Mike Gordon, Grace Potter, Chris Michetti and Friends Celebrate Higher Grounds 10th
South Burlington, VTs Higher Ground celebrated its 10th anniversary Tuesday night with a special reception and all-star jam. The nights festivities opened in the venues Showcase Lounge, where co-owner Kevin Statesir greeted the crowd and presented a slideshow recounting of the venues first decade. DJ A-Dog then took over behind the turntables, while a number of local musicians, Higher Ground regulars and staff members held court in the venues main performance space.
Bartender Z, who tended at the venues original location, kicked off the evenings live music offerings with a cover of Ritchie Havens Freedom, the song that also opened the original Woodstock Music Festival. He then handed things over to the Grippo Funk Band, who offered a full two-set performance. The groups first set featured a number of Grippo standards, while the second drew in area heroes like Russ Lawton (Strangefolk, Trey Anastasio Band) and Joe Moore (Pork Tornado), among others. After an acoustic interlude, a group known as the Higher Ground All-Stars took the reins. The band was anchored by Turkey Bouillon Mafia guitarist/vocalist Ben Yurco and keyboardist Adam King, rising local bassist David Hyman, guitarist Seth Yacovone, drummer Steve Hadeka and Liquid Dead drummer Trevor Ainsworth.
Among the musicians with ties to Higher Ground who sat in were club employee Chris Friday (who also is one-half of the comedy group Touchpants) and Phish archivist Ken Shapiro (who played drums on a tasty segue from China Cat Sunflower into I Know You Rider, as well as a take on Cortez the Killer that also featured Nocturnals drummer Matt Burr). In addition, a number of the bigger names to come through the clubs ranks stopped by to pay their dues, including Grace Potter, Tom Coggio (Seth Yacovone Band), Chris Michetti (RAQ), Rob O’Dea (Page McConnell band), Brett Hughes (Mike Gordons Ramble Dove), Owen Price (Turkey Bouillon Mafia) and former Higher Ground owner Matt Sutte, among many others. At one point during the night, Mike Gordon also emerged for a run through Mystery Train.
Higher Ground will host Dar Williams this evening. Surprise Me Mr. Davis is slated to appear in the venues Showcase Lounge.