For the last three-plus years Joe Russo has been discovering the music of the Grateful Dead from an interesting position: behind the drumkit of the Phil Lesh and Bob Weir-fronted Furthur. Russo admits to not being very familiar with the Dead’s songbook when he got the call to play drums in Furthur, but after all this time he’s up to speed. With that in mind he recruited four of his best friends to play two sets of Dead covers this past Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl as Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.
[All Photos by Andrew Blackstein]
With Almost Dead we got a chance to see how the music of the Grateful Dead would sound if Russo called all the shots. For the gig, which was part of this year’s Freaks Ball, the drummer recruited keyboardist Marco Benevento, guitarists Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger and bassist Dave Dreiwitz. Outside of Hamilton, those in Almost Dead make up the Led Zeppelin tribute act Bustle In Your Hedgerow. From the time the quintet took the stage it was clear a lot of thought and more importantly practice went into the debut of Almost Dead. These guys absolutely nailed nearly everything they played. You don’t play a perfect version of The Eleven, as they did, without running through it a dozen times.