Letting it Slide: A Conversation with Marco Benevento January 15, 2020 02:25


Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Photos by Jean Frank Photography

Calling all Southeast music enthusiasts. We would like to ask you to stop what you're doing and clear your schedule. It's officially one of our favorite times of the year, when keyboard wizard Marco Benevento brings his wildly entertaining three-piece solo project through the heart of the South. The madness kicks off on Thursday night (1/16) in Austin, TX and continues with stops in Houston (1/17), New Orleans (1/18), Birmingham (1/19), Knoxville (1/20), Asheville (1/21), Carboro, NC (1/22), Charlotte (1/23), Charleston (1/24), and Atlanta (1/25).

The band is fresh of its seventh studio release, Let it Slide, and they have never been more dialed in. After taking a totally different approach in the studio, Marco and company have a deeper catalog than ever before. Bassist Karina Rykman and drummer Dave "DB" Butler round out this prolific trio and bring a level of energy that is matched by none. Over the weekend, we had a chance to catch up with Benevento to learn more about Let it Slide and hear all about the band's plans for 2020. See below for the full conversation and make sure to catch these guys (and gals) in a city near you!

I appreciate you taking the time to chat for a few minutes today, Marco. I know that everyone in Birmingham is excited to have you back in town at Saturn on Sunday night. 

Marco: Absolutely. Saturn is such a cool venue man. We've loved playing there the last few stops in Birmingham.
It really is. One of the newer spots in town. That green room is really next level.
Marco: It's so dope man. 
I figured we could start off by talking about the new year. We've officially closed the door on 2019. How did you feel about last year as a whole, and what are some of your goals and resolutions for 2020?
Marco: Totally. 2019 was an awesome year for us. We put out a new record and had the chance to work with Leon Michels. If you haven't checked him out, I highly recommend you do. You can find his work on Spotify or Apple Music under "El Michels Affair." Working with him this year and releasing the record felt really good. We did almost 40 shows in three months. Something crazy like that. We went to Japan, which was a really cool experience. I guess, going forward, we're going to try and get to Europe. We just got a European booking agent, so I'm excited to go play overseas and see what that feels like. 
Is that something that you expect to happen this year?
Marco: Yeah, I do. Most likely later this year. I'm looking forward to everyone getting familiar with the new record and hearing all of the new jams. They're really coming alive when we play them on tour. 
Did you end up having a New Year's show this year?
Marco: No, we all had off this year. I actually when to Leon's (Michels) house for a party. We didn't have a gig, which was great. I've obviously been playing and touring for a long time and having a New Year's Eve off is kind of special, honestly. 
I'd imagine that hasn't been very common in recent years. 
Marco: Right. Very true. I've had so many New Year's gigs that have just been madness, especially in New York City. It's super fun, and everyone is so ready to go. It's such a fun holiday, but it's also nice to just have a fire outside in your yard. 
That's got to be a nice change of pace.
Marco: Yeah man. Totally. 
Watch Marco Benevento's music video for "Let it Slide" here:
You mentioned the new album, Let it Slide. I've had it playing all morning. This is your seventh solo album, correct?
Marco: That's right. 
I know that they all tell their own story. The writing process and the studio experience are unique in their own right. When you look at this album, how was this different that those of the past?
Marco: Totally. Working with Leon was a whole new thing. I didn't know him personally when we got together. I met him through our friend Richard Swift, who we put out a record with about five years ago. That record was actually called Swift. Richard is friends with Dan Auerbach and was in that band, The Archs, that Dan started a few years back. Leon was the keyboard player in that band. He and his wife were having a child and had to miss the last week of tour. Richard recommended that I sub in for Leon. 
I had a chance to get on a tour bus with Dan Auerbach and company and play all of those tunes. I don't know if you've had a chance to check it out, but you should. It's so good. I've been a fan of Dan's for years. I love his voice. So, Richard recommended that I sub for Leon, and I met him as we were overlapping on tour. When I called him about doing the record, I had only met him that one time. We got together, and I played him all of the demos that I made. All of the tunes were kind of demoed out before we met, so we would scroll through them and work on two or three each day. 
I think we did five total days in the studio. I did a lot of overdubbing here at my own place. We worked on the record pretty casually for about two years, which was a whole new experience for me. I normally get deep into a record and want to finish it, maybe even quicker than it should be done. With this one, we let it simmer for a while. We both made decisions. There was never a single decision made by one individual. Leon and I made this record together. That was a really cool experience for me. I had never really worked with a producer on a record that I made. That was awesome. 
He had a lot of input and suggested a lot of things to do. Musically, he would come up with some extra chords or propose ideas for some melodies. We also realized that we had a mutual love for tennis. We got super deep into tennis, probably two or three times a week. Our kids are also the same age. The kids would go to school, then we would meet up, play tennis, and work on the record. As soon as the kids were heading home, we would leave to go see our families.
So, we would play a bunch of tennis, work on the record, and feel really good. Tennis is such a fun, focused game. That's why the cover of the record has that photo on it. Leon actually took that photo of a court we would play on up in Woodstock. 
Watch Marco Benevento's official music video for "Say It's All The Same" here:
That sounds perfect. Bonding over the tennis court, creating in the studio, and having a similar family dynamic seems like a winning combination. 
Marco: Totally. It was really a shared album. 
Did Karina (Rykman) end up playing on this album at all?
Marco: Karina is not playing any bass on this record. It was actually Nick Movshon, who is essentially Leon's right hand man. You've got to check out these dudes. They will blow you away. They've made so many records together, and a lot of people have sampled their records. He's in a whole other world of music. He's made records with Amy Winehouse, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Dr. John, Adele, Lady Gaga, and so many others.
They're super humble, chill, Brooklyn guys. They're total bad asses. Super good taste in music and recording music, in my opinion. I should also mention that Leon has a record label called Big Crown. He shares it with a couple other people. Any record on Big Crown has been heard through Leon's ears. That's another thing to check out. 
Nick, Leon, and myself are basically the three musicians on that record. Karina and everyone else had to learn all of the parts. Karina does sing on the record though. She sings backup vocals on a few tunes. She didn't play any bass though. That's just how Leon works. However he wanted to make the record was fine with me. I just rolled with his suggestions.
Are you still working with Andy Borger on drums?
Marco: Andy lives in Portland now. He hasn't been on the road with us for the past year, so we now have D.B. (Dave Butler) playing drums. D.B. has all the moves and knows all the tunes, so it was a pretty seamless transition. Andy moved to Portland, had a kid, and now plays with a band called Pink Martini. He's been super busy doing all of that, so it was tough for him to stay on the road with us. Luckily, D.B. was able to step right in. D.B. also plays with Guster. Luckily, he's also been available to tour with us, which has been super dope. 
Had the previous albums all been recorded with Andy on drums and Dave (Dreiwitz) on bass, prior to Karina joining the band?
Marco: Yes, exactly. 
It goes without saying that the transition from Dave to Karina was pretty amazing as well. Those were mighty big shoes to fill, but my God, Karina is such an entertaining performer. She has quickly become one of the best in the game. 
Marco: Oh completely. Personally, she's so much fun to be with on the road. It's just never ending laughter. We're having so much fun out there. She brings so much to the table with ripping fuzz bass solos to her singing lead on a few tunes. We have several covers that she sings lead on. It's a nice focus change to have someone else singing as well. I've always liked to have bands that have everybody singing and everyone playing. Sometimes they might even switch instruments. We haven't done that yet, but maybe we will. I've always liked the girl/boy voice combo too.
Watch Marco Benevento cover Butthole Surfers' "Pepper" at Armore Music Hall here:
It works so well for you two. The overall vibe that this band creates sparks a nostalgic feeling and has such an appeasing, uplifting sound from start to finish.
Marco: Hell yeah. Right on. Thanks Jordan. 
Karina was one of Dave's students, and he recommended her when Ween was getting back together, right?
Marco: Totally. It was another seamless transition from Dave to Karina. He knew that the Ween schedule was coming up, and he wasn't going to be able to do all of the dates with me. He basically taught Karina all of my tunes. They would get together, and she learned all of them. He really crushed it in that regard. Not many people leave the band and find their own replacement for you. He was like, "Marco...I can't do these gigs, but I'm going to teach Karina the tunes. She's going to kill it and add so much to the band." 
Initially, I was like, "No! Dave! Where are you going?!" So, we do our first gig with Karina in Boston, maybe three years ago, and it worked instantly. She was amazing from day one. Dave knew that he wasn't going to be able to juggle all of that, so he totally hooked it up with the amazing Karina Rykman in my band. Now she has her own music, which is really, really good. 
What a transition it was. I'm sure she knew they were big shoes to fill. It's been a pleasure watching her come into her own as a member of this band. She has a great stage presence, and she couldn't seem to be having any more fun on stage. That's great to see as a fan.
Marco: Absolutely.
As you know, my introduction to you was through the Benevento Russo Duo many years ago. I still remember listening to the Darts album for the first time in 2003. There was so much amazing instrumental music coming from The Duo, and later Garage A Trois. Now, you've become a lyricist and handle a healthy dose of vocals. How has this experience played out?
Marco: I was just talking to my friend about this the other day. I'm 42 now, so you've known me since I was in my late 20's. Wow, a lot has happened since then, as you know. I was talking to my buddy, and we were both kind of high fiving about where we are. We both finally put out a record where we have figured out that we are fully realized as human musicians. We've realized that we're making fully, whole music. Vocals, lyrics, good arrangements, shorter songs, professional production, all of that. 
People are kind of rediscovering our band. We've kind of reached a new platform. We are playing bigger rooms. We have all of these new songs, as well as the old songs. We have instrumental music, then we have the heavy rock music led with fuzz bass. We have more "radio friendly" songs now. We were just thinking about how we are fully realized as musicians right now. Of course, it's going to change, and I'll probably say the same thing in 5-10 years. 
I guess it's a new starting point. There are so many elements of the past in the new music, like playing instrumental material. There are points in our show where we are just playing instrumental tunes. There is a lot of musical interaction and not much singing. It almost feels like you're getting the full gamut of music from almost a classical sounding jazz/rock, to a girl singing a Buzzcocks song, to us singing a Butthole Surfers tune, to an original tune that sounds like something you could hear on the radio. 
I feel like we have a really nice variety of things to cover on any given night. I like that fact. It's a pretty different show. A lot of tunes seem like they could be from almost different bands. Somehow, it's all one color and one vibe. It becomes our show, and the way we entertain people. It's really cool. I feel like I'm just getting started. I'm really excited for the next year, to see how the music will grow.
I'm sure it's a totally different experience of telling your story through writing lyrics and finding your voice through the vocal work. It's been a lot of fun to watch from afar. 
Marco: Totally, man. 
To wrap things up, you've had the opportunity to be a part of so many different significant projects. You've seen it all at this point, from the dive bars to some of the biggest festival stages in the world. When you look back on the experience, what is it that you love about these more intimate venues, such as those on this upcoming run of shows?
Marco: Right. First and foremost, the crowd is so much closer to you. When it's a really great night and everyone is honed in, you can feel it even more in the smaller rooms. The song ends, and it's so loud when the crowd erupts. It's a really cool feeling. We recently played a smaller room in Portland, Oregon, and it was one of those nights. You can just tell that people are good to go. That is a great feeling. You know it, because they're right there in front of you. With some of the festivals, the stage is 10 feet tall, the crowd is past the barriers, and it's more of a sea of people. That's equally as rewarding, obviously, because there are even more people.
Another aspect is that we get to put on our own vibe with our own show. We get to show people what we have made, and what we are promoting. It's really nice to have an entire room of people listening to your music. I've been a part of several other projects which obviously cover a lot of ground. This is a different thing that allows us to shift the focus. I like knowing that we are showing up at these clubs, and we're putting on a show that we all like from all of the records that we have made. 
I can imagine how rewarding of an experience that is. 
Marco: It really is. It's a great feeling. 
Well, it's been a pleasure catching up. It's been way too long since I've seen this band play, and I'm really looking forward to this weekend. It's been nothing short of amazing to watch your musical story unfold over the years. I couldn't be happier for you and look forward to seeing what's next. 
Marco: Thanks so much Jordan. See you soon!

