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Posts Tagged ‘Danny Louis’

Thank you Cloud 9 Adeventures and MSC Crusies!!

Thank you Cloud 9 Adventures and MSC Cruises!!

There are music festivals and then there is Jam Cruise!!  A musical festival on a cruise ship that travels international seas for 5 to 6 days.  I said it last year and I will say it again now.  IT IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ADVENTURE anyone can take.

Last year, I was at a complete loss for words.  It was my Virgin Cruise and I was awestruck by the magnitude of what I had just experienced.  Considering this was my second year, I thought the hype would be just a bit dimmer, I figured I would be a little less anxious and calm.  Nope!

Even now, while I could burst at the seams ATTEMPTING to explain these EPIC musical journeys, I find it so hard figuring out where to start. It’s all so unbelievable.  I could tackle these articles by day, or perhaps by subject regarding the atmosphere, the music or the people and so much more. I could write a five page article just on the relationship cultivations that took place this year.  There is just so much!!! And the fact that I only slept about 10-12 hours over the span of 5 days gives me an arsenal of memories to pull from.

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Last year Tinyrager.com didn’t exist as it’s own site.  I wrote for other sites but mainly for my own personal cataloging of memories and would just save the documents on my computer.  So, after last year’s Jam Cruise, I began writing out my adventure and I never made it past the Sail Away Party.

My life took off before I could finish my personal Jam Cruise manifesto.  But I did make an attempt and the end result was all the glorious details about the embarkation line to the ship, the embarkation process, what happened when I explored the boat stumbling across the various venues and checking into my room with the gift bags and what not.  I wrote about everything I could remember up until the Sail Away Party….and then I stopped.

This year, I am going to continue where I left off at the Sail Away Party with a few backtracking steps.  There is no need for me to re-write the exact same information about the boat for this article. If you would like to know about all the things listed above then CLICK HERE!  The article is totally relevant to this one and worth the read and would help cement your mind if you are still debating on getting on the boat.  Jam Cruise staff actually found it last year and blasted it over their page a few times due to the comprehensive nature of the article.  So, enjoy that! It’s got great pictures too!

Now, let’s get this party started!!!

Hello Pretty Ship!! (Photo by Murray)

Hello Pretty Ship (Photo by Murray)

~ Boarding & Pre-Sail Away ~

Within MINUTES, sooooo much can happen to you on Jam Cruise.  This year, I boarded the boat in what felt like 15 minutes but was really a little over/under an hour.  As we get our room keys and begin the walk into the ship, I gaze to my right and Bob Weir is standing next to me. He pulled himself from the line and leans against the wall looking dazed, confused and very skinny. Had he been standing by us the whole time and we been too excited to notice?  He didn’t have an entourage and he looked so frail I guess it’s possible.  As my friends and I realized the magnitude of this moment, we all said “Hello Bob!” and he flashed us a forced smile.  I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad but I knew how we felt! FREAKING STOKED!!!

A few more feet through the line and we were shuffled into the section where you get your boarding pictures taken. You could purchase the pictures for $30 if you wanted, but whoa that is a lot.  However, in the group behind us, Steve Kimock jumped into the picture.  Now THAT is a $30 moment worth purchasing!!  And there you had another group of people whose minds were just blown and we hadn’t even made it on the boat yet.  Sadly, my hunt for these pictures has come to a dead end. They are gone once you leave the ship.

Before all hell broke loose :) (Photo By Murray)
The NYC Krewe + some before all hell broke loose 🙂 (Photo By Murray)

I was in line with two of my best friends from NYC and we were in different rooms. Once we boarded the boat we separated so I could take my luggage to my room and unpack as fast as possible as not to miss a moment.  I was wearing my Big Sam’s Funky Nation tee-shirt, READY for the Sail Away Party. READY to see my main man Big Sam.  As I step into the mirrored elevator with my luggage, I was covered by this giant shadow of a man who had followed behind me.  And as I turn around, I am embraced by none other than Big Sam. Having reached out to me after he saw one of my reviews of his show, he flashed a smile that melted me as I got a huge hug! What a super duper dude! I will have TONS to say about him later in these articles.

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

Last year I was in the Singles Program.  The layout of my room this year was exactly like last year except that I was now with two friends I had met on my virgin cruise: Aaron and Victoria, a super cute Jam Cruise couple who completely enhanced my journey. Thank you both for being such wonderful roommates.    I entered an empty room and unpacked as fast as I could. When I walked out of my room, I just didn’t know which way to turn. There were SO many people I wanted to see who I hadn’t seen since last year’s journey and whose relationship was cultivated through Facebook over the year as we waited patiently to all be together again.  There was so much I wanted to do all in one moment but I knew where I needed to be.    This year, I had a krewe from NYC on the boat and one of them was a virgin, my dear sweet friend Jessica.  I wanted to see their room and be with her.  I just wanted to watch her take it all in because that must have been what I was like last year with my jaw on the ground.

Jam Cruise is over but we know that time will last forever. From the minute I walked into 10242 there was nothing but LOVE. Jessica who I’vereally never met treated me (and everyone) like I was a saint or angel or something. We constructed the door decor (bonding) and the RAGE was on ! Off to Eric’s to gather the troops and start the search for the bottom of the tequilla bottle. A short time later we were off to the pool deck to find the angel Karen has been talking about: Hillary! ~ Murray Ballz

~ Door Décor Competition ~

Sharon & Said's Decor!!  (Photo by Richmand Images)

Sharon & Said's Decor!! (Photo by Richmand Images)

As I entered their room, the faces looking at me were already more shiny and sparkly then when we had left in line.  The Jam Cruise blood was flowing through their veins. Their room was bigger with a balcony.  It’s always good for SOMEONE in your rage krewe to have a balcony! They had taken out all the makings for their door décor and were attempting to assemble it.  Their concept was beautiful.  Using pictures of multiple artists and groups that inspired them, along with artists that couldn’t make it on the boat as well as pictures of allllllll our friends and families who couldn’t make it on the boat, we were to create a collage covering the door and then we placed a mirror in the middle.  On the mirror’s top it read: “We are all on board together.”  On the mirror’s bottom: “And so are you!” So, that when you look into the mirror, everyone is together, connected somehow on board together.  I loved it!

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

(Photo by Murray)

(Photo by Murray)

We spent a few hours cutting pictures, tapping things.  The rest of our NY posse rolling through the room to say Hi and get the best hugs in the world.  This also began the utilization of the deck for party breaks which, as time passed, began making it hard for us to focus and use tape correctly HAHAHA!!  The mirror began messing with my head; Rob couldn’t roll a piece of tape to save his life! It was awesome! Oh, you should have seen it.

During this time, the magic of the boat presented itself to us with the introduction of Rob and Jess’s neighbors.  When we ran out of tape, they came right in for the rescue. When we needed writing done for the mirror, they were right there with a solution and Maker’s Mark on the rocks. No matter what you want, you get what you NEED on Jam Cruise! From masking tape to enlightenment.

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

The final product was perfect. A door COVERED with people and musicians we love that couldn’t be on the boat with us, yet they were, even if it was only in this small way.  Throughout the week, any number of our NYC posse could be found sitting on the floor starting at our door. Staring at our loved ones, staring at Jerry and Janis.  Personally, I was found passed out with my hand on the picture of myself and my boyfriend on the first night and was guided back to bed for what would be the only night I would sleep in my cabin!!!

And in terms of what door enhanced my JC experience the most??   Door number #9211.  This door was covered in 3D pictures from last year’s Jam Cruise.  There were numerous 3D glasses attached to the wall by string so you could see the pictures.  It just got cooler every time I saw it. And at one point, I didn’t even NEED the glasses to see it in 3D.  So, anyway, TINYRAGER award to Room #9211 for making us go OUT of our way at least 2 times a day to check out your door!

