All Good Festival, Marvin’s Mountaintop, Masontown, WV- 7/11-13
During a summer where I’ve been fortunate enough to attend Bonnaroo and Rothbury, my run of luck continued with an opportunity to attend this year’s All Good Festival at Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia.
Sure, the line up was good — Phil Lesh and Friends, Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Dark Star Orchestra, Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Soul Stew Revival, Avett Brothers, Mike Gordon, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Tea Leaf Green, Railroad Earth, The Bridge, Pnuma Trio and much more. But what was most appealing after dealing with too many conflicting sets and choosing one act over another and/or catching samplings of as many acts as possible, All Good’s two stage set up and no overlapping sets provided a chance to dive in the deep end of the sonic pool.
A few highlights: Both Lesh and WSP presented that were jaw-droppingly good. Especially pleased with the nod to PLF keyboardist Steve Molitz by covering Particle’s "Elevator" after nearly an hour delay due to equipment problems, Warren Haynes showed during Gov’t Mule’s 2 a.m. set that he’s just as effective using a portion of his amp set up as he is with the full arsena; Jimmy Herring joining Soul Stew Revival and then Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks returning the favor during WSP’s set; Mike Gordon turning an already powerful set by The Bridge by sitting in for a number, and looking as he was ready to keep the jamming going on and on; the creative, in-the-moment electronica by Telepath and Pnuma Trio; and Keller Williams along with the WMDs getting his Grateful Dead fixation on with "Eyes of the World" and "Dancing in the Streets" (yes, i know it’s classic soul track covered by the Dead!) as well as the perverse pleasure of hearing the Butthole Surfers’ "Pepper" turned into a country shuffle.
Williams and Moseley
With a little less than 20,000 people, it gave the impression of intimacy, and by the familial atmosphere displayed by the crowd, the grounds were definitely filled with repeat customers. If matters go my way in 2009, that should include me.