SATURDAY :: 03.11.06


Rose Hill Drive by Brett Saul

With influences ranging from Led Zeppelin to Stone Temple Pilots, this burgeoning Boulder-based rock band of youngins has a big, sexy sound full of classic grit and soul. Rose Hill Drive, which includes the Sproul brothers - Jake (bass/vocals) and Daniel (lead guitar) - and their longtime pal Nate Barnes (drums), woke up the crowd Saturday morning with their super-smooth bass lines and radical guitar solos. Halfway through, Jake thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm. "You're all so awesome man. It's so early; it's like midnight for us." Growing up on Rose Hill Drive, the band developed a reputation for being loud and really rockin', a rep that turned out to be well deserved. Starting out with bluesy numbers like "Cool Cody" and "Cross the Line" and moving on to songs with a bit more attitude like "Guru," this long-haired trio, Jake in cowboy boots and Daniel sporting Converses, are a contemporary blast-from-the-past. Following the festival, the band said they would be playing a couple of hometown shows prior to going back on tour. These twenty-something-year-old guys are a rising phenomena, playing with the likes of artists like Gov't Mule. They say they hope to strut their stuff again come Langerado 2007. According to Jake, it's the "warm weather" and "beautiful babes" that will keep them coming back.


As another beautiful day near the swamp began, on Saturday morning, a bit before noon, the John Ginty Band, winner of the Sonic Bids Contest, played a tease of Alison Krauss and Gilliam Welch's "Ill Fly Away" as they ended their set. John then thanked and God-blessed the crowd, leaving the stage with only a hat wave, as one fan simply and accurately remarked, "That was too short."


Lotus by George Weiss

Over at the Everglades Stage, Lotus played their one-hour set, including several tunes from their 2003 debut Germination. A red-headed chick with a tattoo on the small of her back declaring "music is the reason" grooved in the already heavy noon sunshine, cooled only by the breeze from the nearby swamp. Their electronic sound, a mix of Particle colliding with STS9, with heavy doses of funk, jazz and ethnic overtones, was infectious. Their new CD, The Strength of Weak Ties, is scheduled to be released in May.


Kinky by Brett Saul

One of my favorite things about this festival is the diverse line-up. If world music is your thing, Langerado should be your fix. Kinky is one of the most high-energy bands I've seen to date. This five-piece band from Mexico is in constant movement around the stage, spinning and dancing. Vocalist/guitarist Gilberto Cerezo was born to entertain and likes to twirl and walk about the stage in a mad but fun sort of way. Kinky, who facilitates the unification of Latin dance club beats with South American percussion, had the whole crowd pumpin' to their Spanish techno. "The Headphonist" was an outstanding song, with Cerezo leading you to believe that you were actually promenading down the sidewalk earmuffs in hand. Although most of the lyrics are in their native tongue of Espanola, these guys suck you in like a vacuum. Their unique sound, which invites you to come alive and get kinky, has a little something for everyone.


Drive-By Truckers by Brett Saul

In the heat of the late afternoon, at 2:00 p.m., Drive-By Truckers, a great and unique Southern rock band, erupted on stage. With the pedal steel adding new dimension to their gritty grind, their country music (torqued with shroom) sound was smoother than ever, and the songs seemed more tightly woven. Telling fans "don't snort the black dirt," they rocked the festival for about an hour. A Blessing and a Curse, their new album, said to be toned-down in style, is set to be released next month.


Meters by George Weiss

The Meters took the Sunrise Stage by storm at 5:30 p.m. with "Funky Miracle" followed by "Look-Ka-Py-Py," and "Change/Reform." These grandfathers of New Orleans funk performed other old favorites including "Cissy Strut" and "Fiyo on the Bayou," to a full and joyous crowd. With an almost-full moon to the east and the sun setting over the Everglades to the west, the ninety-minute set earned one of the highlight moments of the weekend. The still revolutionary "Poppa Funk" a/k/a Art Neville and his gang of old-time friends and band mates enjoyed the show as much, if not more, than the fans, who found the tunes as exciting as when they were first played forty-or-so years ago. After "Africa/New Orleans," they ended with "Ain't No Use," and as the crowd screamed for more to no avail, one fan opined simply, "Delicious."


Franti by George Weiss

This barefoot musician was a crowd favorite and had everyone chanting his name, "Franti! Franti! Franti!" welcoming him onto the stage. Highlights included "Tell me lies, lies, lies, sweet little lies," about forgetting life's troubles (specifically Hurricane Katrina and the war) for a little while and the legendary Billie Holiday cover "Summertime." Like many other artists, Franti voiced his love for the Florida sunshine. "It's so nice to be out here because what this festival has become is not just the first festival of the year, but this festival also marks springtime and I'm tired of winter," Franti laughed. Spearhead's reggae-like grooves, which call for self-discovery and tell stories about coping during hard times, had the crowd jumpin' up and down, dreads abound, hands held high. Franti, who has become somewhat of a social protest icon over the years, called to every direction for peace, justice, and social consciousness. And everyone cheered him on. Thought-provoking lyrics such as Franti's have become commonplace on the festival circuit. And ultimately, for the disillusioned Generation X, this form of free expression and community appears to be one of the main attractions. They eat it up by the spoonful. And Franti just keeps dishin' it out. "We unite in this common theme that we all love the music, and we all love self expression," said Franti, who says Langerado is one of his favorite fests. "I think a great song is something that brings out emotions in us that we never knew existed. What music does is it helps us to consider the other."


