10 Shows To Sweeten Your Allman Brothers Beacon Run

After-parties, late-night shows and “family” performances attached to the Allman Brothers Band’s annual Beacon Theater stand have become almost as much of a tradition as the Beacon run itself.

The slate of these events seems a little sparser than usual this year, which is a surprise, considering that for all intents and purposes this could be the last of the Beacon stands as we know them. But there are still plenty of interesting shows worthy of attention if you want to extend your Beacon experience, or soak up some of the Beacon vibe in a related (and considerably less expensive) setting.

As always with this guide, we stuck with shows that have some direct or familiar connection to the Allman Brothers Band itself or are branded as part of the “Midnight Concert Series” curated at B.B. King’s as official Allmans after-parties. But NYC is the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure town when it comes to live music – so we urge you to look around.

Jaimoe’s Jaszzz Band at Lucille’s at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Saturday, March 8, midnight
What: Allmans drummer Jaimoe’s long-running side project is always a good time. And guitarist Junior Mack – who, it’s worth noting, has lots of dates at usual stomping grounds Terra Blues and other spots during the Beacon run – is as ever an unostentatious, yet soul-stirring presence.

Bowlive 5 at Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg)
When: March 13-15 and 18-22
What: Soulive at Brooklyn Bowl is March’s other great jam-scene NYC residency, and each year thus far, there’s been some cross-pollination, with Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and/or Oteil Burbridge usually joining Soulive at some point, and Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno turning up with the Brothers. Any of the Bowlive joints means a potential Brothers sit-in – they’ve been known to roll through late at night to the Bowl – but the Bowlive shows are great on their own, too, loaded with adventurous setlists. Several of Bowlive’s announced guests, including Susan Tedeschi, John Scofield and Bill Evans, are also Beacon regulars.

Scott Sharrard (various)
When: March 8 and March 22 at Dinosaur BBQ (Harlem), Monday, March 10 at La Laterna (West Village), Friday, March 14 at Rodeo Bar (Kips Bay) and Saturday, March 15 at Skinny Dennis (Williamsburg)
What: Guitar ace Sharrard is the axeman in Gregg Allman’s solo band and he’s usually good for a Beacon sit- in or two. While previous years have found him playing at the now-shuttered upper west side club 78 Below, this year he has a few dates in the city during Beacon time, all worth checking out.

Leslie West at Iridium Jazz Club (Midtown West)
When: Wednesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 13, 8:30 p.m.
What: The hard-charging Mountain guitarist had his lower right leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes in 2011, but it hasn’t kept “the King of Tone” quiet. West still performs both with Mountain reunions and his own band, and he’s also joined the Brothers on several occasions (2006, 2007 and 2011) at Beacon runs past. Catch him wailing at the intimate Iridium Jazz Club.

Butch Trucks & Very Special Friends at at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Friday, March 14, midnight (Lucille’s at BB King’s) and Saturday, March 15, 2pm (BB King’s)
What: Well, it’s Butch, and it says “very special,” so who are we to doubt? Butch Trucks usually assembles an ad hoc band for at least one side gig during the Beacon run, and this year he has two on the books: late night at Lucille’s on March 14 and the next afternoon for the annual Hittin the Note party in BB King’s main room. No word yet on who’ll be with him, though last year’s lineup included Oteil Burbridge and North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther and Cody Dickinson.

Bobby Lee Rodgers at Lucille’s at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Saturday, March 15, midnight
What: The great Bobby Lee Rodgers is best known to jam-scene audiences for the time he spent in The Codetalkers, a much-missed, eclectic rock-jazz-bluegrass-R&B unit that for much of its earlier years included Col. Bruce Hampton. He rarely performs in New York, but this is a great opportunity to hear his quirky, yet compelling original songs and be dazzled by his guitar work.

Royal Southern Brotherhood at Lucille’s at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Friday, March 21, midnight
What: It began as a fun project a few years ago, but the Royal Southern Brotherhood has really come into its own, deftly answering the question of what the Allmans would sound like if crossed with the Meters. This is greasy blues and funked-out rock ‘n’ roll (or rocked-up funk), served up by Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooton.

Roosevelt Collier, Kofi Burbridge & Friends at Lucille’s at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Saturday, March 22, midnight
What: A number of regular Allmans associates set up shop at BB King’s to get loose, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band at Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg)
When: Tuesday, March 25, 8 p.m.
What: The Jimi Hendrix of the pedal steel is a not-infrequent sit-in guest with the Brothers, and during the second half of the Beacon run, he and the Family Band begin one of their semi-regular residencies at Brooklyn Bowl. Since the first night of said residency coincides with the Allmans’ 45th anniversary show, we’re guessing sit-ins won’t be in the offing. But if you aren’t at the Beacon that night and want your soul lifted, this is the place to be.

Col. Bruce Hampton & Friends at Lucille’s at BB King’s (Times Square)
When: Saturday, March 29, midnight
What: Seeing the legendary Col. Bruce in the Big Apple is a rare thing for showgoers, but he reliably turns up at this time of year. Count on him making an appearance with the Brothers earlier in the evening, but also count on this show being a rager – not only because it’s the Colonel, but because this is the after- party to the last night of the possibly-final Beacon run. The mood will be bittersweet and cathartic.

Written By: Chad Berndtson

[Published on: 3/7/14]

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