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Once we finished the door we  realized that we missed the forum party on the pool deck.  They had gathered to give Sharon R. a proper Happy Birthday.  I am so sorry I missed this Sharon!  Love you! And now…it was time for the Sail Away Party!!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

~ Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Sail Away Party ~ Pool Deck ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The Sail Away Party is phenomenal and truly defines the rest of the voyage.  Julie McCoy, the ship’s activities coordinator/manager/queen bee, comes on to the stage.  Free champagne is distributed amongst the cruisers lining the pool deck and The Captain and Julie McCoy toast us off on our journey.  Then the horns blow and you now know…the party has OFFICIALLY begun. As well, Sweet Water Brewery gives out free beer at during this set, wonderful news for the alcohol drinkers, if you like their flavors!

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

I walked to the front row with my friends, toasted, and then stepped away for a moment alone. I was alone on the top level of the Pool deck last year for the beginning of Trombone Shorty’s Sail Away Party and I wanted to be in the similar location and just be alone, connecting with the ship, for a few moments.  If you read my post from last year, you know the turmoil I was in before I boarded this magical vessel that changed my world.  So, I walked up to my sacred spot, snapped a picture of the amazing sight I was staring at and took one giant breath. Upon exhaling that breath came SO MANY tears, I almost collapsed.  The flood gates opened upon the realization that I was back. I was back in this music world; this musical WONDERLAND that completely CHANGED MY LIFE! And this year was going to be SO different than last year.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Raging Audience Shot from Stage ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

After letting the tears flow for 2 songs, I gathered myself, with the help of a few people around me, and went back down to the front row, puffy faced and all smiles.  For those of you who don’t know much about the boat or who are not large into the music scene, the front row is where it’s at.  I was greeted into the front row where all the best people reside in most musical scenes, let alone Jam Cruise. But I suppose I need to talk about music here at some point right?  Wasn’t this a music festival on a ship?

THE FUNKY NATION:

Big Sam– Trombone
Danny Abel – Guitar
Eric Vogel – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

I have seen Big Sam numerous times throughout the year. I was worried that his Sail Away party would be the same formulaic shows that I had seen him perform over the year.  But that wasn’t the case.  Where there was a similar flow to it all, Big Sam covered some great songs, added some new dance moves…they just brought us a new show and the audience ate it right up.

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

During the fourth song, the ship’s debarking horn blew, the pool deck erupted with cheers and we started moving.   Immediately, the heavy hitters started joining the party.  If nothing else, Jam Cruise is about the various musical combination of artists you can find  performing on the boat. You NEVER know who is going to sit in with whom.  In this case, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) joined Big Sam for “Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight” and Fred Wesley (JB Horns) followed for “See Me Dance”.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Top of Pool Deck Perspective ~

Now, The Funky Nation is know for their ability to rage cover songs as well as create new edgy music. Throughout the set he blew some heat into Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, The Black Crowes/Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”  and their final song of the set was a mash up of Cee Lo Green‘s “Fuck You” and Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Religion”.  This moment was special for me because when the song first came out, Josh and I literally blasted that Cee Lo Green song for a month straight every morning while getting ready for work.  The song is hilarious and the video is even more so.  In this moment, I looked around the pool deck and saw people kinda staring blankly.  Except for a few people, they didn’t recognize the song.  The entire set lived up to it’s expectations.  It was high energy, full of flare and raging rock funk.

Set List:

01. Intro
02. ?? (jam/instrumental)
03. Feelin’
04. King of the Party
05. ?? (instrumental)
06. Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight
07. See Me Dance
08. Big Ole Booty
09. Hard to Handle
10. Do Watcha Wanna > Everybody Needs Someone to Love > You Are My Sunshine tease > ??
11. Dance Floor
12. Up In Here >
13. jam >
14. ?? >
15. Crazy > Get Low >
16. band intros/banter >
17. Fuck You > Bad Romance tease

Download Big Sam’s Funky Nation Set

At this point we had half an hour until any music started. Being that this was the first night, I can’t believe they had lulls but this year’s scheduling seemed to be staggered differently so whatever. Gave us time to debate!  The options were:

1) Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children on the Pool Deck (9:30pm-11:30pm)

2) Greensky Bluegrass in the Zebra Bar (9:15pm-10:45pm)

3) Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Teatro Carlos Felice (9pm-11pm)

Already, my heart was racing with the fact that I knew I would be missing things I didn’t want to miss.  This year, I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time the first few days cultivating relationships and so I made a point to schedule the music I loved but also plan to hang out where a large percentage of my Jamily might be.

Most of the performers have two sets over the course of the week so I was ok with missing things here and there and catching them later.  In general, the inner turmoil for me over what music to see is the most stress I feel on that ship.

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

I took off for Robert Randolph and the Family Band, riding on a cloud.  When I got there, the theater greeted me with all its purple and gold majesty.  This is my favorite venue on the ship. Again, you can learn about the ship from last year’s posts.  But I will tell ya that the purple and gold colors are beautiful and remind me of my college, there are two levels to rage on, the elevated steps in front of the stage are perfect for our drinks, extra costume accessories like boas, hats and what not.  The stairs are also rounded and this allows for a much larger front row throwdown.

I got to the theater and no one was really even in there and the roadies were still setting up.  Speaking of cultivating relationships, I met a lovely twin set named Cindy and Mindy, who inevitably raged the front row with the best of us the whole cruise. Rage on ragers. Big hugs to you both!

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

~ Robert Randolph and the  Family Band ~ Theatro Carlo Felice ~

Robert Randolph – Pedal Steel, Guitar and Vocals

The Family Band:

Danyel Morgan – Bass and Vocals
Marcus Randolph – Drummer
Adam Smirnoff – Rhythm Guitar
Lenesha Randolph -Vocals
Brett Haas – Keyboards and Guitar

Special Geusts:

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Big Sam – Trombone
Ivan Neville – Keys
Taylor Hicks -Vocals & Harmonica

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As I sat there, making new friends, old ones started arriving.  Said and Sharon’s smiling face made their way to our side of the theater. (Thanks to Said for the RR&TFB set-list below).  Then one by one the Jamily krewe gathered until we were 25+ deep on the left side of the stage. Oh, how I just want to talk about all these lovely people, not the music. It’s insane.  But that is not the purpose of this so…

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Having seen Robert Randolph and the Family Band a few times this year and being disappointed in the performances, I was PRAYING that he would kick it back to his roots and focus on older songs, perhaps melt our faces without playing Lady Gaga tunes to fill time.  Perhaps give us some great covers; perhaps show us some great collaborations.  And that is exactly what they did.

Blasting off his set with “Ted’s Jam,” he shot me right back to ten years ago when I first found Robert and Danyel at Star Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The newest addition to the clan, Lenesha Randolph, was on stage, backing up her brother.  I am still weary on her talent.  I won’t say anymore regarding that topic.

“The March” is one of my all time favorites Robert debuted years ago.  I was right up front with my musical posse and when Robert got off his seat and started dancing for us, we all knew the dance and joined along.  He asked us to teach those around us but he was doing a fine job wiggling his body for us….mmmmmm. And Danyel‘s bass thumped away. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Danyel and his voice.   Always have been!

A re-worked “Thriller” cover saw Eric Krasno and Big Sam join the stage and over the remainder of the set Ivan Neville and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, yup Taylor Hicks, also joined the stage.


“Tears of Joy” brought the blues to an otherwise raging set and my faith in Robert Randolph and his family, however swaying it may have been hours earlier, was restored and his #1 fan was back on top, in the front row, loosing her mind!

Set List:

01. Ted’s Jam
02. ?
03. ?
04. The March
05. ?
06. If I Had My Way
07. Deliver Me
08. I Miss My Girlfriend (Her Name is Molly)
09. Thriller Jam
10. I Need More Love
11. Voodoo Chile
12. Tears of Joy
13. Traveling Shoes

Download Robert Randolph and the Family Band Theater Set

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As soon as set ended, I hightailed it to the Pool Deck to check out the remainder of Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children.  I ended up on the upper deck looking down at the sea of Dead heads who were staring doe-eyed at Bobby and Co. The wind was blowing warmly over my body as I realized we were so far from land now I couldn’t see lights.

