Words & Images by: Jake Krolick & Robert Massie
All Good Festival :: 07.13.07 – 07.15.07 :: Marvin's Mountaintop :: Masontown, WV
Thursday: Cows, Cars, and Jam's Last Stand
For some, the annual pilgrimage to Masontown, WV isn't just inevitable it's absolutely necessary. This time-honored trip mends heads, saves souls and wipes out worries. Sometimes it seems as if Marvin's Mountaintop harbors a secret mojo that can't be found elsewhere. The All Good Festival returned in mid-July 2007 for it's 11th year, featuring a who's who of jam-based talent including Bob Weir and Ratdog, moe., Leftover Salmon, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Perpetual Groove, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Dark Star Orchestra, amongst many others. The jam world has seemingly taken many a blow the past few years and the steam pushing the "festival express" down the track isn't what it used to be. If you told that to the 13,000-plus crowd that enjoyed this year's All Good festival, they would have laughed heartily in your face. The 11th annual gathering was one of the very few major summer festivals that stuck to its roots, mixing in only a few change-ups and popular indie rock bands. The resulting lineup arguably lacked the diversity shown by the likes of Bonnaroo and Coachella but it made up for that in consistency, choosing to stick with tried and true jam staples. To many of us, this was Jam's chance to make a last stand. The results were spectacular and reminded those of us with our heads in the indie universe to not forget what you once loved about jambands.
All Good 2007 by Massie
The cows were standing tall, sending a clear signal to happy festivalgoers that they were in store for some gorgeous weather. Hats off to Tim and Junipa of Walther Productions for constantly rethinking All Good as it grows. There was a gleeful exuberance as packed cars flowed in smooth and easy due to a new layout that included a staging area for late ticket buyers. With perhaps a new festival record, by midnight on Thursday evening 75-percent of the festival had already fully arrived and set-up camp.
From Splat! To Space (Carefree and Happy)
Once your tent is staked, the air mattress inflated and the cooler successfully extracted from an overstocked trunk, an overwhelming sense of calm sets in. The first evening at All Good is electric and therapeutic at the same time. As many of us know, life is about the journey not the destination; and we were determined to not wait for our favorite artists to have fun, but to simply enjoy all the moments the weekend would offer. We become hunter-gatherers, seeking out familiar faces of friends we see every week and those we see only once a year in this burgeoning hotspot. We gather hugs and smiles, plus some odds and ends to enhance our weekend, all the while grinning from ear-to-ear. People walk a wonderful walk at this special time - it's somewhere between a lackadaisical trot, an idle stroll, and a slothful strut. One thing is constant - the conversations with voices filled with hope. You could start out at on one side of the festival and walk to the other in about 30 minutes, but on the first night it takes us three hours to make the hike. We stop every few yards to share a drink, a smoke, a story, an embrace, a laugh, a dance or just a tip of the hat. We collectively beam, knowing we are all there for the same reasons. We're drawn here to just enjoy the music, the adventure and the happiness of being in our element and seeing how our tribe has fared in the last year.
All Good 2007 by Krolick
Those looking to kick-start their groove witnessed Sonic Bid winner American Dumpster swagger onstage with washboards, fire blowing and flaming hula hoops. The sultans of the strange kicked off the 2007 All Good Fest with a wild, unruly energy and impressed many, although their extended performance made some Ozric Tentacles fans a bit unruly. Highlights from Am Dump included a string of covers including Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone."
Ozric Tentacles - All Good 2007 by Massie
Space Rock innovator Ed Wynne (guitar) got his work visa to play in the States about a day before it would have been impossible to leave, so it truly was an All Good miracle Ozric Tentacles made it stateside (unlike the Wakarusa Festival). Their set was about half as long as normal, but they brought extra energy to make up for it. Brandi held down some amazing bass lines, as the new Ozric trio made do without a dedicated bassist. Some nasty synth lines swirled overhead as the crowd timed firework shots to crescendos and stanzas.