10 Reasons Not to Miss SweetWater 420 Festival April 18, 2019 01:33

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
Let's be honest. We've reached that point in the week where all we can think about is the music that lies ahead. Over the last three years, SweetWater 420 Festival has become arguably my favorite annual tradition. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that the anticipation is more than a distraction today. Many of you reading this will join me in feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve tonight.
This festival will once again offer one of the strongest lineups of the year, featuring countless genres from across the musical spectrum. We'll likely witness some special collaborations, such as that blazing "Statesboro Blues" from Tedeschi Trucks Band and Brandon "Taz" Niederauer last year.
As a method of burning the time and preparing for what's ahead, I put together a list of ten reasons why you just don't want to miss out on this festival. Check out the full rundown below and make sure be smart, stay hydrated, and be kind to those around you this weekend!

1. Two nights of Widespread Panic. Need we say more?

  • Let's face it. This festival is in the heart of Panic country, and there is not a more prime candidate to close out the festival on Saturday and Sunday night. The band's history in Atlanta is well documented, most recently completing a three-night New Year's run at The Fox Theatre that we're still trying to comprehend. Being back in Georgia always seems to bring out the best in the band, and if anyone understands the level of expectation for these four sets, it's these guys right here.
  • In case you missed it, Panic's last 420 Fest performance fell on Sunday, April 23rd in 2017. The show kicked off in powerful fashion with "Disco" > "Arleen" and made for one of the hottest festival shows in recent years. I think it's safe to assume there will be much more where that came from this weekend.

2. Joe Russo's Almost Dead: There are tribute bands, and then there's JRAD.

  • Prepare to hear the music of the Grateful Dead like you've never heard it before. If you've had a chance to catch this band before, you know to expect the unexpected. These guys use the Dead's catalog as a launching pad into another dimension, and there's no telling where they'll take a jam at any given moment. Friday night will be dominated by the two-and-a-half hour set from Joe Russo's Almost Dead.
  • The all-star cast features Joe Russo (drums/vocals), Marco Benevento (keys/vocals), Tom Hamilton (guitar/vocals), Scott Metzger (guitar/vocals), and Dave Dreiwitz (bass/vocals). 

3. Stay in tune with the jam scene's hottest rising acts.

  • While the lineup is consistently diverse, you can always count on 420 Fest to feature several of the jam scene's hottest rising acts. Take a look at this year's lineup, and you'll see exactly what we mean. 
  • Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Billy Strings, Big Something, & Turkuaz  are absolutely "can't miss acts" this year. There is a reason that you continue to see these names rise on festival billings each year. You can also find them packing out venues across the country, while releasing new, original material that we're all singing along with in no time. 
  • Surely you're familiar with the mad scientist known as Keller Williams. Have you heard about Grateful Grass though? This set is appropriately scheduled for 12:00 PM on Easter Sunday. Bring your bible, 'cause Keller's gonna take us all to church.
  • Everyone Orchestra will feature a fully improvised set from members of Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Jane's Addition, Greensky Bluegrass, and more on Saturday at 2:30 PM. 

4. This lineup offers a beautiful variety that any music fan can enjoy. 

  • It's a challenge to even begin keeping up with the amount of annual music festivals in 2019. While many of the these lineups are designed to cater to a specific fan base, such as jam bands or bluegrass, 420 Fest steps outside the box. While there's plenty of jam over the weekend, major national acts such as The Avett Brothers, Moon Taxi, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Rebelution, and Iration

5. THE BEER: Who could forget about the beer?

  • You'd be hard pressed to find a brewery with tastier options from top to bottom. This brewery's impact on the city of Atlanta, our beloved music scene, and the entire Southeast, really, can't be overstated. 
  • Prepare to see the following SweetWater brews across the festival 420 Pale Ale, IPA, 420 Strain G-13 IPA, 420 Strain Mango Kush Wheat Ale, Peach Love & Happiness, and Guide Beer: A Lager.
  • Have you heard about the artist collaboration brews? This year you will find the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's IPPPA, Iration's Already Gold, and Fruition's "Fruition's Fire." 
  • Take a break from the sun and stop by the SweetWater Experience Tent, a weekend-long craft beer centric event where you can taste your way through 25 unique styles of SweetWater beers. Enjoy presentations a wide variety of topics. We've included the schedule for the SweetWater experience below.

6. Sustainability: SweetWater 420 Fest's eco-friendly focus grows stronger each year.

  • Did you know that 420 Fest started as an Earth Day celebration in 2005? Festival organizers continue to go the extra mile each year with so many ways you can contribute. 
  • Make sure to purchase your refillable Steelys cup to do your part and protect the environment this weekend.
  • Make sure to stop by the Planet 420 Eco-Village, where the majority of environmental workers spend the weekend raising awareness for Mother Earth. Hands-on workshops engage attendees and educate them on how to become more eco-friendly in their day-to-day lives. 
  • The festival offers a heap of transportation options, such as MARTA and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which allow for eco-friendly choices to avoid the hassle of parking downtown. 
  • To date, 420 Fest has donated over $120,000 to various neighborhood organizations including CPNO, Park Pride, and Friends of Candler Park (where the festival was previously held).

7. You never know what you'll find in the artist + craft vendor market.

  • There's more to SweetWater 420 Fest than just music and beer. Each year, dozens of artists and craft vendors from across the country are showcased at the 420 Fest Artist Market. You never know what you might stumble across amongst your artist village at a major music festival. Arrive a little early or maybe even take a break from the music and check out the entire festival grounds this year. 

8. Lyrics & Laughter Stage will put a smile on your face.

  • While the SweetWater Stage and 420 Strain Stage get the majority of the attention, one of our favorite elements of 420 Fest is the Lyrics & Laughter Stage, which is presented by Aisle 5. This stage hosts a mix of both local, up-and-coming bands, as well as a handful of nationally touring acts. We're especially excited for Cory Wong of Vulfpeck (Friday), SunSquabi (Saturday), Zach Deputy & The Yankees (Sunday), Hedonistas (Saturday),  Flow Tribe (Friday), Travers Brothership (Friday), Voodoo Visionary (Sunday), and The Orange Constant (Sunday). 
  • You don't want to miss out on Joe Pettis and Andrew Michael either. These two stand up comedians will perform on each day in between various sets on the Lyrics & Laughter stage. Click here to check out the schedule. 

9.  Got a minute to give? Don't miss the 4:19 Auctions.

  • The 420 Fest band charity auction will benefit each participating artists charity of choice. Participating artists include Widespread Panic (Tunes for Tots), The Avett Brothers (Press On), Joe Russo's Almost Dead (Atlanta Community Food Bank), Rebelution (Atlanta Music Project), Moon Taxi (We're Hear For You), Claypool Lennon Delirium (Atlanta Community Food Bank), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (Music In The Park), SunSquabi (Can'd Aid Foundation), Billy Strings (Nicholas House), Cory Wong (Conscious Allience), BIG Something (Atlanta Music Project), Fruition (Atlanta Music Project), Pink Talking Fish (Positive Legacy), and Turkuaz (Positive Legacy)...just to name a few.
  • Auction items include concert tickets, signed memorabilia, photos, meet & greets, and more. Mobile bidding began on April 16th and lasts through the end of the weekend. CLICK HERE to register for online bidding.

10. There's some serious after shows to choose from. Killer late night sets across the city.

  • Not quite ready to call it a night after the headliner? No problem. The afterparties surrounding this year's festival are as strong as you'll find anywhere. Terminal West will host Ghost Light on Friday night and Billy Strings on Saturday. Aisle 5 will host Voodoo Visionary on Thursday, Higher Learning on Friday, SunSquabi on Saturday, and Knower + Nate Wood Four on Sunday. Additional afters shows we're keeping an eye on include Bird Dog Jubilee Schema at Cotton Club (downstairs at the Tabernacle) on Friday and Runaway Gin "Make Phish Evil Again" at The Loft on Friday.

Here's a quick video recap from the 2018 festival:

    Check out the full weekend schedule and map out your weekend below!

    Waterloo Music Festival Just Confirmed A Massive Inaugural Lineup June 12, 2018 12:37

    Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
    Just over a month ago, organizers of Waterloo Music Festival made quite the splash with the initial lineup for their inaugural festival on September 7th - 9th. The three-day event, which will be held at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX, would feature The String Cheese Incident (x3), as well as Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Railroad Earth, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento, and many more to be announced. Earlier this morning, the festival rolled out the complete lineup, and this looks to be one of the hottest jam festivals of the summer.
    The latest additions include the likes of Oteil & Friends (Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, Scott Metzger, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane, and Alfreda Gerald), Leftover Salmon, Perpetual Groove, BIG Something, Everyone Orchestra, Tea Leaf Green, and many more. The complete lineup can be found on the graphic below. Waterloo is presented by Heard Presents, Havin’ A Ball Productions, and Unknown Entertainment. Various ticket and camping packages are available now via the festival's official website. Make sure to follow Waterloo on both Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates!

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Shares Official Recording From 420 Fest May 25, 2018 15:04

    Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
    It's been just over a month since the magic of SweetWater 420 Festival, and we're still reeling from those two smokin' hot sets from Joe Russo's Almost Dead. The supergroup featuring Joe Russo (drums), Marco Benevento (keys/organ), Tom Hamilton (guitar/vocals), Dave Dreiwitz (bass), and Scott Metzger (guitar/vocals) made their presence known in Atlanta for the second consecutive year (Candler Park Fest 2017), setting the stage for an unforgettable headlining set from Tedeschi Trucks Band.
    The first set kicked off with the Jerry Garcia Band classic "Cats Down Under The Stars," with Dead originals "Feel Like A Stranger," "The Wheel," "Estimated Prophet," and "He's Gone" to follow. The second set started with a monster "Shakedown Street," and powerful takes on "I Need A Miracle," "Ramble On Rose," "China Cat Sunflower," "I Know You Rider," "Drums," "Not Fade Away," "Turn On Your Lovelight (jam)," and a fitting "One More Saturday Night" would round things out.
    Fortunately, the band has now released the official recording from this set, which can be streamed in its entirety below. You can also find the official setlist, which includes all of the wild teases and sub notes, courtesy of JRAD tour manager Peter Costello below. 
    Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Atlanta, GA - 04.21.2018

    Set One (5:12PM – 6:13PM): Jam -> Cats Under The Stars -> Feel Like A Stranger @, The Wheel # -> Estimated Prophet $ -> He’s Gone %

    Set Two (6:42PM – 7:58PM): Shakedown Street ^ -> ’73 Changes (Eyes) Jam & -> Shakedown Street Reprise * -> I Need A Miracle -> Jam + -> Ramble On Rose, China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider @@ -> Drums -> Not Fade Away ## -> (Turn On Your) Lovelight Jam $$ -> Not Fade Away Reprise, One More Saturday Night

    • @ – With a “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” (George Clinton, Eddie Hazel) Tease (MB) & an Unknown Tease (MB)
    • # – With a a Playin Jam (Band) and a Dark Star Tease (DD)
    • $ – With a “Soulful Strut” (Young Holt Limited) Jam (SM then Band)
    • % – With a The Wheel Tease (TH)
    • ^ – With a Feel Like a Stranger Tease (TH) and then a Feel Like a Stranger Jam (Band)
    • & – First Time Played by Almost Dead as a stand alone segment (AKA NOT as the ending to Eyes of the World)
    • * – Not Played by Almost Dead since 2015-02-15 Ogden Theater, Denver, CO a gap of 129 shows, with an I Need A Miracle Tease (TH)
    • + – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (SM)
    • @@ – With a Playin Tease (SM) & Morning Dew Teases (TH)
    • ## – With a “Revelry” (Traditional) Tease (SM)
    • $$ – Not Played by Almost Dead since 2016-12-30 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY, a gap of 55 shows

    SweetWater 420 Festival: A Weekend We Will Never Forget April 26, 2018 18:01

    Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

    Photos by Craig Baird: [Home Team Photography] & Ryan Lewis [Rylewphoto]

    Growing up in the southeast, I became accustomed to traveling to Atlanta to see my favorite bands at an early age. Weekend excursions to The Tabernacle became a regular occurrence by the time I was in high school, with plenty of trips to The Fox Theatre and Variety Playhouse mixed in as well. Just last year, I finally made plans to attend SweetWater 420 Festival, which was clearly becoming one of the premier festivals in the country. Following that weekend, it was clear that this would become my latest annual tradition. No excuses.

    After a lineup which featured two nights of Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, moe., Ween, and Dark Star Orchestra (just to name a few), festival organizers had their work cut out for them. When the initial lineup dropped in mid-October, it almost felt like they were reading my mind. Umphrey’s McGee, Sturgill Simpson, and Tedeschi Trucks Band sat atop this lineup, along with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Vulfpeck, Papadosio, Anders Osborne, Spafford, and many more. The second wave would ultimately include The String Cheese Incident, Greensky Bluegrass, Ghostland Observatory, The Infamous Stringdusters, and the young phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer.

    Once the schedule was released, plans were made to arrive early on Friday afternoon. Southern Avenue was rocking the Planet 420 Stage in full force, and The Record Company was getting started on the main stage shortly after. We made a point to catch a nice segment of both sets and couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the weekend. This was my first opportunity to see either of these bands live, and I’ll definitely be making a point to see both again.

    If you follow the festival scene at all, you’ve surely seen the hype surrounding Spafford. This band has taken the jam world by storm, selling out just about every venue on the schedule. This would be my first live experience with them as well, and I was totally floored. The band came out swinging the “Backdoor Funk” and “The Remedy” and continued with killer takes on “Windmill,” “Lovesick Melody,” and “Minds Unchained.” They closed out the set with Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” and I think everyone was wishing we had a second set. I was fortunate enough to attend to Spafford’s late night show at Variety Playhouse, which seemed to be the hottest ticket in town. This set included some amazing takes on “Electric Taco Stand,” “All My Friends,” “Salamander Song,” “All In,” and a cover of Men at Work’s “Down Under.”

    Watch Spafford perform "You Don't Know How It Feels" here:

    Sturgill Simpson was up next on the main stage. This would be he and his band’s first performance since October 14th, and it was clear that these guys were ready to rock. Highlights from this set included originals such as “Turtles All The Way Down” and “Keep It Between The Lines,” while the cover of Freddie King’s “Going Down” really got the crowd moving. While Sturgill has one of the most unique, powerful voices I’ve ever heard, his guitar playing is equally impressive. He’s one of the most talented performers I’ve ever watched, and it’s exciting to think about what the future holds.

    The String Cheese Incident has been very kind to Atlanta in recent years. The past two summers have featured some amazing two-night runs at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, and expectations were high for Friday night’s headlining spot. The band got off to a hot start with “Sirens,” “Let’s Go Outside, and “Song In My Head.” The Motet’s Lyle Divinsky and Dave Watts, along with local Atlanta vocalist Rhonda Thomas, joined in on “Get To You,” before a cover of Jamiroquai’s “Space Cowboy” and “Believe” closed out the set.

    Cheese returned to the stage with young star Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who traded licks with Michael Kang and Bill Nershi throughout “Close Your Eyes.” Second set highlights also included “Beautiful,” “Joyful Sound,” “Rollover,” and “Restless Wind.” The crowd had a chance to sing “Happy Birthday” to drummer Michael Travis during the encore, and Taz + Rhonda Thomas would return for the closer, “I Saw The Light.”

    Saturday may have been my favorite day of the weekend, and there are a number of reasons why. One of my favorite regional bands, Funk You, kicked things off with an amazing set on the main stage. The band welcomed The Brotherhorns for the entirety of the set, and the Augusta natives brought out an impressive crowd for the early set. Funk You delivered a number of killer originals before closing things out with The Village People's "Kung Fu Fighting" with a little help from three dancers dressed as Gumby. Why not?

    Watch Funk You perform "Kung Fu Fighting" here:

    Anders Osborne was up next on the main stage, and I could listen to this guy for days. Anders has one of the most soothing voices you will find, and his songwriting is tough to beat. As is the case at most festivals, you're forced to cut several sets earlier than you'd like, and I knew I couldn't miss a minute of Marco Benevento. As a longtime fan of the Benevento Russo Duo, it's been remarkable to watch Marco's career flourish. This was my first chance to see his solo band, and it was easily one of the weekend highlights. This set was jam packed with energy from start to finish, and I was floored by bassist Karina Rykman. They gave us an amazing cover of Butthole Surfers' "Pepper" and had the entire crowd going wild as they closed out with "At The Show."

