If you haven’t been checking in with us throughout the weekend, be sure to look at our quick coverage of each day’s events. Friday’s kickoff of both AC’s fest and the first DMB Caravan fest started with a run – literally. Hundreds of fans flooded the field as the gates opened just before the first bands took the stages. This is just a quick coverage of the shows I was able to catch – Sarah White & The Pearls, Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Delta Spirit, G.Love and Special Sauce, Ray Lamontagne, The Flaming Lips, and Dave Matthews Band. Whew. What a list, and a day. I’ll try and recap as shortly as possible as it was a long but amazing day. We hit 8:00p and the DMB show and couldn’t believe the day was over.
I myself was lucky enough to not be caught in the stampede, but be waiting in the wings at the Boardwalk Stage for what would being a great day of music. We caught up with Sarah White and the Pearls, an acoustic group from Virginia with just a touch of a lovely southern twang. Sarah was joined by Michael Bishop on bass, Stuart Gunter on drums and Ted Pitney on lead guitar.
The Jeff Coffin Mu’tet opened the Atlantic Stage day, with full band of guitars, trumpet, sax, drums, keys, and bass. I first saw (and you may recognize) Jeff Coffin as the saxophonist from Bela Fleck and the Flectones, and more recently playing with Dave Matthews Band. The Mu’tet, though? Jam band to the max. Maybe on my top list from the full festival, although I’m a sucker for some great jazz…
Back to the Boardwalk!! The Carolina Chocolate Drops, from – you guessed it – North Carolina, graced us with some southern soul, old-time blues and R&B. Banjo, bones, milk jugs, guitars, and some (yep!) beatboxing rocked the stage. They might be my favorite new band from the weekend.
Back to the Atlantic Stage for Delta Spirit! Whoa, these guys can play. At first they appeared as an 80s heavy hair band, but it’s more a mix of bluegrass and rock with some sweet goodness. From Long Beach, CA, they’re known for mixing amazing vocals with some great guitar work and getting the crowd going – which they did well. They were competing with TR3, Tim Reynold’s three piece [amazingness] group on the Pacific Stage, both of which were amazing shows. We had a chance to talk with Tim and the band later in the day on Friday, so be sure to check out that video when it’s posted this week.
Now, to the Pacific Stage and the Boardwalk Stage – yes I was in two places at once – for Mariachi El Bronx and G. Love and Special Sauce. What a cool concept – Mariachi with some classic roots, but more modern lyrics and some amazing musicians. My favorite part? The trumpeter’s belt buckle said “Brad”. I was also happy to catch G.Love, one of my favorite bands from a few years ago. I’ve never seen them so it was great to hear some of the classic songs he’s still rocking and some of the newer stuff the group has put together. Most people flooded the G.Love stage and missed the amazing show put on by Mariachi, so if you get a chance check them out!
Whew. Three more! Ray Lamontagne graced us with his presence back on Boardwalk Stage, bringing the full band with him. His well-knowns, such as Trouble and Hold You In My Arms, brought the crowds a’flocking and certainly delivered. I think everyone around the stage was awed at his ability to pull everyone together and have a crowd singing – reminded me much of DMB concerts and Iron and Wine’s ability to just get the crowds moving.
If you’ve never seen The Flaming Lips live, and you missed it at the Caravan, well… you need to catch them sometime in your life. The ‘Lips pulled off their usual (and far from usual) festival show, performing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album in its entirety, complete with Mark Conye’s entrance in his inflatable space bubble. Rolling off the stage, on top of and walking around the hands of the audience, and back to the stage – complete with the entire cast of The Wizard of Oz.
Last but not least – yep, Tri State Indie followed every show throughout the entire day – and did so over all three days of the fest – Dave Matthews Band. Definitely the largest crowd of the day, and probably the most anticipated, Dave and his friends showed us that after over 20 years of touring on the road, they’ve still got it. I’ve probably seen them ten or more times, and was pleased to hear many of the classics mixed with much of their newer stuff. And to top it off, and much to the crowd’s confusement and delight, Dave covered [solo] Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale, and the full band closed the night covering Led Zepplin’s Good Times / Bad Times. What, a show.
No, what a day. We exited the field, with Atlantic City not sure what was coming at it – a rumored 25,000+ crossing the bridge and taking over down town AC.
I’m sad I missed Saturday and Sunday’s performances, but the rest of the Tri State Indie team was there – be sure to check out our reviews of all shows and all days. We’re your source for indie shows, bands, and festivals in the tri-state region, and we’ll see you again for sure!!