I started posting God Street Wednesday columns back in January with the hopes of rekindling some interest in one of my favorite bands of all-time. Since that time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with or talking to a few of the band members, some of their crew and plenty of other Winos.
[Photo of Nick Setteducato and Lo Faber by Jeremy Gordon]
These are exciting times for the GSW community as a mini-run of Wine-related shows kicked off last Saturday in Morrisville, PA at the Awesometown Festival where the Lo Faber Band performed.
On May 23, GSW guitar heroes Lo Faber and Aaron Maxwell will team up for the first time in years to play a few tunes both by themselves and with Echofission at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ.
But it all started Last Saturday as I headed across New Jersey – God’s Country – on I-195 to make my way to the little festival that could called Awesometown. From the minute I arrived on site until the minute I left I had as good a time as one could have legally in this country. Not only was the Lo Faber Band set off-the-hook but the other bands, vibe and surroundings were all amazing. I can’t speak highly enough of the job the promoters of this event did, but I’ll certainly try.
READ ON for more about my experience at Awesometown…
I arrived around 3PM to catch a bit of the second My Friend Ben set of the afternoon and I was immediately taken in by their catchy songs and skillful jamming. Now, Snipes Farm isn’t too big, so while I took a tour of the grounds with Wyllys I was able to hear every note emanating from the stage. As soon as My Friend Ben wrapped up their set the Lo Faber Band kicked off 75 glorious minutes of God Street Wine classics with Nightingale. Lo told us last week that the band didn’t have much time to rehearse, but I wouldn’t have known if he didn’t tell me. They sure sounded tight to me.
Watching Lo tear up a number of my favorite GSW songs including Molly, Drive West and Epiphany reminded me of why I’m so infatuated with a band that doesn’t exist at the moment. I guess it’s like riding a bike, as Lo’s playing and singing were just as good as I remembered. Lo handled the guitar work himself with keyboard wiz Ken Sidotti taking on some of Aaron Maxwell’s parts in couple of songs.
There weren’t too many people on hand to take in Lo’s wonderful set, but you couldn’t wipe the huge smiles off the faces of those of us who knew what we were witnessing. Give Us The Money Lebowski guitar player Chris Cartelli caught God Street over 100 times back in the day and you could see Chris beaming with pride that an artist he had so much respect for was owning it at a festival he helped put together. Dan Pifer lookalike Jack Cook did a great job on bass while drummer Dan Zegart held things together allowing Lo to lay down some nasty solos.
My favorite tune of the afternoon was Drive West. The group extended the outro jam a bit and background vocalist Pam Cutler harmonized well with Lo. Also of note was a bluegrassy version of Hellfire that seemed to be a crowd pleaser. It was a family affair at Awesometown as Lo’s wife and kids weren’t far from the stage and enjoyed his music as much as the rest of us. All in all, it was a fantastic set and hopefully video and audio will surface soon for those couldn’t make it.
HT favorite Tim Palmieri treated the crowd to a fun set of originals with a cover or two thrown in after Lo’s set and Give Us The Money Lebowski followed with a deliciously jamtastic set of their own. After an intense Tube > Making Flippy Floppy > Tube that was followed by a twisted Tube Reprise jam, GUTML welcomed Lo to the stage once again to lead them through Wendy. Both Lo and the Lebowski band members weren’t sure how it would turn out but they absolutely nailed it. Lebowski lead guitarist Nick Setteducato traded licks with Lo and none of the GUTML boys could hide their excitement to be sharing the stage with Faber. The excitement was contagious as the crowd was hooting and hollering along.
[Photo by Jeremy Gordon]
Now, Nick – who has written for HT in the past – spent the last six months or so in New Zealand and apparently he’s made good use of his time as he busted out some incredible leads on what has to be longest Lawyers, Guns and Money ever played. GUTML sounded great for a band that hasn’t had many chances to play together in ’09. You can check them out for yourselves at Mexicali this Saturday night along with Unexplained Bacon. Sadly, I had to leave soon after Lebowski’s set, but next year Mom may have to wait as I want to be at Snipes Farm for two full days of action if Awesometown #3 goes down.