    Brandon "Taz" Niederauer was arguably the star of the weekend. While he made guest appearances with all three headliners, he and his band provided an incredible set on Saturday afternoon. The last time I'd seen Taz in Atlanta, he was tearing through a guitar solo as his mentor Col. Bruce Hampton tragically passed away on stage. Watching him perform "I'm So Glad" in Bruce's honor was a truly special moment. While his guitar playing is essentially indescribable, this "kid" can really sing too. 

    While this weekend had many peak moments, Joe Russo's Almost Dead was my personal main event. Thankfully, the second wave of artist announcements included a second set for JRAD, which set us up for an unforgettable evening. A lengthy jam led into "Cats Down Under The Stars," while "Feel Like A Stranger" would follow. A beautiful take on "The Wheel" led into a rockin' "Estimated Prophet," which segued perfectly into "He's Gone" to close the set. The second set was as strong as anything I've seen from these guys. "Shakedown Street" set the tone right off the bat and moved straight into "I Need A Miracle." The set continued with "Ramble On Rose," and "China Cat Sunflower" > "I Know You Rider," before "Not Fade Away" and "One More Saturday Night" closed out the set on the highest of notes. I could go on for days about this band. Here's to hoping that they become regular performers at this festival.

    While I hated to miss The Infamous Stringdusters and Ghostland Observatory, we solidified our spot front and center for Tedeschi Trucks Band. This was the most intriguing storyline of the weekend for me, as I knew this JRAD > TTB sequence would be outrageous. To no one's surprise, TTB came out firing with a downright spiritual set which included classics such as "Made Up Mind," "Part of Me," and "Midnight in Harlem." Susan Tedeschi led a beautiful combo of "Angel From Montgomery" > "Sugaree," and young Taz made his way onto the stage for a monster cover of "Statesboro Blues." Watching he and Derek Trucks trade licks on the Allman Brothers' classic was a moment I'll never forget. Taz would also join the band for the encore which featured Sly & The Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" > "I Want To Take You Higher."

    Sunday's weather looked questionable all week, and the rainy forecast became a reality early on. This was a familiar situation for those who attended the festival last year, and a little dancing in the rain is good for the soul. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds kicked things off with a super soulful performance. Greensky Bluegrass would follow with their wildly entertaining serving of jamgrass. This would give us yet another cameo from Taz, who took the lead on the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider." We then made our way to the Planet 420 Stage to catch the tail end of TAUK. This band is one of the most talented, dynamic bands on the scene, and we caught them just in time for an incredible cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer." 

    Watch Greensky Bluegrass perform "Midnight Rider" with Taz here:

    The bouncing between stages continued as we prepared for Vulfpeck on the main stage. Frequent collaborators Antwuan Stanley, Joey Dosik, and Corey Wong were each on hand for the funky occasion. The set was highlighted by classics such as "Animal Spirits," "1612," "Funky Duck," "Back Pocket," "Christmas in LA," and even a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Boogie On Reggae Woman." Bassist Joe Dart would lead the way through "Dean Town" to close out a high-energy occasion with Vulfpeck. Meanwhile, Papadosio was closing out the Planet 420 stage in powerful fashion. We walked up just in time to catch a sequence which included "Cue," "Garden," and "We Are Water." The energy was palpable as the rain picked up, and the Papadosio dance party was a sight to see. 

    The final performance of the weekend belonged to Umphrey's McGee, and they closed out a magical weekend in fine form. They kicked off the set with "Half Delayed" and "Remind Me," before "Booth Love" really got the party moving. "Preamble" would follow before what would become a massive "Mantis" sandwich. The sequence of "Mantis" > "Wife Soup", "Lenny" w/ Taz, "Draconian" > "Mantis" would definitely need to be on any list of weekend highlights. "Wappy Sprayberry" and "Ringo" would put an exclamation point on a wild, rainy set from Umphrey's. The encore began with a very fitting cover of Led Zeppelin's "Fool In The Rain," which was followed by "Ocean Billy" and "The Silent Type." While there were quite a few heavy hitters on this lineup, Umphrey's most certainly justified their spot in closing out the festivities.

    As you would expect, there was wide variety of afterparties around Atlanta each night. While many made their way to Variety Playhouse for TAUKing McGee on Sunday night, our crew headed over to one of my favorite venues, Aisle 5. Local favorites Bird Dog Jubilee were set to perform 'A Picture of Hoist' which consisted of songs from the two Phish albums ('A Picture of Nectar' and 'Hoist'). From start to finish, these guys absolutely killed it and provided a perfect ending to our 420 Fest experience. It's always a pleasure catching a show at Aisle 5, and Sunday night was no different.

    I've said more than enough at this point, but I'll conclude by saying that I truly believe this was my favorite festival experience to date. You couldn't ask for a better lineup, and Centennial Olympic Park is perfectly structured for a festival of this magnitude. There were a handful of sets that I really wish I could've seen, but it's impossible to catch them all. Festival organizers and the entire staff did an absolutely phenomenal job, and things couldn't have run any smoother. I'm not sure how they will top this year's experience, but I have no doubt that they will. 

    Watch Umphrey's McGee Perform "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" At Hulaween October 27, 2017 11:20

    Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

    Hulaween, the weekend so many have been waiting for all year, got its 'unofficial' start last night as its truly ridiculous 'pre-party' began. With the variety of Joe Russo's Almost Dead x2 , Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Spafford, and Zach Deputy on tap, the vibe at Suwannee felt like the weekend was in full force. Oh yeah, did we mention two sets Umphrey's McGee, as well? Well, that happened too. One of the evenings many highlights came in the form of a 20-minute cover of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" late during UM's second set. Fortunately, HD video footage has surfaced via Live For Live Music and can be watched in full below!

    Watch Umphrey's perform Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond via L4LM here:

    Umphrey’s McGee: Suwannee Hulaween - Live Oak, FL - 10.26.17

    Set 1: No Crying In Mexico > 40’s Theme > Wappy Sprayberry > All In Time > Push The Pig, Dump City > All In Time

    Set 2:: Le Blitz > Remind Me > The Triple Wide > The Floor, Day Nurse > Shine On You Crazy Diamond > Day Nurse, Booth Love

    SweetWater 420 Festival Reveals Stellar Initial Lineup October 19, 2017 10:50

    Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

    SweetWater 420 Fest will return to Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park on April 20th-22nd. SweetWater Brewing Company have  revealed the initial lineup for next year’s event, which is quickly becoming one of the premier music festivals in the country.

    Today's announcement includes headlining act Umphrey’s McGee (two sets), as well as Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sturgill Simpson, Vulfpeck, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Papadosio, Anders Osborne, Spafford, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Southern Avenue. Stay tuned for additional lineup announcements, including a second headliner, in early 2018.

    SweetWater 420 Fest also features a 5K run, the Planet 420 Eco-Village, the 420 Disco, the 420 Lyrics & Laughter presentation of comedians and up-and-coming local acts, an Artist Market and Food Village. Terminal West, Aisle 5, and other local venues are known for hosting some heavy hitting late night parties as well. 

    Watch the lineup announcement video here:

    Sweetwater 420 Fest initial lineup announcement from HEP420 on Vimeo.


    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Reveals Dates In Nashville, NOLA, + More October 17, 2017 11:32


    Joe Russo's Almost Dead continues to take the live touring scene by storm; giving fans their wild and creative twist on the music of the Grateful Dead. While the majority of the band's shows seem to fall within the northeast, the band has announced a total of nine early 2018 tour dates, which include Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Madison, Syracuse, Albany, Portland (ME), and a two-night run in New Orleans during the second weekend of JazzFest. See below for a complete list of dates.

    Tickets for the March shows go up for grabs on Friday, October 20 at 1 p.m. ET. General on sale for the New Orleans show will be Friday, October 20 at 2 p.m. ET. Joe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo

    Watch JRAD perform "New Minglewood Blues" with John Mayer on 10.13.17 here:

    Watch Joe Russo's Almost Dead Play Red Rocks Tonight August 31, 2017 18:47

    You often hear about the "magic in the air" in Colorado, and this weekend is shaping up to be a perfect explanation why. Earlier this summer, Joe Russo's Almost Dead was scheduled to make its highly anticipated Red Rocks debut, but mother nature had other plans. With a severe summer snowstorm in the forecast, the show was moved to the nearby 1st Bank Center in Broomfield (CO), with the band promising a make up show in the near future.

    Shortly after what became the band's first arena show, the make up date was announced for Thursday, August 31st (aka the night before Phish's annual weekend at Dick's). It's hard to imagine a more amazing way to kick off your Labor Day weekend, and thankfully, JRAD will be webcasting their show as well. The show is scheduled to kick off shortly at 9:30 PM EST / 8:30 PM CST, and can be purchased via by clicking here. And just a reminder...Phish will also be webcasting all three shows this weekend...with a free stream on Sunday (click here for details).

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Announces Fall Tour Dates August 29, 2017 12:23

    Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

    Fresh off another monster weekend at LOCKN' Festival, Joe Russo's Almost Dead has announced its official 2017 fall tour dates. This all starts with JRAD's 'Fall Ball' at Brooklyn Bowl, which consists of six shows spread out over two weekends: October 5 – 7 and October 12 – 14. After a band pre-sale on Wednesday, tickets go on sale to the general public this Thursday, August 31 at 1 12 p.m. ET.

