One More Saturday Night with Dead & Company in Atlanta July 1, 2019 14:03
Over the past fifty years, the city of Atlanta has played host to countless moments in Grateful Dead history. When looking back over the band’s illustrious career, it’s no surprise that tickets were in such high demand on Saturday night. The blazing summer heat was met with an equally hot ticket, as Dead & Company made their annual visit to Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood over the weekend. It’s always extra special returning to this venue for any Dead related project, as I experienced my first “Dead show” here on the Wave The Flag tour in 2004. While the roster has evolved and some songs might have a slightly different sound, the fact that we’re still able to gather and celebrate this music with nearly 20,000 people is truly remarkable.
When this band came together in the fall of 2015, many of us didn’t know what to think. The “Fare Thee Well” shows were a very recent memory, and I’m not sure that anyone ever expected to see John Mayer playing lead guitar alongside Bobby, Billy, and Mickey. What the Deadhead nation has witnessed since then has been nothing short of magical. The six-piece now has nearly five years under their belt, and Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti have proven to be the perfect combination for this interpretation of the Grateful Dead.
The band came out of the gate with guns blazing on Saturday night. “Scarlet Begonias” and “The Music Never Stopped” made for a beautiful pairing. “Alabama Getaway” proved to be one of the more rockin’ moments of the night. Weir has always done a phenomenal job with the Johnny Cash catalog, and “Big River” was certainly on point. It’s always a treat to hear “West LA Fadeaway,” even if D&C’s rendition is slowed down just a bit. Weir appeared the play the first few notes of “He’s Gone” before quickly aborting, switching guitars, and allowing Mayer to lead the way through a killer “Tennesee Jed.” The first set would end just as strong as it started, as “Bird Song” worked its way in and out of “Loose Lucy” before coming back in full force.
The sun was finally starting to set, and the band returned to the stage after a lengthy set break. An extended jam eventually led us to “The Other One,” which would then segue into a surprising stand alone “Franklin’s Tower.” Mayer led the band through “Crazy Fingers” in impressive fashion. Any time I’m fortunate enough to hear the “Lady with a Fan” > “Terrapin Station” combo is a very special occasion. This particular performance was perfect in every way. They eventually made their way back to “The Other One” before unleashing Hart & Kreutzmann for “Drums” > “Space.” The rest of the band returned to stage and eventually hit the opening notes of “Althea,” the song which led Mayer to discover the Dead’s music. Weir then performed one of the more coveted Garcia ballads in “Standing on the Moon,” before “One More Saturday Night” ended the set in proper fashion.
After the “Scarlet Begonias” opener, many wondered if and when we would hear “Fire on the Mountain.” Fortunately, the band returned for the encore and Burbridge finally had his chance to shine on lead vocals. Walking out of the venue, I felt that familiar since of gratitude that can only be achieved by these unique musical journeys. While I was lucky enough to stumble across the Grateful Dead’s music at a young age, it was just after the passing of Jerry Garcia. The reality that I’m able to be a part of this experience so many years later is something I'll never take for granted. These are moments that I’ll cherish for as long as I live, and hopefully, there will be many more Grateful nights to come.
Disco Biscuits Bring City Bisco To Atlanta's Tabernacle For NYE Run January 3, 2017 13:51
Photos by Adam Winokur
What more could you possibly want out of the Disco Biscuits than the onslaught of jams they delivered to the hungry fans waiting inside the Tabernacle in Atlanta? Did everyone just want 2016 to be over? Probably. Does everyone in Atlanta know how to get down on a normal day, and especially for a New Year's run? Absolutely. What better setting than the Tabernacle to send off the old, bring in the new, dance until it hurts; and who better than Allen, Aron, Barber, and Brownie driving the train to get us there? I will give an emphatic and resounding ‘NOWHERE’ and ‘NO ONE’. This was the spot to be for New Year’s.
Whether you’ve been a fan since their inception, or this was your first show, the Biscuits had something in store for you. They delved into a large swath of their catalogue, and found new places to explore in familiar songs. The band was feeding off each other, talking with their facial expressions and bodies, their energy was permeating through the entire venue, and by the end of the first night it was clear that this was going to be an electric way to get rid of 2016.
