This will be my fourth year in a row attending the Gathering
of the Vibes music festival (July 31-Aug 3, 2008 at Seaside
Park in Bridgeport, CT). Before I write any sort of
preview for the Vibes, I want to list a few of the artists
to be performing: Phil Lesh and Friends, Bill Kreutzman
Trio, The Black Crowes, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi
Soul Stew Revival, Umphrey's McGee, Zappa Plays Zappa, as
well as past favorites like Deep Banana Blackout, Dark Star
Orchestra, Donna Jean and the Tricksters, Assembly of Dust,
Strangefolk, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and many more.
will take this opportunity to say that I'm really
happy to see Phil Lesh this year (though I do love
Bob Weir as well). Phil Lesh is probably the
most fun to see of the living members of the Grateful
Dead, and he hasn't played this festival since his
only GOTV appearance in 2002. I'm excited to
see what he brings to the Vibes, and with Phil and
Friends, you never know who might come on stage.
Vibes is devoted to preserving the memory of Jerry
Garcia, and now it is in its 13th year.
It is a premier festival in my opinion, which has
a great family atmosphere topped by some of the best
live music out there. This years' all-star lineup
seems particularly special. I only say that
because every year it seems to get better, and I'm
looking forward to seeing almost EVERY artist on the
particularly excited to see my old favorite… Umphrey's
McGee. They have never been to the Vibes, so this
should be a welcoming experience for them. They
have been churning away now with 4 studio albums out,
and as well as their live album, "Live at the Murat."
They never cease to amaze me on stage with their songwriting
and technical precision.
are other artists I'm also looking forward to. Deep
Banana Blackout has become the staple of great funk music
to at the Vibes. They really know how to have fun
on stage, and it's music that is so easy to enjoy.
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi should be a wonderfully
synergistic combination of artists I've never seen together.
There's also a band to note called the Alternate Routes.
I played a show with them at the Lions Den in 2005, and
I remember digging the band both on and off stage, but I
haven't seen them since. They seem to have wandered
their way into the Vibes, so they are surely worth a chance.
a lot of artists I haven't seen this year, as well as some
great ones that I can't get enough of. All I can say
is that I can't wait to set up my tent and fire up the old
camping grill. Rock on
to take a closer look at the Alternate Routes because of
this band's intrigue. The Gathering of the Vibes is
apparently a homecoming festival performance as they grew
to their current stature from Bridgeport, CT.
Alternate Routes' music sits snuggly somewhere in the genre
of "rock music." They have a uniquely melodic,
up-beat sound, and they sometimes stray into the realm pop
music. At moments I am reminded of John Butler's driving
beats and voice, whereas sometimes the songs are more like
a heartfelt R.E.M. throwback. And there always seems
to be a loving dose of the Beatles. Either way they
are speaking to a refreshing, deeper side of pop and rock
I wouldn't classify the Alternate Routes as alternative,
especially with singer Tim Warren's voice, which is
powerful but somewhat soft on the ears. Their
first full-length album, Good and Reckless and True,
features his often delicate-sounding voice forcefully
spanning his impressive range.
band's history playing shows and recording music has bought
them a spotlight with some great artists. Good and
Reckless and True was produced by Jay Joyce (John Hiatt,
Patty Griffin, Derek Trucks), and they've shared the stage
with O.A.R., Marc Broussard, and Duncan Sheik.
an interesting side note - the Alternate Routes tell a story
about how a trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino turned a $200
gig payment into almost $2000 so they could finance their
second EP. That's pretty badass if you ask me, and
I want to see them play a show again (it's been 3 years
since I saw them in NY, and I barely remember what my band
sounded like back then). I wish good vibes upon the