    JRAD then heads out to California for two shows at the Teragon Ballroom in Los Angeles (Nov. 9th - 10th) and a show at The Fox Theatre in Oakland (Nov. 11th). A band pre-sale on Wednesday will be followed by the general on-sale this Friday, September 1st at 1:00 PM ET. The final two confirmed shows will be in Boston at the House of Blues (Dec. 8th - 9th). A band pre-sale on Wednesday will be followed by the general on-sale this Friday, at 12 p.m. ET.

    Stay tuned, as the band plans to announce two additional shows on Monday, September 11th. These will be the final JRAD shows for 2017, as this announcement also notes that the band will not be playing a New Year's Eve run this year. 

    Watch JRAD perform "Althea" at Brooklyn Bowl on 03.11.17 here:

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Announces Capitol Theatre Webcasts July 20, 2017 14:22

    It's no secret that Joe Russo's Almost Dead has taken the jam scene by storm in recent years, and those unable to make it to the band's upcoming run at The Capitol Theatre this weekend are in luck. The band has announced that both shows will be streamed in full HD via, and all of the official details can be found by clicking here. The two shows are scheduled for Friday, July 21st and Saturday, July 22nd in Port Chester, NY.  

    Watch JRAD perform "Eyes of the World" > "Not Fade Away" at The Capitol Theatre in 2015 here:

    Suwannee Hulaween Reveals Another Massive Initial Lineup June 22, 2017 13:25

    Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions
    Suwannee Hulaween, a diverse music and arts experience at the historic Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, today has revealed the musical lineup for its October 2017 event. Celebrating its fifth year, Suwannee Hulaween will offer a wide-reaching exposé of live and electronic music’s finest to soundtrack a fully immersive creative journey.
    Hulaween attendees may find themselves entranced by the world-leading instrumentative wonder of The String Cheese Incident, The Disco Biscuits, Greensky Bluegrass, and Lettuce, being blown away by dance-floor commanding electronic giants like Bassnectar, GRiZ, RL Grime, Claude VonStroke, Beats Antique, FKJ, Shiba San, and Manic Focus, or being treated to globally renowned headlining live acts like Ween, Run The Jewels, Portugal. The Man, Nick Murphy (Chet Faker), Nathaniel Rateliff, and many more.
    The String Cheese Incident will remain at the helm of Hulaween, lending their creative vision and experiences touring as one of the world’s most sought after Jam acts to help shape the iconic look and feel of their flagship festival.
    This movement shaping event offers its loyal followers a doorway into a visionary paradise, a channel into a reality defined by boundless surprises and exploration. Suwannee Hulaween’s five year anniversary will fuse a diversely curated musical lineup with awe-inspiring art installations, live performance, yoga, workshops, a speaker series and a slew of interactive activities to get lost in.
    It remains the artistic triumph of Hulaween’s fully immersive inventive playground, Spirit Lake, that continues to defines the multi-faceted Suwannee voyage. Psychedelic media arts, otherworldly lighting design, and bewitching projections lure attendees deeper into the wooded lakeside oasis where they may encounter live performers and of course costumed fans embedded into this wildly collaborative passage.
    Suwannee Hulaween has built its reputation on an unparalleled combination of world class musical talent, finely curated artistic programming, and a stunning natural location. It is such attention to detail and dedication to immersion that offers Hulaween attendees a truly peak experience.
    The 2017 festival will also feature a fully programmed Thursday pre-party on October 26 at Spirit Lake with musical offerings from the likes of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Liquid Stranger, The Devil Makes Three, EOTO & Friends, Zach Deputy, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, and more.
    In co-producer talent buyer, Michael Harrison Berg’s own words on Suwannee Hulaween’s fifth year, “Suwannee Hulaween, our flagship event, turns 5 years old this year and feels like it's finally flowered into a grown up. Between the ever evolving and diverse musical line up with a curated blend of Jam, Dance Music, Rock, and Hip Hop, along with with the experiential art experience of the Spirit Lake installation, back dropped by the natural beauty of the Spanish Moss laden oak tree forest at Spirit of the Suwannee, there is no better Halloween party in the world. Five years ago, we set out to take The String Cheese Incident's annual Halloween bash, and grow it into a full scale festival. Now, we have the honor of producing an event that we'd personally want to be at. We've watched the process come and go full circle as we've grown together with the most loyal and dedicated fanbase we've ever witnessed in our collective career. For our 5th anniversary in 2017, we plan to level up across the board.”
    About Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park:
    Set in the midst of 800-acres of Spanish moss-draped oak and cypress along the black Suwannee River and complete with the largest bat house in the southeast U.S, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is one of the most beautiful live music venues in the country. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, full-service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations.
    For More Information, Tickets, and VIP Packages for Suwannee Hulaween 2017, please visit: WWW.SUWANNEEHULAWEEN.COM

    Watch the official aftermovie from Hulaween 2016 here:

    Candler Park Music & Food Festival Releases Daily Schedule May 23, 2017 12:20

    Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

    Candler Park Music & Food Festival recently announced arguably its most exciting lineup to date, which will feature Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Railroad Earth, The Motet, MatisyahuLake Street DiveThe Marcus King BandPigeons Playing Ping PongRipeWebster, and Chelsea Shag on June 2nd-3rd. Yesterday, the festival revealed it's official daily lineup, which is headlined by Railroad Earth on Friday and Joe Russo's Almost Dead on Saturday.  In addition to the music, Candler Park will feature an array of food options including 20+ food trucks, a local artist market and the running of a 5K. General admission tickets cost $25 and can be purchased today via the festival’s website. VIP tickets can also be purchased for $80 by clicking here.  Stay tuned for future updates on what is sure to be an amazing weekend of music in Atlanta!

    Watch highlights from the 2016 Candler Park Fest here:

    Dominican Holidaze Reveals Stacked 2017 Lineup May 9, 2017 13:27

    Host bands Umphrey's McGee, STS9, and The Disco Biscuits have revealed the lineup for The 11th installment of Cloud 9 Adventures’ Dominican Holidaze destination concert event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This year's festivities are scheduled from December 1st - 5th. Along with the host bands, this year’s Holidaze will feature GRiZ, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lotus, The Motet, TAUK, Spafford, Sunsquabi and Wolf + Lamb, plus a poolside set from Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss.

    All-inclusive packages for returning Holidaze guests go up for grabs on May 17. If rooms remain following the pre-sale, there will be a public on sale on Thursday, May 18 at 12 p.m. ET via Head to the festival’s website for additional details.

    Watch the Dominican Holidaze (2016) official aftermovie here:

    Looking Back On An Amazing Weekend At Fool's Paradise April 10, 2017 14:19

    Words & Photos by Amanda Franklin

    Last weekend, funk fanatics and groove chasers gathered at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre to celebrate another weekend of incredible music at Fool’s Paradise.  The weather was immaculate, spirits were high, and the music, to no surprise, was spot-on.

    Friday highlights included Manic Science supplying a funk-heavy electronic set, Lettuce supplying the sunset vibes, and JRAD bringing the absolute heat and Tom Hamilton closing off the night with some raging riffs.  The crowd echoed throughout the amphitheater as everyone joined in belting "Brown Eyed Woman" along with Scott Metzger and Hamilton.  Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti carried the 10+ minute jam as the band traversed between the mellow melody and high-energy playing.  Fans screamed in support as the guitarists mercilessly shredded and everyone in the crowd that night could agree, we wished “the music never stopped.”

    The next day, The Main Squeeze it up a Saturday night fever by kicking off the day’s lineup.  The Floozies laid down the funk with a practically flawless show and thrilled the crowd by bringing out The Shady Horns for a portion of their set.  However, Lettuce’s closing set that night stole the weekend.  They began by immersing the crowd in smooth, psychedelic jams that highlighted the band’s incredible flow and cohesiveness.  The energy increased and Lettuce played perfectly to the people of St. Augustine with rich reggae undertones and an Exodus cover.  Antwaun Stanley joined the band for a cover of Vulfpeck’s "Funky Duck," which was an outright dance party in every sense of the word.

    Even though attendance was slightly lower compared to last year, Fool’s Paradise proved again that they are a festival force to be reckoned with and drove home the fact that we’ll never miss this weekend as long as it’s put on.  Fool’s has everything you could ever want in a fest—a gorgeous venue, incredible crowd, stellar staff, unbeatable vibes, and sounds supplied by funk’s finest.  Honestly, what more could you ask for?

    Watch complete footage of Joe Russo's Almost Dead's set here:


    Fool's Paradise Releases Complete Weekend Schedue March 17, 2017 09:31


    Photos by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

    Fool’s Paradise is just around the corner! We’re gearing up for a weekend with Lettuce x2, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (with Jeff Chimenti), The Floozies, The Motet, Manic Science (Manic Focus x Break Science), The Main Squeeze, Organ Freeman, and Oteil Burbridge & Antwaun Stanley as artists-at-large. On March 31 & April 1, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre will transform into a funk-fueled dance party – with so many surprises in store. 

    In addition to the main lineup, a number of late night shows will be hosted by some of the most talented musicians in the industry! On Friday, March 31, there will be performances from Jaw GemsEric Krasno Band, and the “Infinity Jam” hosted by Eric Krasno and Oteil Burbridge. On Saturday, April 1stDumpstaphunk will bring their unique brand of down-and-dirty New Orleans funk to the Elk’s Lodge for a very special late night set, their only performance at Fool’s Paradise. After Dumpstaphunk finishes up, they’ll join forces with members of Lettuce to form this year’s “Fools For Funk” super group.