Burning Spear by George Weiss

This chillin' scene was definitely ablazin' in the afternoon sun. With his mic wrapped in the traditional red, green, and yellow string, reggae-master and Rasta-guru Winston Rodney took everyone back to the homeland of Jah love and Irie. It was all about the roots as usual, and Burning Spear laid it down with beautiful rhythms and messages for the audience to embrace. The crowd was a hodgepodge of lazy blanket camps and high energy. Like a plethora of other artists, Winston called for unity: unity of races, unity of peoples, and unity of creeds.


Umphrey's McGee by Brett Saul

These Midwest virtuosos attracted swarms of fans, opening with mellifluous jazz pickin' in "Women Wine and Song" and transitioning into some rockin' riffs in "Partyin' Peeps." Guitarist and vocalist Brendan Bayliss was really feeling the music as usual, almost Hendrixish in his expressions. The guitar vibrations were cruising via his veins into his lips and the creases of his brow and cheeks - very neat to watch. Umphrey's McGee's ability to traverse genres was clearly present at this show; the band shifted effortlessly from whimsical melodies to anthem-like harmonies to killer grooves. I think their cult-like following will agree with me when I say that Umphrey's McGee is the stuff that stays with you, the hum-doo-digady your brain heats up the next day on the car-ride home. In fact, by the time the band finished playing, no one was ready for the ride to be over, but with the ever-colorful Flaming Lips teasing the crowd with their sound check next door, the "Umphreaks" realized that all good things must come to an end.


Flaming Lips by Brett Saul

Hmmmmmm? Where do I start with this one? All that I can say is if you weren't there, you missed out on the performance of a lifetime. And when I say performance, I really do mean performance. For The Flaming Lips, it wasn't just about the music, although the music was awesome – especially the "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen) cover. It was about getting down and having a kick ass time on Saturday night. Wayne Coyne is the ultimate entertainer, and he welcomes the "rising tide of new hippie culture" with open arms. "Camp out, smoke pot, have sex, do drugs, and hear music." That's what festivals are all about, Wayne says. And as for the emergence of downloading tunes off the Internet, Wayne's all for it. "I think it's a great thing. When the day comes that you can pull music in liquid form into your ear," he chuckles reminiscing about when he was a kid barely able to afford cassettes. And while Wayne may seem to be one of the more explosive, outspoken characters in the jam scene today, he is sincerely devoted to his fans, going all out no matter what the cost: inviting audience members to dress up in costumes and boogey down on stage, shooting confetti and multicolored streamers into the crowd, and blowing up balloons and big plastic balls for you to play with. And if that isn't enough, he'll climb into a larger-than-life space bubble and float across the sea of hands that is the audience leaving people to say, "Is this really happening?" In a word, The Flaming Lips set was unbelievable, one of those things where you just had to be there to genuinely understand how cool it was. The industrial stage design was chockfull of eye candy, including a smoke machine and a giant movie screen behind the band. It was as if the band in their nostalgia was trying to rekindle the "anything goes" philosophy of earlier days. "Just fucking sing anything as long as it's loud and crazy," Wayne commanded the crowd. Wayne also spoke briefly to the crowd about their new anti-war album At War with the Mystics, set to hit shelves early April. "Save a couple hits of acid for that one, okay."


Langerado by Brett Saul

With songs like "Helicopters" and Floyd's "Have a Cigar" right from the get-go, everyone in the swamp tent was sure that this was going to be over-the-top. And it was. If you weren't shakin' your bootie at this show, you must have been sleepin' cause it just got better and better. The Disco Biscuits, or "Bisco" as they are now being dubbed, are known for their psychedelic waves of color, light, and sound. The tent-top turned out to be the perfect prop, doubling as a giant canvas for the band to play with. Outside, on the outskirts of the tent, gangs hacked and girls in big glasses hula-hooped. A surreal purple glow seeped out from the stage as the Biscuits spun their web of trance fusion. While the band has seen some hard times in the past few years, including drummer Sam Altman leaving the band to go to med-school, their sound has not suffered. Their appeal is evolving. Their fans are no longer just University of Pennsylvania kids at parties. These old college chums have grown up, and they continue to deliver stellar shows. What used to be a little secret spread mostly by word-of-mouth has become a well-known force in the land of jam.


Ben Harper by George Weiss

The much-anticipated, provocative-yet-soulful Ben Harper and his band of Innocent Criminals concluded Saturday's line-up, kicking off their act with political protest songs from the new album like "Better Way" and "Both Sides of the Gun." Harper mixed in old-school songs from past albums as well like "Glory and Consequences," the reggae-funky flavored "How Many Miles Must We March," "Diamonds on the Inside," and "Temporary Remedy." The songs "Black Rain," which details the injustices of Hurricane Katrina, and "Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating," both from the new album, were played midway through the set. Harper's lap steel guitar was spellbinding as usual, and "Where Could I Go" brought the crowd back to the pure gospel of Harper's earlier days. And everybody got their lighters out for some gentle swayin' during "Burn One Down." To close the evening, the encore was a show in itself. Harper serenaded the crowd packing in tons of fan favorites like the acoustic and heartfelt "Walk Away," "Amen Omen," "With My Own Two Hands," and Bob Marley's "War." It seemed that Harper fans, many of whom were disappointed after the Zooma tour was canceled, were finally getting their fill. Harper started off hardcore, worked his way back to his spiritual roots, and came back again full circle. It's all about the message. With Harper, you can't just enjoy the music; he wants you to think about it. And chances are people will be thinkin' about this encore for a long while.

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!