By the time Dark Star Orchestra did their own piece of musical reenactment, the crowd had surged to a frothing, firework-shooting beast. DSO recreated June 29, 1977, continuing to build on the soaring "happy-to-be-at-All-Good" feeling. For many, Thursday evening would end with the sounds of fireworks, while others chose to frolic until the sun peaked over the hills. For us, well, let's just say the ear plugs and air mattresses worked wonders, the spirit of All Good sneaking into our sleeping bags and dreams, making a few hours of sleep seem just perfect.
All Good 2007 by Krolick
Friday: Laying a Solid Foundation
(Or, in this Case, Building a Bridge)
If you've read the All Good reviews from the past few years, you've no doubt heard reference to a bad-ass band from Baltimore known as The Bridge. Many passionate fans have demanded to see these guys return to the main stage for years now, and this was the year for The Bridge to shine. They played to the occasion, and all the veterans noted that they had never seen such a large, spirited crowd for the kickoff set at All Good. Kenny Liner and Cris Jacobs absolutely capitalized on the situation, shredding a perfect 9-song early afternoon set and raising the bar for the groups that followed. Liner was an unstoppable beat-boxing force, as he swirled his mouth over the mic, teasing "Axel-F" before launching into the melodic pops and bass kicks of crowd favorite "Drop the Beat." Jacobs gave the crowd two words to walk away with: "Heavy Water" – a glorious guitar-driven romp placed The Bridge on a hard-to-top pedestal. Their heavy-hitting street team plastered the hillside with free Bridge CDs, further cementing them into the ears and minds of attendees. Many a campsite and car were heard pumping the promo CD throughout the weekend.
The Bridge - All Good 2007 by Massie
George Porter Jr., Russell Batiste and Brian Stoltz are pretty much a stripped down version of The Funky Meters minus Art Neville. However, even without Neville's signature key washes and churns, this is anything but Funky Meters Light. These guys exude funk from their pores and all they touch becomes smothered and chunked with bayou boom. The funk oozes from the slow slink of Stoltz's axe and Batiste's wild belly laughs behind his kit. However, the title of "funky witch doctor" goes to George Porter, Jr. this year. His bass notes are sticky sweet, as if his bass has been dipped in honey. Porter held down the heaviest pocket Masontown has witnessed to date. He dipped deep into the jar, pulling long strands of bass out during "I Get High" and "Grits & Hurricanes." Each punch hit hard enough to carve out a little hillside.
All Good's stage model of seamless performances can make or break the building groove of a festival day. One must admit that they were a little unsure of where the afternoon would go next as The Pietasters took the adjacent stage. The motto of their spirited frontman Stephan Jackson is: it's not a good show unless someone bleeds. The horns sprung to life, and their punchy blast grabbed on where Porter's bass left off. The Pietasters played a crucial role in the afternoon vibe and they did it in style. Jackson bounced and kicked as they upped the funk, turning the party into a skanky, ska-flavored affair. The Pietasters somehow fit perfectly in a natural progression of the music, and the crowd shuffled around as good rude boys and girls should.
Porter & Stoltz - All Good 2007 by Massie
Yonder Mountain String Band took off where the Pietasters stopped and managed to play with enough conviction that the music again transitioned well. Bluegrass goes so well with so many genres, and the Yonder boys are one of the best at taking their signature sound into realms it rarely touches. They tore through a fast set that started with the threat of rain and ended in a spirited downpour - one of only two that occurred all weekend. YMSB's audience waved decorated pool noodles at them and it seemed that this was the start of a new trend for the weekend. Kids on parent's shoulders delighted in this fact as they waved and whacked the noodles in time to the music. The "Angel" > "Follow Me Down To The Riverside" > "Angel" sequence was particularly delightful. A little while after YMSB finished, a massive rainbow emerged, stretching right across the top of the main stage.
Irie Vibes Rise, Mary Jane Dances
And the Lotus Flower Blooms
Steel Pulse definitely helped bring back the sun as David Hinds's powerful vocals lead the reggae classic through a politically charged set, singing about Earth's troubles and, more importantly, how to be the solution. Meanwhile, at the Ropeadope Stage buried in the hills, one of the more interesting weekend performances was taking place. Billed as the Jay Lane Experiment, a group of musicians and lyricists rocked some beats that one needed to see to believe. Ratdog's drummer, Jay Lane led a set that linked the worlds of funk, jazz and hip-hop with help from Ratdog members Bob Weir, Jeff Chimenti (keys), Kenny Brooks (sax) and Robin Sylvester (bass), plus PBS guitarist Brian Stoltz. This jam began during the storm, and a scarce-but-brave crowd of 20 or so were treated to Bobby and company doing about an hour of jazz improv, with several appearances by rappers Mighty FlipSide, Esq. and Jawnzap7. The set was eloquently billed by Tim Walther as "Rapdog". The only thing more interesting than the somewhat-odd combination was the way Weir made it up to the Ropeadope Stage. He rode in a van that got stuck in the mud from the storm on the way up. Weir was the first person out of the van, helping push it out while a few lucky onlookers stared in disbelief.
Rapdog - All Good 2007 by Massie
Keller Williams and the Keels created a vibe that screamed "fun" as they ripped through versions of Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Beck and Grateful Dead tunes with some wonderful guest spots from Jeff Austin on "New Horizons" and the All Good "Everywhere Man," Bob Weir, on the Dead's "Loser" and "Dupree's Diamond Blues." Both Larry and Jenny Keel were obviously having a blast. Their free-spirited playing and can-do attitudes served as amplifiers for Keller's performance. Keller is one of perhaps two or three artists who define All Good each time they play it, and this romp through the absurd, the standards, and the quintessential Keller catalog was a dose of the most pure entertainment the weekend delivered. As hoopers twirled, smokers puffed and dancers grooved, KW brought his unique vibe and grinned the whole time.
Keller Williams - All Good 2007 by Massie
Lotus stole the show from the rest of the Magic Hat stage artists on Friday evening. Getting right into things with "Jump Off", the boys kicked out crisp, full and clean house music that had their fans getting down. This band has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, going from a buzz band to a beat-fueled institution. "Hammerstrike" and "Wax" were also great, and showed depth, diversity and dedication to groove. Synthesizer showdowns, high-flying guitar and the tight shuffling beats never wavered. Lotus left many saying that they had pulled off the set of the day.
While Lotus worked their Philadelphia Magic, the Ropeadope Stage had rumors of Marco Benevento and The Slip playing a stealth set together. Alas, no dice for the 100 or so of us gathered. We got Benevento and Bodega, which turned out to be a Benevento keyfest over subpar electro-funk laid down by Bodega.
The Rat, The Dog
And the Battle of the Bands
No disrespect, but many felt that Ratdog may have punched the proverbial timecard during their headlining spot. Perhaps that was because Weir had used up his allotment of musical magic during the day. We are certainly happy that the band continues to keep the Grateful Dead spirit going, but on this night they just weren't playing up to the level many have come to expect. The first half of the set, minus the lyric butchering on "Casey Jones," was fairly loose, more like rambling clatter than tight jamming. Keller Williams joined them for "Uncle John's Band" and a jam without Weir, but, again, things just fell flat. The crowd grew restless as the set flowed over its time slot by close to 45 minutes. The band finally left the stage and everyone expected The Duo to pick up the pace, but, as they started their set, Weir and company came back out for an encore. Well, Weir was a little on edge as he grabbed the mic and screamed over to Joe Russo and Benevento, "Whoa! Easy fella. Hold on there, brother." When Russo, who was wailing on his drums to start The Duo's set didn't get the message, Bobby exclaimed, "Alright, fuck it. This is the battle of the bands." Those up on the hill fully expecting some magic turned their attention to wishing the Rat and The Duo would actually do battle, but The Duo backed off for Ratdog to revisit "Touch of Grey."
Marco Benevento of The Duo - All Good 2007 by Massie
When The Duo was finally able to start for real all our musical troubles disappeared. The crowd lost their minds as they witnessed Russo do lightning quick last minute setting changes for his pads. He slammed into "Becky" and watched Benevento mouth, "Okkkkaaayyy" as he smiled and threw on a heap of distortion and filters. It was some seriously powerful rock & roll! The unscheduled change threw off most of their songs, and each was played completely different, either with missing or repeated parts. Let's just say the vibe was loose and fun.
We are the Fog People, We are the Sound Tribe
Two years ago All Good was treated to a wonderful Friday late night in the fog. While Ozric Tentacles laid down one of the best sets the festival has ever seen, the air thickened and hid everything but blasts of light. Because of this experience, the crowd knew this year's dense pea soup that settled into the valley was something to embrace. Making the trek between the Ropeadope and main stages with a walking soundtrack of Sound Tribe Sector 9 made the swim in the fog one of those memories many will soon not forget. The spirit off All Good had wrapped itself around a group of creative engineers situated above the All Good mud pond. These structural sultans had taken the rocks laying in the culvert for water runoff and stacked them all the way up the path in a series of stone castles. Another of those spirited creative types had placed candles in the castles and the effect was breathtaking. All weekend festivalgoers stopped to take pictures and marvel at the Jenga-style stacks.
STS9 - All Good 2007 by Massie
The major lights at the intersection of All Good and Main Ave. played with the vapors in the air, and it appeared as if people were walking right out of a brilliant fallen star. For those who couldn't get enough during the day, The Bridge dropped a secret late night show at the Ropeadope Stage while STS9 worked their vibe down the hill. The Bridge killed a dark and dirty version of Dr. John's "I Walk On Guilded Splinters" and a stifling "Use Me" with Eva Castillo. We made our way back to the end of STS9 to relax, lie on the hillside and watch the lights dance in the fog. STS9 is the perfect soundtrack to play on Marvin's Mountain with a thick fog. The glowing toys that have become commonplace at most festivals have really taken on new life. This year a young man brought a serious piece of equipment - a remote controlled flying saucer. The bottom had blinking lights so the crowd would see it in all its flying glory. He would send it a few hundred feet into the heavens at opportune moments. His remote flying saucer was talked about in a hush at first, people not wanting to be accused of really hallucinating. As the evening wore on, we cheered the craft as it made acrobatic passes overhead. Sound Tribe played a great set, and their outstanding performance of "We'll Meet in Our Dreams" was simply an anthem.
All Good 2007 by Krolick
Continue reading for Saturday and Sunday at All Good...
Grace Potter :: All Good 2007 :: By Massie
Saturday: Common Sense has got
Nothing on Moonshine
Moonshine - aka hooch, creek water, mountain dew, squeezings, Portuguese grape juice, white lightning, as well as a slew of other regional names for hill hooch - is prohibited, particularly in those localities where it's manufactured. Consequently, the name comes from the fact that smugglers would often work under the light of the moon to avoid arrest. All Good's artists allegedly each received a hefty mason jar to lubricate, or perhaps decimate, their performances. Anyhow, a few sips do a number on anyone who doesn't normally partake; Saturday morning was a doozy for many.
Brock Butler of PGroove - All Good 2007 by Massie
SOJA and Assembly of Dust started things off on Saturday, and by the time Perpetual Groove kicked out the jams, the sun was high and a slight breeze was blowing Brock Butler's guitar grooves across a sea of fresh and not-so-fresh faces. P-Groove churned out a variety of light afternoon songs forgoing heavy sounds, saving those for a club show down the line. Butler reflected greatness with ease and style similar to moe.'s Chuck Garvey. With his unassuming manner, Butler and his bandmates are clearly from the "speak softly but carry a big stick" school, or in his case, a big sound. The set sat perfectly in the pocket with a splendid "Under Lock and Key" that let minds soar and more than a few folks spin into the sun. Meanwhile, festival MVP Marco Benevento sat in with The Lee Boys on the Ropeadope Stage and showed his amazingly on-point gospel side.
After last year's romp around the Magic Hat Stage, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals had graduated to the main stage, and from the hoot and hollers and surge of the crowd, they clearly deserved it. The Nocturnals were dressed to the nines - Potter, decked out in a silky yellow baby doll dress; guitarist Scott Tournet, looking like he'd stepped out of a Clockwork Orange in white garb sporting a white bowler hat; and bassist Bryan Dondero looked dapper in black. They were ready to play but unfortunately it was with half the guts and gusto of last year's performance. You must have to work harder on the smaller stage. The momentum built as they played a hot new song called "If I Was From Paris." The smoldering, sexy rocker started with a fast, hard guitar riff that built under the weighty rolls of Matt Burr's aggressive drums. Burr kept his presence felt and interjected perfect time into the musical conversation as Potter stomped across the stage in an aggressive show of power. This new song has potential to send the Nocturnals down a heavier path that so many of us can't wait to hear.
The Nocturnals - All Good 2007 by Krolick
The Colonel of the Strangest Army
And Put Your Damn Hands Up
In the strange late Saturday afternoon, we ventured to the clandestine Ropeadope mash-up arena for the Mike Dillon - Skerik Experience. The powerful duo pushed boundaries as they played a bunch of Critters Buggin tunes that segued into bits and pieces of their work in the Les Claypool's Fancy Band, and even a Deerhoof cover. Skerik's foot almost never left the effects pedals connected to his sax. He stomped the rig like a racecar driver, giving his instrument aggressive shots of gas whenever he felt like it. Dillon bounced quickly between tablas and drums, but his shinning moment came when he put on a xylophone speed clinic. The group on the hill was treated to some wild experimental moments when Les Claypool stopped in and moved behind the drum kit like his role in Electric Apricot. Claypool, not surprisingly, kept perfect time.
Les Claypool - All Good 2007 by Massie
Wandering back down to the main stage, the full effects of a crazy weekend were starting to show. The kookiest fans donned costumes that ranged from a Hairspray John Travolta to a sliced-up inflatable pool shark with arms and a bearded face. At the hilltop Magic Hat Stage Bindlestiff Family Cirkus seemed to pale in comparison to the freak show of folks making their way to Les Claypool and the Fancy Band. Claypool changed his laid back hippie attire for a smart little black bowtie and black bowler. He plowed into "Up On The Roof," kicking off a pretty standard Claypool show. It was almost the same show as last year, blow-for-blow, minus the addition of Trey Anastasio and adding a bit more jam to the mix. But, the quirky troupe played exceptionally well. The early highlight was a triple-decker sandwich with all the fixings of "One Better" > "Glide" > "Tommy the Cat" > "One Better." The jam went into a more free form realm as Gabby La La grabbed the sitar reins and battled a bit with Claypool. It was unfortunate but predictable as she lost sight of the underlying rhythm that the rest of the band was working around and shot off into her own world. No matter and no worries, the band pulled her back into the groove and no one would remember the misstep as Claypool's thwacking of the bass went into a "Southbound" tease during "David Makalaster."
Dillon & Claypool - All Good 2007 by Krolick
Meanwhile up on the main stage, a truly monumental event was about to take place. The self-proclaimed three-time All Good downhill summersault champion was about to battle for the crow yet again. A thin piece of yellow police tape was laid down to part the crowd over a particularly rocky section of the hill. "The Champ" stood at the top, professing his skills and the danger that faced him at every flip and slam of his body. The pathway that had been cleared to summersault down was packed with people, and the crowd surged as The Champ secured a helmet to his head with a few strips of duct tape. He asked if anyone wanted to attempt to break his record. After a moment another wild-eyed, shirtless festivarian joined the challenge by duct taping a pink fuzzy hat to his head. At the count of three, pinky backed out but The Champ sent his body hurdling down the rocky path, half somersaulting and half bouncing off the un-forgiving ground.
Michael Franti - All Good 2007 by Massie
After a 'tweener set courtesy of New Monsoon and his own beautiful, moving warm-up acoustic set on the Ropeadope Stage, Michael Franti captured the main stage. He pulled out all the stops with camouflage nets draped all over the stage and a massive red and white bull's eye backdrop. Franti started his performance with a wonderful George Bush video (did you ever think you would read the words "Bush" and "wonderful" in the same sentence?) that silenced much of the crowd into a state of awe. That was the last time anyone would be silent during Franti's fantastic performance. His delivery was splendid and he only asked the crowd "How you feelin?" about six times. Two major highlights included "What I Got" dropped into a mash-up of The Muppets and Sesame Street themes including "Rainbow Connection" and an homage to Cookie Monster. The second highlight, "People in the Middle," drifted down an irie road with a "Red Red Wine" tease into "Get Up, Stand Up" and a little "Stir It Up" before falling back into "People." His set ended with "Everybody On A Move" reverberating through the hills as friendly faces repeated the words all the way out of the venue and up towards the campgrounds. Perhaps the most moving moment of the festival was when Franti told the crowd that we need to bring back the soldiers who want to be at this festival but are stuck at George Bush's festival.
A Wild Show, a Wicked Guitar
And the Rotating Door of Greatness
Tea Leaf Green kept things moving until the kings of jam took the main stage with a thunder that could be heard miles away. moe.'s brilliant set began and finished with a fabulous "Rebubla" throw down on each end. "Plane Crash" was also huge, and things were set for a legendary All Star Jam second set.
Rob Derhak of moe. - All Good 2007 by Massie
While moe. massacred the crowd in the arena, another New York State band called Kicksville hunkered down on the Ropeadope Stage for a truly experimental show. This wild group taps a similar vein as The Flaming Lips, but without the balloons or confetti. They placed old monitors all over the front of the stage that broadcasted a mish-mash of video clips, old cartoons and movies. Their announcer acted out stories in the shadows, his grey hair and wild eyed moments were straight out of the '70s camp flicks Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Wild in the Streets. They would switch from gospel-flavored hymns to industrial rock mixed with sampled beats. Kicksville was one of the weirdest, most visually stunning performances of the weekend. It stretched listener's ears to the edge then roped them back in with flowing, friendly jams.
Back down on the Magic Hat Stage, Andrew Barr and Marc Freidman alternated between watching moe. from the stage to quietly playing along with them as Brad Barr jumped down to chat with folks in the front row. He offered some of the rumored All Good shine to anyone brave enough to partake as moe. rattled the crowd in the best of ways. The Slip opened with a rousing yet ordinary version of "Children of December." The band was exploring within the limits of the Eisenhower tunes as Brad heaved an extended section of uninhibited guitar riffs during "Even Rats." The band was firing missiles at this point. The ensuing "Get Me With Fuji" was implemented with substantial muscle and more exploration than other recent versions. "Soft Machine" was grandiose as The Slip took us on a dazzling ride with Friedman and Andrew Barr slamming the bass and drums. They closed the short set full of woozy, tasty interaction with the "Weight of Solomon." It's safe to assume that watching moe. absolutely destroy a crowd only moments before would inspire one to up their game. The Slip delivered, which the crowd testified to. Following such a stunning performance and keeping everyone on a similar musical high was no small feat.
The Slip - All Good 2007 by Massie
The late night moe. All-Star Jam stole the show from the opening notes accompanied by Jeff Waful's magic touch on the lights. moe. served as the host band, but never held any of their guests back. Instead, they let them hold the limelight and the highlights came thick and heavy. Kenny Liner and Cris Jacobs from The Bridge started things off with some beat-boxing and thick guitars before a freestyle rap from Terry Lynch. The stage was just warming up as Reid Genauer from Assembly of Dust started "Up On Cripple Creek," only to be joined midway by Brock Butler which eventually gave way to Josh Clark and a killer version of Tea Leaf Green's "Sex in the 70's."
What happened next may have been the highlight of many a live music fan's weekend, if not their whole year, as Bryan Dondero, Scott Tournet and Grace Potter blew away a version of "Cortez the Killer." At one point, Potter, Tournet, and moe.'s Al Schnier ripped a circle of guitar-driven madness only to drop effortlessly back to Potter letting her pipes soar, her arms swimming through the blue lights. She exited without a thought or care, simply dropping the mic on the stage and disappearing into the night. Next, the set-closing move from "Meat" > "Pawn Shop" > Meat" with Chuck Garvey jumping out on the guitar stacks to salute the crowd and bow to his bandmates was epic. After a quick but spirited cheer from the packed audience, bassist Rob Derhak exclaimed that he couldn't possibly drive but he hoped he could still play. He could, as they finished up with the growling green monster of BOC's "Godzilla" that sent us all back to our camp sights singing, "OH NO! There goes Tokyo. GO GO GODZILLA!!!!"
Potter & Schnier - All Good 2007 by Massie
All Good 2007 by Krolick
Sunday: A Truly All Good Test of Will
The last day of All Good is notoriously laidback. The music ends by 7 p.m. and, for many, it's a chance to hit the road early and make it home for some serious R&R. This year the schedule threw many of us for a loop when we saw the highly anticipated Leftover Salmon reunion was the closing show of the festival. Upon entering the main stage area it was apparent that much of the festivals masses had decided to pack it in and leave. But, this isn't a bad thing because Sunday is a perfect day to bring down the canvas chair and kick back with your friends. Sundays at Marvin's Mountaintop are an opportunity to reflect on the amazing weekend and slowly let your mind slip back into the reality of a trek home.
The Lee Boys - All Good 2007 by Massie
Past openers for the Sunday have really set the tone for the day, with the Campbell Brothers, Dumpstaphunk and the Rebirth Brass Band pulling past opening duties. This year followed suit with the Lee Boys. This sacred steel band kicked up the tempo and wailed out a fantastic little set. If one closed their eyes, one would have sworn that Robert Randolph was playing. The sextet turned out to be one of Florida's best kept secrets since JJ Grey and MOFRO. This "House of God" band of brothers and nephews tossed us a spirited, soulful show, ripping through a sweet catalog. Co-founder and bandleader Alvin Lee laid down infectious rhythms on lead guitar and his brothers sang straight from the heart. If we could see these guys every morning they could relieve our souls and help cleanse our "morning-after" minds.
Sam Bush jumped on stage immediately following the Lee Boys and began his quiet domination of Sunday's schedule. Bush's Hawaiian shirt and massive grin were captivating as he fiddled away our cares. He had a wonderful way of casually winning over ears by dipping his body off to the left, as if straining to hear some powerful secret. It seemed that each dip pulled another person up from their spot to see what the fun was about. Bush is one of the most versatile, powerful musicians playing today, and he showed that prowess during a wonderful section of covers. He tapped into a little of what both he and Peter Rowan have capitalized on when he pushed into a bluegrass Bob Marley sandwich of "Is This Love" > "Lively Up Yourself" > "Is This Love." The combination of bluegrass and reggae provided a perfect soundtrack to our Sunday, and it surprises many that more bluegrass bands don't venture down this irie path.
Sam Bush - All Good 2007 by Krolick
After he parted ways with the islands, Bush went back into a more traditional trek. He and his talented band touched upon material from his album Laps in Seven with a heated version of "New Country" and a touching cover of Dylan's "When You Gonna Wake Up?" He finished with a stellar set closer by channeling Carlos Santana for "Soul Sacrifice." It was a sight to behold.
West Indian Girl's set was just beginning when it started raining. We sat under our ponchos, peering from below dripping plastic hoods at this beautiful, mesmerizing band. The layered ambient electronica and rock fusion mixed with the sound of the rain and lulled us into feeling great about being out in Mother Nature's fury.
Toussaint, Krasno, Evans of Soulive
All Good 2007 by Krolick
Soulive took the stage before denser rain clouds blew in fast and furious. The announcer explained we were in for a major storm and music ceased. As the skies opened and the thunder struck, many of the dwindling festivalgoers decided to play a game of "Lawn Chair Survivor." As most ran for cover, about 12 groups stuck it out, huddling together under makeshift tarps or covered in ponchos on chairs, all the while praying for the downpour to stop. We were the third of these groups to throw in the hat and run for the cover of the beer tent. There, we joined the rest cheering for the brave souls drenched in the center of the venue. Two Magic Hat Number 9's later, the rain slowed and a great wet All Good tradition unfolded on the hill as more lawn chair cowboys ascended the steep, wet grade only to barrel at full speed down, hitting maximum velocity as they slid down as far as the slope would take them. This was too much for Mother Nature, the rain broke and the sun emerged for a while to toast our worries away. Soulive laid down a fat, fast and nasty set of funk fueled by their new singer, Toussaint. His in-your-face approach was well received and the warming air only drove him, Eric Krasno and the Evans Brothers deeper into the groove. They destroyed a dirty little run of "Jesus Children of America" > "Feel Like Makin' Love" > "Do It Again."
Sunday Afternoon: Schneider, Salmon
And Jam for the Win
This was the first time seeing Bob Schneider for many and one thing's for sure - it won't be the last. His set was a fan favorite and whether it was the steaming sun drying the mud beneath our feet or just the slamming steel drums, it got under our skin and dragged us all into the pit. The erupting dance-a-thon that started on the opening note of his set and didn't end until after Leftover Salmon was the stuff of legend. It took Schneider about 30-seconds to loosen up. After that, all the good stuff came out. "Assknocker," "Pudding & Cheese" and "Boom Boom Baby" marked the peak of a stupendously great, long jam. Feet were thoroughly caked in mud before his set of "Frunk" had concluded.
Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon - All Good by Krolick
In 1989, when a local band, The Salmon Heads, asked members of The Left Hand String Band to fill some missing spots in its lineup no one could have predicted the result would become an institution. It was a happy accident that the resulting quintet ever got together, but they went on to create the trademark polyethnic-Cajun-slamgrass sound that is Leftover Salmon. All Good concluded on Sunday with a performance by LOS that rewarded everyone who stayed. This was one of only four gigs the group will perform this summer in its current formation of Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt, Jeff Sipe, Greg Garrison, Bill McKay and Noam Pikelny. The screams of "Festivaaal" echoed around the hillside as they rocked the final set slowly away. Herman's shaggy dog appearance and upbeat mood kicked off the performance in grand LOS style. He bounced around in his brown cowboy shirt, tossing huge toothy grins to the crowd as the band flurried through festival staple "Carnival Time." Emmitt and Herman exchanged eager, spirited headshakes as they perfectly complimented each other and the crowd's mood. McKay sat back under the brim of his hat while he churned out the underbelly melodies from his keys.
High Sierra was treated to a hefty late night meal of Salmon including a side of Page McConnell and Darol Anger, but damned if Leftover Salmon wasn't going to toss All Good a meaty bone as well. They brought out their buddy Sam Bush to play the rest of the set. Emmitt grabbed vocal duties as they steered the ship into "Whispering Waters." Bush and Emmitt play so well together, and their chemistry was infectious as the two laughed and prodded each other. An early highlight was an amazing "Dance on Your Head" with a dipping, raging electric mandolin solo from Bush. Garrison and Pikelny worked magic during "Might Night Blues," while Bush continued to boost the music with smoking fiddle runs. By now, LOS was racing, trying to beat the impending storm. With the clouds rolling in, Salmon knew they were under the gun. By the end of their return to the All Good stage after a 27-month hiatus, this band looked and sounded like they had never stopped. After "Let's Have a Party," Herman's advice was, "Run like hell for cover" as the storm hit, concluding All Good 2007 in a dramatic, but somehow appropriate way.
Emmitt & Bush - All Good by Krolick
This year's All Good had a special feeling that you couldn't shake. It was the most relaxed, friendly year to date. The weather, despite a small downpour and Sunday's madness, was unreal – cool in the morning, sunny all day, cool in the evening. None of this was unexpected, though, as those West Virginia cows told us the tale three days earlier. With even more improvements to the location and amenities like "festitaxi" (an extra-long golf cart that could be called for a $3 ride anytime, anywhere in the venue), an ice man that stopped at general campsite locations every morning and much more, it's clear Walther and All Good aren't done growing. The magic isn't back – it never left.
Click below for Krolick's Friday the 13th All Good clip...
Click here for Saturday
Click below for Sunday...
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