Friday, September 13, 2013

Lockn' Festival recap, Pop. 1280, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival webcast

Lockn' Fest! Wow, what a weekend! Great music, great weather and great friends (thanks to Wyatt, Perl, Jill and Stuart) and the cocktail was perfect for a killer time. I also managed to avoid much of the operations issues at the first time festival. While the sound and video was excellent, port-a-johns fairly clean and a lack of long lines in the concert area, I did hear and read some major and minor issues with some things. Namely the six to eight hour wait to get in on Thursday. I avoided that, as Wyatt got in with the RV early Thursday AM and I showed up in the evening on Thursday, parked in the day parking lot and dragged my cooler on wheels (containing no ice, case of beer, my toiletry bag and a box of tissues so not too heavy) on a 30 minute walk to the RV. Not a bad walk until the last 1/4 when I had to off-road it but I felt pretty lucky compared to the people that waited forever to get in. Also heard of port-a-johns in at least one of the camping areas not getting cleaned at all and we had issues getting water for the RV and an issue with the public showers that caused me to take a cold shower on Saturday, but that's better than no shower at all. Hopefully, that will all get worked out by the time they do Lockn' 2 next year.

But the music couldn't be beat. I first hit the concert area on Thursday night with Gov't Mule and Grace Potter doing Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" as I entered the concert area. Got a beer and a spot on the field just in time to hear them do a stellar version of Neil Young's (we missed you, Neil!) "Southern Man". (this isn't the best sounding video but it's not bad)

Stuck around for a little of String Cheese Incident and as always enjoyed them but couldn't remember a damn thing about the set an hour afterward. That was the way it was all weekend with them and one of my friends called them "the Chinese food of jam bands", which fit perfectly.

Later that night, we took the 20 minute walk to the back of the campground where it was rumoured there was a secret stage where late night shows would take place. We found it in "The Triangle" where a small stage resembling a tin roof shack was set up, the trees behind the stage lit up delicately and lasers shooting over the audiences heads that danced on the trees to the rear of the small hill (see the pic above). A woman was leading a band playing blues and folk and we thought they were pretty damn good as we enjoyed the beers we brought with us from the RV and some tacos from the food truck nearby. Only when the woman closed the set saying "We'll see you tomorrow at 2 on the big stage" did we realize we had been watching Pegi Young (wife of Neil) and her band, The Survivors. Though many hoped Neil would show up to a few songs with them here on on the big stage Friday, it was not to be.

Our Friday started with Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Soul Rebels (another New Orleans brass band) playing together and separately. The Soul Rebels did some brassified covers of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" which were good and got the crowd moving. But when Dirty Dozen took over, you could hear how far ahead of the Soul Rebels they were with their original music and syncopated, overlapping, intricate New Orleans' rhythms.

Jimmy Cliff was up next and I moved over to his stage to get a close view of the legend. The setup has two stages side-by-side so as one band ended, the next began (see picture above). There was no more than a 15 minute gap between bands all weekend and usually no gap at all. While excellent for continuous music, it did mean you had too miss some tunes for bathroom/beer/water/food breaks. But you could easily hear the music from anywhere in the concert area.

Back to Jimmy Cliff, the man's voice is incredibly pure and true for a man his age or any age. He gave a history of reggae, talking about and then performing songs he wrote or produced, but he was never long winded and the show moved at a fine pace. When he did "Many Rivers to Cross" it sent a chill up my spine and tear to my eye. Beautiful.

After that String Cheese Incident, Furthur's first set of the night, the Zac Cheese Incident (or Zac and Cheese) featuring Zac Brown singing with String Cheese and then Furthur's second set which featured the psychedelic and well jammed opener of Dark Star > Eyes of the World > St. Stephen > Unbroken Chain > Dark Star. Zac Brown also came out with Furthur for Zac's song, "Free", a Van Morrison cover, "Into the Mystic" (the highlight of the Zac & Furthur set), and then "Tennessee Jed".