I gave Bobby as much time as I could before wanting to leave.  Personally, I thought it sounded pretty slow and that is not a bad thing, I just needed something more to move to.  I wish I could recall the song that was playing.  Even though it was tough for me to look at Bobby, as all I could imagine was the scene from Indiana Jones where the guy takes the sip from the wrong chalice and his skin melts off,  it appeared that he was giving the people what they wanted.  Smiles abounded on the faces below me and I just knew that Jerry was smiling down upon the ship.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

So, after Robert Randolph‘s set, we were faced with more difficult choices.

1) Pimps of Joytime in the Zebra Bar (11:00pm-1:00am)

2) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck (12:30am-3:00am)

  • Sadly, I can not find a link for this set. If anyone finds one, please pass it along to me.

3) Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene in the Teatro Carlos Felice (11:45pm-1:15am)

Having just seen Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe numerous time over the past year and just a few days earlier as the Phish After Party on New Years Eve, I decided to skip KDTU on the Pool Deck and focus on the Anders Osborne set.

Performing on same stage as Robert Randolph, the Anders set was going to take a little time to prepare as they transferred over the equipment.  I used this time to gather my thoughts, fill up my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. I don’t want to go into the food just yet…too stressful.

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

~ Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene ~ Teatro Carlo Felice ~

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

I had missed Anders Osbourne the few times he made his way through NYC the past year and having seen him in the past, I KNEW he would rip up whatever stage he was on with his rouge, wild, rockin’ New Orleans vibe.  That is exactly what I was looking for at this time in the evening.

His back up band was a force to be reckoned with.  Joining  the stage this set was:

Anders Osbourne – Guitar and Vocals
Robert Walter – B3 Organ
Carl Dufrene – Bass
Stanton Moore -Drums

Special Guests:

Scott Metzger – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Skerik – Saxaphone

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

This set was complete fire!!!  I mean absolutely out of control, rock-laced guitar shredding jams, backed by outrageous solos by Skerik and added guitar layers by way of Scott Metzger and Will Bernard.  At the time, it was my favorite set of the night and in hindsight, it is in my top five sets of the week.  The inclusion of Skerik‘s hyper-driven saxophone layered upon Anders songs was, well……take a look at this….seriously.

Set List:

1. Tuning
2. Love Is Taking Its Toll
3. Echoes Of My Sins
4. Darkness At The Bottom
5. Burning On The Inside
6. Got Your Heart
7. Me Donkey Want Water

Download Anders Osborne Theater Set

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

And here we were back having to make decisions!!

1) Papadosio in the Zebra Bar (1:45am-3:15am)

Set List:
1. Utopiate
2. Unparalyzer
3. Magreenery
4. Bionic Man
5. All I Knew
6. Method Of Control
7. Cue
8. Polygons
9. Eyes Have Eyes

2) Stockholm Syndrome in the Teatro Carlos Felice (2:00am-4:00am)

3) Nutritious in the Disco (2:00am-6:00am)

4) AND THE LAST CHOICE!!!!  The Jam Room: Hosted by Tony Hall (12:00am – 6:00am)

Now we come to the greatest and grandest part of the Jam Cruise experience. THE JAM ROOM!! Each night, a different musician (generally a guitar player, keys player or bass player) hosts The Jam Room.  The Jam Room is a entertainment space located in the rear of the ship where these musicians play host to who ever wants to join them on stage.  Sometimes, there are pre-arranged gatherings or sometimes a musician just jumps up for a song and adds to the insanity.  Always, there are free jams, group rages and it’s all off the cuff improvisational jamming.

~ The Jam Room with Host Tony Hall ~

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight’s Jam Room host was Tony Hall, New Orlean’s Dumpstaphunk bass player. Tony is one of the most charismatic musicians around.  He is always invested in engaging with his audiences, making faces, pulling girls on stage, dancing with the audience.  He is one of my favorites in that aspect.

Sadly there is not a lot of footage from the Jam Room to show you.  Many Cruisers had already gone to bed to save their strength while others were raging so hard they couldn’t manipulate a camera or video device to save their life.  But I can tell you that it was a RIPPING good Jam Room.

It was an epic moment lost on the winds of the ocean and remembered only by those that were present… ~ Ananda Atmore

Tony Hall was backed by many of his bands mates from Dumpstaphunk to include:

Ivan Neville – Keys
Nick Daniels III – Bass
Raymond Weber – Drums
Ian Neville – Guitar

Other Guests:

Big Sam – Trombone
Nigel Hall (Lettuce/SCFJ)- Keys
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule/Stockholm Syndrome) – Keys
Eric Krasno (Lettuce) – Guitar
Adam Deitch (Lettuce) – Drums
Ron Johnson (SCFJ) – Bass
Zach Deputy – Guitar
Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) – Pedal Steel Guitar

There was so much happening on stage there is no way to recall it all.  One of the last songs played in the jam room that night was Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe”. The Lee BoysRoosevelt Collier jumped up on stage and confused the hell out of us as he was only a passenger on the ship thus year!  SO FUN when things like that happen.  You know it’s a good time when other musicians pay to get on board.

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight would be the only night that I came back to my room to sleep.  The theme one must know and get to embrace on Jam Cruise is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” It appeared that everyone had taken that creed to heart as I wondered around the pool deck wondering where everyone was.  Where were the late night jam sessions and/or drum circles on the pool decks?  Where was Brock Butler playing his acoustic guitar to the people watching the sunrise.I am sure that they were somewhere, I just never stumbled upon them. It was destiny, however, because after raging the Unofficial Pre-Jam Cruise party at the Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort the night prior, I was exhausted.  I decided to watch the sunrise with my NYC crew and hear how our virgin cruiser Jessica B. had enjoyed her first night.

As I looked over the balcony, lost in the wake of the ship, my friends and I smiled at each other.  We watched the wake of the ship hit the tip of the horizon and we knew there was no turning back. We were together on this epic musical journey and there were so many adventures to be had.  I took myself to bed around 7am but not before touching the faces of all our family and friends that lined the door decor, wishing they were with us.  Sleep was needed as we had a full day at sea tomorrow.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us when we final rose again.

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” We Wish You Were Here” ~ Allen Woody Benefit ~

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

An absolutely historical night of music.  A bitter-sweet night of music.  A magical combination of guitar-shredding artists who came together for the memory of one man. Allen Woody!

Allen Woody!! For those of us who tend to seek out a bass line in a song, the name Allen Woody should register in your brain’s musical library.  Specifically, in the southern rock genre. He was the stand-out bassist for bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Artimus Pyle Band and more.

Allen Woody

Allen Woody

His unexpected passing on August 26, 2000 encouraged his fellow musicians to hold the first benefit called One For Woody in September 2000.  Tonight, ten years later, Warren Haynes and an ARSENAL of guitar-wielding friends put together the second benefit for this greatly missed musician: Another One For Woody: “Wish You Were Here!”

This was a man whose musical presence touched the lives of numerous musicians, inspired a genre and who’s musical contribution deserves recognition.  Tonight, people paid over $140 a ticket to pay homage to this dearly missed bass player whose tragically early departure from music left a gaping whole in the sound of southern rock.  The proceeds from this 10th Anniversary event went to raising money for musical education in schools.  For every person we heard complaining about the price, we politely reminded them of this fact.  Having just had the privilege of attending T-Bone Burnett’s “Waiting For Superman” Benefit at The Beacon (click for my review) a few weeks earlier, it is safe to say that the quest for keeping music & art in the school system is not going to ever be ignored. We are all soldiers in that fight.