Showing up Friday, there was a lot of buzz outside in the cold mist about what the night would hold. The band rolled onto the stage and the words “slurpy start” were murmured somewhere behind me. For the first minute or so, “slurpy” was a good assessment, but then, whoa. “Mindless Dribble > "Shem-Rah Boo" > "¿Donde?” opened the first set of the second night, and by the end of that sequence there wasn’t an ass in a seat, or anyone without sweat on their brow. Bouncing around the Tabernacle, it didn’t matter if you were in the balconies or the floor, everyone was in such a great mood making new friends and you could watch people's eyes light up as their favorite song was being teased or finally driven into by the band.
The second set ended with “Svenghali” with Barber sliding into supple teases that made the place explode between the set closer and the encore. Brownie was glowing and seemed to be on the verge of giggling as they came back on the stage. The set closing teases of “Home Again” were answered for the encore, causing the guy in front of me to squeal, wrap his arms around me, and give me the biggest hug I probably got in 2016. We were on a runaway train called 2016, and NYE couldn’t get here soon enough.
Watch video footage of "Svengali" here:
New Year’s Eve was rainy and cold, but who cared? Everyone was there to dance and was looking fly. We had three sets to look forward to and knew it was going to be a long night! The first set was a personal favorite. The band was tight and on fire from the first note of “Save the Robots” and you could tell Brownie was feeling himself tonight. The set found its way all around "Save The Robots" > "Mindless Dribble" > "The Champions" > "Tempest" > "Spraypaint." Barber and Aron were locking eyes, bobbing in synch, and gave everyone in the Tabernacle no way to stop moving. "Mindless Dribble" and "Spraypaint" were both unfinished from the previous nights, and picking those jams off sent people on the floor into an uproar. The night was still early though.
The second set opened with a pounding “7/11” and found its way back into “Save the Robots.” Unlike a lot of other jam bands, Bisco will revisit and explore their songs a lot during a run or a show, and this Robots just wouldn’t quit. Some mild technical problem with Barber’s board gave us a nice raw version of "Moshi Fameus" with minimal effects. After some tweaking, throwing of sunglasses, and moving around we were taken to one of the most intense inverted versions of “Reactor” that I have heard. Brownie was dropping bass riffs like bombs and the crowd was losing their collective minds as the band threw us right back into “Save the Robots!” Could it be? ... “House Dog Party Favor?” It is! I hope everyone brought clean underwear because we still have another set.
Blinking was difficult during set break. I knew I had to be deeper in the fray, as midnight was fast approaching. Just before we kicked 2016 to the curb, the band came back, the lights dropped, they opened up into “Wizards in Winter,” the highly technical, extremely fast and intense Tran-Siberian Orchetera song. Apparently, a face blasting is how The Disco Biscuits wanted to bring us into 2017. The new year was upon us, and lots of hugging and sighs of ‘we made it’ collectively muttered around the corner of the pit, as the band tipped up individual bottles of champagne. When “Helicopters” took off, I dare say I was not looking out below. Everything about the tightness of the band; the lights bouncing and flooding the Tabernacle, and the sweat flying from person to person made the inverted “And the Ladies Were the Rest of the Night” explode throughout the entire venue.
Now 3 sets is amazing. We all knew we signed up for that, and good chances for an encore. It is hard to argue the encore of this show wasn’t a set onto itself clocking in close to 40 minutes. Not to pick favorites, but “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” is way up there. If this had been the only song during the encore, no one would have been disappointed. All of the band seemed so thrilled to be in the Tabernacle the past few days, that the pounding of “Frog Legs” to “Kitchen Mitts” back into “Helicopters,” seemed like a thank you from them to us for such a great run.
Since last New Year’s Eve Tron set, I have been telling everyone I know The Disco Biscuits are absolutely on fire, and if you are sleeping on them, than you are missing out. The New Year’s Show of 2016 changes none of that. A handful of shows in 2017 are already on their website. Do yourself a favor and get to see Bisco this year, and if it can be at the Tabernacle, all the better!
