This will be our second time covering the All Good Music Festival (the first time was in 2010 – see our coverage here, here, and here). And it’s our second festival of the season (see our recent Summer Camp coverage). The festival is just a few short weeks away now – July 19 – 22. The lineup is really exciting this year, and we’re going to highlight some of the bands here. This year’s lineup is a bit Grateful Dead-centric, at least among the headliners. Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Mickey Hart are all appearing, each with their own band. If only Bill Kreutzmann‘s 7 Walkers was playing, all the remaining members of the Grateful Dead would be making an appearance (the good news is that we’ll be able to see them at Hoxeyville Music Festival this year). Plus, Dark Star Orchestra – one of my favorite bands to see live – will be bringing their brand of Grateful Dead fun to the stage. Here’s a bit about each of the above bands, plus a few more (Hint: The Flaming Lips!!).
Phil Lesh & Friends
Phil Lesh & Friends get second billing for the festival, after The Allman Brothers Band, and they are the band I’m most excited to see. For me, the big question with Phil and Friends is… Who will the Friends be? Phil Lesh has been putting together bands under this moniker since 1999. Many famous and respected players have with Phil Lesh & Friends – Trey Anastasio, Steve Kimock, Warren Haynes, Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson, and more.
Lesh has played with two different lineups this year. In February, Phil Lesh & Friends played a three night run with a lineup I’d love to see at All Good: Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals), Jackie Greene (guitar, keyboards, vocals), John Scofield (guitar), Joe Russo (drums), and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards). All the shows are available on the Live Music Archive. Lesh also did some shows in April at his new venue Terrapin Crossroads with what he terms as the classic Phil Lesh Quintet: Lesh, Haynes (guitar), Rob Barraco (keyboardist), Jimmy Herring (guitar), and John Molo (drums). Haynes and Barraco will both be at All Good as it is – Haynes with The Allman Brothers Band and Barraco with Dark Star Orchestra. So I think there’s a good chance those two will be among the Friends. Maybe Jackie Greene, too? A man can hope…
Here’s the February 2012 incarnation of Phil and Friends playing “Passenger”, a tune Lesh wrote back in the late 70s when he thought the Grateful Dead needed a few more rockers in their repertoire. They retired the song in 1981, but Lesh has brought it back, and it’s getting a lot of play now. And, indeed, it does rock.
Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with special guest Branford Marsalis
Prepare to break out your jazz hands, people. Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby have done a few shows together already this year (see the video above) This time, they’re bringing another heavy hitter with them: Branford Marsalis, the legendary jazz saxophonist and brother of famed trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. Both Marsalis and Hornsby have played with the Grateful Dead in the past (Marsalis as a featured guest, Hornsby as a temporary member of the band after Brent Mydland died), and both bring significant bodies of their own work to the table as well.
I imagine the show will be something like this video of “Hell In A Bucket”, but with Marsalis adding his voice to the mix. But who knows? It’s unclear from their listing what the band’s make up will be. But there could be a drummer and a bass player, too. Crosby, Stills, and Nash had a drummer and a bass player. They just didn’t get a name check. It could be the same with Weir, Hornsby, and Marsalis (which I believe I just coined, btw). In the meantime, check out the Weir & Hornsby video.
Mickey Hart Band
“So we’re going to go out there… enjoy the ride.” That’s how Mickey Hart starts off this video highlighting his band’s Winter 2011/2012 tour. And it looks like they do a good amount of space exploration, but in a way the kids can keep bouncing to (different, in my opinion, than the Drums/Space sequence Deadheads came to know and love/hate). They are also doing some of their own songs, plus a half dozen or so Grateful Dead tunes every show. Here’s hoping we get a “Fire On The Mountain” (Hart co-wrote it) and a “Not Fade Away” at All Good…
The Flaming Lips
My personal obsession with all things Grateful Dead aside, The Flaming Lips alone are reason enough to go to All Good this year. What if they play Dark Side of the Moon? Do you want to risk missing it? Then there’s the giant ball Wayne Coyne rolls around in, walking/crawling on top of the audience. Do you want to miss that? Because that’s what they did at Hangout Music Festival, which you can see for yourself above. They did Dark Side, and Coyne rolled across the audience in his giant transparent bubble boy ball (be sure to watch them inflate the ball, too).
The video above captures their entire Hangout Music Festival set. They do a few great Flaming Lips songs before they get to the Pink Floyd record. First was a joyous “Race for the Prize”, the first track off Soft Bulletin. They also did “She Don’t Use Jelly”, “The Yeah Yeah Song”, and “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots”.
Fair warning: There’s a lot of swearing in the banter with the audience. Which I enjoyed, and you probably will, too, but I just wanted you to know in advance.
The Pimps of Joytime
While we’re off the Grateful Dead path for a moment, I thought I’d also mention The Pimps of Joytime. The first time I saw them was at All Good in 2010, and I’ve managed to catch them at a few other festivals as well. They are an engaging live funk band, and just plain fun. Truth be told, many Deadheads have an affinity for classic 70s funk, so I’m not really treading too far off the Grateful Dead path here. The Pimps have sprung from that fertile 70s ground. You can hear George Clinton and James Brown in what they do. Above is the video for the title track off their 2011 album, Janxta Funk!.
Dark Star Orchestra
Dark Star Orchestra is an All Good regular, and are always a crowd favorite at the festival. The video above is from Gratefulfest 12 (in 2011 – it’s a little bit confusing. All because they started that particular festival in 2000).
So that’s only a small sampling of the artists that will be playing at All Good this year. Michael Franti, Greensky Bluegrass, and Galactic, for example, are also playing. The festival is also at a new site this year – Legend Valley in Thornville, OH – which makes it a bit more of an adventure this, since it will completely new to us. And it’s a much shorter drive for us now. Hopefully we’ll see you there. Tickets are still available. Get one while you still can!