Gathering of the Vibes: My Favorite Sets
For full disclosure, I arrived at Vibes Friday night during Robert Randolph’s set, so I missed Jackie Greene and Sharon Jones because of work and traffic. From what I saw, here are my top 5 performances.
5) Robert Randolph & the Family Band – I was very excited to see Robert Randolph and The Family Band again, it’s been years since I’ve last seen them, and I’ve always thought they were a perfect band for a daytime festival set. Robert did his thing, tons of energy, tons of roaring guitar work. I missed the first 20 or so minutes of his set as I was just making my way into the campgrounds during “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” but the place was rocking and it got me amply pumped for the 2 days to follow.
4) Rhythm Devils w/ Keller Williams – As a lover of the Dead, I was certainly more than happy to sit through a set of Dead tunes done Mickey and Billy’s way, and I was not disappointed. Keller’s take on “Cold Rain and Snow” and “Uncle John’s Band” started off the show very nicely and set the table for what would be an enjoyable, but not mind blowing set of music. Davy Knowles knocked “So Many Roads” out of the park, and they really got things going during the Fire on the Mountain. The fire dancers were a nice ending to a fun time.
3) Umphrey’s McGee – I had only seen UM once before but it was a festival set and I missed half of it, so I was very excited to see what all the fuss is about. I was impressed, they rocked the place pretty hard, and got the crowd more into it than any band had since Furthur the night before. With lots of interesting segues and guitar heavy jams, UM proved they belong on the big stage.
2) Futhur – Furthur put on another excellent show. The first set consisted of a beautiful “Jack Straw” and “Ramble on Rose” combo that despite a Bobby miscue touched the hearts of all the heads in attendance. A well played “Estimated” > “Eyes of the World” led into one of the best “Not Fade Aways” I’ve ever heard, a perfect set ender. The second set did not disappoint, after another perfectly executed “Playin’” to start the set, JK took the reins and nailed two of Jerry’s epic ballads, “Althea” and “Wharf Rat.” A fitting and emotional “He’s Gone” followed, and eventually worked its way into the most rocking song of the set, “Scarlet Begonias.” “The Wheel,” “Standing on the Moon,” “Help”>”Slip”>”Franklin’s” rounded out the set and I think all of the crowd was already more than pleased with what we had witnessed. The “Terrapin Station Suite” was icing on the cake and the crowd was left w/ there jaws on the floor.
1) PRIMUS – Having never seen Primus before, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I’d seen Les’s other bands a few times through the years, and could tell from their fan base in attendance that the show was going to pretty nuts. Well to say I was blown away is an understatement. They are making some of, it not, the most interesting/rocking music these ears have ever heard. Les is a beast on stage, actually, all three members of the band sounded incredible. In what can be described as an “attack of the bass”, Primus brought the crowd into a rage, time and time again with their musical madness. Without a doubt the highlight of the weekend to me, Les and the band do something on stage like I have never seen. Without one boring moment of music in there two hour set, they have earned a fan for life in this guy.
Ryan Burke’s last contribution to the Loop was “Word Class: The Lyrics of Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem)”