Watch video footage of "Basis For A Day" here:
The Disco Biscuits - The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA - 12/29/2016 - 12/31/2016
Set 1: Above The Waves> Rainbow Song, Morph Dusseldorf> Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairies> Minions> Morph Dusseldorf
Set 2: Uber Glue, Pygmy Twylyte> Orch Theme> Spraypaint> Above The Waves, Mr. Don
Encore: Rock Candy
Set 1: Mindless Dribble> Shem-Rah Boo, ¿Donde?, Nughuffer> Mulberry's Dream> Nughuffer
Set 2: Caterpillar> Spacebirdmatingcall, The Safety Dance, Resurrection> Air Song> Caterpillar, Svenghali
Encore: Home Again
Set 1: Save The Robots> Mindless Dribble1> The Champions> Tempest> Spraypaint2
Set 2: 7-113> Save The Robots> Moshi Fameus> Reactor4> Save The Robots, House Dog Party Favor
Set 3: Wizards in Winter5, Helicopters> And The Ladies Were The Rest Of The Night4> Abraxas4> Basis For A Day
Encore: M.E.M.P.H.I.S., Frog Legs, Kitchen Mitts> Helicopters
The Disco Biscuits Are Heading To Atlanta For New Year's July 26, 2016 13:06
Photo by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen
It's that time of the year again, with numerous bands beginning to release their fall and winter tour dates, which of course include many Halloween and New Year's shows. The latest announcement comes this morning from The Disco Biscuits, who have revealed their plans for New Year's in Atlanta. The Biscuits will take over The Tabernacle from Thursday, December 29th - Saturday, December 31st. Official pre-sale tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 27th at 12PM EST via the band's official website. The Biscuits have been known to pull off some of the more unique, mind blowing New Year's sets amongst the jam scene, so be sure to keep an eye out for future details!
Watch The Disco Biscuits' full set from 12.31.15 at PlayStation Theater here:
The String Cheese Incident Delivers Epic July 4th Celebration in Atlanta July 5, 2016 14:50
Words and Photos by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
It is always a special occasion when The String Cheese Incident embarks on a lengthy tour, especially when said tour includes a handful of dates in the southeast. As soon as the band announced it's two-night July 4th run in Atlanta, there was no doubt as to what I would be doing on this Independence Day weekend. Following an unforgettable performance on Sunday night, Cheese returned to the stage at Chastain Park on Monday night for a July 4th celebration that we will be talking about for years to come.
The first set got started with "Valley of the Jig," a melodic bluegrass instrumental which featured some amazing back-and-forth moments from Michael Kang on fiddle and Bill Nershi on guitar, before transitioning into a somewhat techno jam. No band can pull off that concept quite like Cheese. "Got What He Wanted" was next; giving the lively Atlanta crowd a well-known sing-along early on. Another vintage bluegrass instrumental then came in the form of "Dudley's Kitchen," one which simply demands you to dance. Keith Moseley (bass/vocals) then took the lead on "Sometime's a River," another heartwarming sing-along.
The energy in Chastain Park went to another level with the jam-focused "Turn This Around," a tune that allows Kang to absolutely wail on the electric guitar. A seamless transition led into "Smile," and if that song doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy, you may have some issues worth addressing. The band then introduced Ms. Rhonda Thomas, who would be making her first of many appearances on stage. They wasted no time busting into a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" that will never be forgotten to close the first set. Fortunately, Moseley assured the crowd that we would be seeing more of Ms. Thomas in the second set.
After a brief intermission, Cheese returned to the stage and called upon Ms. Thomas for her vocal assistance once again. Kyle Hollingsworth led us into the super funky "Believe," and the second set was off to a blazing start. Moseley stepped up once again for "Sweet Spot," easily one of the catchiest, feel-good tunes in the Cheese catalog. That seems to be a bit of a pattern anytime Moseley handles lead vocals.
