Jesus, my spoiled ass forgot what a hot tent feels like in the morning when the sun finally seeks you out. MY GOODNESS!! But considering the stormy conditions we had to endure at last year’s Vibes, the sun was completely welcoming.
VIP Perk #1: You have sectioned camping in the section of the park that has the most tree canopy coverage. The general camping is located in mainly open fields and parking lots.
Quote of the morning: *With a mischievous look** “Are you trying to tempting me with a good time??”
We woke up to a gorgeous day. We spent the morning relaxing, waking up slowly with our friends at the Cosmic Casbah. We were greeted with friends of ours who were only just now passing out, a table full of breakfast foods like bacon and eggs, muffins and fruit, and music. I crashed onto the mats with my plate of food, listening to the music, letting it breath life into me to start my day.
We knew that for breakfast we were being dished some New Orleans ROCK by way of The Radiators so we hit the field pretty early, only missing Billy Simons Band on the Green Vibes stage. You know, it’s almost impossible to catch all the music at a festival if you are solo but with a running crew it takes that much more time to settle.
VIP Perk #2: During this time, we utilized the free food in the VIP tent where they had wonderful selection of snacks and beverages to sustain us ALL DAY. At $6-$10 for a single meal or $4 for a water in general vending, these 24-hour snacks of fruit, pretzels, chips and salsa, candies, sodas, water, juices, milk, coffees and teas were BEYOND welcoming, sustaining and economical. It’s possible to spend $60 on water before even considering food at a festival. And that is just the 24-hour spread. From 11am-3pm you are offered a buffet of hot meats, salads, pastas, and desserts to chose from. And generally, if you are starving and want another half of a turkey wrap, you could easily ask for one. We made our rounds of good mornings and set up shop by the Karma Wash. It was time to focus on the music.
I danced into the field listening to The Radiators. Their bluesy-rocky vibe catching my feet and ears completely off guard. Being a huge fan of New Orleans Funk, I knew anything coming from NOLA would be better then good. I was excited to hear some NOLA ROCK from the band considered the #1 Rock band on the NOLA scene!!! They didn’t disappoint.
They came out blasting with rock -n-roll. For all you Phish heads out there, Phish opened for this band back in the 90’s. So did Widespread Panic. Where as both of those bands have now reached high commercial success, The Radiators have always been a deeply respective, yet decisively underground group on the scene.
An unavoidable NOLA signature, their funk layer was evident in the music immediately, coming from Ed Volker on keys. There was also that grungy swamp rock layer by way of Camile Baudoin on guitar. It was rough and rugged. The keys sounded almost out of tune but on purpose reminiscent of Professor Longhair in sound, not style. They were a tight group, the guitar players really made some hot sounds with their axes, with twang here, rock there, and smooth swamp grunge in the middle. It was fun music to dance too, sway too, but really it was something to slither too.
Setlist: I Like It Like That, Lets Radiate, Hard Rock Kid >, Lost Highway, Sitting on Top of the World, Crazy Mona, River Run, Soul on Fire, The Death Of The Blues, Junco Partner, You Ain’t Going Nowhere, Rosie
We needed to charge our phones so headed over towards the Green Vibe stage and that is where I heard the funky, odd sounding keys reminiscent of Alan Evans. But maybe a bit too much guitar. It was not as solid as it could be. It sounded choppy at times. Definitely took some getting used too. So, since they confused me, yet, intrigued me…of course, I had to check them out.
When I approached the stage, I recognized Kris Jensen right away from Dickey Betts. His horn brought a delicious element to an otherwise decent band. I wasn’t a big fan of Todd Stoops singing, or any of the singing really, but he knew his way around that keyboard. Tim Palmieri looked familiar as well and I realized later he has played with numerous artists I knew. He was great. Ultimately, the band itself was comprised of some talented musicians who tore up their solos but sometimes they fell off the page when they were playing as a group. The following video will show you what I mean…not bad their at the end, huh?
I was soooo ready to get down to Jackie Greene‘s set that when I heard him start during the Kung Fu set, I took off running. Jackie Greene is a wonderful artist who has an old soul sound and a yung sexy body 😉 Young and talented, open and warm, HOT!!! A rocker, a funker, a jammer, a rager on top of being a keys player, songwriter and a guitarist., electric, acoustic, loungy, rock, whatever…he does it all.
