Review & Photos | Lockn' Festival - Day Two | Virginia

Images by: Ian Rawn

Words by: Bill Clifford

Lockn' Festival - Day Two :: 9.06.13 :: Oak Ridge Farm :: Arrington, VA

Full review below gallery, Day One review and photos here...

Lockn' Festival attendees awoke on Friday morning to another splendid day of music under stellar, cloudless blue skies and the hottest temperatures yet. The stage set up here is perfect; rather than trying to be too big, organizers have kept all music contained into the one massive concert field, surrounded by rolling hills on all sides that reflect the music back, and smaller ridges that are set up as VIP camping spaces that allow for the ability to both hear and see the music from your campsite. Other camping include car camping, which is the farthest walk of approximately one to two miles, and RV camping on a hillside with preferred tent only camping just below that. It's a nice setup with options for all price ranges.

The music started early on Friday, with a set from Charlottesville, VA's own Founding Fathers, featuring Andy Falco and Chris Pandolfi of the Infamous Stringdusters, and continued with a set of country rock from Pegi Young (Neil's Wife) as well as some booty shaking funk from a combined forces of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Soul Rebels.

Mid-afternoon promised non-stop music from 4:30 on through midnight, and didn't let fans down. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff has recently found the fountain of youth. His most recent studio recording - Rebirth - his first in seven years, has been hailed by Rolling Stone as his " music in decades." Yet, it's still the classics that fans know and love and come to shake their ass too. Smartly, he saves the best for last, closing out the afternoon set with favorites such as "The Harder They Come," "Sitting In Limbo," and his version of the Johnny Nash nugget "I Can See Clearly Now," with its fitting chorus of "Bright Sunshiny Day" - which Cliff covered for the Cool Runnings Soundtrack, and of course, "You Can Get It If You Really Want."

Admittedly, it's been a number of years since this critic has seen and heard Colorado's String Cheese Incident perform, so the band was a strong draw for me personally as well as many fans. One thing is certain after hearing SCI perform several sets already this weekend: they're no longer strictly the jamgrass band they began as in 1993, having several song strong writers with divergent musical interests. "Outside and Inside" began their early afternoon set simply enough, with a mix of piano and organs. Then, the music got highly improvisational, with jams that swirled elements of bluegrass, Celtic music and dance music. "Joyful Sound" was nothing like that of the version this fan was familiar with from years ago, having evolved to a bass-heavy dance track, coming off as a techno styled rave up, as was their cover of the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)."

The Colorado band came back later in the evening for a second set, this time billed as The Zac Brown Incident - featuring none other than the Country songwriter and his band combined with SCI. With Brown taking the lead vocals, "Sometimes A River" took on an Appalachian twang, but hardly came off as country-rock, sounding instead like a more roots oriented String Cheese. "Close Your Eyes" found the many musicians on stage mingling dueling guitars and dense organ swells. The traditional gospel number "Bound For Glory" took on a New Orleans swamp boogie and featured a backing chorus of players. Brown's own music, such as "Jump Right In," took on the improv of the jam band, with extended soloing and play amongst one another from the members. The combined band then got down on the front of the stage for what was the highlight of the evening: an acoustic run through the classic Aerosmith rocker "Sweet Emotion" that featured guitars, fiddles, mandolins and all kinds of handheld percussion instruments, while digital flames danced across the video monitors. Zac Brown Incident then closed out the set with some classic Colorado music, spiced up with some good old southern singing. "Colorado Bluebird Sky", a SCI classic, featured wailing guitars and organs that brought a huge ovation to close the set.

Furthur performed two sets on Friday evening, the first of four planed sets taking place over the span of the weekend, and were certainly in fine form, showing no signs of slowing down any time soon and continuing to expand the legacy of The Grateful Dead. Opener "Shakedown Street" was uptempo and funky, and a great way to get the fans going to start the show. "Estimated Prophet" got the crowd singing along on the sunny, "California" chorus. And "Candyman" was slowed in tempo but took on a New Orleans swampy boogie.

Later, closing out the evening, Zac Brown sat in with Furthur on several classics. He led the band through his own hit, "Free," with strums on his acoustic, and the group quickly and easily picked up the rhythms and melodies. A cover of "Into The Mystic" thrived thanks to Brown's vocals, as the vintage Irish melody took on a bit of Southern twang and charm, before finding its way back into "Free." "Tennessee Jed" was perfectly suited for Zac's vocal inflection, while not sounding as country as the version of the song by Levon Helm. Brown doesn't get a lot of credit in the jamband circles, but maybe, after this day's performances, he'll have gained several new fans.

Sans Brown, Furthur then closed their final set of the evening with a stellar run through their classic "Help On The Way" > "Slipknot!" > "Franklin's Tower" song suite, which along with a "Touch Of Grey" encore that saw the return of Zac Brown, brought an end to an exceptional day and evening of music. The lineup keeps getting stronger each day, so I have high hopes for Saturday's performances.

Keep connected with JamBase for updates from the Lockn' Festival throughout the weekend.

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