Hampton 70: A Musical Celebration Like No Other May 4, 2017 15:45
When I heard that there would be a 70th birthday celebration for Col. Bruce Hampton at The Fox Theatre, I knew that I had to be there. After reading through the star-studded lineup, there was no doubt that this would be one of the most unique musical experiences of my life. With members of Widespread Panic, Phish, Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Blues Traveler, and so many more scheduled to perform, the possibilities for this show were endless. This lineup was a true testament to the immeasurable influence that Col. Bruce Hampton made on the world of music, and the ultimate experience was one that no one could prepare for.
The show got started just after 7:30 PM, with the evening's emcee introducing a cast featuring many frequent Col. Bruce collaborators, such as Darren Stanley, Matt Slocum, Carter Herring, and Ike Stubblefield. The Colonel was eventually brought to the stage, wearing a blue blazer, and led the group through "There Was A Time." The show's first featured guest was Oliver Wood, who was backed by Slocum, Darick Campbell, Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic) and others. As soon as Wood began working through two originals from The Wood Brothers catalog ("Sing About It" and "Postcards From Hell"), it became apparent that anything was fair game. Before long, Susan Tedeschi was on stage trading lines with Wood. San Diego Padres' pitcher Jake Peavy and 14-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer were then introduced and led the charge through "Oh Pretty Woman" and "Shake Your Hips."
Next up was a serving a blues and jamgrass royalty, as Rev. Jeff Mosier took the stage alongside John Popper of Blues Traveler and Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon. This combo, backed by Trucks, Kevin Scott, Emil Wrestler, Matt Slocum would eventually be joined by legendary drummer Jeff Sipe, aka Apt. Q-258 for a rousing take on "She Caught The Katy." It wasn't long before Kevin Kinney, Hardy Morris, Todd Snider, Peter Buck, Dave Schools were brought out to continue the magic. At this point, it was nearly impossible to keep up with who we had seen versus who was yet to come, but we would be quickly reminded as Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band / Rolling Stones), Jon Fishman (Phish), and saxophonist Karl Denson took the stage. The energy reached a new level during "Rip This Joint," and the combo of Fishman and Sipe during "Compared To What" and "Good Morning 'Lil School Girl" was as heavy as it gets.
Duane Trucks stepped in for Sipe and joined Fishman behind the kit for "More Trouble Everyday," which would lead up to one of the evening's many highlights. The cast of Derek Trucks, Haynes, Leavell, Schools, Buck, Fishman, and (Duane) Trucks played the Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica" to absolute perfection. John Bell of Widespread Panic made his first appearance for "Time Is Free," and would stick around for "Don't Cry Not More," which would also feature Tedeschi on vocals.
Watch the performance of "Jessica" here:
As the show proceeded into its third hour, the Colonel returned to the stage for the evening's final performances. After leading the way through "Yield Not To Temptation," Hampton took the microphone for one of his long-time staples, "Fixin' To Die." Watching the Colonel turning, pointing, and singing those words to so many of his oldest friends and collaborators will forever be a surreal memory. He would remain on stage for the final three songs of the nearly four hour set: "Don't Go In The Room," "Space Is The Place," and a cover of Cream's "I'm So Glad" that had an especially spiritual feel to it.
After the stage briefly cleared, nearly forty performers returned to the stage for one last nod to the godfather of jam. The encore began with in classic fashion, as ARU drummer Jeff Sipe led the massive group through "Zambi Military Ensemble," creating the feel of am early 90's Aquarium Rescue Unit Show. This epic celebration would end with none other than "Turn On Your Lovelight," with Tedeschi, Wood, and Hampton rotating verses.
As Colonel walked over to young Taz (Brandon Niederauer) and signaled him to solo, we would all witness the unthinkable. Col. Bruce appeared to take a knee, as if giving praise to the young prodigy, and proceeded to slowly, peacefully lay down behind him (with an arm propped onto a monitor). This was a man known for his wild theatrics, giving no reason for initial concern as he lied motionless on the stage. Video footage shows those surrounding him smiling and laughing at each other, waiting for his dramatic rise for the song's conclusion. But as several minutes passed with no movement, a feeling of concern was felt throughout the theatre, and it became evident that this was no joke. Several people rushed from the side stage to check on Hampton, the music abruptly stopped, and Billy Bob Thornton quickly addressed the crowd as the curtains were frantically closed.
Those closer to the stage could see the immediate medical attention being applied to Col. Bruce, as the majority of us exited the building in total shock and confusion. Multiple ambulances were on the scene within minutes, and many witnessed Hampton being taken away in a frenzy to the hospital. Within the next two hours, the news began to spread that world had lost Col. Bruce Hampton. I can honestly say that this was a wave of emotions that I'd never dreamed of experiencing. The entire evening was surreal; witnessing so many musical heroes on stage together.