I made it front row for Jackie Greene where I ran into a few of my favorite Jam Cruisers. He came out rocking right off the bat. The second song was a new rock tune, Medicine. And I love a good harmonica. He slowed it down with a beautiful Shaken. Jut an upbeat rock vibe from Jackie all the way through. Perfect set for that perfect sunny afternoon.
He blew me away. Tight, on point, smooth and simple. Jackie Greene isn’t someone who needs lights and fluff. He is just talent. He had the whole field dancing and I noticed that the ladies were ogling over him as much as I was. I try not to but sometimes, just DAYUM! Animal was just sexy and finally I was enjoying a singer for the first time that day. And finally, inviting drummer John Molo (Phil & Friends) to the stage, showing love to Jerry, he raged the hell out of his encore covering Scarlet Begonias, one of my favorite Jerry songs that houses one of my favorite Grateful Dead lyrics:
Once in a while you get shown the light/In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Setlist: I’m So Gone, Medicine, Farewell, So Long, Goodbye, A Moment of Temporary Color, Gone Wanderin’, Shakey Ground, Animal, Spooky Tina, Shaken, Tell Me Mama, Tell Me Right, Hollywood ->, Tomorrow Never Knows >, Taxman ->, Tomorrow Never Knows, Scarlet Begonias *, Like A Ball And Chain
Nick Ayers – Percussion, Flute and Vox
Brennan Andes – Bass and Vox
Jesse Clayton – Keys
Griffin Bastian – Drums
Ross Huff – Trumpet, Flugelhorn and Vox
Another cell phone charger exchange. We wanted to make sure that we could always get in touch with Issac so Jay and I would alternate charging our phones making sure one of us had a functioning one at all times. Where I generally might have left my phone to die in my tent since I was actually camping and not in a house, this couldn’t be the case this festival. I, of course, ended up using it much more by having it on my person. Alas, I am addicted to technology 🙂 Because of this, I also was able to check out the side stage performances and here we were with The Macpodz.
Just like Kung Fu, I was drawn towards the stage because of what I heard coming from the keyboardist, Jesse Clayton. Sounded GOOD! Their image immediately stood out to me, not that it matters but it was like a warped frat house up there. I enjoyed the trumpet as well. Other then that, meh! Nothing would hae sounded good to me at time, knowing who was coming on the Main stage next.
One of my favorite sets of the day. When is Steve Kimock not good? When does he never just sound so perfect and beautiful and full of rage at the same time making you dance to PRETTY music. And here we had the debut of a NEW CRAZY ENGINE!
Such a signature sound with Kimock, that guitar. So light, airy, happy, funky and jammy. He always has such lovely melodies throughout his music. His songs engage different emotions with every measure. I love him. The addition of keyboard legend, Bernie Worrell was a treat for all of us. He threw in Row Row Row Your Boat, The Star- Spangled Banner and all kinds of silly licks from nostalgic tunes throughout his solos.
Bobby Vega bassed us out on Funky B4 Five, a lovely melodic jam where a fun response comes from the crowd at the end of the chorus. Everything is Everything brought out a rapping Chris Burger (Alphabet Soup, Band of Brotherz) who began with the band introductions. Bernie funked out the keys and it was just a funk fest in the field. Closing with Parliament Funkadelic‘s Red Hot Mama, the guitar just sounded so hot and Bernie Worrell was in his element. John Kimock never stood out to me during this set but I do know he is a wonderful fresh drummer who I hope hits our scene with a tornado like force one of these days.
Setlist: A New Africa, Five B4 Funk, Crazy Engine, Everything is Everything, Red Hot Mama
We again made our way to the Silver Lining booth where we were charging our phones with our friend, Thud. Once again, a decent sounding song caught my ear. Quinn Sullivan was playing but I didn’t have time to stop and pay attention. I had a 15 year old to check in with and feed and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings were up next on stage.
Sharon Jones – Vocals
THE DAP-KINGS are:
Homer Steinweiss – Drums
Binky Griptite – Guitar
Boogaloo Valez – Congas
Dave Guy – Trumpet
Tommy TNT Brenneck – Guitar
Bosco Mann – Bass
Neal Sugarman – Tenor
Ian Jendrickson – Smith – Baritone
There are certain bands where words never do it justice, and sometimes, they don’t even do themselves justice, because they are just THAT good. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have consistently performed, blowing the ears and minds of millions of people with every performance. This performance was no exception. Just stop the program. Just end it all right here. No one can touch this woman. She is FIRE.
