Reviews

A new, cavernous San Francisco concert venue was put to use by Dead & Company on Dec. 30, and while it is the biggest indoor venue in Grateful Dead-hometown history, the party was no less enthusiastic. On New Year’s Eve, balloons would drop and a vintage plane would fly through the arena at midnight, but here on the 30th, the penultimate night of the year, Dead & Company delivered a big, powerful show worthy of review.

It takes a hell of a lot to get me to brave the absolute sardine-pack that is a sold-out Ogden Theatre in Denver for 3 consecutive nights. There are very few bands that would warrant something like that but Billy Strings is up there at the top of the shortlist.  Over the course of a cold weekend in December, the city of Denver was lucky enough to get to take part in the only three-night run of Billy Strings’ fall tour.

The annual late fall Hot Tuna run through the Northeastern US is in full swing when I cross paths with the band’s tour itinerary in Poughkeepsie, NY. This night is different than the previous electric Hot Tuna 50th anniversary show we attended earlier in the year. This show will be an all-acoustic evening with intricate musicianship and a long way from over forty years ago (11/26/76) and the power-trio ear-splitting days of the 1970s at the Palladium on 14th Street in Manhattan.

Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, William Apostol, better known to his fans as Billy Strings, was constantly surrounded by a wide array of music. His stepfather was a picker in the Michigan bluegrass scene and surrounded Billy with an array of traditional bluegrass music including Earl Scruggs, David Grisman, Larry Sparks, and Del McCoury.

“Guitarmeggedon!” That is one of the words used by Devon Allman to describe the sheer volume of talent and amplitude displayed at Denver’s Mission Ballroom on December 8th. The metropolitan’s newest venue played host to the Allman Family Revival, a conglomerate of the Allman Betts Band and a rotating stage of support that included 17 faces from the music world, including both well-known veterans and some new faces on the scene.

Thanksgiving weekend is a time for family and friends to get together. One of the experiences people can be thankful for is live music. The power of live music to bring out the best in people is well known. On Saturday evening, in The City Of Brotherly Love, hometown heroes, Lotus, brought their progressive jammed filled tunes to The Fillmore.

One could almost feel kaleidoscopic dust particles shake from the hallowed halls and chandeliers of the gritty old Fillmore in San Francisco on December 6.

Last Thursday, the Connecticut-based quartet Goose found its way back to the familiar nesting grounds of Fort Collins, Colorado and the Aggie Theatre. Playing to over 300 patrons, the band and its loyal flock took flight for two sets and nearly three hours of originals, covers, and enough improvised jam in between to suspend the belief that human flight is impossible.

The Rambles at Levon’s Barn continue and everyone in attendance on Saturday night was enthralled by the musical creativity, the intimacy of the venue and the homey comfort of seeing a show that feels like you’re in your friend’s living room. Levon Helm Studios are in the Mid-Hudson Valley in Woodstock, NY. The audience is a mix of weekend visitors and locals. The atmosphere is friendly & relaxed.

Some people attend church on Sunday. My church on Sunday was Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The pastor: Phish. Sixteen years Uniondale, New York, has been waiting for the boys from Vermont to make a triumphant return to the arena. “Phans” braved the elements outside to see what the guys had in store for this Sunday evening in Long Island.