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Published: 2013/07/29

The Black Crowes, John Butler Trio, Blues Traveler and More Highlight Gathering of the Vibes’ Closing Day

Photo by Dino Perrucci

The Black Crowes officially closed Bridgeport, CT’s Gathering of the Vibes last night. The 18th annual jamband and Grateful Dead-focused gathering dedicated Sunday as “family day” and featured number children-approved activities

Nodding to Vibes’ Dead roots, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson wore a “Buffalo Dead” Grateful Dead t-shirt during their performance and teased a bit of “Scarlet Begonias.” Since reuniting earlier this year, The Black Crowes have focused on the more rock-oriented portions of their catalog and yesterday’s show was no different. They mixed their trademark hits like “Remedy,” “She Talks to Angels,” “Jealous Again” and “Thorn in My Pride” with covers of Jumping Jack Flash” and “Hush.” They also performed their hit cover of “Hard to Handle.”

The Black Crowes’ performance closed a busy Sunday at the Vibes. Max Creek, who co-headlined the first Vibes in 1996, offered a 90-minute mainstage set. Their performance included original favorites like “ You’re The Only One” as well as a tribute to JJ Cale in the form of “After Midnight” (Gov’t Mule covered the same song at the Vibes on Saturday.)

After Max Creek’s set, event MC Wavy Gravy paid tribute to another Woodstock-era hero who recently passed away, Richie Havens. The self-proclaimed “hippie-icon, flower-geezer” read a haiku he wrote for Havens and talked about their time together at Woodstock. Wavy Gravy also paid his respects to Cale and brought out David Gans and Havens’ daughter during his interlude tribute. In addition, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen took the stage between acts to speak out again corporation involvement in politics.

First time Vibes performers Blues Traveler made their Vibes debut a bit later in the afternoon. Traveler relied mostly on anthems such as “Run-Around,” Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” ZZ Top’s “La Grange” and the show-closing “Hook,” but also played new song frontman John Popper wrote while sitting at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl. Soulgrass saxophonist Bill Evans, who performed with Popper at a recent residency at New York’s Blue Note, sat in on a cover of Sublime’s “What I Got.” Another artist with ties to both the jamband world and mainstream pop radio, John Butler Trio, also turned in a well-received performance. His sing-along “Better Than” was a late-afternoon highlight and Butler proclaimed that he’d “come back” to the festival whenever he is invited.

Meanwhile, the intimate Green Vibes stage hosted a series of performances on the edge of the Long Island Sound. The McLovins, who have grown with the Vibes from the festival’s children’s stage to one of the event’s marquee performances, showed off their new lineup. They also brought along a full horn section and offered covers of The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” and the Grateful Dead’s “St. Stephen.” A few hours later, jam-embraced ska/punk band played the stage’s rowdiest set to close the Green Vibes stage. Their performance piqued during a take on Sublime’s “Date Rape.”

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