Dancing NanciesEncore: Waste@, The Maker#, Iko Iko#, I Want To Take You Higher#*w/ Rashawn Ross&w/ Ben The Sax Guy@w/ Trey Anastasio#w/ Trey Anastasio Band, Rashawn Ross & Aaron NevilleDave Matthews fans can catch Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds on the beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico next weekend along with Brandi Carlile, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn and more! Get info on travel packages and more here.
Nine states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana since 2012, and the once-underground substance slides further into the mainstream with each passing day. Pop stars openly smoke weed on social media, TV shows are devoted to the art of cannabis cooking, and corporations market to pot smokers with little-to-no subtlety. Yet as marijuana has come out of the shadows, so too has the culture surrounding it. Nowhere is this more evident than with the rebirth of the classic stoner game Zonk.Created sometime in the 1970s (no one is entirely sure when), the game has been a popular pastime on and around college campuses for decades, particularly in the Northeast. Much like many drinking games—Zonk’s more socially acceptable cousins—Zonk is a competitive enterprise. The main difference is that, while most drinking games use alcohol consumption as a form of punishment, Zonk uses marijuana consumption as a reward. In the end, Everyone Wins (it even says so on the box).With the United States now undergoing a marijuana Renaissance, its no surprise that Zonk is undergoing a Renaissance of its own as well. While most Zonk aficionados came of age playing the game in some makeshift form, the days of DIYing it are quickly becoming a thing of the past. That’s because Zonk recently hit the market in an easy-to-use, officially licensed format called The Legendary Underground Game of Zonk.The Game of ZonkAt its core, Zonk is a dice game in which players roll a set of five dice, hopefully accumulating points throughout each turn, in a race to 10,000 points. Of course, the games calls for players to take plenty of hits from the pipe as they cross over certain thresholds or land on specific bonuses (for instance, 1950 is commonly known as the “Stevie Wonder Bonus”), making every step toward victory a little more difficult than the last. Players often incorporate their own terms—such as “spaz”, “bloads”, “power Zonk”, and “vanana”—into the game at various points as well. The whole thing is a bit more complicated than that, but you really have to give the game a whirl before you fully understand how it works.Fortunately, giving the game a whirl is now easier than ever thanks to The Game of Zonk, which has (almost) everything you need to get started. For instance, players have traditionally rolled their dice on the cover of whatever book was nearby, but the official edition of Zonk comes in a book-shaped box that standardizes the “board”. There’s also plenty of score sheets, and the set even comes with its own pipe. The marijuana, on the other hand, must be purchased separately (more on that later).The Zonk Family ConferenceThe people behind the Game of Zonk have been marketing their product pretty heavily on the music scene, hosting a festival called the Zonk Family Conference, recording a jam session with North Carolina funk-rockers The Fritz and unleashing their branded beach balls everywhere from Phish Dicks to Hulaween and Jam Cruise. Part of this is because they know their target demographic, but—more importantly—its because music is an integral part of the Zonk experience. Music and marijuana go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the same be said of music and Zonk. So much so that the score sheets include a section for logging each game’s playlist, making for a nice piece of memorabilia that offers a snapshot of the night’s shenanigans (the score sheet doubles as a victory trophy for each game’s winner).The Fritz – “Too Late”“I had to chance to play Zonk after Fools Paradise with the whole Zonk family,” says The Main Squeeze frontman Corey Frye. “[Legendary Underground Game of Zonk CEO] David [Rakower] explained the rules and we learned as we rolled dice and blazed into the wee hours of the morning. Zonk is a great game to play with your smoking buddies. No matter the score, everyone’s a winner.”“I used to play Zonk quite a bit in high school,” explains Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio. “It was a great way to spend an evening with friends. We really never knew where this weird combo of Yahtzee and bong hits came from, but now we do!”With its sudden jump from the underground to the mainstream, the story of Zonk mirrors of the story of marijuana in the United States. And like marijuana, the future is looking bright for this beloved stoner game. In fact, the Game of Zonk will soon be diving into the marijuana business in its own right when the Zonk-branded strain—a sativa-leaning hybrid with roughly 24% THC, in case you were wondering—is unveiled in mid-July.“There’s no words that can describe the immediate response we received from Zonk players over the last 2 years; especially when we get recognized at shows and festivals,” says CEO David Rakower. “People were showing us their winning score-sheets from 20 years ago, sending us pics of them holding them up with their kids in the background, even telling us that they’ve had them in their garage since college and will never throw them away.“As former Zonk players ourselves, it validated that, without a doubt, its’ not just a game, it’s a culture,” he continues. “With what we have planned for the near future, we intend for everyone to agree with us. Keep the dice on the board and don’t be a ‘spaz’.”
