Here we are again–the week of Electric Forest and the anticipation is growing by the minute as the clock ticks closer to one of the best festivals of the year! While I’m excited to see my Forest Family once again, what I’m not looking forward to is the finger pointing and complaining after the fest when one or a few fans of one artist clash with fans of another artist. We all know how the story goes. We’ve all seen videos and heard stories when fan bases have disagreements. So let’s flip the script and make this the year where everyone gets along and has nothing but amazing memories from the most magical place on Earth.Here’s a simple little checklist to ensure that everybody is happy all weekend!1. Share the space. Electric Forest belongs to all of us and most of us travel pretty far to see the sets from artists that we love. If you want to be front row for an act, but another fan also wants to be front row for theirs, share the space! Most people are willing to trade spots, and it allows you to go get some food and hit the bathroom. It’s a win-win!2. Don’t be disrespectful. Although this seems like common sense at a festival, it astounds me how people can actually be rude in such a loving environment. Be mindful of your actions. Don’t be the person that everyone is talking about on the internet for months after the event.3. Sit down in the back. Again, this seems like common sense to most music fans, but if you want to sit down during a set, do so in the back or near the soundboard. Festivals can be exhausting, but don’t make other people upset because you need a break. Sitting between sets is perfectly fine of course, but do not sit with your back to an act while they are playing. That’s a huge No-No. People will take it the wrong way entirely, trust me.4. Show love to all acts. Hey, you may not be the biggest fan of an act, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to “Boo” them. Leave those bad vibes at home. There are multiple acts playing on multiple stages all weekend, you do not need to be at a show that you don’t like, so don’t! Go see something else, or get lost in the forest for a while! There will be space for you when you get back.5. Keep totems to the side and back. There is quite possibly nothing worse at a festival than a huge totem right in the front row blocking the view for everyone else in the crowd. Totems are great for keeping friends together and expressing yourself in a creative way, but they aren’t great for making new friends during a set. If you are going to be with a crew that needs a totem, please don’t camp in the front and ruin the show for others.6. Be polite in the crowd. We’ve all seen it before. That one person that has too much to drink and plows through a crowd with no sense of manners whatsoever. Don’t be that person. Be polite going through a crowd. Say excuse me and thank you. Don’t act like you own the place. Politeness really does go a long way, sometimes all the way to the front. Oh, and if you want to be near the front, don’t make a mad dash while an act is already playing, that just causes a headache for everyone involved. There is plenty of time in between sets to get your spot! Don’t show up late and expect to get prime real estate!7. Clean up after yourself! Trash is always an issue when thousands of people come together to celebrate. Please be mindful and leave no trace, both inside the festival, and out in the campgrounds. You may see groups of people cleaning up after sets throughout the weekend and they will be welcoming to another set of helping hands. Don’t be shy! Electric Forest also has an Electricology program that rewards you for helping to keep the festival clean! To participate and potentially win tickets for life, head here!-Adam Straughn
With Phish’s summer tour just two days away, bassist Mike Gordon sat down with the local Star-Tribune to touch on a number of subjects. Gordon spoke about the present, explaining that he spends his time being a father, a solo artist, and, of course, a member of Phish.Obviously, with Phish opening their tour in Minnesota, the question of a Prince tribute had to be asked. “We like to avoid what’s overdone,” Gordon said in the article. “We were big fans. We got to go party at Paisley palace once. He was a powerhouse of creativity.” He also says that he’s been listening to more pop music in general, as a consequence of spending time with his daughter.“We do daddy/daughter adventures… We just went to Savannah together,” he said. “I’m embracing pop for the first time since the mid-’70s… I like getting exposed to different things, not just AAA radio, bluegrass or West African music.”The article touched on Gordon’s decision not to join Dead & Company as well, with the bassist saying, “It’s such a dream gig… I went for a week of rehearsals. I was flattered they wanted me as the first choice for bass. The prospect of doing it was exciting. I love the Grateful Dead.” He added, “It was the biggest dream going that I’ve ever had to say no to… Phish has made a career out of saying no to things. We’re trying to stay on our own personal paths of integrity.”Gordon did not want to abandon his work on a solo album, according to the article, in addition to his work withPhish both touring and recording. The newPhish album is discussed in the article as well, with Gordon saying, “[Producer] Bob [Ezrin] gave us an interesting assignment to check out inspirational music to get a more raw emotion. He wanted us to carve away the fluff and wordplay.”“Indirectly, it had a big effect… This album is particularly heartfelt. Not ballads or sappy. It’s meaty, though I probably shouldn’t use that word since I’m a vegetarian.” He continued, saying, “If you’re in your own head, then it’s going to be horrible… The only formula to make sure it works is to listen in a deep way. It sounds simple. But it’s a lesson I have to teach myself even after 33 years in this band. If you can listen to everyone else, all else will work.”Phish tour kicks off this Wednesday, June 22nd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. We can’t wait!