    There’s more to look forward to than just musical adventures. Fool’s Paradise is also offering exciting Florida excursions with your favorite artists! Whether it’s mini-golf with Lettuce’s Jesus Coomes, The Motet’s Lyle Divinsky, and Vulfpeck’s Antwaun Stanley, or ping-pong tournament with Adam Deitch and Adam Smirnoff, or a sailing adventure and DJ set at sea with Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom, you’ll be rocking your Saturday alongside the best.

    There will also be music at the Elk's Lodge on Saturday afternoon, from 1PM-4PM with performances from AjevaThe Groove Orient, and Ben Strok & The Full Electric. More information can be found here.

    With so much to choose from, St. Augustine will be crawling with adventurous opportunities. The oldest city in the United States and fabled home to the Fountain of Youth, St. Augustine’s unique scenery and historical presence sets the city apart from any other in the country. With over 42 miles of beaches, incredible restaurants and bars, jetskiing, kayaking, fort tours, parasailing, and its own distillery, attendees will have plenty to explore.

    For more information on VIP packages, hotel packages, camping options, or other recommendations, click here. See you at Fool’s Paradise!

    Check out the official 2016 Fool's Paradise aftermovie here:

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead: An Experience Like No Other March 16, 2017 10:39

    Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

    After having a few days to rest, travel, and recover, it only seems right to sit down and reflect on the unforgettable experience I had this past weekend.  Joe Russo's Almost Dead played its first ever show at Brooklyn Bowl on January 26th, 2013 for what was thought to be a one-time-only special occasion.  The show was born as a result of "The Freaks List," an NYC-based email list which would throw an annual event at Brooklyn Bowl.  For the 2013 event, The Freaks requested that Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger switch things up from their regular existing Led Zeppelin tribute (Bustle In Your Hedgegrow) and instead perform the music of the Grateful Dead.  Russo would then recruit renowned guitarist Tom Hamilton to complete the five-piece lineup.

    Once this month's JRAD Brooklyn Bowl residency was announced, I decided that there was no excuse not to travel to New York for the first weekend.  After attending LOCKN' Festival last August and catching my first two JRAD sets, seeing them again has been a top priority.  Thursday night marked the band's 100th show, and walking into that venue for the first time is a feeling that I'll never forget.  I'm going to do my best to run through each night's setlist and provide some select video footage, but as many already know, these guys throw in more teases, reprises, and flat out curve balls than anyone you'll find. 

    Those familiar with "Beat It On Down The Line" know those first five beats that kick off the song.  In honor of the band's 100th show, BIODTL opened up the show with 100 beats before busting into the Dead classic. The set continued with fiery takes on "Bertha," Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" and "Help On The Way" > "Slipknot."  While the Dead would normally segue into "Franklin's Tower," JRAD is no ordinary Dead tribute.  An extended "Throwing Stones" jam had me convinced that was where we were headed, until "New Minglewood Blues" busted into full effect.  The always beautiful "Ramble On Rose" would follow, providing a nice sing-a-long, which is always good for the soul.  The first set ultimately closed with the band's first ever live original, "Keeping It Simple."  If you can find a band of this magnitude that debuts its first original at its 100th show, I would love to hear about it. 

    Watch JRAD perform its first ever live original "Keeping It Simple" here:


    The second set kicked off with one of my all time favorites, "The Music Never Stopped."  This was just one of the many times that guitarist Scott Metzger truly shined. While each band member had countless moments throughout the weekend, it blows my mind how well Metzger emulates Bobby (Weir).  From the style of play to overall demeanor/vocals, he has truly mastered his role in the band.  A lengthy jam on Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun" and "Music Never Stopped Reprise" provided for some truly wild improvisation, and just when I was thinking we were headed for a "Wharf Rat," Hamilton led a perfect transition into "Row Jimmy," which ultimately flowed into "Crazy Fingers."  Metzger shined yet again throughout "Estimated Prophet," and the "Jack Straw" > "Morning Dew" which closed out the show was simply perfect.  It never ceases to amaze me how thorough the Dead's catalog is. That, coupled with JRAD's creative spin, makes every night feel like a "greatest hits" set.

    Those who have attended multi-night runs with one of their favorite bands know the level of excitement upon arriving at the venue each night.  Walking back into Brooklyn Bowl for night two was exciting, to say the least, and there was much anticipation for what was to come.  Hamilton led the band through a rocking "Don't Ease Me In" to open things up, before a cover of "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)" had us all dancing and singing along.  I couldn't help but feel like this was an appropriate nod to International Woman's Day, but who knows.  A lengthy jam ultimately led into "China Cat Sunflower," and while the Dead would normally move straight into "I Know You Rider," JRAD went with "Feel Like A Stranger."  After a brief moment to regroup, the band fired into "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleoo," which had an especially sentimental aspect for me.  Something about the lines, "Hello baby, I'm gone, goodbye. Farewell to you old southern skies, I'm on my way" really hits home.  While JRAD doesn't follow all of the Dead's traditional pairings, a perfect take on "Lost Sailor" > "Saint Of Circumstance" closed out the first set in epic fashion. The lengthy "Terrapin" jam during "Saint of Circumstance" left even more anticipation for set two.

    Watch a clip from "Saint of Circumstance" here: 

    The rocking vibe picked right back up as "Greatest Story Ever Told" started off the second set, and what seemed to be a transition into "Black Throated Wind" eventually led into the band's first cover of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" since April of 2015.  This one flowed beautifully into a "Music Never Stopped Reprise," which was yet another JRAD debut.  Hamilton slowed the pace a bit as he led the way through "Candyman," before all five band members chimed in for a flawless, upbeat take on "Uncle John's Band."  The debuts continued with a "Stella Blue" jam, and the "He's Gone" that followed threw me for a major loop as they teased the theme song from the Netflix hit series "Stranger Things."  You could hear "The Wheel" coming from a mile away, and it certainly didn't disappoint.  After a lengthy tease of "St. Stephen," the band worked through the always soothing "So Many Roads," just before "Sugar Magnolia/Sunshine Daydream" just about lit the place on fire and closed out the set.  The encore started in classic Dead form with "Ripple," which was followed by the first "U.S. Blues" since JRAD's first show in January of 2013.  You can imagine the crowd reaction when those opening notes hit.

    Watch a clip from "Sunshine Daydream" here: 

    While the idea of a three-night run was once intimidating, it's damn near impossible to pass up the opportunity these days.  While there are a million other things one could get into while visiting New York City, my friends and I had unfinished business at the Bowl. This was no easy ticket to find either.  The lowest price on the secondary market was right at $200 including fees, and you just knew that it was a special night.  This set started off with more serious exploration before dropping into a "Cassidy" > "Let It Grow Jam" > "Born Cross Eyed Jam."  It's moments like this where this band truly transcends the "tribute" aspect.  These extended teases, jams, whatever you want to call them...they will keep any Dead fan engaged and paying attention to every note.  The anticipation built throughout this level of improvisation is what separates this band from just about any other, for me personally.

    Before we get too off track, "Tennessee Jed" was up next, and Tom Hamilton and Marco Benevento had a hell of a lot of fun with it.  Benevento's lengthy solo even contained a nice rendition of "chop sticks" that had the entire room laughing.  Metzger then busted out "Chuckles," an original from the WOLF! catalog, which made for yet another JRAD debut.  Finding a way to work in The Champs' "Tequila" is never a bad idea, and why not work it back into a "Chuckles Reprise"?  Next, came a great cover of Johnny Cash's "Big River," and the "Box of Rain" that followed couldn't have been placed any more perfectly.  One of Jerry Garcia's finest, "Althea," was played to perfection, and the "Throwing Stones" that I was waiting for all weekend closed the set with a bang, to say the least.  No matter where you stand in the political spectrum, this one is as powerful as ever considering our current climate. 

    Watch JRAD perform "Throwing Stones" here:

    The weekend's final set started off smokin' hot with "Deal" > "Good Lovin'," and it's absolutely worth noting that "Good Lovin'" contained a lengthy jam on Olivia Newton-John & John Travlota's "Summer Nights" from the 1978 hit film Grease.  A "Good Lovin' Reprise" then transitioned to Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" (another JRAD debut). "Cumberland Blues" made for some great late night foot stomping and even featured another "Slipknot" tease, before Hamilton absolutely ripped into "Terrapin Station."  Midway through this masterpiece came a jam on "The Other One," and the remaining layers of the "Terrapin Suite" were as much as we could have asked for.  Fingers were crossed for a "One More Saturday Night" encore, and while nearly nothing is predictable about this band, I couldn't have been more pleased to get that one right.  

    Those who made it this far through this article have most likely experienced JRAD in some shape or fashion.  Having grown up listening to the Grateful Dead, and taking a special interest in the Benevento/Russo Duo in high school, this band had my attention with its inception nearly four years ago.  Ever since catching the late night sets at LOCKN' 2016, I haven't been able to stop listening to these guys.  They absolutely stole that weekend for me personally, and that takes nothing away from the performances from Phish, My Morning Jacket, Phil & Friends, and others.  Last weekend at Brooklyn Bowl only reaffirmed that Joe Russo's Almost Dead is one of the most electrifying, creative bands of our time.  They take the music of the Dead, add their own creative touch, and legitimately take things to another level.  This experience with this band in its home venue was one that I'll never forget.  And if you're still reading, keep a close eye on those future tour dates and make JRAD a top priority.

    Watch JRAD perform "Good Lovin'" here:

    Setlists via Joe Russo's Almost Dead Official Facebook Page

    Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Brooklyn Bowl - 03.09.17

    Set One: BIODTL @, Bertha #, Mama Tried -> Help On The Way -> Slipknot! -> Throwin’ Stones Jam $ -> New Minglewood Blues %, Ramble On Rose, Keeping It Simple ^ 

    Set Two: Music Never Stopped & -> Third Stone From The Sun Jam * -> Music Never Stopped Reprise + > Row Jimmy @@ -> Crazy Fingers -> Estimated Prophet -> Jack Straw -> Morning Dew 

    @ – 100 Beat – Beat It On Down The Line
    # – With a “Shortnin’ Bread” (James Whitcomb Riley) tease (MB)
    $ – First Time Played By Almost Dead
    % – With Throwin’ Stones Teases / Jams (Band)
    ^ – Almost Dead Original, Written by JR & TH, First Time Played
    & – With an “Ode to Billy Joe” (Bobbie Gentry) Tease (SM)
    * – Jimi Hendrix original, First Time Played By Almost Dead
    + – Not played by Almost Dead since Suwannee Hulaween, 10.29.15, a gap of 49 shows
    @@ – Proceeded by a significant Wharf Rat Tease / Jam – may become a separate track based on length. Also with a Throwin’ Stones Tease

    Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Brooklyn Bowl - 03.10.17

    Set One: Don't Ease Me In, Women Are Smarter -> China Cat Sunflower  -> Feel Like A Stranger @, Mississippi Half Step -> Lost Sailor -> Saint Of Circumstance #

    Set Two: Greatest Story Ever Told $ -> Moby Dick % -> Music Never Stopped Reprise Reprise ^ -> Greatest Story Ever Told Reprise &, Candyman -> Uncle Johns Band -> Stella Blue Jam * -> He’s Gone + -> The Wheel @@ -> St. Stephen Jam -> So Many Roads ##, Sugar Magnolia/Sunshine Daydream 

    Encore: Ripple $$ (TH) > US Blues %%

    • @ – With an “Apache” (Jerry Lordan) Tease (MB)
    • # – With a Terrapin Jam (may become a separate track), Ruben & Cherise Teases (TH) & an “Eleanor Rigby” (The Beatles) Tease (TH)
    • $ – With a Black Throated Wind Jam (may become a separate track)
    • % – Unfinished (no drum solo). Led Zeppelin Cover, not played since 2015-04-22 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, a gap of 79 shows
    • ^ – First Time Played by Almost Dead, included lyrics
    • & – Not played since 2015-02-17 State Theater, Portland, ME, a gap of 84 shows
    • * – First Time Played by Almost Dead, included a short He’s Gone Jam
    • + – With a “Stranger Things” (Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from the band Survive) tease (MB). Yes, the Netflix series Stranger Things.
    • @@ – With “The Simpsons Theme” (Danny Elfman) teases (SM & DD) & Terrapin Teases (TH & MB)
    • $$ – Not played since 2015-12-31 The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA, a gap of 42 shows
    • %% – Not played since 2013-01-26 Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, a gap of 100 shows. Dave broke a string on the Alembic & played his Gibson SG

    Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Brooklyn Bowl - 03.11.17

    Set One: Jam @ -> Cassidy # -> Let It Grow Jam ->
    Born Cross Eyed Jam $ -> Tennessee Jed %  -> Jam %% -> Chuckles ^ -> Tequila & -> Chuckles Reprise ^ -> Big River > Box Of Rain, Althea (TH) * > Throwing Stones (SM)

    Set Two: Deal > Good Lovin + -> Summer Nights Jam @@ -> Good Lovin’ Reprise -> Heartbreaker Jam ## -> Cumberland Blues $$  -> Terrapin Station -> The Other One Jam -> Terrapin Suite ^^

    Encore: One More Saturday Night (SM)

    @ – With a China>Rider Transition Jam Tease (TH)
    # – Unfinished
    $ – With “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (Bob Dylan) Teases (Band)
    % – With a Spoonful Tease (SM) & a lengthy Marco Solo that included “Chopsticks” that could become its own track
    %% – With “Big River” teases
    ^ – WOLF!! Original, First Time Played By Almost Dead
    & – The Champs Original, First Time Played By Almost Dead
    * – With a “So What” (Miles Davis) Tease (SM) & a full band “All of my Love” (Led Zeppelin) Jam that could become its own track
    + – With a back & forth between Marco & Scott that teased numerous jazz standards including “St. Thomas” (Sonny Rollins) & “Four” (Miles Davis)
    @@ – Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta / Grease Soundtrack Original, (AKA Summer Lovin’ – written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey). First Time Played By Almost Dead
    ## – Led Zeppelin Original, First Time Played By Almost Dead
    $$ – With a “Heartbreaker” (Led Zeppelin) Tease (DD) & a Slipknot! Jam (Band)

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Offers HD Webcasts Of Brooklyn Bowl Residency March 9, 2017 09:55

    Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

    Just under four years ago, Joe Russo's Almost Dead made its debut at the famed Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, New York.  This weekend, the band begins the first of two three-night runs, with tonight's show marking the 100th show for the Grateful Dead-inspired super group.  The usual lineup for Joe Russo’s Almost Dead features drummer Joe Russo, guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton, keyboardist Marco Benevento and bassist Dave Dreiwitz. This usual lineup will perform this first weekend's shows (March 9 – 11), while next weekend Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge will sub for Dreiwitz, when Almost Dead returns to Brooklyn Bowl March 16 – 18.

    Fortunately for Dead Head nation, JRAD has partnered with to offer full HD webcasts for all six performances.  For all of the specific details and various packages, make sure to head over to the official website.  If you're not yet familiar with JRAD, make sure to check out their scorching take on "Scarlet Begonias" > "Fire On The Mountain" from Brooklyn Bowl on October 5th, 2015 below.  We strongly recommend watching all the way through, in order to catch the absolutely outrageous solo from Benevento.

    Watch JRAD perform "Scarlet Begonias" > "Fire On The Mountain" here:


    Joe Russo's Almost Dead Shares Official Recording From Nashville Debut March 2, 2017 15:57

    Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead recently made a rare appearance in the southeast, with shows at The Music Farm in Charleston, SC and the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN in mid-January.  Fortunately for Deadhead nation, the band has released an official recording of the Nashville show on January 12th.  This performance features many of the "greatest hits" from The Dead's catalog, as well as guest appearances from vocalist Nicole Atkins on "The Music Never Stopped," "Dancing In The Streets," "The Stranger (Two Souls)," and "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad."  See below to stream the show and view the complete setlist, and head over to JRAD's official website and Facebook page for all of the band's latest updates.

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead is Scott Metzger, Tommy Hamilton, Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo.

    Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Ryman Auditorium - 01.12.17

    Set One: Truckin’ (SM) -> Tennessee Jed @ (TH) -> The Music Never Stopped (SM & NA)> Dancing In The Streets (SM & NA) -> Brown Eyed Women (TH)

    Set Two: Help On The Way (TH) -> Slipknot! $ -> Throwing Stones % (SM) -> Dark Star Jam ^ -> Throwing Stones Reprise (SM), The Stranger (Two Souls) (NA) > Let It Grow & (SM) -> He’s Gone (All) > Terrapin Station* (TH)

    Encore: Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad (All with NA) -> We Bid You Goodnight (Instrumental ending)

    • @ – With unknown tease MB
    • # – With a “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) Jam (Band)
    • $ – TH broke a string
    • % – With a Dancin Tease (TH)
    • ^ – With a GDTRFB Tease (TH)
    • & – With a “Norwegian Wood” (The Beatles) Tease (SM) & a “Kashmir” Jam (SM & Band)
    • * – With Ruben & Cherise Teases (MB then Band) an “Eleanor Rigby” (The Beatles) Jam (TH & Band)

    The Peach Music Festival Announces Monster 2017 Lineup March 1, 2017 11:49

    Just yesterday, organizers of The Peach Music Festival announced a monster lineup for the 2017 festival at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA. This year's headliners include Widespread Panic who will play two nights, My Morning Jacket, Gov’t Mule & Friends and Joe Bonamassa. This year’s Peach lineup also boasts numerous acts who could easily be considered headliners, including Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lettuce featuring Chaka Khan, Mike Gordon, Les Brers, Jaimoe’s Jassz Band, Dark Star Orchestra, The Magpie Salute, God Street Wine, Steve Kimock & Friends and many others. See below for the complete lineup, and head over to the festival's official website for further details and ticketing options.
    The Peach Music Festival was billed as the first ever Allman Brothers inspired music festival in northeastern Pennsylvania, and attracts thousands of people each year. Festival-goers are encouraged to shop at the many food and craft vendors on the grounds of the festival and are offered free access to the Montage Mountain Ski Resort, which is transformed into a large water park in the summer months, giving them the opportunity to utilize the park's many water rides and attractions while listening to the musicians performing. Camping and RV Parking is also offered on the grounds. The festival takes place in mid-August over the course of several days and has a variety of different musical performers, and special events each day.

    Peach Music Festival 2017 Lineup

    • Widespread Panic
    • My Morning Jacket
    • Gov’t Mule & Friends
    • Joe Bonamassa
    • Umphrey’s McGee
    • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
    • Lettuce Featuring Chaka Khan
    • Mike Gordon
    • Les Brers
    • Jaimoe’s Jassz Band
    • Dark Star Orchestra
    • The Magpie Salute
    • God Street Wine
    • Steve Kimock & Friends
    • The Record Company
    • The Marcus King Band
    • The Soul Rebels
    • Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
    • The Mastersounds
    • Fruition
    • The Werks Featuring The Shady Horns
    • Eric Krasno Band
    • Whiskey Myers
    • Pink Talking Fish
    • Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
    • Aqueous
    • The Hip Abduction
    • Moonalice
    • Butcher Brown
    • Spafford
    • Tom Hamilton’s American Babies
    • Holly Bowling
    • Mungion
    • The Jauntee
    • Lespecial
    • Ghost Of Paul Revere
    • Scott Sharrard & The Brickyard Band
    • Gabriel Kelley
    • Caverns
    • The Steppin Stones
    • Elise Testone
    • Bobby Lee Rodgers

    Fool's Paradise Announces 2017 Lineup January 17, 2017 12:33

    Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo by Keith G

    On March 31 & April 1, Lettuce, Purple Hat Productions, Live for Live Music, andSilver Wrapper will host the 2nd annual Fool’s Paradise, a funk-fueled destination event taking place in the heart of one of America's most historic cities: St. Augustine, Fla. Returning to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, the two-day extravaganza will feature two explosive sets from New York funk masters Lettuce, along with premier Grateful Dead tribute band Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, electro-funk duo The Floozies, a special Manic Science set featuring Manic Focus & Break Science, contemporary funk ragers The Main Squeeze, LA-based groove masters Organ Freeman, and Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge as an Artist at Large. Additional special guests will be announced soon, and several cross-collaborations amongst bands are to be expected.

    With music as the main attraction, Fool’s Paradise is a premier destination event like no other. For two days under the Florida sun, there will be genre-bending music, artist-led excursions, and plenty of time for nautical activities just steps away from the ocean. A number of late night shows at the Elk’s Lodge (next door to the venue) will be announced in the coming weeks. Once in a lifetime artist-led excursions will also soon be announced, allowing you to embark on a water adventure, participate in a local activity, and immerse yourself with some of your favorite musicians in an intimate setting.

    Thrown in conjunction with the organizers of some of the Southeast’s most treasured festivals, including Suwannee Hulaween, Purple Hatter’s Ball, and more, Fool’s Paradise is set to return to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The state-of-the-art performing arts venue is nestled in a beautiful 16-acre section of Anastasia State Park. Campgrounds and beach shores make up this perfect Florida landscape.

    St. Augustine is roughly one hour from Jacksonville, one hour from Gainesville, andtwo hours from Orlando. The oldest city in the United States and fabled home to the Fountain of Youth, St. Augustine’s unique scenery and historical presence sets the city apart from any other in the country. With over 42 miles of beaches, incredible restaurants and bars, oceanic activities, and historical adventures galore, attendees will have plenty to explore during their stay.

    The entire venue is General Admission, with the exception of minimal reserved seating. VIP packages will include reserved seating in front of the soundboard, priority access to the pit area, artist happy hour, discount alcoholic beverages, event poster and t-shirt, and a ticket to the late night concerts at Elk’s Lodge. Hotel packages include lodging, transportation, and VIP tickets to the event.

    If guests are craving the ultimate outdoor experience, there are two nearby campsites with availabilities at Anastasia State Park and KOA Campgrounds. The city also offers a variety of lodging options.

    For tickets and more information, visit

    Watch the official 2016 Fool's Paradise aftermovie here:

    LOCKN' Festival Reveals First Artists For 2017 Festival December 8, 2016 11:17

    LOCKN' Festival has begun revealing plans for the 2017 festival this morning, announcing that Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, The String Cheese Incident, The Avett Brothers, Umphrey's McGee, Gov't Mule, moe.Joe Russo's Almost DeadKeller Williams, JJ Grey & Mofro, Eric Krasno BandJohn Butler Trio, Brandi Carlile, Pigeons Playing Ping PongTAUKThe RevivalistsMarcus King BandThe SuffersLos Colognesand Margo Price will all be on next year's lineup.  LOCKN' 2017 is scheduled for August 24th-27th at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA.  It appears that the festival is reverting back to it's original method of artist announcements by releasing them periodic increments, so stay tuned as we expect more lineup additions to be announced in the future.  For more details and ticketing options, click here.

    Watch Joe Russo's Almost Dead's entire set from LOCKN' 2016 (08.25.16) here:

    Watch Bob Weir's Acoustic Performance With Joe Russo's Almost Dead November 17, 2016 00:35

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead has been sweeping the nation by storm and just finished up a two-night California run last weekend.  The band made stops in San Diego at House of Blues on Friday night and The Fox Theater in Oakland on Saturday night.  The Oakland show has been a particularly hot topic, as the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir stopped by and joined the band a during the acoustic segment of the highly praised super-group's set.  JRAD, which is comprised of Joe Russo (drums), Marco Benevento (keys), Tom Hamilton (lead guitar), Dave Dreiwitz (bass), and Scott Metzger (rhythm guitar) are known for keeping an upbeat tempo and playing much of the Dead catalog perhaps just one step faster, before launching the jam into "outer space."  

    Seeing the band in the more recently introduced, stripped down, acoustic setting with Weir was more than a treat for those in attendance.  Weir ultimately surfaced after the opening tune ("It Must Have Been The Roses"), and remained on stage for "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, "Black Throated Wind," "When I Paint My Masterpiece," and "Cassidy." Fortunately, front-row footage of the entire acoustic set has surfaced via TimeZonerTV.  Watch in full and check out the complete setlist from the Oakland show below.

    Set 1 (8:00PM – 10:13PM)
    Jam ->
    Good Lovin’ (SM) ->
    Cumberland Blues (All) ->
    Help On The Way (TH) @ ->
    Slipknot! ->
    Music Never Stopped (SM)
    He’s Gone (TH) >
    The Wheel # (All) >
    Jackstraw $ (SM & TH)

    Acoustic Set ^ (No Set Break)
    Must Have Been The Roses % (TH)
    Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall + (BW)
    Black Throated Wind + (BW)
    When I Paint My Masterpiece + (BW)
    Cassidy + (BW) ->
    Let It Grow Jam + ->
    Cassidy + (BW)

    Set 2 (10:33PM – 11:59PM)
    King Solomon’s Marbles
    Row Jimmy (TH)
    Estimated Prophet (SM) ->
    Uncle John’s Band (All)
    Eyes Of The World && (TH) ->
    Jam *->
    Throwing Stones (SM) ->
    Deal Jam & ->
    Throwing Stones (SM) ->
    Hey Bulldog Jam ^ ->
    Throwing Stones (SM)

    E: One More Saturday Night (SM)

    @ – Proceeded by an emphatic “Shakedown Street” Tease
    # – With an “Head Over Heels” (Tears for Fears) Tease (MB)
    $ – During the jam before the final “We can share the women…” lyrics, the stage was transformed seamlessly for the acoustic set. MB’s piano was moved (while he was still playing it), a small kit for Joe rolled out on a riser, mics & stools were placed for SM, TH & BW.
    ^ – All songs with MB on Upright Piano & Vocals, TH & SM on Acoustic Guitars & Vocals, DD on Upright Bass & JR on 3 piece kit – Kick, Snare & Hi Hat – & Vocals.
    % – Almost Dead only
    + – With Bob Weir on Acoustic Guitar & Vocals as indicated
    && – With a DD Bass Solo & an MB piano solo
    * – Contained elements of Throwing Stones
    & – First Time Played By Almost Dead
    ^ – Beatles cover, first Time Played By Almost Dead as an instrumental. (The full song was played on 2016.07.02.)
    This was probably the longest show Almost Dead has played, at about 3:39.

    :: Setlist via Joe Russo’s Almost Dead ::

    Watch Joe Russo's Almost Dead's LOCKN' Sets In Full HD September 22, 2016 15:15

    Photos by Keith Griner: Phierce Photography

    While it's been nearly four weeks since the conclusion of LOCKN' Festival, certain memories continue to resonate with each day.  Atop that list of memories is the double dose of Joe Russo's Almost Dead on Thursday and Friday night at the Blue Ridge Bowl.  Thursday night's set followed action packed sets from Umphrey's McGee and Ween, while Friday night's set followed Ween and two full sets from Phish.  We haven't been able to stop listening to these two sets since LOCKN', and thankfully, video footage from both sets have surfaced on YouTube.  

    See below for a footage of the entire Thursday 8/25 set, as well as various segments from the Friday 8/26 set.  A direct link is provided to watch the entire Friday 8/26 set in Full HD.  For all of the latest information on Joe Russo's Almost Dead, head over to the band's Facebook page and official website. 

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Setlist: Thursday 8/25

    Space > Truckin'. St. Stephen >The Eleven. Brown-Eyed Women > The Wheel > Estimated Prophet, Tennessee Jed, Viola Lee Blues > He's Gone > Terrapin Suite

    Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Setlist: Friday 8/26

    Good Lovin' > Shakedown Street > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Dancing in the Street > The Music Never Stopped > Turn On Your Love Light > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower > Slipknot! > Throwing Stones

    Click Here: Watch JRAD's entire set from Friday 8/26 at LOCKN' in Full HD

    Watch JRAD's entire set from Thursday 8/25 at LOCKN' here:

    Watch JRAD perform "Hes Gone" > "Terrapin Suite" on Thursday 8/25 at LOCKN' here:

    Watch JRAD soundcheck "Reuben & Cherise" on Friday 8/26 at LOCKN' here:

    Watch JRAD perform "Good Lovin" on Friday 8/26 at LOCKN' here:

    Watch JRAD perform "Shakedown Street" on Friday 8/26 at LOCKN' here:


    Watch JRAD perform "Dancin' In The Streets" on Friday 8/26 at LOCKN' here: