HeadCount board member Bob Weir served as the musical host for the evening as a bevy of jam scene fixtures sat in with his RatDog ensemble through two meaty sets. Weir was in as fine a form as we’ve seen from him in recent years both vocally and instrumentally. The current version of RatDog has gelled well with Steve Kimock leading the way through many jams. The inclusion of Kimock made the dream pairings HeadCount served up even that more impressive as we saw him duel with Brendan Bayliss, Eric Krasno and Nels Cline at points in the evening.
Coming into the show, we knew Bayliss, Krasno, Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein and Lettuce’s Alecia Chakour, Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis would partake in the festivities, but there were also a few surprises thrown in for good measure. Blues Traveler front man John Popper added harp to “Little Red Rooster” in the first set, while Wilco guitarist Nels Cline turned up for the “Franklin’s Tower” > “Turn On Your Lovelight” encore.
The show started innocently enough with Weir-led takes on “Hell In A Bucket,” “Queen Jane Approximately” and “Money For Gasoline” before Popper emerged as the first guest of the evening. “Queen Jane” was played in honor of HeadCount staffer Jane Henderson, who’s still recovering from injuries suffered at SXSW. Bobby then led his group through a pair of Jerry songs in “Ramble On Rose” and “Mission In The Rain.” The opening stanza came to a close with a stellar rendition of “Throwing Stones.”
Set Two was all about the sit-ins and after a stirring speech from Bernstein, Brownstein emerged on bass for “Shakedown Street” and “Bertha.” Brownie, sporting a huge smile throughout, had his parts down and added a sharp thrust to the songs he played on. The Disco Biscuits bassist then swapped out and Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss came aboard for “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Sugaree.” Bayliss’s tone and style was a major contrast to the evening’s other performers and the highlight of his sit-ins was his work with Kimock on “Slipknot!” Alecia Chakour, for her part, made a big impact on “Sugaree” as she shared a duet with Weir, who seemed extremely happy for his new vocal partner. Eric Krasno, as he tends to do, stole the show with stellar performances on “Eyes Of The World,” “Dear Prudence” and “Not Fade Away” following a fun take on “Mexicali Blues.” The marathon performance came to a close with Cline and others on the previously-mentioned encore. Both Zoidis and Bloom shined on “Lovelight,” while Cline showed an inventive approach to each song.
Congrats to HeadCount on an extremely successful first ten years and for throwing an incredible party to celebrate the occasion. As we said, the future’s bright for the organization and we’re excited to see what the next ten years hold.
Here’s the setlist from last night’s show:
Set One: Hell In A Bucket, Queen Jane Approximately, Money For Gasoline, Little Red Rooster (w/ John Popper), Ramble On Rose, Mission In The Rain, Throwing Stones
Set Two: Shakedown Street (w/ Marc Brownstein & Alecia Chakour), Bertha (w/ Marc Brownstein & Alecia Chakour), Help On The Way (w/ Brendan Bayliss) > Slipknot! (w/ Brendan Bayliss) > Sugaree (w/ Brendan Bayliss & Alecia Chakour), Mexicali Blues (w/ Eric Krasno, Eric Bloom & Ryan Zoidis), Eyes Of The World (w/ Krasno, Bloom, Zoidis & Chakour), Dear Prudence (w/ Krasno, Bloom, Zoidis & Chakour), Not Fade Away (w/ Krasno, Bloom, Zoidis & Chakour)
Encore: Franklin’s Tower (w/ Nels Cline & Alecia Chakour) > Turn On Your Lovelight (w/ Cline, Chakour, Bloom & Zoidis)
Watch a few more videos from the evening shot by Bud F.: