JamBase List | 10 420 Musical Nods On April 20th

The history of 4/20 has been written out a fair bit in recent years. Whether it was NPR’s 2006 It’s 4/20; Where Are All My Co-Workers segment on All Things Considered or this year’s deep-dive by the new website Vox and their piece 4/20, America’s stoner holiday, explained. Regardless of the attention of more mainstream press, one thing is for sure -the world of live music has been observing the holiday for quite some time now. In today’s special 4/20 edition of the JamBase List, check out ten nods to the calendar from shows which took place on April 20th over the years. This is of course a small sample of everything we had to work with, so if we missed your favorite -be sure to let us know in the comments section.

1)  Disco Biscuits -4/20/2002 @ Barrymore Theatre in Madison, WI

Even if it’s not April 20th, Marc Brownstein often tells a hilarious narration or story during tDB’s “Nughuffer,” but 2002’s version from Madison’s Barrymore Theatre is a doozy. Have a listen to the magical night where Brownie met his “best friend in the entire world.”

2) Yonder Mountain String Band -4/20/2013 @ The McDonald Theatre in Eugene, OR

Last year, YMSB busted out “Two Hits and The Joint Turned Brown” and also posted a picture to their Facebook page of a stage setlist with every song title aptly modified (see image above). 

3) Umphrey’s McGee -4/20/2002 @ Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR

UM original “Weed Rap” was performed nine times before being permanently shelved, on some occasions was paired with Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive” (of which it borrows musical elements) and thankfully was once performed at one of UM’s many 4/20 shows. For most recent UM 4/20 hijinx, check out 2013’s “Burning Down The House” cover. Head to the track marked “Xxplosive” to hear the “Weed Rap” from 4/20/2002.

4) Keller Williams -4/20/1999 @ Murphy’s in Steamboat Springs, CO

Some 4/20 nods are more subtle than others. Keller Williams lays it on pretty thick in this show hitting on such tunes as “It’s A Plant,” “Inhale To The Chief,” “Blazeabago” and more.

5) moe. -4/20/2001 @ State Theatre in Portland, ME

On the surface a cover of “I Wanna Be Sedated” on 4/20 seems like a pretty clear nod to the “holiday” but as the timing so happened in 2001, Joey Ramone had also just passed away earlier that week. Perhaps “Recreational Chemistry” is also a nod as moe. seems quite fond on playing that one on 4/20 over the years. moe. also worked in “Hi and Lo,” “Cocaine” and “Opium” to the drug-reference heavy setlist on 4/20/2002. 

6) Perpetual Groove -4/20/2004 @ Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA 

Some song titles leave little to the imagination, like PGroove’s first time played cover “Marijuana In Your Brain” by Lords of Acid. Also check PGroove’s 2011 cover of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

7) Leftover Salmon –4/20/2013 @ Old Settlers Music Festival in Driftwood, TX

It helps when you’ve got tunes in your repertoire perfect for the occasion, like when Leftover Salmon closes their set at the Old Settler’s Music Festival last year with “Wake and Bake.”

8) The Motet -4/20/2013 @ The Fillmore in Denver, CO

In celebration of Colorado becoming the first state to pass legalized marijuana legislation and an “acknowledgement that nature is not, and should never be illegal,” The Motet, along with special guests, play a special “Weed Medley” featuring “Pass The Dutchie,””Legalize It,” and “Mary Jane.”

9) Greensky Bluegrass –4/20/2010 @ Cervantes’ Other Side in Denver, CO

A few years back, Greensky Bluegrass put in the extra effort to learn not one, but many holiday appropriate tunes for their show in Colorado. Check out “Hits From The Bong” by Cypress Hill and “Because I Got High” (with new lyrics) by Afroman and more.

10) Phil Lesh & Friends -4/20/2001 @ Independence Hall in Charlotte, NC

When Phil Lesh & Friends and the famous “Q” lineup came through Charlotte in 2001 for 4/20 they were sure to jam on Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” as well as perform a full rendition of Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me.”