Photography by Steven Philips, Story by Kathleen Orlando
This summer was the first ever Live From the Lot show at the Ardmore Music Hall, and it certainly did not disappoint. The concert featured local food and craft vendors, and showcased local music talent in between sets from American Babies, Pink Talking Fish, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, and the legendary Dr. John and the Nite Trippers.
American Babies, originally a side-project of Philadelphia-based musician Tom Hamilton, features passionate songwriting, a classic sound, and awesome live improvisation. They performed a very classic rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled up in Blue,” among other covers and originals from their forthcoming album. Clay Parnell, Hamilton’s old bandmate from Brothers Past, recently injured his wrist, and did an amazing job by lying the bass on his lap and tapping the bass lines with the fingers of his good hand. Drummer Al Smith, a veteran of the Philadelphia music scene, has really come into his own with this group, and his style melds the crisp quick beats of lotus style jamtronica with a more traditional jam rock style of a Bill Kreutzman or Joe Russo. American Babies has had a very busy summer, coming to Live From the Lot straight after Camp Bisco, and scheduled for ARISE and Peach Fests in August.
The tribute fusion band Pink Talking Fish seamlessly melded well-known songs by their namesakes. They began the set by sandwiching the Talking Heads’ “My Girlfriend is Better” between a Phish jam and Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar”. They played a great electric version of “Psycho Killer” with a killer guitar solo. It was interesting to see Phish interludes thrown onto the end of Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell.” They even did some songs that they did from their show at the AMH show last February, when they played Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. You can catch them next at Catskill Chill this September.
Bustle in your Hedgerow, a Zepplin tribute band, doesn’t play many shows, and Live from the Lot was their first one this summer, and so a real treat. The band members, including Joe Russo, one of the best jam band drummers around, masterfully executed the raw power and skill of their predecessor as they played songs like “The Ocean,” Kashmir,” and “Ramble On.” But the lack of a vocalist leaves one yearning for the voice of Robert Plant, which may to some be a missing key element. Bustle in your Hedgerow does makes up for that by utilizing the keyboard to hit harmonizing notes that would have been sung by Plant, and the audience certainly had no problems filling in the blanks, singing almost the entire set. Band member Marco Benevento, also a member of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, played a jammin’ set for the afterparty and will be playing at Peach Fest this Summer.
Six-time Grammy Award Winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John was the headlining act for the show. The legend from New Orleans played classics like “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark (When You Come Around)”. He also played a funky cover of Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and the eerie VooDoo sounding “Walking on Gilded Splinters.” Dr. John’s zeal was contagious, looking every bit the legend and playing his phenomenally funky New Orleans-influenced sound like he did in his prime. He couldn’t have played a better closing set.
Between main stage sets, there were several side acts that kept the audience moving. Kuf Knotz, a Philly artist residing in New York who is known for his positive rap lyrics and general feel-good vibe, organized the smaller artists playing throughout the venue. Alongside soulful ballads, a brass band played a baritone cover of Superstition in a nearby area. On the other side of the lot were acoustic performances by students and in the far corner was a kids section. Each of the performances were skillful and entertaining, but were physically too close together, and oftentimes hard to hear. Inside the air-conditioned venue, DJs-in-training showcased the Studio 1200 DJ Academy.
Live From the Lot offered a stellar finish to a great weekend for live music. In addition to the classic rock headliners and side acts, the variety in entertainment and vending made it a great community throw-down that made for a rough Monday morning, and was worth every minute. Hopefully this was the first of many Live From the Lots, and I hope to see you at the next one!