Watching the Colonel get carried off stage is an image that I'll never forget. But as the tributes and memoirs have piled in this week, this ending does seem beautifully poetic in many ways. Col. Bruce left this earthly life during the closing moments of his own musical celebration. His final act was showcasing and praising one of music's brightest young stars, while surrounded by 30+ world class musicians who considered him one of their greatest influences. Hampton 70 was truly a celebration like no other; honoring one of the most unique souls to ever walk this planet. While his presence will be missed by so many, we should all take comfort in knowing that his influence will be felt across the musical spectrum far beyond our time.
Setlist: Hampton 70 - A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton - 05.01.17
Set: There Was A Time, Postcards From Hell, Sing About It, Feelin’ Good, Oh Pretty Woman, Shake Your Hips, She Caught The Katy, Working On A Building, Put Down That Cane, Play A Train Song, Stupid Preoccupations, When You Come Back, Rip This Joint, Compared To What, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl > Trouble Every Day, Jessica, Time Is Free, Trondossa, Smokestack Lightning > Cry Cry Cry, Basically Frightened, Fixin’ To Die, Space Is The Place, I’m So Glad
Encore: Zambi > Turn On Your Lovelight
CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Reveals Final Lineup For Fall Fest August 15, 2016 11:53
Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival is pleased to reveal it's phase three artist announcement and final artist lineup for the 2016 Fall Fest at Horse Pens 40 on October 6th - 9th. The phase three artist announcement includes a very special reunion performance from Mama's Love (Athens, GA), Dank & Friends (Atlanta, GA), Winston Ramble (Birmingham, AL), Bird Dog Jubilee (Atlanta, GA), and Seeds? (Huntsville, AL). A variety of single-day and weekend passes to the festival can be purchased by clicking here. CukoRakko is a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly event located at one of the South's best kept secrets, Horse Pens 40. Kids ages 10 and under are admitted for free. Stay tuned for details on Live & Listen's official pre-party at Horse Pens 40 on Thursday, October 6th.
CukoRakko's Fall Fest will be held at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL from Thursday, October 6th - Sunday, October 9th. The lineup this fall will feature as diverse and exciting of a lineup as we have seen from the festival, including the likes of The Heavy Pets, Funk You, Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express feat. Carter Herring, Backup Planet, Winston Ramble, Dank & Friends, The Captain Midnight Band (x2), Maradeen, Mama's Love, The Stolen Faces, Jason Bailey Band, Boy Named Banjo, Royal & Toulouse, Bird Dog Jubilee, Seeds?, and Harkestra's Grateful Gospel Jamboree.
In preparation for the October festivities, we have included video or audio footage from each of this year's performers below. This lineup features a variety of amazing talent from across the Southeast, including many of the regions top up-and-coming acts. Stay tuned for future coverage and exclusive content, including our annual interview series, "The Road To CukoRakko," which will be released in early October.
The Heavy Pets
"Dewpoint" - Live at The Georgia Theatre
"Keep Me Running" - Live at The Georgia Theatre
"Lets Dance" - Live at Terminal West
Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express w/ Carter Herring
Entire set from Echo Mountain Studios
Official music video for "The Road"
"Free State of Mind" - Live at Muscle Shoals Studio
Official music video for "Get Up"
The Captain Midnight Band
"Common Law Hussy"
Official Music Video - "She Treat Me Like a Real Man"
Listen to "Catch a Feelin'" here:
Listen to "Wake Up Woes" here:
The Stolen Faces (Grateful Dead Tribute)
Official Music Video - "U.S. Blues"
Boy Named Banjo
Listen to "Blue Hole Bridge" here:
Jason Bailey Band
"Adventures of Shannon Ceili"
Royal & Toulouse
Official music video - "One Direction"
Bird Dog Jubilee
Covering Twiddle's "Lost In The Cold"
Live at Lowe Mill in Huntsville, AL
Harkestra's Grateful Gospel Jamboree
Live from CukoRakko SpringFest 2015
Col. Bruce Hampton and the ARU: A Family Affair in Atlanta August 20, 2015 12:33
Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit’s homecoming at The Buckhead Theater was a family and friends affair of outstanding proportions. The guys blew through a two night run in their home-state of Georgia that featured a Friday night show in Atlanta and a Saturday show in Athens at the acclaimed Georgia Theater as part of their first extended tour in 18 years. Kofi Burbridge, Carter Herring, Efram Townes, and Kebbi Williams all made appearances and celebrated in the spirit of making damn fun music.
