Posted Jun 14th, 2015 (7:31 pm) by Staff
Mountain Jam 2015 Day 3
Image by Richard Clarke

The weather on Saturday was beautiful and the rain during the festival on Friday and a storm overnight left a surprising lack of mud that is common for northeast outdoor events and has been a feature of many Mountain Jams in the past.

After the epic late night, we chugged back up the mountain just as Dopapod was finishing their set on the Main Stage, but we were fortunate to arrive in time to catch up and coming New Orleans blues musician Benjamin Booker’s scalding set on the smaller side stage.

Multi-genre rock band, Rusted Root hit the sun drenched Main Stage with a mix of acoustic and electric music and featured intense percussion by Liz Berlin with traditional and homemade instruments. The group began by asking the audience if they were ready to dance and broke into a rhythm reminiscent of the Talking Heads with the song “Martyr” and ended the song with a tease of Led Zeppelins “Heartbreaker.” The set ended with Michael Glabicki, Patrick Norman and Berlin performing “Beautiful People” acoustic around one microphone.

Innovative Texas musician Shakey Graves began his music career as a one-man-band but now records and tours with a full band and they wowed the audience with a unique set of Texas style rock. The artist performed a few songs solo using a suitcase similar to the Samsonite that a gorilla tossed around in a cage in the old TV commercial converted into a bass drum for rhythm accompaniment.

The glorious weather produced a Disney World sized line for the Sky Ride to the top of the mountain and back. The line streamed along a row of food vendors making it difficult for hungry attendees to make food purchases at these booths and perhaps it might have been better to re-route the line to a more unobtrusive area.

A double bill of reggae came next with what was announced as reggae-California-style, Rebelution, and the more traditional Jamaican reggae of The Wailers. We agreed that two reggae acts, although one was certainly not traditional and one was, would have been better split up allowing a little more diversity to the afternoon music flow. Rebelution’s set was high-energy but the bass seemed excessive even for reggae. The Wailers set consisted of mostly Bob Marley’s timeless classics, including, “Is this Love”, “Stir it Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Buffalo Soldier” and “Jammin.”

Govt. Mule returned on Saturday for a two-hour set that Warren Haynes joked was The Sunny Side of the Mule. Warren Haynes began the show on twelve-string electric guitar and sliding over to a six-string on a stand for blistering solos. Along with Govt. Mule staples like “Mr. High and Mighty” and “Blind Man in the Dark,” the set included tasty covers of The Allman Brothers “Dreams,” perhaps a tribute to Warren Haynes long-time run with the legendary band, and a psychedelic medley of Beatles songs. The set ended strong with bands own classic, “Mule” with a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” stuck in the middle.

Saturday night’s headliner, The Black Keys, seemed to draw as many people as rock legend Robert Plant’s show the night before, and the explosive band opened their set with a highly charged version of “Dead and Gone.” As the band ripped through their set list, every song triggered an avalanche of Black Key fans down the mountainside for a closer spot to the stage. The Black Keys big songs like “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Howlin’ for You,” “Fever,” and “Lonely Boy,” escaladed this phenomenon immensely. The Black Keys encore began with Dan Auerbach solo acoustic for the tender beginning of “Little Black Submarines” that slowly grew in intensity and ended with a flourish by the entire band.

After two nights of awesome late night shows, we opted to skip Day Three’s late night set by Big Gigantic (and it was tempting), because we wanted to make sure we made it back in time to catch Larry Campbell and Theresa Williams’ set with Little Feet keyboard player Bill Payne that was scheduled to open the Main Stage for the final day of Mountain Jam.

Article and photos by Robert and Richard Clarke

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