Sharon Jones didn’t join the stage immediately. First, the stage just filled with DAPPER looking men and their instruments. The first song consisted of the horns blasting, the funk machine igniting and it was POPPIN’. After the first few songs, Sharon Jones joined the stage and well…I just really don’t know how to describe her. She is like a bolt of lightning. Her pores OOZE soul. Her dance moves are spirited and it was as if the music inside her was controlling her like a puppet with strings. Her eyes closing and opening as the passion in the music gained momentum. She kicked her shoes off at one point and just brought down the house with every single word and note. Just watch this woman perform.
Check out this video of The Vibes performance:
Check out the video for the title track from the 2007 album “100 Days, 100 Nights.” in it’s entirety.
THANK GOD!!!! I was not sure what to expect from this set. I had seen Robert Randolph a few weeks earlier in New York City and had witnessed one of the worst Randolph performances I had ever seen. I almost cried because my heart hurt from thinking such bad thoughts of the show. It wasn’t because he didn’t play his songs well but because his new songs are just not of the caliber of AWESOMENESS that they were in his early years.
My Tribe had to be up front for this performance and so we were, dead center. As I approached the front row, it looked as if Robert had found his roots again. Where a tie had been worn at the previous show, Robert was now wearing a liberating bandanna with a long tail. Where the white guy behind the mic were doing most of the singing at the previous show, Robert was now throwing us the licks and doin’ the spittin’ on the mic. Where as Robert was on his guitar most of the time at the previous show, today, he gave an amazing chance to a few lucky guys in the audience and stuck mainly to his pedal steel where his fingers knew no boundaries. His energy was contagious…
He brought the stage to fire with an old song right out of the hatch: Ted’s Jam, one of my top three favorite Randolph’s tunes. With this song, it just escalated into one of my favorite, hottest Robert Randolph performances. I could write pages about it but I will write about my favorite memory of the set.
Towards the end of the set, Robert Randolph said he needed some help from and audience member to rage a song. The first guy got on stage and immediately proved he had no chops. This happened with 2 other men before Frederick Aidan Pagnani from Freddy and the Yeti’s jumped on stage to Robert’s delight. Once he started playing, this 19 year old (we found that out talking to him in the VIP then) held his own against Robert Randolph and The Family Band. Check it out:
Setlist: Ted’s Jam, Back to Wall, Travel Shoes, Them Bones, Untitled, I’m Not Listening, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Deliver Me, If I Had My Way, E, It Don’t Matter
Phil Lesh – Bass
Bob Weir – Guitar
Jeff Chimenti – Keyboards
John Kadlecik – Guitar
Joe Russo – Drums
Jeff Pearson – Vocals
Sunshine Becker – Vocals
The headliner for the evening was Furthur. Just like the Randolph set, here was another group that I was hoping was going do a better then job then I had seen them last. If you might recall, there was giant whirlwind chatter about the Furthur show, specifically Bob Weir’s performance, at Nokia Theatre in Times Square last Wednesday. What a difference.
“Seal your face right off your head“
Between Dark Star Orchestra and Furthur, it was arguable who had performed a better set. Both nights were magical recreations of some tightly played nostalgic tunes. Where as Dark Star seemed to be more of stand out performance by Jeff Mattson, Furthur’s performance felt like more of a cohesive group effort and Bobby was on point. The set list contained a plethora of sing along tunes and provided platforms for intense jams during the 4 hours slot.
There was a gorgeous glow worm that was walked through the 15,000 person audience which I was able to catch on film!
Now, here is the song in it’s entirety with the appearance of the glow worm 🙂
Set I: The Golden Road, Jack Straw, Ramble On Rose, Dupree’s Diamond Blues, Friend of The Devil, Estimated Prophet> , Eyes of The World>, Not Fade Away,
Set II: Playing In The Band, Althea, Wharf Rat>, He’s Gone>, Scarlet Begonias>, The Wheel, Standing On The Moon, Help On The Way>, Slipknot!>, Franklin’s Tower, crowd/donor rap/tuning,
Encore: Terrapin Station Suite