Review: Kitchen Dwellers w/ Part & Parcel and River Valley Rangers @ Hodi’s 4/20/18

“Fort 20”

Ah, yes. 4/20. What better way to spend the evening with some high quality grass. No, not that kind of grass. I mean bluegrass! The night was cold and rainy, a perfect reason to be inside warming the body and the soul with the heartfelt sounds of strings. I had been looking forward to this show for a while and was excited to see what the Kitchen Dwellers were all about. I hadn’t seen them before nor had I listened to much of their music but I kept hearing positive reviews about them from others.

My girlfriend and I got there around 10 so we missed the River Valley Rangers but we were able to see some of Part & Parcel’s set. I’m pretty sure I have seen them before in the past opening for another group. They were solid, played with a lot of energy, and really belted out the lyrics.

Dancin’ to the Dwellers

According to their website, the Kitchen Dwellers met at Montana State University just three years ago and they have been captivating bluegrass fans ever since. Their rise on the music scene was rapid, playing with big name groups like Railroad Earth and getting spots at major festivals around the country. Fans have dubbed their genre “Galaxy Grass” and I think this is a fitting description. Their sound is unique, ambitious, and pushes the boundaries of what traditional bluegrass usually sounds like. With the somewhat recent addition of Torrin Daniels on banjo, the group is able to take jams out into orbit with the help of several funky sound kits. Daniels’ banjo seemed to be engineered with technology from a distant galaxy because one moment it would sound like any old banjo but then the next it sounded like Jerry Garcia’s guitar or even like a Moog synth. It gave their entire sound it’s distinct personality.

IMG_4742
Kitchen Dwellers: From Left: Max Davies (guitar, vocals), Torrin Daniels (banjo, vocals), Joe Funk (bass, vocals), Shawn Swain (mandolin, vocals).

Rowdiness Ensues

The Dwellers got the crowd worked up in a hurry. People were stomping their feet, spinning around, dancing, and hollering up a storm. They somehow managed to maintain a near constant level of energy throughout their entire long set, taking only a couple 2 minute breaks in between some of the songs. I was really impressed by their range of vocals, harmonies, and overall rhythm they had together as a group. It seemed like they had their sound figured out and could lock into some deep jams. After this show, I’m definitely a fan of the galaxy grass! Next time they come around, I’ll be seeing them again.

IMG_4743
Shawn getting a solo

Goodbye for now!

I can’t believe it but this is my last blog post! (at least for now). The semester has come to a close and I have reached my 10th posting. It’s been a lot of fun getting to write about something I love and sharing it with you all. I hope you have enjoyed getting to read about my live music adventures and who knows, if you check back at some point I might post again just for the heck of it. Thanks to everyone who left me nice comments and took the time to read what I had to say, it meant a lot! I’ll see you around and don’t forget to keep on jamming!

Check out the setlist below as well as some links to the Kitchen Dwellers media if you are so inclined.

IMG_4744
Kitchen Dwellers Setlist (Encore was “Deal” by the Grateful Dead)

Link it up

Kitchen Dwellers Main Website: https://www.kitchendwellers.com/

KD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kitchen.dwellers/

KD Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kitchen-dwellers

Advertisements

Review: The Grass is Dead w/ Boris Garcia Feat. Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) @ Hodi’s 4/4/18

IMG_4681
Flyer found on campus

All The Way From Philly

My excitement for this show had been growing for several weeks due to the fact that I was going to be able to see a musical legend, Tim Carbone, play in such a small venue such as Hodi’s Half Note. Tim is known for playing the fiddle and guitar with the jamgrass group called Railroad Earth. Railroad is a well known group in the jam scene and they have sold out Red Rocks before. Just getting to see him play was awesome and Grateful Grass was icing on the cake! I got there in plenty of time to see Boris Garcia, the opening group that Tim was jamming with. Boris Garcia is a jamgrass group with Americana and progressive overtones. They fuse a really cool mix of strings with percussion and a tendency to explore many different musical styles. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, the six man group has been playing for a little over 10 years. Their sound reminded me a little of Railroad Earth but that’s probably because Tim was playing with them. This was the first time I have seen them and I was thoroughly impressed. It felt like a real treat to see such a talented group of musicians playing for a total of about 12 people including myself.

