ALO: LIVING THE DREAM

Words by Tyler Hammer :: Images by Susan J. Weiand

ALO :: 10.14.06 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA

"For the record, the real thing is better than the dream." –Zach Gill, ALO, October 14th, 2006


ALO with Jack Johnson :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
While the lyrics to their just-played song "Country Camper" say the opposite, Zach Gill, keyboard/ukulele/vocals for ALO, wanted to set the record straight at The Fillmore. And in doing so, he affirmed what everyone in the crowd had been suspecting all night – he was living his dream.

Life is all about dreams. We all have them. Dreams are what drive us, and they are what motivate us. Really, when it comes down to it, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't base their life's path on dreams – big or small. It's when we see our dreams come true – that moment when we are able to peer over that pinnacle of life and see what's on the other side – it's in that moment that we are able to give the most meaning to our lives.


Dan Lebowitz - ALO Living The Dream at The Fillmore
On Saturday, October 14th, about 1,200 fans were witness to a group of friends in a band called ALO experience just that – a pinnacle in life. Headlining their very first show to a sold-out crowd at the historic Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Zach Gill, Dan Lebowitz, Steve Adams, and David Brogan appeared to be on top of the world.

Sure ALO has played in front of much larger crowds and in bigger venues, and as with any successful band, ALO has surely been wowed by their past experiences. But this, after all, is The Fillmore. The excitement, both on stage and in the crowd that night, was akin to a proud parent watching their only child finally walk across the graduation stage.


Zach Gill :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
As you would expect with any big night, ALO brought out a number of friends to share the moment. After Honeycut, Blue Turtle Seduction, and Mojow and the Vibration Army warmed things up, ALO made their appearance to an already raucous crowd. Opening with "Maria," The Fillmore was immediately swept up with the Isle Vista beach vibe ALO brings with them. Following with "Plastic Bubble," the signature and simple ukulele strum brought bliss to the air. Mixing Hawaiian island with their California soul sound, this song has all the ingredients to tickle eardrums and put smiles on faces.


Brett Dennen :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
The first set was solid throughout, with notable highlights including a guest appearance by another rising star – singer/songwriter Brett Dennen. With a truly unique and inviting raspy voice, Dennen performed "She's Mine" with ALO as backup. As with all of Dennen's songs, his nimble guitar licks and simple-yet-joyous lyrics lift the spirit. The other highlight of the set came as Honeycut and John Whoolilurie (of Mojow) came onstage to throw down the "Lowdown." This funky Boz Skaggs song brought The Fillmore back to the 1970s as the dance floor heated up and moved the feet of everyone in attendance. More than anyone, John Whoolilurie owned the stage on this song with his over-the-top, just-say-yeah saxophone playing.


ALO :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
As with any good show, this night was about more than just the music; it was also about the scene. Gaining a reputation for themselves, the band and their fans bring theatrics and flair to many of their bigger shows. Billed as an "Abnormal Formal," this night gave ALO's loyal following in the San Francisco Bay Area yet another excuse to deck themselves out in outrageous outfits. In what seemed a warm-up for Halloween, there were corduroy plaid suits, bright-pink top hats, lacy dresses, and bunny ears creating something like a mad-hatter's ball. The decadent crystal chandeliers, lush purple velvet drapes, and historic resonant musical energy that covers The Fillmore added to the positive vibrations felt by all.

Adding to the family reunion atmosphere, ALO brought out their good friend Jack Johnson a few songs into the second set. Decked in his own formal attire with a shiny silver coat and '30s-era black hat, Jack raised the energy level a few notches.


Jack Johnson with ALO :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
Sharing the better part of the second set together, they traded songs such as Jack's "Rodeo Clown" and "Better Together" with ALO's "Girl, I want to Lay You Down" and "Wasting Time." With ALO backing Jack Johnson up, he never sounded so good (then again, maybe it was because you could actually hear him sing and not just a horde of high-pitched screaming fans). But seriously, it was a solid mini-set within a set and a tasty treat for most everyone involved. Once they had the stage to themselves again, ALO rounded out the night with some long-time favorites like "Barbeque," mixed in with covers "I Shall Be Released" by Dylan and Journey's "Lights" to close out the show.


Dan Lebowitz - ALO :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
With their headlining debut at The Fillmore, ALO certainly showed that they have grown in both popularity and as musicians. The rich, commanding sounds that Dan Lebowitz creates with his acoustic guitar is at times reminiscent of the very talented Bill Nershi of SCI. And the infectious undertones of Zach Gill's keyboard are hard not to love.

Yet there is still room to grow, not just in their popularity and sound, but in their material. Show after show, the band plays essentially the same set list mixed among different covers. Except for a few new songs, "Maria," "Try," and "Water Song," (and perhaps one or two others) ALO hasn't really written any new tunes since 2004.


Jack Johnson with ALO :: 10.14 :: Fillmore
Even so, the band is on a roll – and they know it. With the release of their new album Fly Between Walls, successful tours with Jack Johnson and Galactic, and an upcoming New Year's show at (fittingly) the Sea of Dreams Festival, ALO may be rising through the ranks of the jamband scene faster than anyone. And with their upcoming studio sessions next year, it sounds like they're finally making some time to roll out new material.

