Camp Kee Wanee Greenfield MA
May 24, 2018
As is usual for me as I am preparing for a weekend away, the day got more manic and hectic as my departure got closer. Last minute preparations made, I jumped in my car and started driving to Greenfield, MA. Taking an alternate route I rarely take got us to the front gate in short order, and we were checked in, and ready to roll by 6PM. I dropped my stuff with my wife at our vending booth (old 78 clothing) and started loading some musical gear into the cabin.
The very first band was preparing to take the cabin and fire up the very first musical notes of Strangecreek. August First is a four piece acoustic ensemble hailing from Worcester MA that I have caught at Jerry Jam and have been watching as they develop in the New England festival scene. They got started and immediately people started to stream into the Wormtown cabin to hang out with the band making their premier at Strangecreek.
The band is a string band performing the music of and music inspired by Jerry Garcia. The band name, August First is significant as Garcia’s birthday. The show opened with New Speedway Boogie and then Half Step (Mississippi Uptown Toodeloo) and then morphed into a more bluegrass setting with Old Home Place by the Dillards. The band is fronted vocally by Nicole D’Amico whose voice is beautiful, part Emmylou Harris, part Allison Kraus, and the band around her are fine pickers. They followed with a song that I suspect is an original called Dead Lot Kids. A trio of Grateful tunes included Jack a Roe, Big River and Black Peter. There was a bit of a left turn with the band’s unique take (bluegrass) on Airplane’s White Rabbit which was a real different vibe to the song. Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On came next and was spot on, with great bass guitar work and D’Amico’s commanding voice. The portion of the set that I witnessed and recorded ended with Tom Petty’s Yer So Bad and thus August First’s introduction to the world of Worms was complete.
Full show audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.
Up first in the Kee Wanee cabin was rice – an American Band. This was the very first night time / cabin appearance by the band at a Worm event, and the interplay between band and audience was super fun. That night rice was an eight piece band, which is how most of the shows have been lately. Kyle Heon on the drums (Outer Stylie, Rhythm Inc), Lauryn Winiarski on bass, Steve Benson on pedal steel, mandolin and vocals, Phil Simon on guitar and vocals, Courtney Parker ((Rodd Cummings, Llama Lasagne, Spinelli, John Carroll) on vocals, Emily Jones (Rodd Cummings, Llama Lasagne) on vocals, Joshua Leach (Llama Lasagne) on guitar and Brian DiMartino (Llama Lasagne, Rhythm Inc) on guitar.
Whole show audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.
The set was two hours and contained some fifteen songs. Most were originals and a few covers including a Pink Floyd sandwich opening the show with In the Flesh? and closing the set
with Comfortably Numb. In between the band passed around lead solo, vocal and energy duties giving a chance for every member to be highlighted at some point during the show. Briefly, during the cover of Bob Marley’s Cornerstone Michael Wood came up on the drum set (formerly of Rebel Alliance and sometimes the drummer for rice) for a rousing sit in.. The band premiered a new original titled Slackjawed which was proggy and heavy and the band was really jazzed over performing it for the first time in front of an audience.
Gratefully Yours took the stage at the Wormtown cabin. Hailing from New York state the band is a Grateful Dead tribute band featuring Alex Mazur, Keyboards, Vocals, Adam Czolowski Guitar, Vocals, Tom Pirozzi Bass, Rob Schiff Guitar, Vocals, Jeff Prescott Drums, and Jessica Barlow on Vocals.
And the final band of the night in the Kee Wanee cabin was Steal Your Peach, hailing from western MA. The band is led by Tor Krauter (Rev Tor Band, Last Waltz Live) and contains an amazing array of New England jammers performing the music of both the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead. They have all of the instrumental components that you could want for this type of band including two full drum sets (Dan Teichert and Andy Crawford), and just impeccable quality players. Brian O’Connell from Uncle Sammy on bass, Tor Krauter on guitar are musicians with whom I am most familiar, and I assume it was Jeremy Walz on Guitar/Vocals and Andrew Costa on Keys and Vocals.
Steal Your Peach Band opened with the Dead’s seminal disco classic, Shakedown Street. The ABB material came next with Dreams and we were well on our way. Just pulling off those two songs to open took a solid twenty minutes. The cabin was now completely packed and Strangecreek was well under way and the music was smoking already on Thursday night. Up came guest musicians as Phil Simon and Courtney Parker from rice – an American Band joined the band for a take on the blues and Dead classic All New Minglewood Blues contributing vocals.
Ain’t Wastin Time No More came up next and the bluesy vocals and general knowledge of the material of these two bands is becoming more and more evident. The ability to absorb the unique yet complimentary quality of these two song books is great and the center of the spirit of what Steal Your Peach Band is doing, they have a strong knowledge of song flow and how to transition from one piece to another from these two different bands. The lengthy Allman’s song In Memory of Elizabeth Reed was next. It included jazzy interludes, a drum solo and was almost a full twenty minutes long. A beautiful and lengthy version of the Dead’s later classic, Althea unfurled next.
Another lengthy piece, Whipping Post ushered the band into the climax of their show. It almost felt like it was over with the band thanking everyone for coming when they busted into the blues / Grateful classic Lovelite to close out the show. Steal Your Peach band is great, and fun, and everything that you hope to get out of the idea of this show. They go from the idea of a Dead and Allmans mashup to a fully executed show with every bell, whistle and nuance that you hope to find in this show. They are great and I look forward to the next time I get to see Steal Your Peach band.
Full show audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.