Phil Lesh. Gov’t Mule. Fishbone. Black Crowes. Tedeschi Trucks Band. And more. Any questions, jamband aficonados? (Pictured above: revelers.)
PHOTOS & TEXT BY GREG KELLY
The eighteenth annual Gathering of the Vibes came to Bridgeport Connecticut July 25 -28 packed with every color of the spectrum and a vast array of characters. This festival is one I look forward to every summer. I showed up Friday midday and went to see what I thought was one of the better acts of the weekend, The Revivalists. Calling New Orleans home, the band really packs a punch. Horns, steel guitar, a steady drum beat and a singer who puts a lot of energy into their live shows. (Watch for these guys when they come through town their bringing a party!)
The next band I was excited to see was Tedeschi Trucks Band (pictured below), and they did not disappoint. What can I say to those who don’t know: Susan Tedeschi has one of the nicest voices I have heard and always brings a calming effect. Along with husband Derek Trucks’ incredible guitar solos, a horn section and backing singers I felt a soulful vibe throughout their set. Closing the night out was” Phil Lesh and Friends” This was mostly what I thought it was going to be, long jams featuring a very talented band that included John Medeski, John Scofield, Joe Russo, and John Kadlecik. I faded quickly with a one hour set break.
Firing back up Saturday, I started off with an uplifting set from Steve Kimock (who has been credited with playing with a number of Dead-influenced bands) and Bernie Worrell (legendary keyboardist, a founding member of “Parliament Funkadelic, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer). This multi-talented band put a smile on my face.
Over to the main stage to see Gov’t Mule I stopped by the media tent and was able to sit in on an interview with Warren Haynes. It seemed that he is an incredibly humble artist only having love for the “Vibes” and festivals in general. (Thanks Warren!!). The Mule came out and ripped threw a two hour set. I would have to say the cover of “Led Zeppelin’s” “Since I’ve Been Loving you” was a high point for me.
Phil Lesh headlined Saturday night and I felt the band came out rocking and rolled through a huge catalog of songs. I was much more in tune Saturday night.
Sunday came up quick and I went over to see Blues Traveler. This is a band I heard for years but have never seen live. They definitely put a tap in my feet and got more than a few heads going (John Popper, you play the harmonica like no other)
Then came final two bands of the festival, and man I could not wait, starting with Fishbone. I have seen this band many times – let me tell you, they had the most energy of all the acts I saw all weekend. Rock, funk , punk, reggae, ska, and one of the most fun front man you can witness. Angelo Moore hasn’t lost a beat and anyone who was there would most likely agree. This band has been “out there” for over thirty years.
I quickly ran over to see The Black Crowes. I found myself in front of an obviously happy-to-be-there Chris Robinson and his guitarist brother Rich. The band opened with “Sting Me” and played through a couple of great covers of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Feeling Alright”’ it was great to see the band having a good time.
There were too many bands to include in just one review. Overall I felt the festival was nothing short of a great summer experience that I will carry with me for many days.