Widespread Panic | 04.29 | SC

Words by: Stratton Lawrence | Images by: John Zara

Widespread Panic :: 04.29.08 :: Township Auditorium :: Columbia, SC

Herring & Hermann :: 04.29 :: Columbia, SC
In late September 2006, in what happened to be my first interview with a musician at my new job writing for the alt-weekly in Charleston, S.C., I nervously spoke with Dave Schools as he prepared for Widespread Panic's first tour with their new guitarist, Jimmy Herring. He talked about the ease of transitioning an old friend into the band, how Jimmy was re-teaching them their own songs they hadn't played in years, and about the way he "turned things on their side" to take the spaces between songs to entirely new places. "We'd like to still be rocking when we're 60," said Schools.

If last Tuesday's rock & roll throwdown at the Township Auditorium is any indication, Panic has no plans for a sunset ride anytime soon. From the moment Herring dropped the opening riff of "Henry Parsons Died," the band laid out a clear reminder that with Widespread there is no weeknight, just Saturday night after Saturday night.

"Walkin'" culminated in an uncharacteristic shredding guitar buildup, then eased right into the guaranteed "it's-gonna-be-a-party-tonight" "Blackout Blues." Jojo Hermann's hands appeared to have an epileptic fit during his solo, showing the crowd that his boogie woogie, play-it-like-a-drum style of ivory tickling dirtiness is still on the ups. The "Goin' down to New Orleans before I lose my mind" line had folks cheering and me a bit envious I couldn't hop on the tour train for the smoking Jazz Fest show (read about it here) that was to follow two days later.

But, Panic was determined to set South Carolina on fire first. After the only down tempo number of the evening, "Free Somehow," Sunny Ortiz steered the band into a first-rate "Wondering." However, the first set's highlight was the "Walk On" > "Maggot Brain" > "Tie Your Shoes" sandwich that followed. Schools ensured that "Walk On" was a full-on funky dance party, and I caught myself pumping the air with my fist, throwing elbows and getting down like an 18-year-old on his first mushroom trip on the lawn at Raleigh. But since every night is Saturday, no one around here has to grow up.

Widespread Panic :: 04.29 :: Columbia, SC
Herring took the song somewhere off the coast of Neptune, just before a quiet segue into "Maggot Brain," which was exactly what the doctor ordered and quite possibly the song Herring was born to play. As the band built behind him, Herring crept way back into the sky before handing the reigns to Hermann's organ, then onto the high-speed flurry of "Tie Your Shoes." When the riff dropped into the chords two minutes in, the floors of Township literally bounced several inches with the weight of a crowd unable to contain themselves. That frenzy led into a mostly subdued "Space Wrangler" and a much needed respite ("Alright, two shakes!" yelled JB) to grab a beer and wonder wide-eyed what was still to come.

Second set opener "Three Candles" may be the most Herring-suited song from the recent Panic renaissance. In its spacey transitions, his guitar rang out fiddle-like, then like a pedal steel. Over nearly five minutes, the band played with the anticipatory energy in the room, bringing it almost to silence - one of those moments unique to Panic where you know an explosion is coming in a matter of seconds.

"Ride Me High" was the Class-A explosive of choice. Hermann spoiled the secret moments before Herring ripped into the unmistakable J.J. Cale riff and the cozy confines of the Township again shook like the floor might cave in. From that moment on, the show was pure, solid rock. A scorching five-minute "Give" dropped right into a meandering "Stop-Go," then into the dirty riffs of "Blight." One overzealous fan in the balcony appeared to lose control in his violent, excited flailing, prompting School's to order him, "Don't play on that left stage man! You'll fuckin' fall and bust your ass!" JB got into the adult language, dropping a "Caught an illness that was motherfuckin' viral" into a particularly raunchy "downward spiral" of "Blight."

John Bell :: 04.29 :: Columbia, SC
After a fairly standard drum break, Schools smoothly transitioned them back into "Stop-Go." "Imitation Leather Shoes" continued the heavy-hitting, with Herring managing about 36 notes every 3.5 seconds, before a quick crowd pleasing "Ophelia."

Closing song "North" was another energetic highlight of the show, and a good call despite closing the first set of Savannah six nights before with the same tune. It's one Jerry Joseph track that's hard to tire of, with the transitions between the chorus and verses ringing perfectly at this show. JB had a few thousand backup singers for the chorus: "I don't know / The sun it burns my eyes / But I don't really care." Drummer Todd Nance, Hermann and Herring all jammed together into a few minutes of big-grin crowd-screaming.

Encore "Pickin' Up the Pieces" fit the ticket nicely, bringing the energy down to sway a bit, catch our breath and gear up for a super funky "Weight of the World." With Hermann's shuffling and School's thumping echoing through our heads, the crowd slowly made its way out the mouth of the relatively tiny, Tabernacle-esque venue in downtown Columbia, back towards hotels, the road to Louisiana, or in my case, a pillow on the floor and an early morning hustle back to Chucktown. Fortunately, no one at the office seemed to notice that I'd had a Saturday night sort-of-evening.

04.29.08 :: Township Auditorium :: Columbia, SC
Set I: Henry Parsons Died, Walkin' (For Your Love) > Blackout Blues, Free Somehow, Wondering > Walk On > Maggot Brain > Tie Your Shoes, Space Wrangler
Set II: Three Candles, Ride Me High, Give, Stop-Go > Blight > Drums > Stop-Go > Imitation Leather Shoes, Ophelia, North
E: Pickin' Up The Pieces, Weight Of The World

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[Published on: 5/9/08]

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sunnbear starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/9/2008 02:58PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Can't wait for L.A. shows! Great review!

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/9/2008 03:02PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Saw these guys May 2nd in Houston. They were fabulous. "aint Life Grand" and "Low spark..." were killer. Only complaint J.B. should have kept the facial hair. Looks kinda wierd clean shaven

bcthegr8 Fri 5/9/2008 03:27PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


deep fried skittles

moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/9/2008 03:59PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Ahhh Red Rocks next month....

psogator43 Fri 5/9/2008 04:23PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

so glad i can see them at the roo now

casta04 Fri 5/9/2008 04:56PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"One overzealous fan in the balcony appeared to lose control in his violent, excited flailing, prompting School's to order him, "Don't play on that left stage man! You'll fuckin' fall and bust your ass!""

-pretty sure schools actually said "don't play on that wet stage man! you'll fuckin' fall and bust your ass!" in reference to busting his own ass on the wet stage during the orange beach run. either way, great read...thanks alot

pbandJAM7 Fri 5/9/2008 08:30PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


what a beautiful thing

ReeDiddy Fri 5/9/2008 09:26PM
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So does Jambase need any other Widespread correspondents? Cuz I will totally do that.

rumpledforeskin Fri 5/9/2008 09:49PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Schools was the one who dropped the f-bomb, he sings Blight. But that guy up in the balcony was out of control. I thought the highlight of the night was a quiet and beautiful rap by JB when they came back into Stop-Go.

DELYEAH starstarstarstarstar Sat 5/10/2008 06:16AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This show was unbelievable!! Tie Your Shoes was pure raw energy. The crowd during Ride Me High was absolutely chaotic. Great to hear the boys bust out Ophelia. Can't wait for All Good!

shoaf star Sat 5/10/2008 08:22AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Your first sentence is a grammatical disaster.

nsafay Sat 5/10/2008 05:10PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Hottest two night run this spring.....Savannah or Raleigh? RALEIGH!!!

mwoods Sat 5/10/2008 05:59PM
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Pardon me Mr. Lawrence, but the line to "North" that you wrote is incorrect:

"I don't know / The sun it burns my eyes / But I don't really care."

It should be "I go North/the sun it burns my eyes", hence the name "North"

theivywall starstarstarstarstar Sun 5/11/2008 02:21AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 5/12/2008 06:27AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

this looks like the highlight to me>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Give, Stop-Go > Blight > Drums > Stop-Go > Imitation Leather Shoes,

akeay Mon 5/12/2008 12:30PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Panic needs to start playing more stuff off the new album.

canoftunapudding Mon 5/12/2008 06:33PM
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I was at the show. That monsterous Stop-Go was on fire. I've listened to the recording have since disciphered JB's rap. It goes like this:

"That moment, the moment the grape turns to wine, I wanna feel that, I wanna feel that. That moment, the moment boiling water turns to vapor, I wanna feel every moment that...the moment the cat closes his eyes and goes wherever he goes I wanna feel that."

Do you recognize this as a rap that they commonly do or was that some ad lib stuff? Also, I was unexpectedly pleased with the couple new songs they played, especially Free Somehow. Jimmy Herring is a master tunesmith.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Tue 5/13/2008 09:45AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

sounds like a new ad lib to me, JB just recently got into liking Wine a couple of years ago on a west coast run, I think beer was making them too fat :P Really, I do not recognize it as a standard, but then again, many of his adlibs can go right over my head sometimes. I love hearing them play ARU tunes, my last show was bham last fall, and they did fixin to die, Herring shines on that one big time.

11/10/07 (Sat) Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena - Birmingham, AL

Set 1: Postcard > Coconut, Good People, Tickle the Truth Into Submission, Fixin To Die, CBrown*, Time Zones*, Chest Fever**, Tall Boy

Set 2: Disco > You Should Be Glad**, Bowlegged Woman > Impossible > Jack > Chilly Water > Drums > Jam > Maggott Brain > Chilly Water, E: City of Dreams* > Last Dance

Comment: * with John Keane on pedal steel ** with John Keane on guitar

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Tue 5/13/2008 09:47AM
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my last stop n go was chattanooga 10-30-07, Schools gave us the good stuff that night :)

AZ~*Droo* starstarstarstarstar Tue 5/13/2008 01:04PM
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honeynutt Tue 5/13/2008 11:01PM
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you need to check out the setlists from this previous tour... Every single new song has been introduced and played throughout the spring tour.. typically two new songs per show.. check out some shows on livewidspreadpanic.com, especially some from the latter part of the tour like the orange beach, savannah, raleigh shows! all awesome stuff!

mormonjammer starstarstarstar Thu 5/15/2008 11:28AM
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yeah i saw em in houston to,fucking epic, JB needs that beard!