ALO, The Avett Brothers, Mickey Hart Band and More Highlight Gathering of the Vibes
Photos by Dino Perrucci
After a Friday schedule packed with Grateful Dead-related projects, Bridgeport, CT’s Gathering of the Vibes showed some diversity with its lineup on Saturday. In fact, The Mickey Hart Band was actually the only Grateful Dead project that performed.
The day started with the Ryan Montbleau Band, who rang in the beautiful day that followed the rain. Later, Zappa Plays Zappa brought a heavier sound to the main stage, covering Van Halen’s “Eruption” and “Somebody Get Me A Doctor” in the goofy yet perfectionist spirit of Frank Zappa. The group closed out their set with the classic “Camarillo Brillo”/“Muffin Man” pairing. Bridgeport locals and Vibes veterans Deep Banana Blackout also played through funk classics.
The Mickey Hart Band provided the day’s fix of Grateful Dead music, playing covers such as “Not Fade Away” and “Franklin’s Tower” but the band was less focused on Dead tunes. Their set featured a handful of newer compositions, which were welcomed with open ears by Deadheads. The Original Strangefolk, once a Vibes mainstay, followed Hart with one of the most anticipated parts of the weekend. The band, which recently reunited its original lineup, impressed and pleased fans with its two-hour set. To cap things off, Strangefolk threw in a cover of “Touch of Grey.”
Primus took the vibe of Vibes for an interesting turn with their heavier sound. Introduced by surprise guest—and longtime Deadhead—Roseanne Barr, Primus played through a set of fan favorites. Though the style of Primus’ music differs from the majority of the other music taking place at the festival, their performance proved to be incredibly well received. Starting the late-night festivities on the main stage, STS9 put their laptops aside for an old-school show. Music continued until 6 in the morning on the Green Vibes stage with The Machine and Papadosio.
Sunday, much like Thursday, was a mellower day at the Vibes. People were packing up to head home as the music died down. That being said, spirits and attendance were high. The day kicked off with a world peace ceremony followed by Keller Williams solo set. Keller brought his jovial feel to the sleepy crowd, playing through tunes like “Positive Reggae”, “I Am Elvis”, and “Best Feeling.” Max Creek then brought the energy up, playing through originals as well as a passionate rendition of The Band’s “Don’t Do It.”
Steel Pulse was a welcomed change of pace. A lot of the Vibes crowd had clearly grown up listening to Steel Pulse and came out in full force for their set. Over at the Green Vibes stage, The McLovins showed off their new personnel and ALO played out new material.
Toubab Krewe brought their West African sound to fans that were gleefully dancing barefoot by the shore of the Long Island Sound. Relix cover subjects The Avett Brothers closed out the festival with a sunset performance. Foot-stompers and hardcore fans alike embraced the Avett’s indie rock sound, proving that their sound fits nicely with the Vibes lineup. Song selection included “And It Spread”, “Tin Man”, and “Murder in the City”. They even changed their tune “Pretty Girl at the Airport” to “Pretty Girl from Bridgeport” and closed the whole weekend out on a five-song encore.
While their set was the last official set of the festival, ALO performed at the Relix booth and Primate Fiasco roamed around playing until long after the Avett Brothers had finished.