Jamtronica titans STS9 return with a brand new studio album on September 2nd. Titled The Universe Inside, the new release focuses on the human experience with 13 brand new tracks. Says the band, “It is a story about human identity and the magical truth of who we are, where we’re going, and our place in the Universe. It says we are one, made of stardust and the forces of nature that evolved over billions of years. Connected by the sun, moon and stars, we are the living, breathing conscience of the Universe.”After releasing debut tracks “Get Loud” and “Supercluster,” the band returns today with their third single from The Universe Inside. The new track is called “Give & Take,” and, according to the band, the song “is about the things that bind us to one another: friends, family, life and death. The song is dedicated to a special person close to the band who said, before she passed, that her life “all seems like a dream.” It’s a sentiment that is reflected in the lyrics and overall feeling of “Give & Take”.”Listen to the new song, streaming below.For more on the new album, read the article here.
Perhaps the newest sensation to hit the live music scene is Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, as they confidently bend genres and sail from hip hop to R&B to funk to jazz and everything in between. Paak and company have truly been picking up fans by the scores, as their live performances are something to behold. This band is the real deal!To give fans a taste of their style, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals made their way over to the NPR studios and performed a four-song set for the Tiny Desk Concert series. Paak leads the charge with his drumming and vocals, and his tight-knit band complement his actions on every turn. It’s quite the sensational performance, and one that definitely merits fifteen minutes of your time.Watch Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals’ Tiny Desk performance, courtesy of NPR Music.
Guitarists Keller Williams and John Kadlecik were certainly grateful for 2017, as the New Year brought the two musicians together for a Grateful Gospel performance at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, MD on December 31st. After an opening set from Kadlecik, the two Gratefully inspired musicians took the stage together, fronting a full nine piece band with four vocalists for the occasion.The set started just after midnight, with “Auld Lang Syne” leading into a soaring “Eyes of the World” opener. What followed was a truly gospel-tinged New Year’s performance, as the band worked on selections in the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band catalogs that could truly be enhanced by a powerful vocal section. With the strong voices of Faye Rochelle, Tanya Lucinda Jackson, Samantha Reed and Sugar Davis, tracks like “Saint Stephen,” “Franklin’s Tower,” “Brokedown Palace,” and more truly came to life.Fortunately, thanks to a crisp taper recording from nico11104, we can listen to this beautiful New Year’s celebration below.[Cover photo by ah_littlebear // Instagram]
Beloved jam group moe. has announced plans to return to New York City, hitting the Midtown venue PlayStation Theater on July 21st. As the show is scheduled during the first night of Phish’s newly announced thirteen night residency, moe. will be performing in the late night spot, treating fans to some post-Phish jammed out action. Their show is set to begin at 12:30 AM.The band’s last trip to NYC also occurred at the PlayStation Theater, when they visited the city for a three-night run last March. As moe. hails from Buffalo, the band has always found a second home within the Big Apple. Perhaps there is no greater evidence of this than their song “New York City,” in which they sing, “New York City, I’m coming home again!”moe. is currently on a winter tour, which started aboard Jam Cruise and wrapped around to venues throughout the Southeast. The band has been working some Allman Brothers material into their setlists, including recent covers of “Southbound” and “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,” as well as a subtle politically themed setlist with transitions like “Captain America > Mexico.”The band continues their tour tonight, January 31st, and has a lot of big plans set for 2017, including the return of moe.down Music Festival. Between that event, scheduled tours, and this newly announced performance in NYC, there’s no telling just how big moe. is going to go in 2017! We’re excited. You can find details here.
