Phil & Friends, Capitol Theatre, Port Chester NY, 5.31.14

Reposted from The Capitol Theatre

Written By: Meredith Berke

Photos By: Scott Harris

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This past Friday night, Phil and Friends played for an almost sold out crowd, aged young and old alike, for close to three hours. There were many friendly faces in the crowd, who greeted me with smiles as I walked into the theater. I began to feel that I had “come home” to a place filled with love and acceptance, as is common with a Phil show, and I felt the stressful week fall from my shoulders as I settled in.

Phil Lesh was joined by fellow Furthur band mates John Kadlicek, guitar and Joe Russo, drums. John Medeski and John Scofield rounded out the band with special guests Ross James and Nels Cline.

Ross James came out for the first set, with upbeat Grateful Dead songs such as a rousing New Speedway Boogie, and Turn on Your Love Light. Also played was Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. It is worth noting that many people in the crowd commented that the first set felt like a typical second set. This set was high energy, filled with great jams, and Russo’s drum playing was off the hook.

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Nels Cline from Wilco, joined the band for second set. They opened with Cold Rain and Snow, accentuated a fun jam with Cline leading an almost rock-a-billy kind of groove. They went into a heavy jam before going into Eyes of the World. Phil sang lead, and Cline plucked the guitar soft and sweet, technically perfect.

Scofield, Kadlicek and Cline led us next to The Wheel, where they answered each other with their guitar licks, heightening the song for the crowd. It seemed that everyone was singing along. Kadlicek sang on the next song, So Many Roads, and the trio went into a sweet harmony with each other.

Overall, Phil played steady, Medeski was on the side of the stage surrounded by his keys, piping in from the organ, and Russo is just a monster behind those drums. Cline was the lead guitarist of the night, with Scofield and Kadlicek supporting, each of them throwing down some great jams throughout the night.

They ended the second set with Help> Slip> Franklin’s where Scofield let loose and Kadlicek sang on Help. They encored with Ripple, and Phil stayed classy to the end, by introducing all the the musicians by name, and saying “Thank you for joining us.” No Phil, thank you, and can’t wait for the next run, hosted by The Cap.

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Day 3 Equifunk 2013: Camp Equinunk, PA

4293578_origSo, I missed breakfast this day.  I really just needed some coffee, although I had some bloody mary mix and accoutrements to ease myself in on this day, I still just wanted coffee.  Which I found a few hours later, much to my delight.

Sunday was a slow day.  You know how it is, festival living/festival time… I just needed to get up there for Mike Dillon Band.  Much to my amazement, I had woken up earlier than originally thought and I could see Papa Mali.  Lucky, lucky me.

I pretty much wandered aimlessly during Papa Mali’s set, it was a little too early still for me to get my groove on.  I haven’t seen Mali in over a year I think, and he looks different. He’s lost a lot of weight (congratulations!) and he looks great.  He sounds even better.  He played a great set with 13 year old guitar virtuoso Bobby Paltauf. This young man made his rounds during the weekend as well, and has played with Deep Banana Blackout this summer at The Brooklyn Bowl. Keep your eye and ears out for him. Mali’s set highlights were: “Wade on the Water,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” Continue reading

Day 1 Equifunk 2013: Camp Equinunk, PA

3442728_origPre-festival logistics

Oh the decisions!

After a long week, I had left the decision to leave after work on Friday or first thing on Saturday morning to a “game-time” decision.  I realized mid-day that I was going to trek up to the Poconos on Friday night – hoping to see some music, but really wanting to get settled in so I could have one full day of festie love, instead of getting up there on Saturday morning, rushing and getting settled, and then finding music just to pack up the next day.  I have to say, the decision to go on Friday night was the right one.

Driving close to 3 hours from NYC, I got up to the camp, and after a bit of confusion trying to find my bunk, passes and parking, I settled in, made our bed in our cabin, met my new cabin mates for the weekend, and tried to suss out the situation.

I pretty much just followed the music.  I took a walk past a gorgeous lake, where the full moon was bright and clear.  I walked over the footbridge into the other part of the camp – the Equinunk part of camp.  I passed the courtyard of cabins, found the beer, passed the pool and the slide, and walked up the hill to the “E-rena.”  (get it “E-rena” for “E-quifunk.”  Yes, very tongue-n-cheek.)

I had no paper to take notes.  I had no camera to take pictures.  I would have to experience and write that down.  Excuse me in advance if I forget anything.

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photo by: Dino Perrucci

Day 1 Highlights: Friday

I heard JJ Grey & Mofro while walking to the E-rena.  I got to see The New Mastersounds KILL IT on the stage on Friday night.  The scene, I have to say, was totally chill.  Crowd age ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, I’d guess.  People were friendly and nice, with an odd frat-boy overtone (due to free beer, I’d say), but none of the “frat boys” were rude, obnoxious or mean.  They were having just a great time with their buddies, listening to great music just like the rest of the hippies/festival freaks. Continue reading

Hot & Cool NEC Jazz 40th Summit, B.B. King Blues Club, 3.27.10

Tonight was a celebration of Jazz and the students of the New England Conservatory at BB Kings in Times Square.  All the musicians on stage were alumni of NEC.  The proceeds of tonight’s show will go towards scholarships for the NEC.  Cool, right? All the musicians came on for one song each, there was a short set break, and the gig was over by 10.  There is no dance floor, the atmosphere is a sitting down culture, and… well, let’s just say sometimes I like to dance.  Yeah, that’s how BB King’s rolls.

I walked in and Sarah Jarosz, a student was on stage.  Adorable and oh, yeah, way talented.  Great singer, really nice and bluesy, she played a banjo, then went into this plucking thing.  Ran Blake comes on piano and does this amazing song alone.  Wow.  It blew the room away.

Bernie Worrell receives the NEC Lifetime Achievement Award.  He got a bit emotional saying a few words.  We got a bit emotional listening.  So, so, sweet. Continue reading