mAyfLOwers II: ALO, Moonshine Still, DJ Logic and Guadalajara Joe, Los Robles Lodge, Santa Rosa, CA- 5/28
It tends to bode well when the craziest dressed person in the room is your host. Throw in a high octane dance band and you’ve got yourself a party. Matt Layton of Falcor & Friends represents a rare breed of event organizers committed to elevating the concert experience beyond realms of the ordinary. Thanks to his relationship with Animal Liberation Orchestra, the Bay Area impresario has the makings of a franchise with mAyfLOwers. Centered around a celebration of spring renewal, the second annual event carried the emotion of a rite of passage.
Leave it to Layton (aka Falcor) to find a virtual sanctuary in a rundown Santa Rosa motel. Not only did the Los Robles Lodge have a cozy ballroom hiding in the lobby, but the mAyfLOwers group would be its final guests. After lying dormant for a month, the place sprung to life for one last hoorah before being razed. Converging from far and wide, four hundred fun-loving phreaks put on their best flair and came prepared for seven hours of action-packed music.
East meets West was clearly a subplot as Georgia’s Moonshine Still kicked off the festivities with a bang. Easily winning over the crowd with their southern-tinged jamrock, guitarist Dave Shore led the six-headed assault. Warming up his turntables poolside earlier in the day, DJ Logic would appear later to bolster ALO on the jazz odyssey, “#2” and a percussion-heavy debut of “Oh What a Night.” Rounding out the supporting cast was spoof hip-hopper, Guadalajara Joe.
Looking wild in wigs and robes, the “liberators” wasted no time throwing caution to the wind. Highlights included a funky romp through The Commodores’ “Machine Gun,” a monumental “Country Camper,” and an explosive rendition of Rick James’ “Mary Jane.” Drawing from a bottomless well of inspiration, axeman Dan Lebowitz and keyboard/vocalist extraordinaire Zach Gill gave every song that extra something. Locked in with the relentless rhythmic duo of skinmaster Dave Brogan and bassist, Steve Adams, the band gained strength with each note. Ignoring pleas of mercy, ALO kept the pedal to the metal all the way until the roosters crowed.