“It’s too loud? Too fuckin’ bad” -Allen Woody 4/4/96

Roseland Ballroom

Roseland Ballroom

Arriving at 6:45pm, I had quibbled with my man over arriving to the venue early. He didn’t want to stand around for hours and I wanted to make sure we had ample time to arrive early enough for good viewing locations.  Roseland Ballroom is one of those venues, like Terminal 5, that has a sardine-like feeling with horrible site lines due to low ceilings and poor design.  Doors were meant to open at 6pm but didn’t open until after 7pm.  When we arrived, the line to the venue was wrapped completely around the block. Of course, even being an hour early, we were still slightly late but the first of our friends. Our section of the line starting to bulge as more friends joined our space.

Dino Perucci (Dino Perrucci Photography) and Allison Murphy (Allison Murphy Photography), two of my favorite NY based photographers, were walking the front of the stage.  My smile swelled because I knew that I didn’t need my camera tonight.  Throughout this article, many of the pictures you will see are shots through their lens.  Thanks to both photographers for allowing this Tiny Raging blogger to stand there and take it all in, not having to worry about the pictures.  And thank you, not simply for this show, but for the hundreds you do every year. Thank you, from all the people who admire your talent and work, for doing what you do and bringing the music to our eyes.

The show was supposed to start at 7pm and the doors didn’t even open until after 7pm.  After a lovely chat with the lovely Allison Murphy while the unusually long sound check and stage set-up it seemed about that time.  Those of us in the front were debating which musicians would be standing/sitting/playing where.  As long as I could see a full-on shot of Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Luther Dickinson, I didn’t care where I was standing.

Warren Haynes Acoustic Set

Warren Haynes – Guitar
Edwin McCain – Guitar
Kevin Kinney – Guitar

Out walks Warren Haynes with two other musicians that I am unsure of.  It wasn’t until maybe an hour later that I found out that the men were Edwin McCain and Kevin Kinney. This was the acoustic set and it was beautiful.

As soon as Warren Haynes started his strumming into Kevin Kinney‘s Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), I got that religious swell that I sometimes reach when the beauty of the music overwhelms me.  This time, it was just as much the energy in the room as the music.  I looked behind me and saw the faces of all my friends just beaming with excitement and love.  Edwin McCain sang The Lucky One.  All three sang on a gorgeous rendition of I Shall Be Released.

Set: Just Outside Of Heaven (A Good Country Mile), The Lucky One, I Shall Be Released

North Mississippi Allstars Duo

Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Drums
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) – Keys
Audley Freed (Cry of Love) – Guitar

Around 8:15pm, the Dickinson Brothers,  tonight calling themselves the North Mississippi Allstars Duo, took the stage.  The Dickinson family had a wonderful connection to Allen Woody over the years.  The late Jim Dickinson, the Duo’s father, was good friends with the members of the Allman Brothers Band back in the day and when the North Mississippi Allstars toured with Gov’t Mule, they have fond memories of Allen Woody sitting in with them.

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

The Brothers Dickinson brought the Memphis blues to our ears with Sitting On Top of the World, a 1930’s standard. The gospel tone came out with Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, all North Mississippi Allstars originals.  It was at this time that standing in front of the speakers began to take effect and I had to pop in the ear plugs.  It never fails and as usual, I ended up passing out the rest to friends and strangers around me who were clearly in need.

And then it was time for the guests.  Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar guitarist and recent Gov’t Mule producer, came out to join the Duo for Po Black Maddie. Initially, it looked as though Gordie was going to sing the song but it almost appeared as if he was unsure of the words.  Did anyone else catch this mumbling into the microphone?? Luther ended up singing the song.


Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Hook Herrera, Warren Haynes + Luther Dickinson (Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson remained for Straight to Hell. Cody Dickinson‘s smile never left his face the entire set.  It almost looked plastered on but we all know he was truly happy. How could anyone not be?  There was a stand-alone drum solo by Cody Dickinson while Luther and Gordie Johnson switch sides of the stage for the final song of the set.

The end of their set was FIRE!!  The Duo welcomed Artimis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) on drums, Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule) on keys and Audley Freed (Cry of Love & the Black Crowes) to the stage to perform Whiskey Rock A Rolla! There was now an arsenal of musicians on the stage to sing about whiskey and rock-n-roll! Four guitarists as Cody Dickinson moved from his drums to a guitar, tambourines, keyboards…What a mess of Southern rednecks.  Their vests, boots, long stringy hair, cowboy hats…all screaming of their bluesy country background.


Set: Sitting On Top of the World, Shimmy She Wobble > Station Blues > Preachin’ Blues, Glory Glory, Po Black Maddie, Straight To Hell, Whiskey Rockin Rolla

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes – Guitar & Vocals
Matt Abts – Drums
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals and Other Goodies
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass

Special Guests:

Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) – Guitar
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) – Bass
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Savannah Woody – Vocals

The members of Gov’t Mule take the stage after a few minutes of stage setting. Warren‘s iconic raspy voice heads into Railroad Boy. The screen behind the band was projecting a black background with “GOT MULE?” plastered across in white. Warren ripped a solo and the set just launched into southern goodness at its best.

There was a spacey rip into Blind Man in the Dark, a personal favorite to sing around my apartment. Warren asked us how we were feeling and the place erupted with a happy reply.  Danny Louis jumped off the keys and onto guitar for Steppin’ Lightly.  At this point, there were old picture of Woody shooting or lingering across the screen behind the band. His face smiling at us, showing his appreciation for the music in front of him.

Sometimes there is nothing better then watching the hands of your favorite guitar player.  Personally, my favorite guitar player had not yet hit the stage but here in front of me was Warren.  He is simply amazing.  Watching Warren, I was in tune with his hands much more then usual.  I equate that to the fact that I have never been this close to his hands before. I was so happy to be in the front row. Banks of the Deep End sprang out of his hands and so it went…full on Warren!

And now it was time for some GUESTS!!!  Gordie Johnson once again joined the stage, this time followed by Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico, the drummers from Moe.  They raged I’m A Ram before jamming into Dear Prudence where Chuck Garvey, also of  Moe, joined with his guitar. I LOVE Moe.

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Chuck Garvey (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Dear Prudence with the members of Moe.  AWESOME! THIS little addition to the stage made me very VERY happy.  Seeing Chuck on stage with Warren was interesting.  Their sounds are so different so vibing them together was great even though I silently wished it had been Al who was joining the stage.   Chuck lead while Warren sang. There were whimsy art paintings across the screen behind the stage.  Chuck gave a great solo and then tagged in Luther.

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Hook Herrera (Photo by Allsion Murphy)

The 320 Blues saw Hook Herrera join the stage with his mighty harmonica.  Oh, the harmonica. I LOOOOOOOOOVE the layer of sound a harmonica add to a musical journey.  As well,  Luther and Cody Dickinson joined the stage followed by Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd).  GOD! It just kept getting better and better! So many musicians had been touched by Allen’s friendship, music and memory.  Cody busted out his washboard and I finally heard the North Mississippi Allstars sound that I associate so much to that washboard.  The place was on FIRE!! and the music was so loud and vibrant that the musicians drinks were shaking off the amps.   As far as energy was concerned, this was the pop-off song of the night, so far.

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Audley Freed + Robert Kearns (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren then spoke of how Big Sugar used to open for Gov’t Mule and how he and Allen Woody would rage this Al Green song. He welcomed Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) to the stage for Stay With Me, Rick’s slide guitar sound melting everyone’s ears.  Danny Louis was back on his keyboard.  This song was so pretty.  Warren ripped a solo and then they all hugged. The next song saw Rich Robinson staying on stage and being joined by Robert Kearns (Cry of Love) replacing Jorgen Carlsson on bass and Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) jumping on drums.  They flew into Sometimes Salvation, a Black Crowes cover, and the venue cheered.