This Saturday, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo will re-form as The Benevento / Russo Duo this Saturday night for one of their first shows since 2010. The Joe Russo’s Almost Dead bandmates reunited back in December for a tiny “secret” show at Three’s Brewing in Brooklyn, NY, and played their first proper show in seven years during this year’s JamCruise. Now, finally, The Duo will perform a proper, headlining show on American soil, in the most fitting location and on the most fitting of occasions: Freak’s Ball at Brooklyn Bowl. Of course, the show sold out in 30 seconds.However, fans who missed the on-sale or got shut out need not fear, as The Bowl has announced that the show will now be webcast, courtesy of nugs.tv. There are HD and Standard options to choose from, and the broadcast will also include opening act Wolf!, which features fellow JRAD band mate Scott Metzger. Find out all the information for the webcast at this link.
On Monday, May 1st, Col. Bruce Hampton celebrated his 70th birthday surrounded by friends. From Jimmy Herring, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks, to John Bell, Dave Schools, and Duane Trucks, over 30 renowned musicians gathered at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate the life of the beloved “Grandaddy of the Jam Scene”—a legend whose impact on all those in attendance, musician and fans alike, is inconceivably insurmountable. Col. Bruce Hampton forged the jam scene as we know it today, fearlessly leading the way and bring up others with him every step of the way. Without Col. Bruce Hampton, many of the players at tonight’s show would be without name.From his beginnings with the groundbreaking avant-garde group the Hampton Grease Band to the seminal Aquarium Rescue Unit, Col. Bruce Hampton’s idiosyncratic blend of improvisational space rock had an influence that reaches far beyond Atlanta’s music clubs. He is responsible for the success of many musicians, and he gave confidence to those worthy to follow in his footsteps, to leave the ego at the door, and to be true to the heart.Four hours of beautiful music celebrating the life and work of Col. Bruce Hampton took place across the night, which featured Susan Tedeschi, Chuck Leavell of The Allman Brothers Band and The Rolling Stones, John Popper of Blues Traveler, Jon Fishman of Phish, ARU’s Jeff Sipe, Karl Denson, Drew Emmitt, and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, and so many more. As the evening began to wind down, Col. Bruce Hampton ushered the one and only Brandon “Taz” Niederauer to step to the front of the stage and take his final solo of the evening during the encore of “Turn On Your Lovelight.”The 14-year-old guitar prodigy and young student of Col. Bruce was standing between and performing for his two biggest idols, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, when the celebrated musician collapsed to the ground. All those in attendance were forced to believe that Col. Bruce’s actions were planned, that Bruce had another trick up his sleeve, that he was falling at the feet of his youngest star as he listened to Taz’s guitar soar through the roof on the year’s biggest night.The curtain closed, the theater emptied, and all those who were close to him waited for updates. The signs eventually pointed in the right direction, as the ambulance took him to safety and the artists piled out of the venue with hopeful eyes. Col. Bruce Hampton made it to the hospital, but passed away shortly after arriving. He was surrounded by his greatest fans, a room full of his many talented friends, and every member of the extended crew he considered family. Col. Bruce Hampton is “Uncle Bruce” to everyone he has ever met and to everyone whose birthday he guessed upon meeting. He will be deeply missed.[photo by Gary Niederauer]
In March, Dark Star Orchestra announced the tribute act to the Grateful Dead would be hitting the road this summer following their annual festival, Dark Star Jubilee, for the band’s 20th anniversary. The group already had some special plans in the works to thank fans for the love over the past twenty years, including special VIP packages to sit-in for soundcheck along with a smattering of goodies to commemorate the tour.Today, Dark Star Orchestra sweetened the pot, announcing that the group will honor the Grateful Dead’s 1977 spring tour with five additional special performances in honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the legendary tour. Dark Star’s spring performances are dubbed The 40th Anniversary Shows—each of the five 40th Anniversary Shows coincide with one of the Grateful Dead’s May 1977 tour dates and will see Dark Star play the same set lists that the Dead played exactly forty years prior. However, Dark Star is still keeping some tricks up their sleeve—the band is not announcing which dates from their spring tour are part of The 40th Anniversary Shows; rather, they’re letting fans guess when these five special performances will fall (out of the ten shows that coincide with dates from the Dead’s ’77 tour) as their current tour unfolds.As Dark Star’s rhythm guitarist and vocalist Rob Eaton noted, “The Spring 1977 GD is special because it’s when I truly ‘got it.’ Not that I wasn’t a Deadhead already, but what I witnessed in May of ‘77 changed my life forever. For the first time in DSO’s history the dates and times have collided, and it’s given us an opportunity to honor the great GD Spring 77′ tour.”You can mosey over to Dark Star Orchestra’s website to buy tickets and to speculate for yourself when The 40th Anniversary Shows might fall in the next month.