After the Furthur set, we headed over the "Triangle Stage" and caught the last two songs by Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, including "Embryonic Journey". Local C'ville band, Indecision, came on shortly thereafter, and though good, we decided to call it a night to save our energy for what was sure to be a big Saturday. On the walk back, we were amazed by the low clouds and giant oak tree that gave the Oak Ridge track (where the fest was held) it's name.

Saturday began with an absolutely rockin' set from Black Crowes that included "Soul Singing", "Thorn In My Pride". "Wiser Time", "Jealous Again" and covers of Traffic's "Medicated Goo" and the Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash". Here's the first 30 minutes of the set. If you look closely, you may see Perl and I rocking out and playing some mean air guitar.

Next up was Trey Anastasio Band and I retreated to "base camp" (approximately where the picture of the two stages above was taken) where we had set up for the night as it was starting to get very crowded. The highlights of Trey's set were the Phish songs (which may have been TAB songs first) "Gotta Jibboo", "Sand", "First Tube", the cover of the Gorillaz's "Clint Eastwood" and then Trey's "Architect" which was played just after a beautiful sunset, with the thin crescent moon low in the sky, Saturn shining to the moon's upper left, a very good hula hoop girl doing her thang right in front of us (she provided added entertainment with her hoopery Saturday and Sunday) and "Fez Guy" dressed in a Fez and white rimmed sunglass surfing/dancing atop a large wagon wheel to the rear right of us, silhouetted against the fading colors of the sky as it transitioned to night. Truly one of the most beautiful, surreal, memorable sights of the weekend.

Next up was Widespread Panic, who were excellent, playing many of my favorites including "Henry Parsons Died", "Pigeons", "Travelin' Light", and an exemplary version of "Blue Indian". I had forgotten how good this band can be but they renewed my faith with this set. The last 7 songs of the set were with the rock n' roll legend, John Fogerty, sitting in and he immediately clicked with the swampy groove of Panic, staring with "Born on the Bayou". John and Panic looked like they were having a great time and that flowed over to the audience as we grooved to CCR and Fogerty classics and one new Fogerty song, "Mystic River".

Furthur took the stage again next and performed the classic Grateful Dead album, "Workingman's Dead" straight through and played it well. The big collaboration started on the last song of "Workingman's", "Casey Jones" when Trey Anastasio joined the band. It took a few songs for the band and Trey to find their spaces and relax and things started to click during "Truckin'", which led to an epic "Other One". The middle jam of "Other One" found the band getting funky on a '70's space funk excursion featuring flying saucer sound effects and overlapping rhythms. As that started to break down, Trey started a classic rockish riff that the band took up and formed another fine, groovy jam around before working back to the second verse of "Other One". The other highlight of the Furthur/Trey matchup was the set closing "Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain". Couldn't find any great videos from the webcast yet, but here's a taste of the space funk jam in the "Other One":

After Furthur, it was back to the late night "Triangle" stage, where we found Phil Lesh, playing with his sons Grahame and Brian along with the awesome looking, long bearded cowboy, Ross James on guitar, and Alex Koford, as the Terrapin Family Band. The band played bluegrass/Americana music and we arrived about halfway through their set (it was a 20 minute walk from our campsite) to the sound of the band doing Springsteen's "Atlantic City" in the arrangement The Band had performed it. Phil was content to hang toward the back of the stage playing his bass for the most part, though he stepped to the mic to help out on vocals for the Dead classic "Ripple" with the help of the whole crowd of  maybe 2000 people singing along. Other highlights included "Big River", "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Band" and a mellow, moody, trippy, jam piece, orignial (?), "San Francisco Rain".

After a 1/2 hour break, Jeff Sipe Trio, started, playing jazz influenced instrumentals and though good, once it hit 4 AM, we decided to take the long walk back to the campsite and crash.

