Andrew Bender’s reports from the 15th Annual All Good Music Festival continue with his take and photos from Friday…
After waking up on Friday morning and scarfing down some food, I made my way up to the Grassroots Stage in the campground to see The Recipe, who provided a fun, early morning performance, though not anything that left me begging for more musically. Leading off music at the main stage, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad delivered their dub reggae hip-hop vibes, assaulting the crowd with some heavy beats. After a short set, Infamous Stringdusters brought their traditional bluegrass tunes to All Good which were perfect in the early afternoon heat.
One the defining features of the All Good festival has been the lack of competing stages. However, in recent years All Good promoters have added a campground or Grassroots Stage featuring lesser known or more local acts. Those generally start before music begins on the two main stages, and last year the Campground Stage featured Greensky Bluegrass and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad both of whom were upgraded to early day, mainstage slots for this year’s festival.
However, this year the festival organizers teamed with some of the scene’s charitable organizations: HeadCount, the Rex Foundation and Rock the Earth. So, I hiked up to the Campground stage age where Head Count was hosting an interview with Furthur drummer Joe Russo.
READ ON for Andrew’s thoughts and photos from Umphrey’s, Furthur and Galactic at All Good plus much more…
A longtime fan of Russo’s work, it was nice to see such a talented musician had such general humility and a healthy perspective on his own success. Despite his always-relaxed onstage persona, New York native Russo admitted that playing iconic venues like Madison Square Garden he dreamed of playing as a child packed an emotional wallop. Look for the complete interview footage on the HeadCount website in the next week.
I made my way back to the Crane Stage to catch That One Guy and The Magic Pipe, a one-man band that combined loops and samples, heavy bass and a healthy dose of humor and fun using a homemade instrument fitting for the 21st Century, and the crowd ate it up as a nice distraction from the mid-day sun.
Next up on the Dragon Stage was Galactic featuring Corey Glover of Living Colour on vocals. Galactic with Glover is far more rock-inspired as Stanton led the band in throwing down some hearty beats during an intense cover of Led Zeppelin’s How Many More Times. Having not seen Galactic in that configuration before, it was a nice change, although some in the crowd seemed to long for the more funky Galactic of years past.
After a thoroughly engaging performance by Matt Butler’s Everyone Orchestra featuring Jennifer Hartswick and everyone from Hot Buttered Rum, Keller Williams took the main stage for a classic loop-filled set. Although not a diehard fan, I definitely appreciated Keller’s set, even if it lacked the festival standards Freaker by the Speaker or Doobie in My Pocket that would have suited All Good so well.
Following Keller on Crane Stage was the Dana Fuchs Band, who has performed extensively in Europe and was making their All Good debut. Mixing up a lot of different soulful, rocking female artists, Fuchs didn’t make much of an impression as her act seemed far better left to the likes of Grace Potter, among others. But Fuchs’ soulful blues rock was a suitable warmup for the Warren Haynes Band, a project that David Shehi of Honest Tune called, “Warren’s best project – ever.” And the soul that Warren and company brought to the All Good stage was palpable as Nigel Hall’s keys and vocals and Ron Holloway’s tenor sax melded and played off of Haynes’ ever masterful electric guitar work.
Following an extended set filled with West African jams and southern hooks by Toubab Krewe, post-Grateful Dead act Furthur took the stage after a 50 minute delay, opening with a solid Jack Straw which was followed by a hot Bertha. A head-scratching Money for Gasoline from the Ratdog songbook was quickly forgiven by older heads thanks to the opening set’s second half of Ramble On Rose, Big River, Cold Rain & Snow, Viola Lee Blues > Turn On Your Lovelight, which featured solid, if not particularly noteworthy, performances.
A second set soon followed, but proved a bit disappointing in some regards and exceptional in others. The set opening Truckin’ showed promise as it transitioned into New Speedway Boogie, but Corinna was somewhat lackluster, and a random a choice as any from the entire GD songbook. A fun surprise performance of She Came in Through the Bathroom Window from the Beatles’ Abbey Road was sandwiched between an upbeat China > Rider and a Terrapin Station that didn’t quite live up to the performance from All Good 2010.
Big Gigantic started off the late night festivities and the combination of drums, keys and sax had the audience raging on the concert grounds, and the anticipation built for the final late night performance. Umphrey’s McGee brought their intense progressive rock jams to the stage well after 2AM and didn’t let up for almost an hour and a half when they decided that festival favorite covers of Rush’s Tom Sawyer and Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop (Til You Get Enough) were the best prescription for late night fun. I fell asleep looking forward to the insanity that Saturday had to offer.
Check back soon for Andrew’s adventures on Saturday at All Good.