Load remaining images Friday’s late night sets on the Bamboo Eater Stage were accompanied by performances from LITZ and Mateo Monk until 4:45 a.m. Classic rock prevailed as the crowd sang along to LITZ’s cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb” while Monk eased energies with his flute melodies. The final day of the festival vibrated with love and energy. The mild-weathered day started with jams from The Clock Heads, Mateo Monk, Strange Machines, The Fritz, Swift Technique and Deaf Scene. Ormont delivered his unforgettable solo Scrambled Greg set with his silly charisma that got the crowd laughing and smiling during the whole act. Keeping it loosey goosey, Ormont humored us about a great intolerance in this world with a funky jingle about lactose-intolerance and his love for cheese. He definitely left the Domefest faithful feeling all cheesy after all was said and doneAqueous took the stage at 7:45 p.m., getting the crowd rocking with “Dave’s Song>Origami>Strange Times.” The Buffalo-native guys complemented their set with teases of The Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane” and Rush’s “Closer to the Heart.” The most energetic set of the whole weekend was Pigeon’s undercover set. None of the fans could have anticipated witnessing 90 thrilling minutes of Phish and Grateful Dead covers. Guitarist Jeremy SchonStook lead vocals during their performance of “Sand,” and the boys crushed a unique mashup of “Down with Disease” and “Shakedown Street” (dubbed “Shakedown with Disease”) leading into “Eyes of the World.” It is safe to say that the rest of the Flock would love to see more undercover sets by these guys. SETLIST: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Domefest Night 3 “Undercover” Set | 5/19/17 Help On The Way > Slipknot* > Sand > E-Funk > Shakedown With Disease^ > Eyes of The World > Dancin’ In The Streets > Fluffhead > Slave To The Traffic Light% > Carini > Run Like An Antelope > Slave To The Traffic Light > Down With Disease > Franklin’s Tower > Down With DiseaseNotes:“Under Cover” set, comprised of takes of Phish and Grateful Dead material.* w/ Julius and Tweezer teases^ Down With Disease / Shakedown Street mash up% First time playedAfter a 30-minute set break filled by Deaf Scene, Greg, Jeremy, Ben and Alex strode onto the stage adorned in their outrageous pretty pink outfits. Rockin’ a pink tutu, Ormont sang a cover of “Kung Fu Fighting,” breaking the crowd out into fearless dancing and mock karate chopping. Feeling the love for their fans, Pigeons surprised the crowd with a new, never-before-played song, currently listed as “Untitled” until one clever fan comes up with a fitting name. The Swift Technique horns joined the guys onstage for “Whoopie,” “The Liquid,” and their incredible “Spacejam>The Hop>F.U.>Give it to me Baby>F.U.” segment. Pigeons ended their final set of the festival celebrating the people we love with their mind-blowing encore performance of “Horizon.” The Flock couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the final set of Domefest 2017, and fans cried and cheered as the band rode out their final chords.SETLIST: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Domefest Night 3 “Undercover” Set | 5/19/17Funk E Zekiel, Burning Up My Time > Kung Fu Fighting > Burning Up My Time > Lightning, Fun In Funk, Untitled New Song, Whoopie*, The Liquid*, Spacejam* > The Hop* > F.U.* > Give It To Me Baby*^ > F.U.*E. HorizonNotes:* w/ Swift Technique horns^ w/ Nik Greeley (Swift Technique) on vocalsThe Flock conveyed positive energy as they packed up their camps the following morning and started their journeys back home. As we looked back one last time at the painted, five-pallet sign that read “Couldn’t We All Just Get Along” while leaving, it was clear that the love and togetherness exuded by Pigeons, their crew, and all the weekend’s talented artists should be seen as an example that everyone in this world should strive to match.Til next year, Domefest Flock…Domefest 2017 | Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Photos: Brady Cooling Photography Pigeons Playing Ping Pong hosted the eighth annual Domefest last weekend, giving their flock of fans three nights of funky jams in the mountains of Bedford, PA. The high-energy band brought a gathering of roughly 1500 psychedelic rock lovers to Fort Royale Farm in Bedford, PA for a summer kickoff weekend of camping, raging and