Simple Man was next.  I love this song. It never gets old for me. Matt Abts left the stage this time leaving only Artemis Pyle to play the drums. Audley Freed was back out on guitar and so they went…


Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Wishing Well was next with the same people gracing the stage. And then we were given an emotional surprise. Savannah Woody, Allen Woody’s daughter, came out to the front of the stage to sing Soul Shine. And  she sang the line:  Now you gotta let your soul Shine / Just like my daddy used to say...the entire place erupted with the longest loudest cheer of the night and Warren’s tears took over the gleam in his eye.  It took some time for people to realize who Savannah Woody was but when she sang that line, I knew immediately that it must be SOME kind of close relative to Woody.

During the song, she was standing on stage, arms dangling while solos were being taken.  A stage hand brought out a tambourine in the cutest way but she still didn’t move that much.

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Savannah Woody (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When Allen died, a fund for Savannah’s education was established in his memory. She didn’t look any older then a high school student and it made me sad to know she lost her father so young. But the fact that she was up there, singing in her father’s memory, and not crying…we knew she was a strong. Certainly stronger then me as I teared up once I realized who she was and what she meant to the show.  It must feel wonderful to see that your father touched so many lives.  It must be wonderful to know that all those amazing guitar legends up on stage were actually men who look after their own and I am sure have taken her under their wing over the years.  It was a lovely and touching performance of an otherwise tedious song.

This show was supposed to end at 11:50pm, due to city/venue rules.  This set ended at 11:30pm and we KNEW that we were not going anywhere for sometime because now….it was time for The Allman Brothers Band, but not before almost a 40 minute set break.

Set List: Railroad Boy > Blind Man In The Dark, Steppin’ Lightly, Banks Of The Deep End, I’m A Ram (with Gordie Johnson, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), Dear Prudence (with Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin & Vinnie Amico), 32/20 Blues (with Hook Herrera, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson & Artemis Pyle), Stay With Me (with Rich Robinson & Artemis Pyle), Sometimes Salvation (with Rich Robinson, Robert Kearns & Artemis Pyle, without Jorgen Carlsson), Simple Man (with Artemis Pyle, Audley Freed & Robert Kearns, without Matt Abts & Jorgen Carlsson),Wishing Well (with Artemis Pyle & Audley Freed), Soulshine (with Savannah Woody & Artemis Pyle)

The Allman Brothers Band

Gregg Allman – Keys
Butch Trucks – Drums
Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson – Percussion
Warren Haynes – Guitar
Marc Quiñones – Percussion
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Derek Trucks – Guitar

Special Guests:

Hook Herrera – Harmonica
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Artemis Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Drums
Berry Oakley, Jr. (Bloodline, OKB) – Guitar
Audley Freed (Black Crowes) – Guitar
Chuck Garvey (moe) – Guitar
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Vinnie Amico (moe) Drums
Jim Loughlin (moe)- Drums
Luther Dickinson – Guitar & Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Drums, & Electric Washboard
Matt Abts – Drums

The set break must have last over 40 minutes.  Sadly, my date for the evening felt the weight of the tiresome day during the obsessively long break and had to leave.  A set that was supposed to end at 11:40pm and didn’t even start until at least midnight.  This was insane but I only knew good things would come from those of us who had been standing on our feet for over five hours at this point.

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes + Derek Trucks (Photo by Allison Murphy)

When the music final started, my feet were aching, I was missing my date and fighting to hold my place up in the front row.  The masses pushed even closer as Derek entered the stage.  And for the first time since I was able to meet him on his tour bus during Mountain Jam (click to read), I was back into a super fan.  My legs buckled at first site, my smile exploded out the side of my face and I screamed like one of those chicks who faint when seeing the Beatles or Justin Beiber.  Derek-Mania was going through my entire body.  He is the one musician that makes me completely lose control.

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones  (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Derek Trucks + Marc Quinones (Photo by Allison Murphy)

At this point, I am afraid I won’t be doing a great job of writing out exactly what went down.  Like I said, I get a little more then weak in the knees when I see Derek Trucks and stopping to takes notes or trying to recall everything when all I want to be doing is staring at his fingers, well…..I didn’t write much at all.

First, the overly handsome Oteil Burbridge joins the stage, followed by Warren Haynes and Gregg Allman who wander to their respective instruments.  It didn’t take more then 60 seconds for the rest of the members of The Allman Brothers Band, including Marc Quiñones on percussion, to lock into place and blast right into Don’t Want You No More, the first song on the first Allman Brothers album and an instrumental that was originally recorded by The Spencer Davis Group in 1967.  All I wrote in my notes is “Ok, I just need to dance now.”

Gregg Allman continued striking the keys and singing into This is Not My Cross to Bear, a song Greg wrote about an old girlfriend.  Both Derek and Warren were given ample time to release their talents through solos during this song so be sure to watch.  And as you watch Derek smile towards the camera right in the beginning of the following video, you can be sure he is smiling at me.  Oh yes!  To be sure **wink**

End of the Line was next.  Warren changed out his guitars for this one and ripped out an astounding solo.  Sometimes I just don’t understand how things can sound so different with every show.  Same style but soooo different in sounds.  At this point it is still only the members of The Allman Brothers Band gracing the stage and it proceeded that way for the following 5 songs.

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Greg Allman + Danny Louis (Photo by Allison Murphy)

So at this point, there is a lull in the sound throughout the audience and I catch myself SCREAMING like one of those Beatles Mania fans again: “DEREK I LOOOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”  No One Left To Run With was next, one of the few songs Dickey Betts wrote for the group but never sang.

Fun fact: This song was included on the 2002 compilation CD Mullets Rock!. For a while, The Allman Brothers were prime offenders of the haircut that was “Business in the front, party in the back.”

There was a gnarly guitar duel between Warren and Derek.  I mean it just never ends with these two.  Warren was  presenting us with such a phenomenal night of music and he was the ONLY musician to play in almost every song and at least in ever set.  He was the hardest working man in show buisness that night!  The drums in this song were killer.

Black Hearted Woman, also a song written by Gregg Allman about the same woman he wrote This is Not My Cross to Bear about, followed and continued right into Other One Jam, a Grateful Dead cover, until they begin inviting out the guests!!! Greg sang his heart out and the video shows it!


Hook Herrera came out and joined the boys for Who’s Been Talking. That man is an absolutely phenomenal harmonica player. I’ve said it a million times but I LOVE THAT INSTRUMENT. You can’t get a sound from any other instrument the way a sound is produced through a harmonica. It’s just soulful and the epitome of the blues to this southern gal.

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Artimus Pyle + Audley Freed (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Midnight Rider, a crowd favorite,followed.  Now, the original version of the song was with Duane Allman playing.  I believe  Gregg Allman re-made it a few years later (correct me if I am wrong).  If you listen to older recordings, you can hear and feel Duane and Dickeys’ opposing styles very well. So amazing.  Also, in 2005, this was used in the opening credits of Rob Zombie‘s horror flick The Devil’s Rejects.  Who doesn’t love that kind of product placement!?

Midnight Rider was followed by One Way Out. This song welcomed out Rich Robinson, Berry Oakley Jr. & Artemis Pyle to the stage.  I don’t know why but the videographers apparently must have run out of time or video because the Allman Brothers YouTube videos begin dying off around this point.

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Warren Haynes + Berry Oakley Jr (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Statesboro Blues saw all guests leave the stage except for Berry Oakley Jr..  Berry Oakley Jr. is the son of Berry Oakley, a founding member and original bass player for The Allman Brothers Band who sadly passed away in 1972.  It was a tribute for many people this evening and I was hoping people recognized the significance.   Berry Oakley, Jr. left the stage and was replaced by Audley Freed & Danny Louis on guitar and keys respectively for The Band‘s The Weight.

