Photos | Review | Life is good Festival | Massachusetts

Words by: Alex Anastas | Images by: Adam McCullough and Alex Anastas

Life is good Festival :: 09.22.12-09.23.12 :: Prowse Farm at Blue Hills :: Canton, MA

Full review below photo gallery!

Life is good by Alex Anastas

For the third year in a row, the two-day Life is good Festival was held at Prowse Farm, a sun-kissed horse-farm in a slight valley located just 30 minutes from downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Unlike many summer and autumn festivals featuring such marquee acts as Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, as well as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, it was a nice surprise to see more children than adults wandering the festival grounds. The Life is good organizers, led by co-founder brothers Bert & John Jacobs, in partnership with Bonnaroo’s Superfly Presents, prepared all production aspects to perfection: an ample array of vending and facilities, manned recycling/trash stations, an abundance of kid-friendly activities including sack races, face painting, roaming clowns, art installations in every direction, free disc golf, and even a BMX bike performance. In the end, however, seeing music is what brought many to eastern Mass on this gorgeous Sunday in late September.

Walking onto the property, we were greeted to the soulful funk pop of Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO). A staple on recent festival circuits, the foursome from the left coast treated the crowd to an apropos cover of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good”. Sung by drummer Dave Brogan, the lyrics “I keep on going guess I'll never know why, life's been good to me so far” seem to perfectly surmise the laid back tone of the day.

Trombone Shorty by Adam McCullough

What is particularly wonderful about the Life is good Festival is the lack of overlap in music. Life is good has two large stages; Life is Good and the Good Vibes, as well as a separate Good Kids tent. When one band finished, another would start directly across the field from the other. So after ALO, The Infamous Stringdusters picked up moments later, treating the late afternoon crowd to a blistering version of “Steampowered Aeroplane” and even a choice bluegrass take on Phish’s “Free”.

Additionally, the charitable ethos set forth is contagious, with $10 from every ticket purchase going to “help kids overcome poverty, violence and illness by harnessing the healing power of play.” Further, if patrons fundraised themselves prior to arrival at Prowse Farm, they were granted VIP backstage access and viewing platforms, all the better to see the next act Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The boy from the big easy crooned and bopped his way through the fading fall sunlight, garnering new fans with his infectiously positive and frantic Treme sound.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Liar Liar, Suburbia, On Your Way Down, Dumaine St, Encore, Hurricane Season, Blackbird Special, The Craziest Things, St. James Infirmary, I Got A Woman, Do To Me

With the sun setting directly in their faces, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings were easily the best performance all afternoon. Showing off their tight funk chops on the warm up vamp “Broadway Shuffle”, the band brought out the sultry fireplug Ms. Jones for takes on “I’m Not Gonna Cry” and “When I Come Home”. Sharon even taught the audience a few of her favorite dances in a medley dedicated to the pioneers, such as Chubby Checkers' “Twist” and James Brown’s “Tighten Up”.

Tim Reynolds by Adam McCullough

Closing the two-day event were Superfly golden boys Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds. The fearsome duo opened their performance with some of their most popular singles, including “Everyday” and “Crush”. As always, Dave let Tim have his psychedelic interludes to bang out some looping madness. The humble and mostly silent Reynolds also let Matthews have his usual stage banter, talking about everything from the amount of beverages on stage (stating “decisions” in his best lisp) to the brisk autumn air change as the evening wore on (“I’m hot and cold at the same time”). Parking at a nearby Amtrak station, festival shuttles took us off into the cold night, visions of “Ants Marching” still repeating in my head.

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Everyday, Crush, Save Me, So Damn Lucky, Still Water, Don’t Drink the Water, Broken Things, Oh, Satellite, Gaucho, Bartender, Tim Reynolds Solo, Take Me to Tomorrow, Lie in Our Graves, Mercy, You & Me, Funny the Way It Is, Tim Reynolds Solo, Jimi Thing, What Will Become of Me, Stay or Leave, Two Step, Some Devil, Ants Marching

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[Published on: 10/2/12]

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