games of ping pong that made this year’s event the biggest and best Domefest yet. The festival had three stages: the “Dome Stage,” “Flo Art Stage” and “Bamboo Eater Stage.” The Dome Stage was the most intricately-decorated of the three, with trippy regalia hung from every possible piece of the stage. The first evening’s jams were kicked off with some jazzy tunes by Jones for Revival, followed by Broccoli Samurai. The Broccoli boys pleased fans with their cover of the Rick and Morty theme song and Lotus’ “Suitcases.” Guests ventured down to the stages through a brightly-lit wooden bridge as the sun was setting and the stars made their way out into the sky. The Main Squeeze rocked the stage at 9 p.m. with their smooth and funky beats, ending their set with one of their most popular tracks, “I’ll Take Another.” Flux Capacitor took the Flo Art Stage, playing three separate thirty-minute sets throughout the night. The Specht brothers got the crowd amped up for Pigeons’ first set of the weekend moving the people to sing along to their covers of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Toto’s “Africa.” The first night of Domefest was so hot that Scrambled Greg couldn’t even wear his ever-present pajama pants on stage! Pigeons began their first set of the weekend with catchy tune “Time to Ride,” getting everyone on their feet and dancing. The crowd cheered as they surprised us with “Havana”> “Somethin For Ya”> “Julia,” tying in some 90s television theme songs from Rugrats and Doug. Pigeons always generates a good mix of funk and trance, and held the crowd in the palms of their hands as they dazed us with “Sunny Day” and brought back their good-feeling vibes with “Ocean Flows.” SETLIST: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Domefest Night 1 | 5/18/17 Time To Ride, Henrietta, Live It Up, Havana > Somethin For Ya > Julia*, Whirled, Landing > Drums > Sunny Day, Zydeko > Chariots of Fire > Zydeko, Ocean FlowsE. CliffsNotes:* w/ Rugrats and Doug themesWhile half the festival retreated back to their camps to let Pigeons’ mine-altering performance sink in, Aqueous closed out the night one with a late-night set that raged until 3 a.m., leaving just enough time to squeeze in some sleep before the sun rose. Friday morning was filled with love, as two guests tied the knot under the big white dome at 10 a.m. All guests were invited to attend the first Domefest wedding ceremony, complete with a big blow-up swan. Friday’s shenanigans started off early at 1 p.m. with performances by Squaring the Circle, ShwizZ, G-Nome Project and Electric Love Machine. Pigeons’ drummer Alex Petropulos showed off edgy rhythms and vocals in his band Puremotion. The saxophone solos charmed the crowd and gave everyone a dish of bluesy jams. Cleveland’s Vibe and Direct started off their first thirty-minute set with a cover of Lotus’ “Nemotode” and delighted fans with their catchy “April Showers” while Justin Roberts painted onstage to the smooth tunes. Consider the Source strode onstage at 9:15 p.m. and delivered what turned out to be one of the best performances of the weekend. John Ferrara plucked fast heavy chords on the bass while Gabriel Marin strummed his double-headed guitar. These prog-rock wizards really know how to get a crowd rolling and hyped.Decked out in their pajama gear after the previous nights literal and metaphorical scorcher, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong rocked our bunny slippers off with their mashup of “Melting Lights”> “King Kong”> “War Pigs”> “King Kong.” Ormont’s vocals went along perfectly with the Black Sabbath cover, followed by a jam on the Star Wars “Cantina Song” that got the crowd bouncing off their feet. The boys treated their fans to “Indiglo” which hasn’t been played in four years, and surprised the adoring crow yet again when they jumped into “Penguins.” Ormont sang some appropriately ad-libbed lyrics (“Need a dome to return to”) in their rendition of “Poseidon,” and closed their set with an encore performance of “Doc>Pajama People>Doc.”SETLIST: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Domefest Night 2 | 5/19/17 Too Long, Melting Lights > King Kong > War Pigs > King Kong, Walk Outside > Sir Real > Walk Outside, Porcupine > Cantina Song > Porcupine, Indiglo* > Schwanthem > Poseidon > Jessica > Poseidon > Offshoot, Penguins > Funkijam > UpfunkE. Doc > Pajama People > DocNotes:* Last time played 5/22/2013