IMG_4713
Cool Shot of Mr. Carbone
IMG_4717
Boris Garcia: From Left: Bud Burroughs (Mandolin and keys), EJ Simpson (Bass), Jeff Otto (Vocals, guitar, ukulele), Leonard “Boots” Jaffee (Harmonica), Tim Kelly (Drums), Tim Carbone (Fiddle, guitar), Bob Stirner (Guitar, vocals)

A surprise guest appearance was made by a man named Leonard “Boots” Jaffee. I recently learned that he is the head chef for the Newsom Dining Hall right here at CSU. His background in music extends back to the 1960s where he did pyrotechnics for the Grateful Dead. During the show, he played harmonica alongside Boris Garcia and The Grass is Dead. Truly amazing!

Grateful For Grass

After Boris Garcia’s excellent performance, The Grass is Dead took the stage. They play a wonderful blend of Dead favorites but they put their own flair on the classic songs. Sometimes they might speed up the tempo of Fire on the Mountain or play a more uptempo version of Easy Wind. I did my best to take note of all the songs they played:

Alabama Getaway, Viola Lee Blues, Candyman, Mama Tried, I Know You Rider, Ramble on Rose, West L.A. Fadeaway, Samson and Delilah, Dark Star, Easy Wind, Feel Like a Stranger, Stop That Train, E: Ripple

IMG_4719
The Grass is Dead: From Left: Steve Pruett (Mandolin, vocals), Billy Gilmore (Banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, Dobro, pedal steel, vocals) Brian Drysdale (Drums, vocals), Jared Womack (Dobro, vocals), Jon Murphy (Bass, vocals)

Coming out of the gates with Alabama Getaway got me pumped because one, I love this song, and two, it’s been stuck in my head for a while. A great version of Candyman came after Viola, and the guys just kept it rolling. I thought they might take a break at some point but they decided to play one long set. I was impressed by their stamina to be able to play with a high amount of energy for so long. “Boots” joined them for a couple jams as well, which was fun to see.

The highlight of the night, however, was after the show ended and the guys decided to come down on the floor to play an acoustic version of Ripple as their encore. I got to stand two feet away from them as me, the band, and the other dozen or so people all sang along. It was a one of a kind experience that I won’t forget.

IMG_4721

IMG_4723
Ripple Encore

More Grass On The Horizon

Next Friday, I’ll be going to see another bluegrass group called the Kitchen Dwellers playing at Hodi’s. I’ve heard good things about them but I have not been able to catch one of their live shows yet so I’m excited. As usual, check below for some links to the artists discussed in this post.

Boris Garcia Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Boris-Garcia-187834267930391/

The Grass is Dead Main Website: https://www.grassisdead.com/

 

Review: DeadPhish Orchestra w/ Taylor Scott Band (ft. Todd Smallie of Derek Trucks band, JJ Grey & Mofro), STIG @ The Aggie 3/29/18

Starting the Night Out Right

I arrived slightly later this evening, thinking that the opening bands would take their time getting out and would be playing a while. I hadn’t heard of the Taylor Scott Band or STIG before so I wasn’t feeling super compelled to get there early. However, once I got there at about 9:40, STIG had already finished their set and TSB was on stage. I was surprised, they must have gotten out in a hurry and played a quick set. I liked what I was hearing from TSB though and was glad I could catch some of their performance. It was also a treat to see Todd Smallie playing bass with them. He is incredibly talented and playing with the Derek Trucks Band is no small potatoes.

At first I thought his last name was “smiley” and I thought that was hilarious because the entire time he was playing, he had the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. How fitting that last name would have been. His enthusiasm for music transferred to his playing. After an insane bass solo, Smallie blew the crowd away with his skills. Their performance was a great way to get the crowd ready for DeadPhish.

IMG_4682
Taylor Scott Band – From Left: Todd Smallie on bass, Taylor Scott on guitar, Larry Thompson on drums, and Jon Wirtz on keys

Bring Out Ya Dead! Bring Out Ya Phish!

After TSB’s high energy set, it was time for DeadPhish Orchestra to take the stage. I was really excited to hear them play. I had been listening to some of their past shows recently and was impressed by their ability blend the folksy, mellow sound of the Dead with the fast-paced and progressive sound of Phish.

IMG_4684
DeadPhish Orchestra – From Left: Ted Tilton on keys and vocals, Paul Murin on guitar and vocals, Chris Sheldon on drums and vocals, and Brian Adams on bass and vocals

The guys started out with a nice version of the Phish song “Buried Alive.” It got the crowd moving and was setting the scene for what was to come. They transitioned into the Dead’s “Let it Grow” next. This back and forth style is how they structure their shows, a 50/50 blend of the two bands’ music. Coming out of “Let it Grow” were the opening chords to “Sample in a Jar” and this really got me hyped. I love “Sample” and apparently everyone else in attendance did too. We all sang along and rocked out to Murin’s epic solo. While it isn’t officially listed on the setlist they posted to their Facebook, the group went straight into the jam section of “Split Open and Melt” and skipped the opening.

After a while, I was starting to wonder when they would take a set break. Almost an hour and 40 minutes in and they were showing no signs of stopping. Eventually, Paul told the crowd that they had originally planned to take a break but decided to just play one long set. I thought it was pretty cool of them to stay out and keep jamming for us.

IMG_4686
Paul Murin Doing Some Anastasio-esque Jedi Guitar Tricks

What followed was an awesome string of Phish and Dead songs:

Feel Like A Stranger, Wolfman’s Brother > Friend of the Devil > My Friend My Friend > Here Comes Sunshine > Golden Age > Here Comes Sunshine, Mike’s Song > Black Peter > Weekapaug Groove, Bertha > Bug. E: Attics of My Life > Harry Hood

I felt really glad to have heard some of the lesser played Dead songs like “Black Peter” and “Attics of My Life.” DeadPhish did a great job nailing the emotion in these songs and the harmonies between them sounded nice.

Overall, I felt like DeadPhish Orchestra’s sound resembles Phish more than the Dead because number one, it’s a four man group like Phish compared to a 7 person group like Grateful Dead, and number two, Murin’s guitar playing sounded more like Trey’s than Jerry’s. When they did play Dead songs, it sounded like a funkier, more experimental version. I would compare it to how Joe Russo’s Almost Dead sounds. Of course, no one will EVER sound exactly like the Grateful Dead or Phish. This is just fine by me. I think it’s fun to see groups channeling the sound of these jam legends while at the same time making something their own.

Stayin’ Grateful

The Dead vibes continue this week as I will be attending the Grass is Dead at Hodi’s on Wednesday. I’m excited to hear some more Grateful Dead in bluegrass form. Plus, Tim Carbone, the fiddle player from Railroad Earth, will be there. A review of that show will be up sometime next week. Thanks again for reading and help yourself to some links below!

DeadPhish Orchestra Main Website: http://deadphishorchestra.com/

DeadPhish Orchestra Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeadphishOrchestra/

DeadPhish Orchestra Archive: https://archive.org/details/DeadPhishOrchestra

 

Review: The Werks @ Hodi’s Half Note 3/24/18

IMG_4675
From Left: Chris Houser on guitar, Dan Shaw on keys, Rob Chafin on drums, and Jake Goldberg on bass

Skip The Gym, Get A Werk Out

I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t really familiar with The Werks prior to attending this show. I had heard of them but I had barely listened to them and I had never seen them live before. Boy, was I missing out. These guys have been killing it in the jam band scene since 2005. Consisting of members Rob Chafin on drums, Chris Houser on guitar, Dan Shaw on keyboards, and Jake Goldberg on bass, The Werks creates their signature psychedelic dance rock sound. They have a big following in their home state of Ohio and they have even been hosting their own festival there for the past 9 years called “The Werk Out.” Playing alongside them at their festivals are big name artists such as Umphrey’s McGee, Papadosio, Eoto, Lettuce, Turkuaz, Lotus, and many others.

