Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Performs Without Joe Russo

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead played The Peach Music Festival in Scranton on Saturday and the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival in Burlington on Sunday without drummer and namesake Joe Russo. The drummer’s second child was born three weeks early on Friday, which put the band’s team into “holy shit the baby came early contingency mode” and the group decided to move forward with the performances.

On Friday, JRAD members keyboardist Marco Benevento, bassist Dave Dreiwitz and guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton were joined by drummers Evan Roque and Ben Perowsky. Roque is Russo’s drum tech, while Perowsky’s credits include performing with John Zorn, Rufus Wainwright and Russo in their BOYFRIEND project. Then, on Sunday, Roque was on one drum kit and John Kimock was on the other.

The sextet kicked off their late-night set at The Peach on Saturday with “Shakedown Street.” The rest of the performance was a seamless affair bookended by “Me & My Uncle” and “I Know You Rider.” Dubbed “NRAD” by fans, the group fit such Grateful Dead classics as “Eyes Of The World,” “The Music Never Stopped,” “Franklin’s Tower” and “The Other One” within the frame. For the encore, Almost Dead said farewell to The Peach with “Not Fade Away.”

On Sunday, the first set included a pairing of “Feel Like A Stranger” with “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire On The Mountain.” Additionally, the six-piece romped through “Good Lovin’,” “New Minglewood Blues” and more. Last night’s second set at Waterfront Park in Burlington began with “China Cat Sunflower” and ended with the Sunday sermon of “Samson & Delilah.” The band worked “China Cat” into “Iko Iko” and then Hamilton led the group through “Brown-Eyed Women.” A well-jammed “Truckin'” was among the improvisational highlights of the evening and gave way to the tender “Brokedown Palace” ahead of “Samson & Delilah.” The unusual show came to a close with a “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” encore.

Joe Russo is expected back behind the kit for the band’s next show on Friday, August 16 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Check out Joe’s note that he shared on Saturday afternoon explaining the situation:

Watch pro-shot video of JRAD at The Peach Music Festival via nugs.tv below:

Here’s fan-shot video of “Feel Like A Stranger” > “Scarlet Begonias” from Burlington thanks to Josh Daniel:

Check out a stream of Sunday’s second set thanks to Jay Moskowitz:

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead