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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