Rhonda Thomas stayed on stage for one more tune, and nobody saw it coming. The band busted into a cover of Vulfpeck's "Funky Duck," and it could not have been a better decision. If you haven't yet jumped on the Vulfpeck funk bandwagon, I recommend making it a priority. Nershi calmed things down a bit with "Farther," just before Kang led a raging "Howard" that pumped a new life into Chastain Park. I'd be shocked if there was a single attendant not singing along as the band worked through "Outside and Inside," the title track from the band's 2001 studio release (Outside Inside). The decision to cover the Allman Brother's "Hot 'Lanta" couldn't have been any more appropriate, and the ultimate buildup into "Let's Go Outside" was simply perfect. Hollingsworth left it all on the stage as he led the crowd through one of Cheese's newer, high-energy funk tunes.
Unfortunately, this "weekend" had to end somewhere, but not before an overwhelming encore. "Black Clouds," one of my all-time favorites from the Born on the Wrong Planet album, gave us one more chance to get down to the classic Cheese bluegrass vibe. Our old friend Rhonda Thomas then took the stage for one final appearance, which Moseley described as "the most patriotic song we could possibly play on July 4th." This version of "America, The Beautiful" was on another level, prompting a whole lot of hugs and high fives throughout Chastain Park.
I simply can't say enough about The String Cheese Incident and their ability to resonate such a warm energy with every song. After nearly 15 years of listening attentively to this band, this was only the fifth and sixth opportunity I have had to see them live. This weekend will serve as a constant reminder of why I fell in love with this band at such an early age, and why I plan on going out of my way to see them again whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Watch The String Cheese Incident and Ms. Rhonda Thomas perform Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" here:
The String Cheese Incident Lights Up Atlanta's Chastain Park July 4, 2016 12:49
Words and Photos by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
The String Cheese Incident returned to Atlanta for the first time in over five years (Fox Theatre: 11/26/11 - 11/27/11) on Sunday night, and they did so in fine form. This would serve as the third show of the band's summer tour, and the first of a two-night run at the prestigious Chastain Park Amphitheatre. After a thirty minute rain delay, the crowd filtered back into the stands just before 8:00 PM EST, ready for the party that would follow.
The band came out swinging as they opened with "Close Your Eyes," before moving into "Doin' My Time." "Betray The Dark" and "Xai Xai" would come next, only to be followed by the rousing classic "Rhythm of the Road." Kyle Hollingsworth (keys/vocals) then took full control and led the rowdy Atlanta crowd through one of the bands newer dance party tunes "Stop, Drop, Roll" to close out the first set.
Following a brief set break, the band returned to the stage with overwhelming energy as they worked through the trancey, electronic "Bumpin' Reel." The heavy funk vibe continued with "Dirk," before Billy Nershi (guitar/vocals) calmed things down a bit with the always beautiful "Windy Mountain." Keith Moseley (bass) got everyone moving again with the heavy, slap bass driven "Freedom Jazz Dance," as Chastain Park became an official dance party. From here, Michael Kang took the lead with the peaceful, melodic opening notes of "Shine," which always builds into such a powerful tune.
Michael Travis (drums) and Jason Hann (percussion) would then lead the band into The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil," a move that sent the entire amphitheater into an all out frenzy. And just when you thought the energy had reached it's peak, Hollingsworth kicked the jam straight into a raging "Rosie" that would close out the second set. After a brief exit from the stage, the band returned with special guest Tony Furtado (mandolin) for a mesmerizing performance of the classic "Restless Wind." Cheese returns to the stage at Chastain Park on Monday night for what is sure to be an epic celebration of America's freedom.
Check out our favorite photos from night one at Chastain Park below, as well as video clips from "Shine" and "Sympathy for the Devil." Stay tuned for coverage of the band's Fourth of July celebration on Monday night in Atlanta!
Setlist: The String Cheese Incident - Atlanta, GA - 07.03.16
SET 1: Close Your Eyes > Doin' My Time, Betray The Dark, Xai Xai, Rhythm of the Road > Stop, Drop, Roll
SET 2: Bumpin' Reel, Dirk, Windy Mountain > Freedom Jazz Dance, Shine > Sympathy For The Devil > Rosie
ENCORE: Restless Wind1
NOTES: 1 with Tony Furtado
Watch a clip of The String Cheese Incident performing "Sympathy for the Devil" here: