HAMSA LILA: VAUDEVILLE
Hamsa Lila has been
recognized as being one of San Francisco's best live bands and High Sierra was
treated to several sets of healing sounds that will remain with anyone who witnessed
the band. M.J. Greenmountain and Vir McCoy combine their ancient
instruments and voices to create an intoxicating tribal rhythm, and your body
moves. When Nikila Badua, Sasha Butterfly, and Deja start
singing and dancing, your eyes are caught between the demands of both your body
and heart. You can't stop dancing, but are transfixed by their beauty of voice
and person. Hamsa Lila's set was more like an experience than a concert and
the band attracted many new friends over the weekend.
- Forrest Reda
Fareed Haque by Susan J. Weiand
GARAJ MAHAL: LATENIGHT
Garaj Mahal presented
another late night throwdown for the ages on Saturday night in the Funkin' Jam
House. (GM also closed out the Big Meadow stage on Friday July 2.) The band came
on at 2 a.m. and played one long set until 6. Firing all on funky cylinders, the
GM guys played some of their popular originals including "Junct,"
"Stoked on Rasaki," "Hindi Gumbo," and "The Shadow."
Their music is danceable stew of African, Middle Eastern, Indian, funk, fusion
and jazz influenced tunes, played with high intensity by guitar virtuoso Fareed
Haque, bass fusion legend Kai Eckhardt, drum monster Alan Hertz,
and keys wizard Eric Levy. Later they were joined on stage by Cochemea
"Cheme" Gastelum on sax, Arlan Schierbaum from Mamasutra on keys,
and Dave on didgeridoo for Mose Davis' "Jan Jan", and "Be Dope."
Not stopping there, they played another four songs, including "Tomorrow Never
Knows," "Massive," "The Palladin" and closed with their
speed-grass version of Princes' "Kiss." The weary, sweat-soaked audience
poured out into the early morning stillness.
- Susan J. Weiand
Drew Emmitt by Jeffrey Smith
Vince Herman by Casey Flanigan
LEFTOVER SALMON: GRANDSTAND STAGE
festival-closing set on the main stage on Sunday was bittersweet one. The band
has announced they too will be taking a hiatus at the end of the year to work
on solo projects and regroup after the departure of their most recent banjo
player, Naom Pikelny, who left to join John Cowan's band. With the death
of original banjo player Mark Vann in 2002, the loss of his playing and spirit
is still felt. This night Matt Flinner did an admirable job filling the
spot left vacant by Noam's departure. A HSMF crowd favorite, the band delivered
a rousing set of many new tunes off of their latest CD simply titled Leftover
Salmon such as "Woody Guthrie" and "Just Keep Walkin'"
along with some of their old time favorites including "High on a Mountain
Top" and "Dance on Your Head." Gone are the crazy antics of High
Sierra past, they simply played their hearts out, though the band seemed a bit
tired or simply overwhelmed by the finality of this performance or the huge
reception they got. When they welcomed singer/songwriter Jim Page and
Peter Grant on pedal steel to the stage for Page's talking blues "Talkin'
High Sierra" and "Naked Underneath Your Clothes" it was quite
fitting. Later with Sharon Gilchrist from Mary
and Mars on mandolin and Dennis Ludiker, the fiddle player from South
Austin Jug Band, for the last song, "Down in the Hollow," it was
like they were passing the baton to the younger players. A poignant way to end
High Sierra 2004. Festival!!!
- Susan J. Weiand
Sharon Gilchrist from Mary and Mars with Vince Herman by Susan
PARTING PLAYSHOP SHOTS:
Around the Horn Playshop
Give the Drummer Some Playshop
Stanton Moore & Marco Benevento
By Susan J. Weiand
Stanton & Johnny Vidacovich
Thanks to Dave, Roy, Rebecca, Debbie, Margaret, Molly, etc etc etc for making
yet another memorable year! Also, thanks to everyone who came by the JamBase
booth to say hi... you guys rock!
And very special thanks to the JamBasers "on the scene" at the festival
Until next year's High Sierra...