Chuck Garvey, Jim Loughlin, Jimmy Vanderbogart & Vinnie Amico came out to join The Allmans during one of my all time favorite Grateful Dead songs, Franklin’s Tower. Got to be honest with you and admit I have NO CLUE who Jimmy Vanderbogart is and I can’t find any info online that can give me more insight – If you know, please comment.

Southbound followed with the addition of the Dickenson Brothers joining the crowd on stage along side Hook Herrera and Danny Louis.  This was one of my favorite songs of the set simply because it was The Allman Brothers with this North Mississippi Allstars Duo and a freaking harmonica.  SOUTHERN GREATNESS!!!

All guests exited the stage and a RAGING Whipping Post closed out the set.  Derek Trucks once again showing us he is the king of the slide guitar. Once again showing me that he is the king of kings in my world when it comes to the guitar.

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

Gordie Johnson (Photo by Allison Murphy)

As my girlfriend and I walked away, we realized it was almost 2am in the morning on a work night.  We discussed leaving before the encore and went to the restroom.  Coming back up from the basement bathrooms, we smiled at each other as we heard the   stage light up again.  We couldn’t leave.  Not this time.  Warren Haynes began strumming the chords to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. And without uttering a word, the entire venue began singing the lyrics.  Warren places his hand behind his ears and the venue sings louder.  Berry Oakley, Jr., Gordie Johnson, Danny Louis and Matt Abts joined the stage for the remainder of the song with images of Woody’s face flashing smiles across the screen behind them.  And I cried…for the third or fourth time that night.

Set List: Don’t Want You No More, Ain’t My Cross To Bear, End Of The Line, No One Left To Run With, Black Hearted Woman > Other One Jam, Who’s Been Talking, Midnight Rider, One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, The Weight, Franklin’s Tower, Southbound, Whipping Post

Encore: Wish You Were Here

What an amazing night of music!!  Simply amazing. The epitome of love and community within southern rock was found on that stage this night.  I truly wish I could offer you a free download but alas…..

Click here to DOWNLOAD/STREAM/LISTEN to the show!

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Rage Mobile

Rage Mobile

As the eve before Mountain Jam arrived, I couldn’t sleep, no one could.    My phone was blowing up with text messages finalizing last minute plans, causing last minute mini-drama bombs that kept us on our toes.  It was like the day before Christmas, as it is before every festival.  It might as well be Christmas, right?  You know you are going to meet up with long lost phamily that is normally scattered across the nation and when you arrive you are given lots of goodies and presents 🙂  AM I RIGHT?  Oh, our world is so full of life and love.

Approaching Hunter Mountain

Approaching Hunter Mountain

Get ur tickets

Get ur tickets

The four of us piled into my buddy’s rage mobile and we took off down Highway 87.  Two and a half hours later we were taking Exit 20 and making our way through the windy roads to the top of Hunter Mountain, the site of Mountain Jam for the last six years.  The scenic drives through these mountains, or any mountains, are one of the perks of heading to any festival.  Once you exit the bustling city, it only takes about 20 minutes before you start hitting lush rolling green hills on either side.  My mind always gets thrown back to the Blue Ridge Mountains and it makes me miss Virgina, my home state, that much more.

The Weekend Rage Haven

The Weekend Rage Haven

I don’t do well with rain and this festival was notorious for it’s thunderstorms and drastic change of weather. After much debate and consideration, I decided to shack up with my buddy in his house for the weekend.   It was a lovely cottage type house with three bedrooms and a shower, which numerous friends used over the course of the weekend.  It’s always good to have a friend with a house! (MUCH LOVE FOR MURRAY! THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIEND!)

Welcome Center

Welcome Center (& my housemates)

Waiting to see the music and get into camping....

Waiting to see the music and get into camping....

With all my friends setting up their tent cities in Camping, I was free to roam the grounds.  As I walked up the hill, a lovely old deadhead stopped just to tell me I looked lovely.  I was wearing my favorite skirt I had bought at my first festival (All Good) over 11 years ago.  A wonderful skirt my mother has repaired numerous times over to allow it to continue to live.  It is the little moments like these that I never have to write down.  The little moments of joy that find their way to your ears and eyes because people are just KIND in these settings.  Hippies are the greatest people in the world.

Hunter Mountain (East Side)

Climbing up Hunter Mountain (East Side)

This venue was GORGEOUS.  I had never been to a venue with such a gorgeous backdrop.  The scene I was staring at behind the stage was magnificent.  Beautifully lush green mountains with white clouds floating above.  It truly was a sight to behold. Wait until you see the pictures of the sunset.

Look at the view behind stage!  WHAT?

Look at the view behind stage! WHAT?

Kofi Burbridge & TR

Kofi Burbridge & TR

My music karma followed me to Hunter Mountain.  The commute went smooth, the house was so close, the weather for the weekend was, for the most part, sunny and dry.  As well, within the first two hours of arriving, I had spotted and caught up with just about everyone I was hoping to see that weekend.  One of the first people I ran into was Kofi Burbridge.  He is always one to be found mingling among the crowd, getting into trouble.  Then came a string of friendly faces who just made the hug chain continue for a few hours.  This was going to be a GREAT weekend.

Elmwood in Colonel’s Hall

Elmwood in Colonel’s Hall

As I explored the grounds, the first drop of music I could hear was from the Colonel’s Hall, one of four stages set up at the venue.  I stepped in for a few seconds to hear Elmwood and was right back out.  There were three other stages: The East stage (Main stage), The West stage (side stage) and The Awareness Village stage.  The shows I wanted to see were going to be mainly on the East and West stages.

The Karma Wash @ Mountain Jam

The Karma Wash @ Mountain Jam

My home base for the festival was the Karma Wash.  From now on, if they are part of any  festival I am at, you can always find me there.  A wonderful group of people who have more fun then I can describe.  They have created a wonderful wonderland of playfulness for both adults and children.  Everyone always need a good Karma scrubbing and they provide the services!  Join their Facebook fanpage to see where you can get your Karma Washed next!

The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

The Avett Brothers

Scott Avett – Vocals, Banjo, Kick Drum, Drums
Seth Avett – Vocals, Guitar, High-Hat, Keys, Drums
Bob Crawford – Vocals, Bass
Joe Kwon – Cello

I made my way to view the East stage where I could hear the folk/rock sound of The Avett Brothers tearing it up.  Ah, the banjo always makes me smile.  Their vibe was upbeat and feisty.  Scott Avett’s singing flowed over the mountain from the stage and was so lovely with his brother harmonizing.  When family members sing together there is a blend and a cohesiveness in the sound that is intangible to others.  I wish I could tell you who else is on stage with the Avett Brothers in the above picture but alas.  They rang out bluegrass into rock up the mountain until a piano was brought out for a few numbers which slowed down the vibe considerably.

As the piano accompanied, Scott sang I and Love and You, the title track off their newest cd.   A simple song with a powerful statement.   The only songs I recalled from quickly listening to their cd a few days prior.  It caught my ear when I heard the lyrics Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in and Three words that became hard to say, I and Love and You. This group is tangible and by that I mean that I felt something when they sang. They touched me.  I am not a fan of lyrics but coming from folk/bluegrass type music, I adore it.  They were solid in their delivery and emotional amongst their dancing jigs.  I loved them as they had help me toss my shoes off, hike my skirt up and dance in the dirt. Dancing with nature.

Download: The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

The Avett Brothers @ The Main Stage

The Avett Brothers @ The Main Stage

Now, Mountain Jam is the brain child of Warren Haynes, of The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule.  This meant that we would be blessed with two full nights of 2 sets of Gov’t Mule.  It meant that Warren Haynes would be sitting in with whatever group he felt drawn to join.  Get your party pants on…because once Mule started, there was no turning back.

Here's that sunset :) SO lovely!

Here's that sunset 🙂 SO lovely!

