Posted Jun 12th, 2015 (5:14 pm) by Staff
Mountain Jam 2015 Day 2
Image by Robert Clarke

We arrived at Mountain Jam Friday to a longer line to get in, but the line moved quickly. The entrance was separated into two lines, one for men and one for women, with women’s line moving noticeably slower as they seemed to be searched more thoroughly. There were already festival attendees climbing on a large adventure climbing apparatus and for five dollars, you could scare yourself climbing around on what looked like a King Kong sized jungle gym. There were also people riding up and down the Sky-Ride, a chair lift that ran alongside the slope that served as the concert field.

The sun basked on the crowd for Trigger Hippy, a band formed from jam sessions by Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, Black Crowes guitarist, Audley Freed, and bassist Nick Govrik. When Freed and rotating member Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring, who was added after their formation, left the group, the band added singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Jackie Green and vocalist Joan Osborne. The band began their set with the hard diving “Turpentine” which had Greene and Osborne sharing lead vocal duties. The set came to a slow simmer with the emotional, “Heartache on the Line.” The band’s set had plenty of tight grooves and great vocals and was a great choice to get the early afternoon crowd going.

Trigger Hippy’s, Jackie Greene did not have to travel far to sit in on keyboards with The Mother Hips on the smaller side stage. The San Francisco California rock band enjoyed the last dry performance of the afternoon, and they came out on fire right away with a tune called “Smoke.” The band had a real smooth Alt-Country/Rock sound.

The rain started sometime during Joe Russo’s Almost Dead set, and it always interesting to see how a large crowd of people react during a foul weather situation. People broke out rain gear ranging from rain suits suitable for protection on The Bearing Sea like on the show “Deadliest Catch” to Hefty-style garbage bags fashioned into ponchos. Govt. Mule rain ponchos popped up everywhere, and some people just gave into the rain and let themselves get soaked. However people handled it, the festival raged on and did little to impair people from enjoying themselves.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, that included Joe Russo (Benevento/Russo Due, Further) on drums and vocals, Tom Hamilton (Brothers Past, American Babies) on guitar and vocals, Scott Metzger (Particle) on guitar and vocals, Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) on bass and Marco Benevento on keyboards and vocals, featured an interesting set of Grateful Dead songs and included an insane version of “Terrapin Station” segueing into “Wheel.” Their set ended with a tasty version of “Cumberland Blues.”

Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen brought the heat of The Big Easy for the damp and chilly music fans with funk-laden set of New Orleans-style R&B. The set highlighted a number of songs that will be on the artist’s up coming album GoGo Juice.

Grace Potter has come a long way since we first caught her on the small side stage that was positioned outside of the Hunter Mountain ski lodge back at Mountain Jam II and she proved why her band was chosen to open for the Rolling Stones with a powerful set. After a sizzling burst of songs, “Never Go Back,” “Ah Mary,” and “Hot Summer Night,” Potter kicked of her high heels and was ready to dance. A big highlight of the set was Govt. Mules Warren Haynes sitting in for Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.” Grace Potter closed her set with “Paris (Ohh La La),” one of her popular older songs.

Nicki Bluhm and Gramblers did live radio spot for the Woodstock station that started it all in addition to playing at the festival and the singer mention how thrilled she was to be playing between Grace Potter and Robert Plant’s sets. Strolling around the festival grounds during the rain, we noticed many people had retreated to the sanctity of the ski lodge.

The rain ended and crowd swelled to capacity as plenty of music fans came to see Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters who mixed up classic Led Zeppelin songs that included “What Is and What Should Never Be,” “Black Dog,” “Going to California,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love,” with newer material “Turn It Up” and “Little Maggie.” Excellent cover songs including “Killing Floor,” and “Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You,” that were made famous by Led Zeppelin were peppered throughout the set. Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go” preceded “Dazed and Confused.” The elder statesman of Rock and Roll showed plenty of energy as he moved about the stage in his signature rock star fashion and even played percussion on a number of songs. Plant and his incredibly tight band sounded great throughout the set and absolutely killed it with the Zeppelin swansong “Rock and Roll” as an encore.

Always leave them wanting more. It is a good strategy in a number of ventures and is definitely important to a music festival and Govt. Mule’s Dark Side of the Mule late night set certainly accomplished just that. Mixing songs from the classic Dark Side of the Moon album with songs from Meddle, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. We were stoked that Govt. Mule would be returning the next day right before The Black Keys Headlining set on Saturday night.

Article and photos by Robert and Richard Clarke

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