All Good ’07 in review

All Good Music Festival 

Marvin's Mountaintop  

Masontown, West Virginia  

July 13-15, 2007 

 

In Masontown, West Virginia, the major economic engine is coal mining. 

But in mid-July, thousands of people converge on the nearby Marvin's Mountaintop in the beautiful, rolling Appalachian Mountains to cleanse their souls by basking in the sun, vibes, and music that the All Good Music Festival provides each year. 

This year, the annual catharsis commenced with Thursday performances by British psychedelic trance-jammers The Ozric Tentacles and the Grateful Dead cover band, the Dark Star Orchestra.  The DSO, known for re-creating historic Dead shows in their entirety, transported the festival revelers to De Kalb, Illinois and the Field House at Northern Illinois University as they recreated the Grateful Dead show from October 29, 1977. 

On Friday, Yonder Mountain String Band delivered an energetic set of their Colorado jamgrass.  As always, Yonder was fun to watch as they kept the large crowd going strong, even when a thunderstorm rolled in and dumped heavy rain accompanied by lightning and thunder.  YMSB dipped into their entire catalog, from older tunes like "Bolton Stretch" to offerings from their new album like "Angel." 

A highly anticipated set from the trio, Keller and the Keels (Keller Williams with Larry and Jenny Keel) featured the Tom Petty cover-medley from their album Grass — a mish-mash of "Last Dance with Mary Jane" into "Breakdown" and back into "Last Dance with Mary Jane."  That was followed by an unexpectedly crowd-pleasing Jon Denver cover (!): "Take Me Home, Country Road" with its fitting West Virgina reference. 

Yonder Mountain's Jeff Austin joined the band as they covered his band's "New Horizon."  But the peak of this set was the final two songs when Bob Weir joined the band for smoking renditions of the Grateful Dead's "Loser" and "Dupree's Diamond Blues." 

Lotus was up next on the Magic Hat Stage.  They only had a 45-minute set, but came out on fire.  From the opening "Jump Off" until the closing "Sunrain," the band displayed power and energy.  Jesse Miller's thundering bass and the excellent guitar riffs and percussion were great all night, even though the set was short. 

Bob Weir and Ratdog headlined Friday on the All Good Stage, with Steve Kimock on lead guitar in place of the ailing Mark Karan.  Steve Kimock never fails to impress on guitar, and boy, did this combination work.  Bob's great voice combined with a bunch of classic Grateful Dead songs and Kimock echoing of Jerry Garcia riffs blew the crowd away.  After their starting intro, the band went into a nice "Casey Jones."  

The "real" show started with a very psychedelic "Dark Star" sandwich, Kimock screaming on the guitar.  They then navigated through a series of Dead classics including "Hell In A Bucket," "Me And My Uncle," and a sick "Tennessee Jed." 

Keller Williams joined Ratdog for a while, giving Weir a rest, and when Bob came back out and Keller departed, Ratdog went into a great rendition of the Beatles' "Come Together."  This long but excellent sandwich closed with the reprise of "Dark Star." 

 

 

 

As soon as the music stopped, the Benevento/Russo Duo started playing on the adjacent Magic Hat stage, only to be interrupted by Rat Dog saying "not so fast, we have one more."  This was an awkward moment for the fest but the "Touch of Grey" was worth it.  

Some seemed a little upset that Ratdog was perceived to be "breaking into someone else's already short time slot."  However, Benevento and Russo played very well despite the miscommunication, and were the talk of the crowd the next day as being the new find of the weekend. 

Friday ended with the late-night set from Sound Tribe Sector 9.  They played their trance-y brand of music well into the early morning and kept the crowd dancing into the wee hours. 

Saturday started off with some great reggae from SOJA and groove- rock from Assembly Of Dust

Perpetual Groove followed on the All Good Stage, though the daylight didn't exactly serve a band accustomed to light-show-enhanced late night sets. However, this was the band's first show in West Virginia, and it was one to remember.  P-Groove started with a great version of "A Day the Way," followed by the classic guitar-driven "Robot Waltz."  They played the new "Under Lock and Key", "Save for One" from their latest album Live Love Die, and ended the short set with "Out Here."  P-Groove put on a decent performance, but, perhaps because of the early slot, never really got into their groove and showed little deep jamming.    