Thanks to The Werks page on phantasytour.com I was able to get the setlist. The group started out the night with a cool song called “Inside a Dream” which featured the lyric “Your dreams are calling out your name.” I liked this song a lot for its musicality as well as its inspiring message. This jam led into “Game Plan,” “OG,” and “Slab.” Even if I was an avid listener, I’m not sure if I would have noticed these song transitions. They played with such intensity and energy that it was easy to get lost in their sound, unaware that they are actually playing more than one song. To close the first set, they invited Jaden Carlson, an incredibly talented young female guitarist, to join them in playing the song “G-Funk” on stage. She spent a considerable amount of time shredding. At one point, Jaden also showcased her skills on the keyboards. It was an impressive way to close the first set!

 

Werkin’ Hard Or Hardly Werkin’

Set two opened with the song “Find Your Way.” Before I explain what happened, I should say that by this point I had figured out how goofy these guys are. Watching them interact on stage I noticed they were constantly smiling at each other, laughing at mistakes, and messing with the crowd in various ways. At one point, Chris started waving hello at Jake and then Rob and Dan joined in. The crowd caught on and started waving back for a moment. Funny stuff.

Anyways, part way through “Find Your Way” Dan switched instruments with Rob. While it was a humorous move, I don’t think these two practiced each other’s instruments enough. Rob fumbled on the keys and Dan kept losing rhythm on the drums. I found it ironic that the song was called “Find Your Way” because this jam definitely needed directions after getting lost due to Dan and Rob’s switch. I could tell each of them knew it was full of flubs and they looked slightly embarrassed but were still having fun. Eventually, they switched back to their appropriate spots and it became very clear that this is where they belong. I noticed how during this song and a couple others that they do a good job of bringing a jam to a climax but sometimes struggle to find a satisfying way out of it. There would be a huge amount of buildup for a slightly disappointing resolution. But I’m probably being too picky. After almost losing the audience to their disorganization, they managed to get locked back in during the next song, “Going Round.” They closed the set with “Rollin” and came back out for an encore of “Duck Farm.” Whew! That was a doozy!

IMG_4680
Instrument Swap Antics

Let There Be Jams

Musical mistakes and silliness aside, I really enjoyed this show. These guys have great stage chemistry and most of all, they seem to really like what they do. I can see why they have such a loyal fan base and are able to host a festival every year. Their music is fun and exciting to listen to and their shows ensure a rowdy, unpredictable experience. I would definitely see them again in the future.

The shows keep coming and I’ll keep reviewing them. Up next is the DeadPhish Orchestra at the Aggie this Thursday. I’m pumped for this show because, obviously, it’s a group that plays the music of two of my favorite bands, The Grateful Dead and Phish! Check out the links I have posted below in regards to The Werks and more information about them!

Heady Links

Here’s a link to The Werks “Phantasy Tour” page. I used this to reference the setlist. Phantasy Tour gets made fun of in the jam community for various reasons but it can be a good resource. It’s meant to help fans follow their favorite bands, track stats, and interact with others: https://www.phantasytour.com/bands/the-werks

The Werks Official Site: https://thewerksmusic.com/

Link to The Werks Bandcamp. You can stream all their live music and albums for FREE!: https://thewerks.bandcamp.com/

Jaden Carlson Video (Credit goes to the Jaden Carlson Band):

Stay groovy, folks!

Review: Spafford @ The Old Town Pub, Steamboat 3/15/18

One Big Jam

When I arrived at the Old Town Pub to see Spafford last Thursday, I knew I was in for a real treat. The show had sold out about a week before and my friend who lives in Steamboat said that it had become the talk of the town. People were scrambling to find extra tickets because word was spreading that Spafford was about to burn the place down. I felt really lucky to be there and I couldn’t wait to hear one of my favorite bands lay down some serious grooves. When they took the stage at about 10:30, my expectations were blown away within a few minutes.

