Words by Randi Whitehead :: Images by George Weiss
Wanee Music Festival :: 04.15 & 04.16 :: Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park :: Live Oak,
The Wanee Music Festival - held Friday and Saturday, April 14th and 15th, 2006 at the Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park in Florida, blossomed in its
second year. Approximately 5,000 fans attended the festival, which began earlier-than-scheduled on Friday. As we
checked in at the entry point, music was wafting from the main stage (a.k.a. "the Peach Stage"), where New Monsoon played from 12:30 to 1:30.
Even the festival website the day before listed the music starting at 3:00 p.m., and we were disappointed to be
missing the eclectic musical diversity of the still-rising jamband stars.
New Monsoon ::
As we rushed through "checkpoint Charlie" to catch the last half of their set in the afternoon sun, we emerged on
several hundred happy fans dancing in the field to the unique Monsoon sound, a mixture of various ethnic rhythms
with rocking percussive tones (including congas, tablas, and drum sets). We heard songs from last fall's release
The Sound and an "Eminence Front" cover from The Who before The Dirty Dozen Brass Band played an hour of their well-known New Orleans
Passing the amphitheater ("the Mushroom Stage") in our mad dash, we caught a few minutes of Bonobos Convergence, the "New Earth Funk Jam Trio,"
playing to a small crowd. Many campers at the festival were not in-the-know and were still hanging out in their
weekend "homes" as schedules had not been printed and handed out at the gate.
Oteil Burbridge :: Wanee 2006
The music continued as the Jack Pearson
Band performed at the Mushroom Stage before Oteil and the Peacemakers rocked the crowd with soulful blues at the Peach Stage,
including tunes from the new album, Believer. Burbridge, healing well after his recent accident, played from
a sitting position but still exuded his friendly energy and extraordinary bass creativity. The crowds continued to
grow at the two stages as the attendees were drawn to the musical sounds that could be heard from their campsites.
Ivan Neville's extraordinary gumbo-style funk group, excited the fans in the shade of the Mushroom Stage,
starting with the first note of "Woke Up This Morning" before the segue into "Dumpsta Groove." Covers included
Meters originals, The Soprano's "Theme Song," and Credence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son."
On the Peach Stage, Medeski Martin & Wood
a> kept their improvisational music earth-bound, leaving out spacey trips that have enveloped their more
recent style. Starting with "Pappy Check," the seventy-five minute set included "Everyone Poops" and ended with
"New New Orleans." Meanwhile, the North
Mississippi Allstars kept the amphitheater grooving for over ninety minutes, starting with "Ship" and
"Stompin' My Foot" and later "I Don't Live Today" > "Wild Thing" followed by "Psychedelic Sex Machine" before
Jamie McLean and several members of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band joined the fray and packed the small
stage for a psyched-up tribute to the nearby Suwannee, "Down By The Riverside."
Skerik :: Wanee 2006
As the sun began to set and the heat began to lift, evening fell with Gov't Mule's ninety-minute set at the Peach Stage, starting with "Blind Man In
The Dark." This first show of Mule's "Still Raging" tour also included "She Said, She Said" > "TMK" before some
members of the Dirty Dozen guested on "John the Revelator." As expected, the exceptional show finished with
"Mule" dropping an interwoven "Who Do You Love?"
As the crowd grew to thousands and the fans covered most of the darkened field, the Allman Brothers Band took the stage a bit after 9:00 p.m.
After the "Don't Want You No More" > "It's Not My Cross To Bear" opener, guests abounded in the two-hour-plus set,
including "Anyday" with Susan Tedeschi
b> and Mike Mattison, "Under A Bad Sign" with Floyd Miles, Danny Louis and
Luther Dickinson, "You Don't Love Me" with Dr. Roosevelt Collier (of The Lee Boys) pumping his
pedal steel, and "The Same Thing" with Jack Pearson and Hal Thomas on saxophone. The stellar
set ended with "Jessica," which elicited extra-loud screams from the crowd, and "No One To Run With."
Allman Brothers Band :: Wanee 2006
Those left wanting more were not disappointed as the Special Midnight Jam with The Derek Trucks Band started about 12:30 a.m. at the
Mushroom Stage with "Chevrolet," a tune from their recently-released album Songlines (after a two-year
lag). After several more high-octane tunes, guest artists began appearing as Jack Pearson sat in on "Mahjoun" >
"Greensleeves," Luther Dickinson on "Key To The Highway" and "Soul Stew" > "Everything Is Everything," and Susan
Tedeschi sang on "The Weight" and "Spirit In the Dark," which also featured Collier's steel sound. The over-the-top
show ended after 2:00 a.m. with Tedeschi and Floyd Miles' vocals on "Feel So Bad."
The Derek Trucks Band
:: Wanee 2006
At 2:30 a.m., just when the musically addicted were seemingly left in withdrawal, the sounds of Florida-based
Shak Nasti were heard by the lake
in the campground, near the beautifully-lit swans. About a hundred people wandered up to listen to the groove-
funk sound until almost 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning, when the security pulled the plug.
Saturday began as another warm but beautiful afternoon, and the music started with the sacred steel of The Lee Boys, after which the Jack Pearson
Band and Oteil and the Peacemakers continued to thrill the mellow afternoon crowd. In the heat of the day, Railroad Earth took the main stage and
played with a less amped-up style, perhaps subdued by the temperature, but they did include hobo favorite "Black
Railroad Earth :: Wanee
The Wailers dedicating their set to
drummer Carlton Barrett on the anniversary of his abrupt death almost twenty years ago, jammed for the
crowd with their reggae sound, including "Shakedown Party" and "Lively Up Yourself" and the more politically-based
"War" and "Hypocrites," before ending with "Get Up, Stand Up" > "One Love" as the audience stood up and cheered.
Shortly thereafter, Of A Revolution
(O.A.R.) pop sound delighted the college-aged crowd, which held signs and a blow-up alligator in the front rows.
Their upbeat set on the wonderful day included "Wonderful Day" and "Destination" and ended with "Nasim Joon" >
"Hey Girl" to loud, high-pitched screams from their fans.
Aston "Family Man" Barrett - The
Meanwhile, on the Mushroom Stage, the North
Mississippi Allstars featured many tunes from their sixth album, Electric Blue Watermelon,
including "Mississippi Bollweevil," "No Mo," "Teasin' Brown," and "Moonshine." The Allstars were still going strong,
adding songs "Love And Happiness," "All Night Long," and more with Chris Chew's solid bass beat
mesmerizing the audience as Mule started their second and final set on the Peach Stage. The set was dedicated to
R.L. Burnside, who is considered one of the
greatest blues artists ever, who died last September at 78. Mule's smooth set included two Grateful Dead covers
"Loser" > "Terrapin Station," "Soulshine" and ended with their own "Thorazine Shuffle."
The Saturday night Allman Brothers
set began with "Hot 'Lanta" and once again featured many guest artists. Jack Pearson sat in the entire show on
guitar as Trucks had flown the festival coop the night before to tour in Europe with Eric Clapton. "Midnight Rider"
and "One Way Out" featured Devon Allman on guitar and vocals (his band Honeytribe had played a set
earlier in the day), "Statesboro Blues" included Pearson's wife Elizabeth on bass, "The Weight" added Danny
Louis and Andy Hess from Mule, "Dreams" included Hal Thomas, and "In Memory of
Elizabeth Reed" featured Vaylor Trucks from Bonobos Convergence. The set ended with "Southbound" and
the fans were delighted, but just like the evening before, screamed for more to no avail.
Gregg Allman - ABB ::
After the end of the official music, Shak Nasti played again at their campground site to a larger crowd of two
hundred, as the disco ball, which had been held up by hand the previous night, hung high from a tree above. Their
rhythmic sound was stronger and less melodic than the night before, but they still played well until the wee hours.
With our tent conveniently located right next door, we fell asleep listening to the funky sounds of the Orlando band,
a beautiful end to the two full days of incredibly varied music.
JamBase | Florida
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