Photo: Rex-A-Vision [Video: Michael Meyer]Simply put, those who attend HSMF bring their “A” game, and the result is the best party of the year for West Coast music lovers. This festival is a veritable paradise of amazing music and playful, psychedelic mischief, and the excitement can easily be felt in the air just waking the fairgrounds. With such a wealth of riches, there’s no way to catch it all, but what follows are one music lover’s highlights from four straight 18-hour days of music at High Sierra Music Festival 2018.Vaudeville Tent Late-Night Sets Are The Parties Of The WeekendWhile there’s a wealth of amazing music during the daytime, temperatures reaching 90 degrees prevent the HSMF crowd from really letting loose. When the sun sets, the High Sierra mountain air drops 20 degrees or more, the costumes come out, and everyone is rejuvenated for nighttime revelry. After the main stage headliner set ends at 11:30, the late-night Vaudeville Tent set begins, and the party launches into the stratosphere. This year, celebratory sets by Turkuaz, The California Honeydrops, and Antibalas blasted us all into the night with grooves a-plenty.Turkuaz’s set on Thursday night was an unrelenting, high-power blast of energy that didn’t let up for two hours. This band has evolved into a supreme party band—a funk machine that hits you over the head until you’re practically overwhelmed by the sheer force of the music—and this set was a relentless party. HSMF crowds are extremely in-the-moment and tuned into the music, bring the best out of musicians, and the band responded in kind on this night. They left it all on stage, sprinting to the finish line with a manic, hard-hitting take on Sly and the Family Stone‘s “M’Lady” that had drummer Chris Brouwers pounding the skins so hard it seemed like he would keel over.Friday night saw The California Honeydrops take their time with their two-hour set, letting the music breathe and delivering their sunny soul music for a tent packed with happy, dancing people. The set built slowly, punctuated by a funky take on Allen Toussaint‘s “Yes We Can” and lots of call-and-response singalongs and breakdowns. Punctuated by a celebratory second-line horn riff, “Do What You Wanna” brought things up a notch, especially with guitarist Jimmy James from the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio sitting in and adding some slinky licks to the music. A big second-line celebration with members of the City of Trees Brass Band closed the set, capping off a show heavy on the NOLA groove.Antibalas had the slot of the weekend on Saturday night, and though the crowd was eager to get down, the 10-piece band was in no rush, opening their set with a slow-burn groove. The energy in the room gradually grew thicker and more palpable as the tent filled up with costumed festival goers eager to get off. Led by Nigerian-born Amayo on lead vocals and vibraphone, the patient band deliberately built their set with their infectious, trademark Afrobeat groove, stretching out polyrhythmic tunes like “Dirty Money” and “Gold Rush” without ever bringing the volume up too loud.This veteran clan of musicians has become adept at creating a real vibe, and the Vaudeville Tent buzzed with an almost spiritual energy as the band chugged away with infectious dance music, repeatedly reminding us to offer “Deep, unconditional love” to our neighbors. It was nearly 75 minutes into their set before the band finally blew it wide open with a huge blast of a chorus, and the effect on the crowd was massive. Showing off their musical maturity, Antibalas crafted a slowly building arc of a set that peaked with an enormous, powerful, and fiery Afrobeat reworking of Bob Marley‘s “Rat Race.”Sturgill Simpson Rocked Our Socks OffAs the biggest name of the weekend, Sturgill Simpson brought high expectations with him to HSMF, and people were unsure of what to expect from the genre-defying singer/songwriter. Would he have a horn section? It turned out that Sturgill came to Quincy to rock loose and hard. With a lean, four-piece band, he delivered the heaviest show of the weekend with a set of well-crafted tunes and raw, stretched out jams. His road-tested band delivered a set of well-written country-rock songs as huge, relentless, hammering, jammed-out excursions, with Sturgill’s grungy Telecaster guitar leading the way with solo after solo of dirty, raw riffs (there was even a “Machine Gun” jam in there somewhere). His young, monster drummer Miles Miller propelled the band through tunes like the chugging, B3-driven “Keeping it Between the Lines,” the swaggering “Brace for Impact,” and the reflective “The Promise.” And though it was difficult to make out the words to what he was singing, his distinctive, tossed-off, soulful southern drawl hit in just the right place.Sturgill Simpson – “The Promise” – High Sierra Music Festival 2018 [Video: Jessica Anne]The Nth Power’s “Rebel Music” Marley Tribute Crushed Big MeadowLed by powerhouse drummer Nikki Glaspie, The Nth Power typically plays as a power trio. But a special festival calls for a special set, and with 14 musicians on stage, the band crushed a super-well-rehearsed set of well-chosen Bob Marley tunes in a show that they debuted at Jazz Fest last year. They’ve returned to this set periodically since, but few expected such a powerful performance from the band. Singer/guitarist Nick Cassarino led the affair, nailing Marley’s lines with earnest, powerful, and soulful vigor. Nikki and bassist Nate Edgar were deep in the pocket, pushing and pulling the reggae groove, and the Big Meadow crowd skanked up a storm while singing along to awesome deep cuts like “Concrete Jungle”, “Iron Lion Zion”, “Kinky Reggae”, and “Zimbabwe.” Some trippy, dubbed-out breakdowns took things out there for a while before the set closed with a powerful “Get Up Stand Up > No More Trouble > War > No More Trouble > Get Up Stand Up” sandwich.Discovery of the Weekend: Cris JacobsHSMF always does a great job of curating its lineup with a mix of old favorites and up-and-coming, hungry bands, and this year many discovered and were blown away by