IMG_4668
Spafford – From Left: Andrew “Red” Johnson on Keys and vocals, Jordan Fairless on Bass and vocals, Brian Moss on Guitar and vocals, and Cameron Laforest on drums.

They eased the crowd into the evening with some relaxed, ambient jams. I didn’t recognize what was being played and thought it might have been an intro to something. But they just kept playing and playing, transitioning from one jam into the next with such fluidity and synchronicity you would think they could read each other’s minds. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could, honestly. This group has been getting so tight and they create a sound that is entirely unique, I don’t know how they do it, it’s pure magical wizardry.

For the next 57 minutes, we would be spoiled with a musical feast, an improvisational masterpiece, that would go down in history as the “Old Town Jam.” Finally, to end the first set, Spafford led the jam into their original tune “It’s A Bunch.” The crowd erupted in cheers as they stepped off the stage. We all just had our collective minds blown to a TWO song set. I turned to my friend and we both looked at each other with our mouths open and eyes wide. Second set here we come!

IMG_4669
Second Set Vibes

Shakin’ It Loose

The guys came back out for the second set and after what just happened it was anyone’s guess for what they had planned. They opened things up with a high energy “Ain’t That Wrong” followed by “Plans” and a very appropriate “Mind’s Unchained.” These three songs fit very well together and kept the continuous jam theme going. A funky version of “Shake You Loose” came next and then an excellent “Windmill” that topped out at almost 15 minutes. To close the set, Spafford gave us another jewel, a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Feel Like A Stranger.” My friend and I jumped for joy and there was nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile. They took a bow to the wild applause, whistling, and cheering from the crowd. After a few minutes of uninterrupted coercion, they came back out for an encore of “Backdoor Funk.” It couldn’t have been a better night.

IMG_4670
What a show!

What’s Next?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a setlist at this show. However, the good people at Spaffnerds posted the song list for this night as well as every other show Spafford has played. They also post links to recordings and other information about the band. I’ve used them as a reference for this blog post and I think it’s a great resource for any Spafford fan.

I will be going to see The Werks w/ Maxwell Mud and Special Guests at Hodi’s this Saturday the 24th. The following Thursday I’ll be at the Dead Phish Orchestra at the Aggie. Stay tuned for reviews of these shows! Later on, Phriends!

 

 

Review: Kyle Hollingsworth Band w/ Hot Buttered Rum – Kyle’s 50th Birthday Party & Album Release @ The Aggie 3/1/18

Good ole’ HBR

IMG_4635
From Left: Bryan Horne (Bass & vocals) James Stafford (Drums) Erik Yates (Banjos, guitars, woodwinds & vocals) Nat Keefe (Guitar & vocals) Zeb Bowles (Fiddle & vocals)

What’s up Phishy people?! I apologize for the slightly late post but I was seeing Kyle Hollingsworth and Hot Buttered Rum last night! This was a special show indeed, not only were two of my favorite groups playing, but when the clock struck midnight, Kyle celebrated his 50th birthday. In addition to this, his group released a brand new studio album entitled “50.”

Before Kyle took the stage, however, the improvisational bluegrass group from San Francisco, Hot Buttered Rum, got the crowd grooving. I was proudly wearing my HBR t-shirt I got at a past show of theirs and the band members took notice, smiling in my direction. The group added a new member since the last time I saw them, Zebulon Bowles. He is a fantastic fiddle player and really contributes a lot to their band’s overall sound.

IMG_4636
Hot Buttered Rum

Opening up with a strong version of the song “Busted in Utah” and then transitioning seamlessly into a number of other long jams, the guys had me lost in their trademark groove. Their music truly warms the soul. It’s got humor, soul, strong vocals, brilliant rhythm, Americana roots, and a genuine spirit. Check out the setlist below and give them a listen on Spotify or another streaming service. If you like bluegrass, you won’t be disappointed.

IMG_4651.JPG
Setlist for Hot Buttered Rum

Happy Birthday Kyle!

