By: Sam Martin
Furthurmore Festival :: 05.31.10 :: River Ranch Campground :: Tuolumne,
The Furthurmore Festival, held in the Stanislaus National Forest, down a long,
single lane winding road, deep in a valley covered with the green foliage of pine and
deciduous trees, there's a campground where two rivers cross; a deep in there, very well
hidden backwoods campground nestled amongst the trees. Those two rivers, or streams as
they were this day, formed an island, and on it was the stage with a wood arched bridge
that allowed patrons to cross safely from the campground to island and back.
Opening the festivities, The Jug Dealers and The Grasshoppers put on mostly
past-by sets. People weren't settled in yet, and were unaware that the music had started,
so the bulk of the campers had yet to come across the bridge. L'Fiasco also
played, but about an hour behind schedule and to a small crowd.
Zane Kesey and the pranksters brought the historic, beautiful Further Bus in for
the show and some pranks. Kesey is a man who really pays tribute to the past and adds to
the scene in a light and magical way. There were also a small number of vendors and good
beer on tap, or you could bring your own.
About twenty minutes before darkness, Bill Kreutzmann's
Walkers - made up of Kreutzmann (drums), George Porter Jr. (bass,
Mali (guitar, vocals) and Matt Hubbard (keys) - came up on the small stage. The vibe was
exciting, but it didn't feel like a festival; it felt like a family gathering, and in many
ways it was. Some people had the look of utter exhaustion on their face coming directly
from the Furthur Festival at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds (see JamBase review here), yet still they couldn't help smiling when 7 Walkers opened with
"Deal" with Papa on lead vocals. They played to cheers and applause all the while
showcasing new songs from their upcoming debut album, co-written by Grateful Dead lyricist
Robert Hunter and
Papa Mali. George Porter Jr. took the microphone for the Grateful Dead's blues tune
"Sugaree." Mixing up the songs, with amazing solos by Mali, the tight drumming that
Kreutzmann is known for, Porter's incredibly funky bass lines, and soulful keys from
Hubbard, it was am amazing show.
By the time they were finished the evening chill had settled into the small valley, and
the projector light show by liquid lights was accompanied by a green laser being shot at
the trees from behind the stage. To add to carnival-like atmosphere, fire dancers came
out and belly danced while Matt Butler and Everyone Orchestra
set up their numerous instruments. This night's lineup included Dan Lebowitz
Kimock (lead guitar and slide), Melvin Seals
(organ), George Porter Jr. (bass), Dave Brogan (drums), Nat Keefe
(mandolin, guitar), Aaron Redner (fiddle), and three amazing vocalist, one of which
was a flautist. The set that followed could only be described as mind-blowing,
complementing the venue's outdoor feel, and the jams were intricate and lengthy. The
members of the Orchestra read each other with a keen sense of precision. Lebo really
shined on this evening, and Kimock gave his usual speechless performance, but in this
instance it was a lot of great music being made up there, without any ego - the best way.
Butler's amazing ability to conduct and feel out what each musician is capable of allows
him to act as a musical conduit between the crowd and the stage. He doesn't lead but
rather points the Orchestra in a certain direction and let's them decide how to get there.
Kimock & Lebo
With the show now piercing into morning, the crowd wearing sweatshirts, the last main act
came out. Holy
Kimoto, the live-tronica trio from The String Cheese
Incident with Steve Kimock rounding out the sound with his improvisational guitar
skills. They performed a number of tracks as the crowd danced under the trees with green
lasers shooting overhead. The show was amazing, with the drumming of Michael Travis
and bass playing of Jason Hann complemented by Kyle
Hollingsworth tearing it up on multiple keyboards and an organ. Hann also used a
synth and other electronic equipment.
There was a moment as the birds began to wake, sometime around 4 am, when Kimock, eyes
closed engaged in an intricate jam, broke out into a great smile that said it all. It
felt sacred. And in that moment it was.
The show came to a beautiful end sometime around 4:30 am, with people still dancing,
playing their guitars and drums at their tents. It was an all-nighter and one that was
worth every moment. As the corners of the horizon started to turn blue with laughter in
the air, one couldn't help but hear "'Til The Morning Comes" somewhere in the
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