By: Nick Boeka
San Francisco provided the West Coast backbone of the Green Apple Music Festival, featuring performances at over 20 venues throughout the city that culminated in a free outdoor concert coinciding with the Chicago and New York City events at the Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park on Earth Day. Even the Earth was geared up for the Sunday event, with the weekend's rain halting Saturday evening, leaving behind perfect, clear blue skies and warm April sun which tanned bodies all day Sunday.
Karl Denson :: GBA :: 04.22 :: SF by Flanigan
The citywide festival was a great success and offered performances from many premiere acts including Willie Nelson, Railroad Earth, Tea Leaf Green, Yonder Mountain String Band, and The Greyboy Allstars, who closed out the San Francisco portion of Green Apple with a Sunday night performance at The Independent. In true festival fashion there were many collaborations over the weekend. Sit-ins were reported at nearly every event, unique bands created from the talent around town.
On Friday night, Jemimah Puddleduck, made up of Bruce Hornsby keyboardist J.T. Thomas, drummer John Molo (Phil Lesh and Friends), Ratdog guitarist Mark Karan, and bassist Bob Gross, played at The Sweetwater in Mill Valley. That same night, Tea Leaf Green was joined by ALO's Dan Lebowitz prior to his own show at the 12 Galaxies. Eric McFadden, who was performing with his trio at the nearby Boom Boom Room, lent his axe work to an inspiring rendition of Pink Floyd's "Young Lust", and again joined TLG during their second set at The Fillmore. Lebowitz hurried out to make his own show, which featured an extended opening set from DJ Motion Potion and an entire night of jams, improvisational music and funk. Lebowitz was joined by Bay Area keyboardists Jordan Feinstein and Eric Levy, drummer Inx, bassist Mark Calderon and Sean Leahy, who scurried from venue to venue all night. In true Mission fashion, this 12 Galaxies performance reportedly ran until 5 a.m.
Josh Clark & Eric McFadden - TLG
4.20 by Flanigan
On Saturday night, the city came alive once again. Railroad Earth played a second evening at the Great American Music Hall, while Colorado's Yonder Mountain String Band filled the Fillmore with their unique style of new-grass. Yonder spent a little extra time in California and offered additional performances throughout the state, including Sunday in Santa Cruz.
Railroad Earth 4.20 by Weiand
Returning to the 12 Galaxies, Falcor and Friends presented the funkiest band from across the pond, The New Mastersounds, and the powerful Big Organ Trio for a Hammond filled night. Both very impressive bands in their own right, but together the vintage intensity shook bodies into motion.
On Sunday, a small, centrally located section of Golden Gate Park was transformed into a festival playground offering free performances from an eclectic set of artists, which drew a truly eclectic audience. People of all ages and races descended on the Speedway Meadows in a celebration of the Earth. The Green Apple Music Festival – who pledged a total Carbon offset for the event - boasted attendance of 15,000+ people in both Chicago and New York City. At the end of the day, San Francisco organizers estimated nearly 20,000 people showed up for the Bay Area performances.
Martin Sexton :: 04.22 :: SF by Vann
Jonah Smith started his set to a growing crowd before noon. The New York City based singer/songwriter has been on tour supporting Martin Sexton, who also performed at the SF event. Smith has a unique approach, performing in front of his piano or switching to guitar after he's started a loop. His short set was a perfect start to this day in the park.
Martin Sexton was next, and the Massachusetts guitarist/songwriter had a stage presence as big as his voice. Two songs in, "Candy" provided great lyrics and a vocal solo that emulated a lead guitar. Midway through the set, the band circled around two microphones for a stripped-down jug band feel, offering great renditions of Johnny Cash's classic "Folsom Prison Blues" and Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round in Circles" that made the crowd sing.
Following a quick set change, Southern California's Greyboy Allstars brought their NOLA-style funk with a great selection of songs, both old and new. The Greyboy Allstars just released their first album in 10 years, What Happened to Television, and are hitting the road hard in May to support it. Drummer Eric Kalb from Deep Banana Blackout is the newest addition to Greyboy, and seemed to take the new position in perfect stride. The band is fueled by the incredibly skillful work of brass man Karl Denson, and vintage key maestro Robert Walter. Their set immediately changed the vibe of the afternoon and quickly, starting with their sound check, had fans rising to their feet in anticipation of the boogie.
Stephen Marley :: 04.22 :: SF by Weiand
As the afternoon drew on, the stage was cleared to make room for the nine-piece Stephen Marley Band, who caused the field to suddenly swarm with folks eager for the sounds of Jamaica. The festival was quickly transformed into a scene from Burnin & Lootin. Looking around, it was inspiring to see an event bring together such a diverse group of people. Midway through the set, Marley was joined by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley who played MC for the rest of the set, which included a medley that included "Could You Be Loved." Stephen Marley performed again later that evening at the Fillmore.
Bob Weir and Ratdog closed the afternoon with a classic set that began with an opening tuning jam that segued into a "Jackstraw" > "Cassidy" > "Book of Rule" combo. Continuing the guest spirit, FM radio legend and booze merchant Sammy Hagar joined the band for a well-played "Loose Lucy." Later in the set, ex-Spearhead MC Radioactive joined them for a jam that showcased his rapping and beatboxing skills. The encore paired a strong "Samson and Delilah" with an a cappella version of "Attics Of My Life."
Hagar & Weir - Ratdog :: 04.22 :: SF by Mark Davidson
This extremely successful debut weekend for the Green Apple Festival in San Francisco prompted a lot of positive comments from attendees at various events around the city.
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