The tour was part of the 26th anniversary celebration of when Col. Bruce originally formed Aquarium Rescue Unit in Atlanta back in 1988. Col. Bruce had already established himself on the Atlanta music scene befriending and sharing the stage with the likes of Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and many more. Known for his out-of-this-galaxy performances and erratic free spirit, The Col. had been spreading his mad influence across Atlanta for the better part of two decades. He linked up with musicians Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Sipe at the Little Five Points Pub and when the newly created band needed a lead guitar they reached out to their friend Jimmy Herring. They played in clubs around Georgia and the Southeast and built a reputation for their outward performances and unpredictable on stage antics, as well as respect for their impeccable chops and world-class style. In 1991, Hampton and ARU teamed up with other notable jam bands, including Phish, Widespread Panic, and Blues Traveler, to join forces on a mega tour along the eastern seaboard. They named it The H.O.R.D.E. Tour and it allowed the bands to break into large venues such as amphitheaters and arenas as well as grow their fan bases in new regions of the country. Over the years ARU came to embody the essence of The H.O.R.D.E Tour through their spirited playing, respect for the music and musician, and incredible skills. Col Bruce continued to influence many young musicians while on the tour, earning himself a reputation as the godfather of jam bands. ARU would eventually disband and the members would go on to continue their journey as musicians in even bigger acts but their inspiration was never forgotten.
Packing into a sold-out show in the heart of Buckhead, the collective anticipation of the audience was manifesting itself in eager grins on what seemed to be EVERYONES’ faces. It was as if everyone knew each other, not personally, but in the sense that everyone shared in knowing that what was about to take place on stage tonight would not only be one of the greatest demonstrations of musical skill and talent, but also the highest understanding of what it truly means to communicate using music and improvisation.
“Phantom on the Curb” kicked things off, giving Matt Slocum and Herring an early chance to speak their minds. Herrings voice would be prominent throughout the night, and rightfully so. The man is a true guitar master and was really feeling it from the get-go, offering up dazzling guitar play and perfect timing. The classic Hampton cover tune “Fixin to Die” was followed by another in “Yield Not to Temptation” which featured Efram Townes of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band delivering a warm golden solo on trumpet. The band ran through Hampton songs “Elevator to The Moon” and “Jack the Rabbit” as well as “Another Man” before Oteil stopped and welcomed his older brother Kofi (from The Tedeschi Trucks Band) to the stage. Next they kicked off “Rampage” giving the audience their first taste of some new material for the evening. This tune, featuring a slick baseline by Oteil, is an awesome jam vehicle that allowed everyone to chip in and add to the conversation… including Kofi whose flute swayed tastefully along as the musical discussion ebbed and flowed. The classic ARU ballad “Time Is Free” would close the set as Jeff Sipe fiercely drove this jam on as the guys got a few more things off their chest. Col. Bruce preached and to the audiences delight managed to channel the spirit of the jam through himself as he regurgitated his signature nonsense rap into the microphone. Herring and Oteil responded assuring The Col. they were on the same page delivering impeccable solos featuring immaculate taste and control. When these men play together they exhibit an obvious intent to share positive energy with each other and the audience.
The second set commenced with “Brothers House” and then “Isles of Langerhan”, before the guys stopped to welcome Herrings son Carter to the stage. They moved into the Bobby Bland cover “Heartache”. Carter delivered a VERY refined solo and showed great patience during his jam not rushing his notes and allowing his voice to develop over time. Whether he was shaking off the nerves or not, it was impressive enough for Col. Bruce to tease the elder Herring that he had no chance of topping his son. In a show of tough love Jimmy reminded everyone who the man of the house was by rattling off a sweltering solo before playfully trading licks with Carter. Another Hampton staple “I’m so glad” followed. This Skip James cover really gave Col. Bruce’s abilities as a soul and blues singer a chance to shine as he baptized the audience in its joyous melody. Carter took the first solo in this number and did not hold back in the least, demonstrating superb technique and touch. Looking from face to face of the band members, hearing father and son trading licks on stage, Oteil had not stopped smiling all night, Sipe hammering away gloriously on his kit, and Hampton just basking in the freedom - I was really “so glad” I could be there to witness it. “Space is the Place” came next, followed by the super catchy ARU song “Working on the Building” featuring Oteil on vocals. Two new songs surfaced next as the band broke into a particularly hard hitting “1911” and hot blues number “The Dragon” to close the set. The encore featured a jam featuring Kofi, Sipe, Oteil and Kebbi Williams of The Tedeschi Trucks Band that segued into a resounding “Compared to What”
When speaking of Hampton’s impact on others, John Bell of Widespread Panic said that “he knows there is something more… other folks catch the wave off of his movement through this world”. ARU is truly the product of “The Hampton Effect”. Not only do these guys physically kick your ass with amazing technicality and ability, but they are in touch with that “something more”, giving them the freedom to channel energy from different sources and put spirit in a room full of bodies. As we all filed out of the Buckhead Theater into the Georgia summer night, I certainly left a richer person because of my experience with The Aquarium Rescue Unit. Experiencing organic musical synergy, with no barriers or restrictions, featuring some of the greatest musicians of our generation will put a little pep in anyone’s step. Now I know why bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, and Blues Traveler were willing to split their H.O.R.D.E. Tour profits evenly with this little crazy band from Atlanta: because they wanted in on the magic too.