Words by: Liz Carrol | Images by: Susan J. Weiand
Hangtown Halloween Ball :: 10.28.11-10.30.11 :: El Dorado County Fairgrounds :: Placerville,
Extensive photo gallery begins at the end of review and you can see the rest of the photos here, here and here!
Halloween weekend, festi-folk from across the West Coast traveled to Placerville for the Hangtown Halloween Ball, a rock fusion festival organized by Pet Projekt
and Railroad Earth. Hosted at
the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in
honor of Railroad Earth's approaching tour, the three-day festival included performances from the featured band and
their guests. With a tight lineup of renowned artists, a scenic venue and ample dancing room, the Hangtown Ball was
the perfect Halloween treat.
by Susan J. Weiand|
Two weeks before the event, Pet Projekt made a surprising announcement – the two-day festival had been extended to
three, now beginning a full day early with no added charge. Psyched for the surprise trifecta at a bargain price, the
Hangtown crowd arrived on Friday in high spirits. Inside the Fairground’s spacious venue, RRE improvised an original
soundtrack while showing the silent horror classic Nosferatu. Next, New Monsoon delivered an energetic
performance that had its audience stomping to bluegrass one second and grooving to reggae the next. Comprised of
two guitars, one electric and one acoustic, keyboards, bass and drums, NM captivated its audience with confident
versatility, graceful transitions and smooth vocals. In a highlight performance, NM expertly covered Pink Floyd’s “Pigs
(Three Different Ones)”. The indoor venue trapped NM's swanky vocals and chilling guitar solos, creating the perfect
sound effects for Floyd. Finally, Headphone Union dished an upbeat set of rock and soul, bringing the Ball’s first night to
an optimistic conclusion.
by Susan J. Weiand|
The following day, fans and vendors posted in front of the main stage for a bluegrass marathon, with performances
from Sugarcane, Poor Man's Whiskey and Elephant Revival. Then at around 5
P.M., the David Grisman Sextet
took bluegrass in a fresh direction with some 'Dawg Music', Grisman’s signature fusion of bluegrass and jazz. “I heard
sex sells!” the mandolin legend joked as he introduced his latest band. Backed by a versatile string band, Grisman
tickled his mandolin through a set that dabbled in rock and soul.
Grisman Sextet by Susan J. Weiand|
Next, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and his band 7 Walkers rocked some familiar Dead
classics, including “Sugaree” and a nostalgic “He’s Gone”. Kreutzmann later treated fans to a second performance when
he joined RRE to play “Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodeloo”.
The Funky Meters brought
Saturday’s schedule of banjos and bluegrass to a smoking halt with their electric midnight performance. These musical
legends were determined to funk every second of every jam, as George Porter Jr. and Brian Stoltz
playfully challenged each other on guitar and bass. The Funky Meters closed out Saturday’s performance with a Jimi
Hendrix medley, beginning with “Voodoo Child” and finishing with an explosive “Purple Haze”.
|JGB by Susan
The final day of the Hangtown Ball featured an eclectic group of performances, including a swinging show from the one-
man band Zach Deputy. At
sunset, Melvin Seals & JGB honored
Jerry Garcia with covers of his favorite rock classics. In a performance that included Bob Dylan’s “Tough Mama” and a
soulful “Mighty High”, guest lead guitarist Dave Hebert temporarily filled the void left by Jerry with his gentle
vocals and clean guitar riffs. RRE delivered Sunday’s final set, concluding an epic festival and leaving fans excited for
their upcoming tour.
Continue reading for more photos from the Hangtown Halloween Ball...