Things kicked off at 1:30 PM the next day with Col. Bruce Hampton and Friends joined by Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Sipe for a mini-Aquarium Rescue Unit reunion. They were also joined by Eric Kasno of Soulive on guitar. Col. Bruce plays somewhat insane swing/blues/jazz highlighted by his surreal lyrics and choice covers. A fun way to start the day and just lively enough without jarring us as most in the crowd were still a little crispy from the day before.

Tedeschi/Trucks band came on next with their blues/jazz and played a strong set, highlighted by Susan Tedeschi's "Angel From Montgomery/Sugaree" pairing and the finale of Sly Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" into "I Want to Take You Higher" joined by Chris Robinson and Jackie Greene of the Black Crowes, Eric Krasno and Bob Weir. Here's that Sly Stone medley filmed from the audience:

The Black Crowes then played their second set of the weekend with a mellower show than Saturday's and the only band who played multiple sets to repeat a song ("Wiser Time"). Not a bad song to repeat but wonder if they meant to do that or just forgot they played it the day before! Sunday was the day for the collaborations everyone had been hoping for and the Black Crowes had Susan Tedeschi join them for Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned" and then Bob Weir joined them for "Lovelight".

We lost a number of our party on Sunday to work on Monday and injury (damn hip!) so I largely flew solo Sunday. I did head back to "base camp" to boogie with Stu for a large part of Tedeschi/Trucks and then Widespread's second set before Stu also had to take off due to previous obligations. Widespread got it going early in the set with a nod to missing Neil Young doing Neil's Buffalo Springfield classic, "Mr. Soul". Other highlights included "Disco", "Party at Your Mama's House" and "Stop Breakin' Down" before Stu left and I decided to re-energize with a bathroom/beer/lean on post break before heading down to get a close spot for Furthur's final set and the final set of the weekend.

Furthur opened with a fine "Terrapin Station", then were joined by Susan Tedeschi for the obligatory Sunday "Samson & Delilah". Susan joined Furthur for a few songs later in the set, notable mainly for her vocals. She never quite caught the groove on guitar, as I had hoped she would, but didn't step on any toes either. Jimmy Herring of Widespread Panic joined the band for "Brown Eyed Women" and "Box of Rain" and his years playing with Phil Lesh in Phil & Friends made him the most seamless and quickest clicking collaboration of the weekend. Smiles and hugs between him and the band all around before and after his two songs. The highlight of the set for me came next when Furthur was on their own and played a fantastic "Weather Report Suite". The set closed a few songs later with an appropriate "Brokedown Palace" and with that Lockn was all over but a good night sleep and an easy ride home. Can't wait until next year!

Streams of most of the shows at the Lockn' Fest can be found HERE. Thanks, PanicStream!

I'm going to blast through this weekend's events in Richmond because I'm getting sleepy now.

The Telluride Blues & Brews festival will be webcast on YouTube live right HERE. All times are Mountain Time so add two hours for Eastern time. Friday highlights include Gary Clark Jr. (5:50 PM MT) and Black Crowes (7:30 PM MT). Saturday, be sure to catch Rebirth Brass Band (2:40 PM MT), Mickey Hart Band (5:30 PM MT) and Jim James of My Morning Jacket (7:30 PM MT). Sunday, Preservation Hall Jazz Band is on at 12:10 PM MT, Anders Osborne at 1:30 PM, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe w/Richmond's own DJ Williams on guitar at 3 PM MT and Melissa Etheridge at 6:15 PM MT. Other acts will be included in the presentation, of course, so maybe we'll find a new favorite too.

At Strange Matter on Tuesday, noise rock band Pop. 1280 will headline the show. It's $8 to get in, doors open at 8 PM and openers are Buck Gooter, Mutwawa, & Men's Room. This show is the first date of Pop. 1280's US Tour of Perversion so be forewarned. Wear your fetish gear or something. Here's Pop. 1280's "Bodies in the Dunes" video:

That's it for me. Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan