Aaron Kayce's High Sierra 2010 Highlights
1. Widespread Panic - Main Stage - Friday
WSP's John Bell by Susan J.
Festivals aren't always the best place to get one's Panic on. Time constraints,
questionable sound systems and a
mixed bag of fans can often clip the band's wings, as was the case the last time WSP
appeared at High Sierra in 1999.
But the festival's 20th anniversary sparked an inspired two set affair that left hardcores
fully satisfied. Taking
advantage of the stacked lineup Panic welcomed a number of special guests including
guitarist Eric McFadden on a
dirty, sexy "Bowlegged Woman" that found bassist Dave Schools deep in a P-Funk
guitarist/vocalist Jerry Joseph on his own "Light Is Like Water," saxophonist Karl Denson
on an extended psych-funk
workout of J.J. Cale's "Ride Me High," and percussionist Wally Ingram on "Drums" and the
second half of "Surprise
Valley." When the band closed the show with an emotionally saturated take on the Talking
Heads' "Heaven" it was
not only a reminder of Widespread Panic's power, but a nod to just how amazing the High
Sierra Music Festival truly
2. Dr. Dog - Funk'n Jamhouse - Saturday Late Night
Dr. Dog's Saturday late night set proved to be a huge slab of dark, psychedelic rock that
had a packed house of fans
freaking out and dancing wildly until 3 in the morning. Leaning heavily on material from
their latest release
Shame, Shame, the show highlighted the band's remarkable evolution from lo-fi
indie-pop to gigantic,
confident rock. Though the new songs showcased Dr. Dog's amazing songwriting, it didn't
seem to matter what part
of the catalog they pulled from, everything was performed with razor sharp intensity and
executed to perfection.
From note one the band was locked in; every change was dramatic and full of force, every
harmony soaring, and the
jams thick with friction. For this writer, the band's HSMF late night show elevated the
Dog from a really good band
with serious potential to one of the best live acts on the circuit. It shouldn't be long
until we see Dr. Dog headlining
3. Surprise Me Mr. Davis - Camp Harry - Sunday Late Night
For many High Sierra patrons, including a number of artists such as The Mother Hips' Tim
Bluhm and Greg Loiacano,
Nicki Bluhm, Wally Ingram and several others, there was no better way to end the weekend
than with Surprise Me Mr.
Davis at Camp Harry on Sunday night. Set up guerilla-style between two RVs, this annual
tradition has turned into
one of the most highly anticipated sets of the weekend for fans of Mr. Davis, The Slip and
Nathan Moore (Surprise Me
Mr. Davis being The Slip plus Nathan Moore). The defining moment of the night came when
Davis took on The
Beatles and created the very appropriate "High Sierra's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (The Slip
celebrated their 12th
consecutive HSMF this year) with shout-outs to High Sierra co-founder and close friend
Dave Margulies in place of
"Billy Shears." With fans passing bottles and funny cigarettes to each other and the
band, the two hour set felt more
like a summer camp send-off than the conclusion of a major music festival.
Susan J. Weiand's High Sierra 2010 Highlights
1. Carolyn Wonderland - Vaudeville – Sunday Late Night
|Carolyn Wonderland by Susan J.
CW has played High Sierra three years now, but her closing set on Sunday night finally
cemented her place as HS
royalty. Fans were driven to tears and smiles by her ballsy playing and soulful singing.
She held the capacity crowd
in the palm of her hand. Many new Carolyn Wonderland fans were converted this evening.
2. Vince Herman's Great American
Taxi- Big Meadow - Thursday
The self-proclaimed Mayor of High Sierra is a festie staple and to me, represents all
things High Sierra. He and his
Taxi bandmates kicked things into high gear with his "4:20 for 20 years" jam played at
precisely 4:20 pm, of
3. The New Mastersounds - Camp Happiness - Friday at 4:20
Camp Happiness always throws a great happy hour party with crab cakes, gumbo, cocktails
and great people. The
New Mastersounds have played this annual party in the past and returned this year for a
get-down funk-athon. With
bandmate Joe Tatton playing a borrowed kid's keyboard (with the notes conveniently
written on the keys),
the band delivered the funky goods. Mega dance party!
Honorable mentions: Rads late night; the Funkify Your Life, Horns a Plenty, Rads Pre War
Blues, Marco Benevento Trio,
and Allmond Bros Clan playshops; Kate Gaffney main stage; Orgone Big Meadow; Poor Man's
Whiskey doing Dark
Side of the Moonshine.
JamBase | Celebratory
Go See Live Music!