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Posts Tagged ‘keller williams’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Instead of dutifully watching the Oscars like a good little patron of the movie business, I went out to a concert and enjoyed music last night. In a previous blog post, Mike Gordon on Solo Tour, I had mentioned that Mike Gordon (of the band Phish) has been on an eight show tour in between his gigs with his more famous band. Last  night, the tour brought him to my town.

Photo by Kate Langenburg

The venue he booked, the Sherman Theater, is not by any means a large venue. When I heard that Gordon had sold out his last show in Troy, NY, I was worried about the crowds I might find in my small theater. To my surprise, there were very few people in attendance at this show. The amount didn’t even fill the front section of the pit. Be that as it may, Gordon did not hold back on the audience. He gave them a show for the books.

He and his musicians took the stage, as Gordon made a comment about my town being “a ghost town with a really good vibe.” He plowed his way through a number of great songs with good jams, and even threw in a little piece of ‘Meat’ for the Phish fans in the crowd. He was joined by his opening act, Danny Barnes, who played a mean banjo on a few of the songs. Barnes has opened for other jam bands as well, including Keller Williams.

Here’s the whole kit and caboodle:

Set I: Only a Dream, Can’t Stand Still, Pretend > Can’t Stand Still > Pretend, 15 Step > Midnight, Where the Soul of Man Never Dies, Middle of the Road, Cruel World, Soul Food Man

Set II: Dig Further Down, Hap Nappy, She Said She Said, Crumblin’ Bones > Morphin’ Again, Another Door

E: Country Boy

Besides the music, the band had a lot of fun visual aspects to its show. There were bubble machines set up on both sides of the stage, crazy lights, and a stage set up as a tribute to the upcoming spring season — butterflies, lights, and pussy willows covered its surface. The best parts were the darting green and red point lights that cut through the audience and filled the venue.

Overall, a good show. I have to say that if you go to a Mike Gordon show expecting to hear Phish songs you will be let down. He does play his own music with his own band and rarely throws in Phish. But if you’re just looking to listen to some good jams, than it’s for you.

I did manage to get a video of ‘Meat,’ but be warned — the sound quality is pretty awful. I was standing too close to the speakers. Still, if you want to check it out, click here.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Bonnaroo. It’s the coolest, hippest music festival that everyone LOVES to go to. It’s a real MUST SEE for music lovers everywhere. But not me. I’ll pass.

I wouldn’t call myself a Bonnaroo old schooler, but my appreciation for the festival definitely happened in its earlier years: 2005 and 2006. Making the trek from Pennsylvania to Tennessee was no easy shuffle, but it was worth it to see so many famous jam bands and acts all in one place.

Some of my favorite acts from those years were Toots and the Maytals, Keller Williams, Steel Pulse, Tom Petty, and Phil Lesh.

When I was a Bonnaroo-er, everyone was peaceful, including the musicians. It was all about having a great time in a nonviolent way and truly connecting with the music. There were never bands on the lineup like GWAR, Jay-Z, or Dropkick Murphys. When you incorporate this kind of music into a peaceful festie, the whole vibe is overhauled and violence is introduced.

Now, the tone for Bonnaroo has changed dramatically. It no longer remains a haven for hippies and jam band fans. With the inclusion of more ‘hardcore acts,’ the scene is just like any other rock festival. Remember Woodstock ’99? Fans, reportedly out of control by all the intense music, decided it would be a great idea to light things on fire and rape women. I can only hope Bonnaroo doesn’t end up that way.

Other than those ‘harder acts’ mentioned above, the complete list of new performers coming in 2010 can be found on Bonnaroo’s artist line-up website. While there are a few bands that look great to me, most I can live without seeing. There is no going back for this festival. It won’t return to the way it was, but I guess that’s just evolution.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

For those of you who enjoyed the post about “a music festival everyone can afford,” this post will serve as a conclusion and review piece (with lots of pictures!).

The Mighty High Music Festival jammed on this past Saturday in Vasa Park, putting smiles on the faces of many old and young hippies. This summer marked the second annual concert in the series.

As I had mentioned in my last post about this Festival, the setting for the concert is absolutely amazing. Vasa Park is not only one of my new favorite places to see a show, but it’s suitable for anyone and everyone. The entire park is covered with shady trees, cool grass to lay in, and a wide area to do it all on. But yet, the shows there always remain cozy — not too big or too small.

Donna Godchaux at the Mighty High Music Festival. (7.18.09.)

Donna Godchaux at the Mighty High Music Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The Donna Godchaux Band kicked things off in a most happenin’ way. After all those years touring with the Grateful Dead, Ms. Donna sure hasn’t lost her voice — not even a smidgen of it. She was belting out harmonies and high notes like it was nobody’s business.

Accompanied by her band, she really made it sound like a Grateful Dead show. After a few songs with just the band, Lisa Mackey of Dark Star Orchestra joined in the performance, making the sound full and strong. It was amazing to see Donna, an original member of GD, with Lisa, a performer who sings her parts in a GD tribute band, together on stage!

The final song of their set together was (appropriately) “Mighty High.”

Then came my personal favorite: Keller Williams. I was so happy to see that he was on his own this time. Lately, he has been touring with Wesley, Droll, and Sipe. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great, but there’s nothing like seeing Keller solo when he can perform his looping of sounds and different instruments.

He ran all around that stage, picking a few notes here and there on his bass, which he had propped up on a stand, and strumming some chords on his guitar. All the while, he was hopping on over to his keyboard and synthesizers, making crazy sounds that the crowd was loving.

Keller Williams strums to his fans.

Keller Williams strums to his fans. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Keller played some of his traditional tunes, including “Freeker by the Speaker” and also some obscure covers, like “Word Up” by Cameo. My favorite parts were when he just jammed out. He walked right up to the front of the stage and let his fans have it.

Which reminds me — if you ever go see Keller, make sure you get a spot right next to the stage. It’s a completely different experience seeing him up close than it is from the back of a venue. You really capture the essence of what he is trying to do with his many instruments.

Last came Dark Star Orchestra. These guys completely tore up the scene at Vasa Park. Not only were they the headliners of the festival, but they played two sets. Fans had the pleasure of listening to them long into the afternoon.

Dark Star Orchestra brings it on home. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Dark Star Orchestra brings it on home. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

They played tons of Grateful Dead hits, including “Cassidy,” “Scarlet Begonias,” and even ended the show with a peaceful, love-your-neighbor performance of “Ripple.” As always, they didn’t let down their fans.

Rob Eaton plays the role of Bob Weir in DSO. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Rob Eaton plays the role of Bob Weir in DSO. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

To see Dark Star Orchestra is very much like seeing an actual live Dead show. It’s incredible how much the musicians in the band sound like the original Grateful Dead.

The audience grooved and glided together to the tunes of GD. It was interesting to see young and old deadheads come together for a little relaxin,’ tokin,’ and dancin.’ (By this time in the festival, almost everyone in my group was a little toasty, but it made for some great grooving, especially with other fans. That’s just the mentality of the crowd.)

At the very end of the show, Keller Williams came back out on stage to perform a few songs with Dark Star. What bliss to see such an amazing group of performers together!

Let’s hope for another Mighty High Festival just as good as this one next summer. I’m already lined up and ready to buy my ticket.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

If you’re at all into jam bands, the summer time is the best time for music festivals. There are fests all over the United States, in places like New York, Tennessee, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Minnesota.

The only downside to some of these music havens is that if you’re low on cash, you might as well stay home. Sometimes, tickets to music festivals can run up to $250 for a weekend, not including food other expenses.

The good news — I have found you a mini festival that will satisfy all your jam band cravings and desires. If you live near the tri-state area, you’re set. The Mighty High Festival in Vasa Park (Hackettstown, NJ) is no three day camping extravaganza, but it’s just enough to give you a little taste of a big summer fest.

Three bands will play on the 18th of July, starting at 1pm. The Donna Godchaux band, featuring Donna Godchaux of the Grateful Dead, will kick things off. Then Keller Williams will take the stage, followed by a nice long set from Dark Star Orchestra.

Donna Godchaux has been touring for ages. Come on, she started out with the Grateful Dead for pete’s sake. It’s amazing that she is still out there, doing her thing. The same can be said for some of the Dead’s other members, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh.

Keller Williams jams out at a past performance in Pennsylvania.

Keller Williams jams out at a past performance in Pennsylvania. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

If you don’t already know him, let me introduce you to Keller Williams. You never know what you’ll get when you go to see him in concert. Sometimes he plays alone, other times he plays with a few back up performers, but it’s always great.

Keller usually breaks out several different instruments when he plays. Sometimes he stands in the middle of all of them, which he has arranged around him in a circle. He goes through them and picks which ones he wants to play, giving each one it’s turn. His instruments range from things like wooden sticks he bangs on his legs to something that looks like a xylophone. But he doesn’t hit the plates on it — he pulls up his hands above the plates to make incredible alien like noises. Some of his music is truly weird, but very creative.

You can read a review of a Keller Williams concert here.

John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra.

John Kadlecik of Dark Star Orchestra. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

And finally, I will get to Dark Star Orchestra. In the Mighty High Festival, it is safe to say that this band will take the longest set. They are basically a cover band, but they cover a very special band that is near and dear to every jam band lover’s heart — the Grateful Dead.

The cool thing about them is that they usually recreate an entire GD show. They play the whole setlist from start to finish, and then at the end they tell their audience what set from which year they have just played.

But these guys sound SO much like the Grateful Dead. It’s really amazing. If you’d like to hear a podcast that yours truly composed about the band, click here.

Might I add on a side note that Vasa Park is a wonderful place to see a concert. It’s outside, it’s open, it’s full of trees and shade. You can come with a chair or blanket, or just chill on the grass. I promise you one thing, my friend. You won’t be disappointed.

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