The rad ladies room

The rad ladies room

There was a 45 minute break before we were raging with Gov’t Mule!!! I completely shacked up by the Karma Wash for this set!  I had no intention of trying to fight the thousands of people cramming up to the stage.   Took off for what I heard was NICE bathroom in the ski lodge. ALWAYS a plus to have something other then a porta-potty.  I about died as I walked passed the men’s room that looked like just a bunch of high school stalls.  And then walking into the ladies room that had a lavish dressing room area, numerous sinks, mirrors, and couches.  LOL!!  Typical…

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes – Guitar & Vocals
Matt Abts – Drums
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass

Now THIS was how one should watch Gov’t Mule.  This was their festival, their time to shine.  They know just as well as we do that it is their set that first night that sets the mood for the rest of the weekend.  The energy and pure freaking rage of the first set was enough to cause a landslide…pun totally intended!

As World Gone Wild played, I totally realized that I was away from the city and I threw my head back to look at the stars.  In that moment, a shooting star crossed overhead and I totally had a moment with myself.  I shit you not.  I thanked the powers that be for making my life worth living.  And when the sun finally set, Hunter Mountain literally looked like it was on fire from the lights and the energy that was kicking off the weekend.  Look at the picture below.  Fire on the Mountain!

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Thorzine Shuffle closed out the set.  Warren screamed “Till the damage is done!”over the mountain and everyone sang along.  I could hear the harmonica on stage as if it were right beside me.  The sound from the stage up that mountain was tremendous.  Warren’s solos were superb and he teased Eleanor Rigby.  I looked to see my friend dancing her heart out.  A fellow blogger, I actually had written in my notes to just link to her description of this set.  A COMPLETE MULEHEAD!!  She was so happy and at that moment I loved me some Warren just as much as she did.

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

For the second set of Mule we decided we needed to be closer.  The highlight of the set for me was when Les Claypool joined Warren on Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy. Such a combination of styles: Warren’s southern drawl against Claypool’s slapstick bass.  They TOTALLY jammed it out for a while.  Unfortunately, this would be the only guest appearance I would SEE.  I took a trip to the parking lot with a friend which caused me to miss seeing Kofi Burbridge sit in on Raven Black Night, Grace Potter sit in on Gold Dust Woman and Ray Lamontague join the stage but THANK GOD I was able to hear it all!!  Kofi’s flute reached my ears and I immediately lost focus on my parking lot mission.  Those conversations would have to wait.   I had to get back.

I about died when I thought I had missed the end of the last set but the encore followed.  Inside Outside Woman Blues was SOOO damn sexy!  I loved Warren’s guitar on this one the best.  Any Open Window and Steppin’ Lightly, where Jorgen Carlsson stood out on bass, closed it OUT!!! WHAT  WAY TO START YOUR FESTIVAL!!!!

Set 1: Intro, Stay With Me, New World Blues, World Gone Wild, Time To Confess, The Shape I’m In, Monkey Hill >, Monday Mourning Meltdown, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Thorazine Shuffle

Set 2: One Of These Days >, Fearless, The Wind Cries Mary, Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy (Part 1 & 2) > (w/ Les Claypool), Drums, Wishing Well, Raven Black Night > (w/ Kofi Burbridge), Gold Dust Woman (w/ Grace Potter)

Encores: Inside Outside Woman Blues, Any Open Window >, Steppin’ Lightly

Download: Gov’t Mule @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

The New Mastersounds

Eddie Roberts – Guitar
Simon Allen – Drums
Pete Shand – Bass
Joe Tatton – Organ and Piano

New Mastersounds @ Colonel Hall

New Mastersounds @ Colonel Hall

After Mule, we geared up for the 1am late night sets.   Les Claypool (Main Stage) and The New Mastersounds (Colonel’s Hall) were performing at the same time.  This would be my first mental headache of the festival.  I adore Claypool, as he feeds into my tiny dark side.  However, I had tickets to see Claypool at the Brooklyn Bowl the following Tuesday in Manhattan so I decided to rage it with The New Mastersounds first.  Apparently, I was not alone. The venue was PACKED but we got our front row spots on lock down no matter where we roll.

The New Mastersounds @ Colonel Stage

The New Mastersounds @ Colonel Stage

Throughout the day, my friends and I had told everyone that The New Mastersounds were the band to watch that night.  Most definitely, one of the freshest acts to come out of England in the last few years.  They truly have skyrocketed up in public opinion and I had been looking forward to seeing them all year.    A friend spit out some interesting info the other day about NMS: “they’ll be the first to tell you they didn’t even think about “jamming” their tunes until they started touring the U.S. and learned that there were people that actually enjoyed that approach.”  So, having only heard their studio album, I was blown away by their live performance.

Kofi Burbridge joins The New Mastersounds

Kofi Burbridge joins The New Mastersounds

Eddie Roberts threw out so much energy from that stage that I felt involved. He got so into his vibe that it was flat out tangible.  Man, being so used to small club type settings or even large venues, on any given night, I felt closer to these bands at certain times on that Mountain amongst 15,000+ people then I ever did in NYC venues.  And The New Mastersounds has us sweating bullets on that dance floor.  A large portion of my friends said that they danced their hardest that first night at New Mastersounds.  I know in that first set, I lost a few pounds myself.  The heat was unbearable and I was dancing up front with my favorite people.  SO HARD!!!  Kofi Burbridge joined the stage during Fast Man and stayed for quite some time, adding his spectacular talent and sound to an already rocking performance.

Set I: Intro, Zambezi, Miracles, Dusty Groove, Thermal Bad, MRG, Fast Man -> Kofi Jam ->, Get On The Good Foot -> You Got It All, Six Underground, The Minx, 33 (A Good Year To Die), Carrot Juice, Make Me Proud!, One Note Brown ->, One Note Brown, Stage Banter, San Frantico, Idris, Nervous ->, Jam ->, Nervous

Download: The New Masterdounds @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam

Les Claypool

Les Claypool – Basses
Mike Dillon – Percussion & Vibes
Sam Bass – Cello
Paulo Baldi – Drums

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

About half way through their set, I was dying of heat exhaustion and decided to take a walk outside and catch some Les Claypool.  As I walked up the side of the mountain I decided if I was going to watch some Les, I wanted to be in the front row. A friend had been in charge of designing the paramedic route to the stage so the set up was a little different then previous years I was told.  This new route allowed for me to walk right up the middle to the front and allowing me to access the stage very easily.  And by god, it took me sometime but I got to the dead center, front row just as Les was teasing Led Zepplin’s Kashmir.  We are in the second song of the second set at this point.  Times FLIES!  And then I couldn’t move!  Not because of the people, but because Les Claypool delivered a RIGHTEOUS set and a funky David Makalaster I sandwiched a kickass version of Southbound PachydermThe New Mastersounds had lost me.

The Utterly Amazing! Les Claypool

The Utterly Amazing! Les Claypool

If only you could have seen what my eyes saw...

If only you could have seen what my eyes saw...

My favorite part of Claypool’s performance was when he left the stage for the drummer rage.  Upon his return, he had put on his monkey mask and transformed into one of his many personas of strange.  Freaking Creepster.  I love him.  This was just FUN!!  The strobe lighting allowed for him to walk out stunted, as we only saw every other step.  In the frame of mind I was in, I could have easily freaked out.  He looked completely out of control to me.  It was creepy and wonderful at the same time.