Whatever way you slice it, ALO brings with them a youthful energy that is nearly as good as Wonder Bread. They are new and humble enough that you get the sense they are truly living their dream. And no wonder – the uplifting vibe they bring with them to every show is what has liberated the animal within the legions of fans throughout the country.

SET LIST
ALO :: 10.14.06 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA

SET I
Maria*, Plastic Bubble, Pobrecito, Possibly Drown, She's Mine (Brett Dennen song w/ Brett), Spectrum, Try*, Walls of Jericho, Water Song*, Lowdown (Boz Scaggs song w/ Honeycut & John Whoolilurie), Time is of the Essence (w/ Tony from HC on MPC drum machine)

SET II
Shapeshifter > Waiting for Jaden, Country Camper (w/ John Whoolilurie), Gardener, What's Gone Wrong (Untouchables song w/ Jack Johnson), Better Together > (Jack song w/ Jack), Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down (w/ Jack) > Rodeo Clowns (Jack song w/ Jack), Wasting Time (w/ Jack), Mud Football (Jack song w/ Jack) > Barbeque, Animal Liberation

ENCORE
Happy Birthday Lebo! w/ cake... > I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan song w/ Jack), Michael Was A Man, Lights (Journey song w/ Honeycut, Mojow, Brett Dennen & more)

* New Song, First Time Played

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[Published on: 10/25/06]

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Comments

abratton85 Wed 10/25/2006 06:25PM
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water song is by Hot Tuna! ... or is that just a coincidence?

Tan starstarstarstarstar Wed 10/25/2006 07:08PM
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Tan

This band cooks. And then it chills. Aw yeah.

rburreson starstarstarstar Thu 10/26/2006 10:14AM
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Does anyone have a recording of this show? Need help, stuck in North Carolina. Thanks

barnylee starstarstarstar Thu 10/26/2006 11:03AM
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barnylee

Saw these guys in Baltimore this summer. Fun show, great songs with vocals...awesome!

the mighty quinn Thu 10/26/2006 11:34AM
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the mighty quinn

i smell another boring show. rasta pasta bros. i'm ready for a song that doesn't sound like all the rest. i'm just glad they aren't playing at vegoose. bring on the real bands.

nfenne starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/26/2006 01:49PM
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nfenne

I also saw them in Baltimore and was really impressed!

chrisprice starstarstarstarstar Thu 10/26/2006 03:51PM
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these guys f***in rock! everyone needs to go to an alo headline show like the filllmore and see what this is all about.

iamsweetness starstarstarstar Thu 10/26/2006 11:23PM
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sweet stuff Tyler! that show was the highlight of my year! I have a question - how do you know that ALO has only 5 new songs since 2004?

I recommend you check your facts. I know that the different musicians in ALO are prolific writers. while it is true that ALO hasn't been playing as many new songs as we would all like, I know they have over 30 new songs not officially recorded. a good portion of these songs have been recorded at live shows over the years and at the different ALO side project shows - Zach Gill solo, Dan Lebowitz Group, Dan and Steve duo, Dave Brogan Fan Club Shows (has this happened yet?) ...

please don't sell ALO short. I think their creativity with songs, performance, theatrics and more is endless! I hope that everyone gets to check out a live ALO show soon! NYE in SF anyone? I can't wait to swim in the Sea of Dreams with SCI and ALO!

p.s. I checked in with some friends of the band. they told me that they are headed to the studio this month and had a hard time deciding what to record because there are so many new songs. I can't wait for the new album!

Thanks ALO!

paulygparty starstarstarstar Fri 10/27/2006 08:40AM
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What's the side of that Jello box say, Barri?

Awww yeah.

(Sweet nothings) Oh, you're looking so good, feelin' so right. Please don't mind as I kiss the sky.

I don't doubt ALO has a ton of new songs. With the double release of FBF(due to their awesomeness/major label pickup-age), it just seems like a while. I wait for their new album like Charlie Bucket waits for Willy Wonka to die.

tghammer Fri 10/27/2006 09:20AM
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iamsweetness...tyler here. thanks for the positive feedback (it seems to me that all too many times, jambase has people posting with beligerent rants on why all bands except their favorite sucks).

to answer your question, i don't know that alo only has 5 new songs. i'm sure there may be more. my point was that it seems to me that show after show i keep hearing the same songs (bbq, girl, animal liberation, plastic bubble, jericho, time is of the essence, jaden, wasting time, etc, etc.). not that i don't like most those songs, but damn guys let's mix up the set list a little.

you know?

Jamayka Fri 10/27/2006 11:44AM
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luvin' ALO's vibes. their tune "possibly drown" will be on the upcoming Best of Jambase CD. stay tuned ;).

dannymo starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/27/2006 01:33PM
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ALO proves that if you plant the plus seeds the plus signs will grow!! rock on

phunguy starstarstarstar Sat 10/28/2006 01:26PM
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phunguy

What a great crowd shot. Looks like a really good time. Check out that great looking couple in the middle! ;^P

gangstaPranksta starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 11:47AM
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I MISS ALL MY SAN FRAN CRAZY ALO FRIENDS JAY,CHAD,WHEEZLE,ASH,DEE LOVE YOU GUYS WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE AKA BONES FOOL!