IMG_4644
Kyle Hollingsworth

Many of you probably know Kyle from his work with the String Cheese Incident as a founding member in 1993. Kyle is a keyboard legend and has exceptional skills with the organ, Rhodes, and synths. When he isn’t touring with Cheese, Kyle leads his own group. I had seen them once previously at a small festival and was thoroughly impressed. Since then, I think they have improved significantly and their playing has gotten tighter. They also had a guest vocalist playing with them who had a tremendous range. During their performance, they invited Erik, Bryan, and Zeb back on the stage to join them in an epic group jam for a couple songs.

IMG_4645
Kyle Hollingsworth Band
IMG_4648
Group jam with members of Hot Buttered Rum

Playing a mix of old and new songs as well as some String Cheese classics like “Let’s Go Outside” and “Rosie,” the crowd was treated to an exciting and varied night of music. Everyone was having a lot fun, dancing the night away, and joyously singing along. At midnight, the band came out for their second set and got everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” to Kyle. It was a special moment and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.

The encore was a highlight as well. Kyle started in on what sounded like something very familiar. It was the opening chords to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley!” Kyle then suddenly dropped into the start of “Rosie” and everyone lost their minds. I think we all had been wishing they would play that song all night so it was pretty awesome to get it in the encore. Finally, Rosie melted into the bass-line of “Short Skirt Long Jacket” by Cake. This concluded another incredibly fun night at Aggie, one that will be remembered for a long time to come.

IMG_4652.JPG
Setlist for Kyle Hollingsworth. Charmingly, on a paper plate.

Thanks again for reading, everyone! Check back next week for more!

 

Review: John Kadlecik Band @ The Aggie 2/20/18

IMG_4623
From left: Jay Lane (Drums, vocals), Dave Burlingame (Bass, vocals), John Kadlecik (Guitar, vocals) and Benjie Porecki (Keyboards, Vocals)

The John K. Experience

Last night I was fortunate to make it out in the bitter cold to see a rare Tuesday night show at the Aggie. The group performing was the John Kadlecik Band, a wonderful collection of talented musicians with years of experience playing the music of one of my favorite bands, the Grateful Dead. Before attending this show, I was familiar with John K. because of his work with Grateful Dead cover groups Further and Dark Star Orchestra in the past. During his time with Further, he played with the music legends Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. I did some more research on his history as a musician and according to his bio on his website, he has been playing in improv groups since the late ’80s and touring around the country for the last 20 years. This show was the first time I have seen him perform with his band.

IMG_4625
Dave Burlingame and John Kadlecik

Although it was a Tuesday and very cold out, there were still far fewer people at this show than I was expecting. It made for an intimate listening experience and made it feel like a private show in a way. The band started out with a cover of the George Harrison song “Any Road.” They followed this with an excellent string of Dead tunes that included “They Love Each Other,” “The Business,” and “Ramble on Rose.” John K. and his band closed the set with a beautiful rendition of one of my top Dead songs “Cassidy” and transitioned smoothly into a jammed-out version of “Box of Rain.” This first set was well constructed and had a great selection of songs that fit nicely together.

Set two was even more Dead heavy with a killer opening “Sugar Magnolia” that flowed into a groovy “Sugaree.” Things got characteristically dark and bizarre in a spacey and otherworldly version of the classic “Dark Star.” In a moment of brilliance, John K. guides us out from the fog and confusion and pulls us back to earth by leading into the opening chords of “Stella Blue.” This had to have been the best part of the show for me. Putting these two songs together evoked a classic Grateful Dead sound. Images of the full sets can be seen below.

I Will Get By

Getting to hear the music of the Grateful Dead is so uplifting for me and it brings new feelings of inspiration, confidence, and optimism to my life. I’m very grateful to have been able to attend this show and to have gotten my necessary dose of the Dead. While I would love to share my personal audio recordings of parts of the show, I am unable to because it requires a premium plan. Instead, I have provided a link to a recent show I found on YouTube. All the credit goes to the user who uploaded it: gerryjdvideo

For more information about the band, here is a link to the JKB Website: http://www.johnkmusic.net/

I’ll be back again soon with more music news and topics! Until next week, happy jamming Phriends!