HIGH SIERRA MUSIC FEST: BETTER EVERY YEAR

PERPETUAL GROOVE


Brock Butler by SuperDee
I'm mad at PGroove--they're such tormentors! Coming out to the West Coast only once a year… pft! Well, they've "got a plan" and I can respect that but they are so irresistible that I just want more, more, and more! They blew people's heads off at their late night set in the Tulsa E. Scott building, highlighted by a frenzied "Sledgehammer" (yep, Peter Gabriel) and a PGroove original "Sundog" with Caroline Pond of Snake Oil Medicine Show on violin. These guys were fired up--Caroline and Brock [Butler, guitarist] were trading the fastest licks in the West! PG also played a late afternoon set on the Americana Stage where they were joined towards the end of the set by Steve Molitz (Particle, keyboards) and Scott Baston (Moonshine Still) on vocals for "I'll Take You There." Scott stayed on stage to perform "Sweet Oblivious Antidote" (my favorite song) as it is on the album. Perpetual Groove has a new studio album coming out this fall called All This Everything--it's sure to be smokin'!

- SuperDee


TEA LEAF GREEN: LATE NIGHT


Josh Clark
By Susan J. Weiand
Tea Leaf Green just keeps getting better and better. Tea Leaf's late night set before moe. featured a dressed-up band with more attitude and polish then a year ago when the band electrified the Vaudeville stage. These boys are fast becoming men. Trevor Garrod fixated the audience with a delicate voice and presence that catches the eyes and ears of the audience. His songwriting was highlighted on songs like "Midnight on the Reservoir" and "Earth & Sky." Josh Clark has established himself as one of the scene's top axe-man and hosted a workshop called "Guitarmageddon" over the weekend. Late night, he took things to the stratosphere more then once. Add Scott Rager keeping time and a spiffed and spliffed up Ben Chambers on bass or rapping and you have a band that's about to get huge.

- Forrest Reda



Ben Ellman by Casey Flanigan

GALACTIC


Skerik & Stanton Moore by Jeffrey Smith
The return of the G-Men to High Sierra was a welcome sound, and continued in the New Orleans theme of this year's festival. Some West coast fans called the shows "the best Galactic in three years." High Sierra's "musician at large" Skerik sat in with the band on several songs as things got rolling on Thursday night on the main stage and the band responded by kicking it old school. Will Bernard and Corey Henry also made appearances in a set that set the tone for the weekend (along with Tea Leaf Green's main stage slot). Rock 'n' roll mixed with New Orleans funk. Things got really crazy late night. Like the original version of Bonnaroo, both moe. and Galactic played late night sets and like that evening, both were the place to be. Many fans without tickets mulled in the intersection listening to both. Fortunately, one could run back and forth between the two and hear the music. The best festival gets even better. The absence of Houseman was muted by the plethora of guests such as JJ Grey and George Sluppick from MOFRO, Robert Walter and Cheme from the 20th Congress, Joe Russo and Marco Benevento, and Fareed Haque. The rendition of "Sympathy for the Devil" was WAY better than Bonnaroo--Galactic always performs well after midnight.

- Forrest Reda


Latrice Barnett by Casey Flanigan

Rich Vogel by Casey Flanigan

JACOB FRED JAZZ ODYSSEY: LATE NIGHT
Late night Friday evening I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I knew I would check out at least some the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey's free show in the Vaudeville tent, but wasn't sure if that would be all I did. I'll tell ya what, I'm damn glad I didn't leave before the shit went down towards the end of the set. Packed on stage were Brian Haas on Rhodes, Reed Mathis on outbound bass, Jason Smart on drums, Skerik on freak sax, another saxophonist, Benevento/Russo Duo (Marco Benevento on keys and Joe Russo on drums), Jeffree Lerner (STS9) on tabla, and this tall slender woman. The 15-20 minute excursion was unlike anything I've really ever seen these people pull off. To be honest, I'm not even really sure what happened. All I remember is insanely deep grooves being pushed sky high by this woman singing, but she wasn't exactly singing. Turns out the lady in question rocks with P-Funk and she was NASTY! Just hitting notes and working with the sax this was a truly unique moment that one only gets to see at festivals of this nature. It's loose moments like these where it's late enough to not really consider "how good it will comes off" and musicians are simply on hand, ready to roll and willing to really take chances. Who knew that P-Funk was in the house... just one of those nice lil' bonuses of hanging with Fred.

- The Kayceman


JFJO on Grandstand Stage by SuperDee


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