Cris Jacobs, a songwriter leading a muscular band that delivers earthy, genuine, rockin’ songs with a virtuosity that never feels forced. Throughout his set, Jacobs switched between Telecaster and cigar box slide guitar, each delivering a down-home, dirty tone that evoked the Delta in original tunes like “Mama Was A Redbone.” Rounded out by guitarist Jonathan Sloane on second lead guitar, the band ripped through their set, evoking Gov’t Mule in its heavy riffage and shredding dexterity. From Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath riffs to barrelhouse barroom boogie, this band killed it and had the crowd wanting more by the end of their set.You can check out a full gallery of photos from High Sierra Music Festival 2018 below, courtesy of Rex Thomson and Rex-A-Vision.High Sierra Music Festival 2018 | Quincy, CA | 7/5–8/2018 | Photo: Rex Thomson [Video: Michael Meyer]Skerik & George Porter, Jr. Were EverywhereWith so many amazing musicians gathered in one place, the festival is a place where sit-ins are commonplace and bands are born out of impromptu jams. This year, at High Sierra Music Festival 2018, famed saxophonist Skerik popped up at every turn, both sitting in with bands and leading his own sets that brought together an all-star collection of musicians. Whether he was boogalooing it with the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, blowing a searing solo with George Porter, Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste‘s Foundation of Funk Meters Tribute, or leading his own band through an eclectic, exploratory set, Skerik did it all and proved that he can hold his own with anyone.One set led by Skerik was simply billed as “Skerik + Guests Improv Session.” This set ended up containing some of the best, tightest jamming of the weekend, mostly due to the presence of George Porter, Jr. on bass. Free of the limitations of Meters-style grooving, George was free to attack and drive the music forward in a surprisingly different way that showcased why he’s a living legend.These grooves were slinky, free-form, and incredibly funky, and this was just one of many sets that George Porter played over the course of four days. He also held it down in a number of sets with Lebo + Friends jamming on Grateful Dead tunes and other classics, and was joined by his NOLA brothers—Zigaboo; Tony Hall; and Cyril, Ivan, and Ian Neville—on Sunday night to close the festival with a celebratory, loose set of Meters tunes played how they’re supposed to be played: with plenty of grease and soul.Foundation Of Funk – High Sierra Music Festival 2018 For those who haven’t attended High Sierra Music Festival, it’s difficult to describe the level of commitment its attendees put into this event. Now in its 28th year, High Sierra Music Festival 2018 was a fully functioning, self-sustaining, family-friendly community of revelry, offering an astounding variety of music and activities over the course of four packed days. Indeed, this amazingly curated festival was so chock-full of amazing options to keep everyone entertained, that one has the luxury of choosing their own adventure depending on their musical tastes. It’s very easy to come out of the weekend having experienced a completely different lineup of music than your neighbor.Seeking some face-melting jams? Attendees at High Sierra Music Festival 2018 could get their fix with Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Spafford, Lotus, or Jazz is Phish. Itching to get down to some dirty funk? You could dance ’til the sun comes up to Turkuaz, The Motet, Lettuce, Antibalas, or Foundation Of Funk. Or if Americana/roots rock is your thing, they had Sturgill Simpson, Chris Robinson, the Wood Brothers, the Barr Brothers, Fruition, and scores of other amazing acts.And if four stages of music isn’t enough, there are the elaborate camps that attract musicians for secret sets, parades, yoga sessions, acoustic songwriter sessions, beer and wine tastings, and sunrise kickball for those truly committed to the party. Throw in four sets of String Cheese Incident, and you’ve got one hell of a festival that transcends any pigeon-holing and has managed to maintain its own special identity over the years.String Cheese Incident – “Ramble On” – High Sierra Music Festival 2018 Load remaining images
It’s been a devastating wildfire season for California, as the state has suffered the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in history. The widespread fires have taken nearly 100 lives, left almost 1,000 people still unaccounted for, and burned over 13,000 homes, business, and other permanent structures. The state of emergency is ongoing, and The Revivalists have announced their part in Supplying Aid To Victims of Emergency (SAVE).Last week, as the New Orleans-based octet was supposed to be celebrating the release of their brand new album, Take Good Care, they instead directed their concern toward the California wildfires and opened up a limited supply of t-shirts to benefit the victims of the natural disaster. All proceeds fro the shirts’ sales were donated directly to the California Fire Foundation’s SAVE program. After selling out in less than 24 hours, The Revivalists are once again offering sales on a limited supply of the “Revive: California Tee” shirts with the same intention.As the band explained to fans, “We’ve been closely following stories of our fans, team, and residents of California enduring these tragic fires. It’s been nothing short of amazing watching many of you go out of your way to take care of those directly effected.”They continued, “We also want to help, so we will be raising money for the California Fire Foundation via donating all proceeds from the Revive: California Tee sales. Please join us in supporting the victims, firefighters and volunteers on the ground currently dealing with this head on.”Check out the shirt here, and learn more about the California Fire Foundation’s SAVE program, which “provides emergency short-term financial assistance to fire and natural disaster victims in California year-round, including both firefighters and civilians” here.