Set I: Up On The Roof, Rumble Of The Diesel, Toys Go Winding Down tease->Amanitas, Buzzards Of Green Hill**, Red State Girl, Hendershot, Precipitation->Mr. Krinkle tease->Precipitation>, Drums->, Drums & Whamola Jam

Set II: Booneville Stomp, Cosmic Highway->Goodbye Blue Sky tease->Cosmic Highway->Kashmir tease->Cosmic Highway, David Makalaster I, Southbound Pachyderm, David Makalaster I, D’s Diner

Download: Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (06.04.10)

During D’s Diner, I took off back towards The New Mastersounds hoping to catch the last few songs with my friends.  I didn’t even bother making my way to the front.  Remember how my friends said they might have danced their hardest to this set?  Well, as I entered Colonel Hall, everyone who I had lot track of, still wanted to see, or was looking for, was right there  in the back.  My friend “M” must have been introduced around 5 times but within a few minutes more glorious friend circles collided and the krewe grew exponentially right on the spot.  GOD, I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY!  My friends were flying all over the place.  Literally, arms flying, spinning in circles, twirling each other, dipping each other….we might have been dancing with the music but we were more dancing with each other at that moment.  This continued for the remaining songs.  And I found myself another few pounds lighter.

The music ended and we walked 20 feet outside to the picnic tables and I SANK into the chair that would remain my best friend for another 2-3 hours.  We literally raged there for the remaining time with new friends and old.  I sat back watching my friends click with each other.  The weather was gorgeous, the vibe was chill.  To me, these might be the greatest moments…when friends from different walks of life finally cross paths and everyone just chills and talks about the great music they saw…all connected through the music, the vibe, the atmosphere.  And it’s especially great when you get to say thank you to the band as they walk to their tour bus to go make more people in another location happy.  The New Mastersounds had blown their spot up at Mountain Jam.  Totally rocked the Mountain to a close.  And when they walked out, the cheer was probably heard in Camping.  They were so appreciated. I hope they knew that deep down in their souls!

We walked home as the sun came up and my head hit the pillow before 6am.  It was difficult to sleep with everything running through my head. What a night and with beautiful weather to boot.  I looked forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

Day II Review: Mountain Jam VI @ Hunter Mountain, NY (06.05.10)

Thorzine Shuffle closed out the set.  Warren screamed “Till the damage is done….”over the mountain and everyone sang along.  I could hear the harmonica on stage as if it were right beside me.  The sound from the stage up that mountain was tremendous.  Warren’s solos were superb and he teased Eleanor Rigby.  I looked to see my friend dancing her heart out.  She was so happy and at that moment I loved me some Warren just as much as my friend did.

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BATTLE OF THE JAMBANDS:

My Band Can Beat Up Your Band!

By: Brett B.

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Recently while watching TMZ, they happened to show a “street brawl” between two LA hair bands outside of a club.  Now, by “street brawl” I mean 6 skinny guys with a combined weight of probably 400 pounds slapping at each other, so as to not mess up their hair and make-up.  Not exactly a scene from FIGHT CLUB, if you know what I mean.

So, this of course brought to mind the incident years ago when Jack White of The White Stripes beat up Jason Stollsteimer of The Von Bondies over Stollsteimer’s badmouthing Jack behind his back.  Who can forget the photos of the Von Bondie’s bloodied and bruised face posted next to a picture of a smirking Jack White.  Now you might say to yourself “Jack White?  That pale faced thin guy who looks like he can barely bench press the guitars he plays?”  Yes.  That Jack White.  But as anyone who has ever fought will tell you: It’s the little guy you have to worry about.  Small guys always have something to prove.  I would rather go up against someone bigger than me than someone smaller than me every time.  You ever see a little scrawny guy go off in a bar fight?  They look like spider monkeys on PCP.

A raged Jason Stollsteimer...ouch!

A raged Jason Stollsteimer...ouch!

Which makes me wonder, amongst the artists and bands in the jam scene ….  Who’s the toughest?  Now we all know that the jam band scene is the epitome of peace and love and good vibes but let’s just say hypothetically that someone really got pissed off at Bonnaroo and blows were thrown.  Who would be left standing when the dust settled?

Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic

Amongst the old school jammers (Or as I refer to them O.J.’s “Original Jammers”) my two favorite contenders would be Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule.  To me there has always been something about John Bell that makes me feel that when goes off things could get ugly. There seems to be an underlying sense that he could put a real hurtin’ on someone if he took a mind to do so. And Dave Schools is the last person you would want to get you down on the ground in a full body press. I also have no doubt that Jimmy Herring and John ‘JoJo’ Hermann would be pretty decent back-up if the shit ever hit the fan, as well.

Gov't Mule

Gov't Mule

Now in Gov’t Mule you have a triple threat. (The jury is still out on Jorgen Carlsson).  In this corner you have Warren “Big Daddy” Haynes.  The Jerry Lawler of music. Don’t let Warren’s girth fool you.  The man is a solid barrel of guitar playing fury which would translate into some major damage in a brawl.  Not to mention the fact that he is a pretty tough cookie in real life.  Matt Abts, Mule’s drummer, has always reminded me of Mickey Rourke.  Kind of cool and dangerous.  You know he would be smiling serenely as he stomped you in an bar fight.  And Danny Louis?  There is just something about him that makes me feel he’d make a great hitman.

John Popper RAGE!

John Popper RAGE!

Honorable O.J. mention would have to go the boys in Blues Traveler. When John Popper got pulled over a few years ago in that SUV doing over a hundred miles per hour and the cops found hidden compartments with 4 rifles, 9 handguns, a switchblade knife and a Tazer, you just knew this guy was just praying for something to happen.

Now heading down South, you have some good ole boys who could put a major whoopin’ on your ass if’n they took a mind to do so.  Amongst my nominees would be The Black Crowes and The Drive-By Truckers.

The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes definitely would score high in the Potential To Kick Major Ass Department despite Mr. Robinson’s proclivity for smoking herb.  The tension that has existed between Chris and Rich would have no problem being vented against anyone dumb enough to mess with the Robinson brothers.  Nothing says “If I have no problem beating the shit out of a sibling, I will definitely enjoy kicking YOUR ass!” like the love between 2 brothers in the same band.  Just ask the Galaghers of Oasis and the Davies of The Kinks.

Patterson Hood of The Drive By Truckers

Patterson Hood of The Drive By Truckers

I once saw Patterson Hood of The Drive-By Truckers polish off close to 10 shots of Jack Daniels while onstage.  Trust me: If you can drink JD like that and still put on one of the best shows out there today, you will have no trouble getting into a back alley fight after the show.  Not to mention, the guys in DBT all look like they have a straight razor in their boots.  Hell, the female bass player in the Truckers could probably do some major damage, as well.

Grace Potter

Grace Potter

And speaking of women, and certainly not to be sexist, what woman out there in the scene is the biggest badass?  I’d put my money on Grace Potter.  Aside from the fact that she is a rock and roll party machine.  Aside from the fact that she is one of the most beautiful women in music today.  Grace P. is one tough cookie.  So, don’t let that sweet smile and gorgeous red hair fool you.  If there was any one female that could lay the smackdown on you, it’s her.

Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo

Finally, the two toughest individual artists out there playing great music that you would be a fool to cross?  Up first, Alejandro Escovedo.  Alejandro has the pedigree to be a dangerous mofo.  Started off in one of the first California punk bands, The Nuns.  Went on to play in some the coolest and down and dirty bar bands ever (Rank & File and True Believers).  And the final confirmation: He played in True Believers with his brother, Javier.  Two brothers of Mexican descent in the same bar band?  It is amazing that they are both still alive.

Karl Denson ~ Badest Cat Around

Karl Denson ~ Badest Cat Around

But without a doubt the toughest, baddest, man most likely to hurt you so bad even your mama wouldn’t recognize you afterwards would have to be one Mr. Karl Denson.  I had the pleasure of being in the ship gym a few years ago on Jam Cruise and let me tell you something.  The man works out like he plays the saxophone.  With a vengeance! Karl D is one of those guys that you would pray that the first blow would kill you or at least knock you out so you wouldn’t have to feel the following blows.

In closing, we all know fighting is bad. No one ever likes to see anyone get hit or hurt.  But on the off chance I am ever jumped out back of a club after a show, I just hope that it’s Grace Potter that leaps off that tour bus Flying V guitar a swingin’ to come to my defense.

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