Next up on the All Good Stage was Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.  It was good to see a band fronted by a female musician/vocalist and they brought out a large crowd.  Potter played both piano and guitar and led the band through a theatrical high-energy performance.  A highlight was the crowd-pleasing "Nothing But The Water" parts 1 and 2, where everyone in the band playing the drums in the middle of the tune.  More than one person walked away from that show comparing Potter to Janis Joplin, and nobody was disagreeing. 

Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers mixed things up a bit following Grace Potter, providing the contrast that makes festivals like All Good great.  They brought a change of pace, delivering some high energy rock and roll fueled by Jack Daniels. Shifting gears again, Les Claypool and his band were up next, and showcased the bassist's quirky style, amplified by Mike Dillion's great percussion and Skerik's crazy facial expressions.

New Monsoon brought some San Francisco style to the Magic Hat Stage, albeit for a short but sweet 45 minute set.  The departure of the percussionists has forced New Monsoon to evolve— gone is the Indian tabla and Latin percussion and more prevalent is high energy rock and roll with screaming guitars and occasional banjo.  Lead guitarist Jeff Miller stood out as they ran through "Bridge of the Gods," the bluegrass-tinged "Romp," and closed with the fest-favorite "Traveling Gypsies." Michael Franti & Spearhead perform a high energy blend of modern day reggae, hip-hop, and funk that's just perfect for outdoor festivals.  If anyone can get the crowd to into the performance, it's Michael Franti; when he says jump, thousands of people do and when he says light up your lighter, thousands of points of light are seen across the crowd.  An often-repetitious setlist not withstanding, Franti is a top-notch performer.  Highlights were "East to the West," "Time to Go Home" (with a video intro of President Bush speaking the lyrics) and "Light Up Ya Lighter" with everyone doing just that. 

Immediately following was one of the better sets of the festival, courtesy of Tea Leaf Green.  They came out punching hard with "Franz Hanzerbeak," then tore it up with the lyrical sensation "Garden" trilogy and ended with a fantastic "If It Wasn't For The Money."  This performance was extremely energetic with great sound, and the energy from both band and crowd was awesome.    

Saturday's main event up on the All Good Stage was moe.  The Buffalo, New York act came right out of the gate blazing, starting with a killer "Rebubula" sandwich and into a "32 Things," "Spine of a Dog" and back into "Rebubula," making their way into a awesome "Plane Crash," and ultimately back into "Rebubula."  A nice "Akimbo" closed the set.  Their "Crab Eyes" encore was amazing, with featuring the sizzling dual guitars from Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier.  A camera strategically placed in Jim Loughlin's percussion kit gave the audience a front-row seat through the drum heads to the underside of his hands.  

The next couple hours….well into the early morning… provided one of the highlights of this year's fest – the Late Night All-Star Jam hosted by moe.  moe. started things off with fan favorite "Meat," followed by some hardcore Beat Box from The Bridge.  "Woodstock" with Reid Genauer of AOD was great.  P-Groove returned for a great Brock rap with a Kayne West "We Don't Care" which passed into a heavy hitting "Sex In The 70's" from Tea Leaf Green. 

The highlight of this all star jam was probably a superb rendition of Neil Young's classic "Cortez The Killer" from the talented vocalist Grace Potter.  moe. came back out to finish with a reprise of "Meat" and a "Godzilla" encore.  The set was perfect way to end a Saturday night at a great festival.

On Sunday, Soulive performed their set as the skies darkened and thunderstorms began pounding during their first song—a great version of "Steppin." The music was stopped for about 15 minutes for safety reasons and fear of lightning strikes.  But once the rain stopped, they returned to the stage for about another 45 minutes of great jazz- rock.  Eric Krasno is one of the best guitar players out there today and he delivered several power-packed solos.  Toussaint joined the band on vocals for several new songs.  They closed out with the classics "Jesus Children of America" and "Feel Like Makin' Love."  The crowd wanted more but apparently they couldn't stay as they had a plane to catch.  

The festival closed with just the third show of Leftover Salmon's brief reunion tour.   While the band had been hiatus for several years, it was clear they hadn't lost a thing, putting on one of the best sets of the festival.  The band walked onstage with a "Howdy West Virginia," and when they sang the lyrics "And the West Virginia waters went down, down, down" the final downpour of the weekend showered the crowd.  Luckily, the rain held up until the set was almost complete.

 

Click on for the photo galleries – photos by Brad Kuntz{mospagebreak} 

 

Friday

 

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Saturday

 

 
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Sunday

 

 

 

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