13th Mar, 2007

Langerado Bound! Greetings & salutations from 35,000 feet.

On The Road to Langerado…..

Greeting & salutations from 35,000 feet. SO this is it, my first post for the brand new, but long overdue Jam Band Blog. As i write, I am on my flight from NJ heading to Florida for the 2007 version of The Langerado Music Festival, to be held over the upcoming weekend at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida, just west of fabulous Fort Lauderdale. I figured with all of the music that i am likely to see in the next few days, that there was no time like the present to start this project, which has been on the back burner of my to do list for almost a year.

If you are reading this, you probably already know about Langerado, but for the uninformed, just a little history. To me, Langerado seems to be the black sheep of the family of 3 major jam band centric music festivals that Super-Fly Productions has presented over the last 5 years or so. Compared to it’s older & much larger siblings, “Bonnaroo” held each summer in Manchester, TN. & “”Vegoose”, which has had 2 successful years in Las Vegas over Halloween, Langerado at first seems a little weak. Only 15,000 tickets are to be sold for each day of this event, compared to the summertime horde of hippie folk who schlep to Bonnaroo each summer, it seems like the event is designed as a small scaled down & intimate musical reason to go have some fun in the sun.

However, with the recent announcement by Sting & The newly reunited Police that they will play Bonnaroo, & after seeing other big name, mainstream acts at Vegoose, like last years terrific set by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The lack of any super top notch, current acts makes this blogger, who spends plenty of time in Florida, feel as if I would not have even considered attending if not for the presence of Widespread Panic closing the festival on Sunday evening, March 11th. That & the fact that I have secured free VIP, all access tickets & passes to the event, has got my ass in this 1st class seat on a southbound Continental Boeing 737 jet. Are the gods of Jam Band land presenting me with a good omen, by rewarding me with my 1st class upgrade on this flight? More likely it is my status as a One Pass Platinum Elite, that helped to provide the improved seat & comfortable work space for the next few hours.

While I write this, the guy next to me is sleeping, most of the cabin is dark & I am thanking Steve Jobs for the illuminated keyboard on my new weapon of choice. My shiny new MacBook Pro, just freaking rocks. Anyway, Langerado will most definitely be a little subdued & scaled back version of the other Super-Fly events. But with some good weather & a rowdy, drunk South Florida music crowd, there is bound to be plenty of excitement & fun, as well as allot of really good music. I am starting to think that this event may really be the sleeper Super-Fly event of the year. Bonnaroo is great,but it is freaking Tennessee! That plus the fact that getting into & out of the venue is just a traffic nightmare & the possibility of camping in the rain with the dirt & shit eaters that I have seen there in the past, does not really excite this aging hipster.

I just don’t get the fascination with the mud people & all that crap, especially at Bonnaroo, where the mud was combined with the contents of at least one overturned porta-john, to make for one stinky, sickly mess. Why anyne would want to roll around in this feces filled sludge is beyond me.

Vegoose is really cool & Las Vegas it self is a great place to be on Halloween. No camping & a terrific line-up of evening events that can make sleeping really difficult. Like the multiple stages at the various festivals, you actually had to pick & choose between the evening events. It is basically impossible & ultimately, very expensive to see absolutely every band playing, there are certainly a plethora of cool acts to boogie to, no matter what your musical tastes. But Vegoose also has its downside. The venue, “The Sam Boyd Silver Bowl” is about 20 miles off the strip & the cab ride out there is expensive, the shuttle buses are a pain in the ass & the scum-bag limo drivers, rip off tripped out, freezing hippies after the show. All this made for slight transportation stress last year, but not enough to make me stay home….or at the craps table at the Hard Rock Hotel, for that matter.

At Langerado 2007, there is just enough of what I want to see each day, so I can get my fill & not get totally burned out, spending the entire day in the heat & sun. I know that the VIP package offers Langerado guests the ability to re-enter the festival multiple times during the day. Hopefully the Broward County sheriffs department has the traffic under control, so that this can be a reality. The reason why this has been on my mind lately is that on Friday, I want to see the 1st band to play, South Florida’s own “The Heavy Pets” who go on at 12 noon, but then would rather spend most of the day poolside, or better yet at the beach, coming back to catch the end of MOE. (Who I can really do without) before catching Trey Anastasio at 8 PM. “The Pets” are in, due in large part to the fact that they freaking rock, but also as they were overwhelmingly selected by Langerado ticket-holders, last week, in an online vote that was sponsored by “Sonic Bid”.

I was lucky enough to “get petted” for the first time a couple of weeks ago as I stumbled across them at a great music venue, “The Bamboo Room” in Lake Worth, Florida. I was spending a casual Tuesday night drinking Guinness Stout on tap at this great sounding & beautiful lounge style room, just a hop, skip & jump away from Palm Beach. Another south Florida band, the Grateful Dead cover act “Crazy Fingers” has been playing for free at The Bamboo Room on Tuesday nights for the last couple of months, and I have found it lots of fun to go hear the sweet dead sounds & feel the nice local hippie vibe that exists among this tight cover band & their loyal fans. Besides, Dark Star Orchestra is now charging $40.00 plus, for a ticket to see them cover the same Jerry Garcia tunes that Crazy Fingers has been doing for free for like the last 15 years. While grooving along to a great set, all the talk among the locals was to make sure to catch “The Heavy Pets”, the next night. They were charging 15 bucks cover, & I was hesitant at first, not because of the money, but because of the massive hangover I seemed to acquire from the previous night’s stout intake. Needless to say, with enough water, a handful of Extra Strength Advil, a little Xanax & after a couple of stops at the Starbucks, by show time, i was ready to ROLL. So back to The Bamboo Room with absolutely no expectations, except another night drinking beer & dancing with all of the lovely rolling South Florida Hippie Chicks, most of whom were all there the night before.

Anyway, The Heavy Pets rock. Could they be the next big jam band to really surge? All signs point to YES. Rabid, loyal & expanding fan base. Appearances this summer at Warkusa & at the 10,000 lakes festival, could make 2007 a really big year for this feel good jam band, with the chops to back up the hype. They go on at noon, they have 45 minutes. It should be just enough time to secure all my credentials for the weekend.

I asked my connection to get me on the list, plus one, so I should have an extra comp, VIP ticket for each night & an extra backstage pass in my pocket too. Can anyone say, “I need a Miracle” No really, me not you, sorry. Anyway. Other than those listed already, Saturday seems to be the “lite” day for me. I really want to see Michael Franti & Spearhead. I haven’t seen Spearhead, since the mini festival they did a few summers ago with The String Cheese Incident in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, but they always rock my soul. Power to The Peaceful! Michael Franti’s charisma shines though everytime & the infectious reggae, skunk inspired grooves are enough to make me go just to see them & leave. Again, If i am able to combine enough beach or pool time with this weekend’s musical explorations, i will leave Florida next week, a well tanned & very happy guy.

Personally for me, Sunday is the big day. I absolutely love Widespread Panic these days. I have a long history of seeing this band & was fortunate to catch a bunch of their shows in the late eighties, when they would open for Blues Traveler, and later on at NYC’s famous Wetlands Preserve. At that point, I was so fixated on the Blues Traveler scene, that for one reason or another, I was just not that impressed by WSP. I thought that it was a little hard, not quite as “jammy” as I preferred & the music at that time sounded a little flat to me. It was funny though, as time went on, Jerry Garcia & Bobby Sheehan both died, the Vermont crunchiness of Phish was a turn off for this city boy & the zenith of the NYC JamBand scene had passed.

My close friends who moved from NJ to Sonoma California became real “Spreadheads”. Every time there was a show in NYC, they wold come back east to visit & I would always let my now ex-=wife go to the shows while I stayed home & baby-sat. From what i remembered, I really had no interest in the music, didn’t know much about the scene & was just more focused on being a dad to my 2 small kids. My wife was always very excited to see her girlfriends & went to a Halloween Widespread Panic show at Madison Square Garden a few years back. WOW……she came back from that show absolutely beaming. She said i had to give it another chance. Then in the spring of 2005, I was lucky enough to catch a show at Radio City Music Hall……Well I had to eat plenty of crow after that night,. I had not seen WSP in more than 10 years & much to my surprise and liking, the sound and vibe changed considerably from what I had remembered. From that night I was hooked. I went to see them a few other times that fall, then again last fall at the 2006 version of the Radio City Madnesss, & twice again at Vegoose.

All I can say now is that John Bell, Dave Schools, Jojo Herman, the super tight percussion & now Jimmy Herring’s amazingly perfect, hypnotic guitar work make the music flat out rock! They make me dance in a way that puts me right back to my highest, most nurturing, spinning days, dancing to the dead at the top of the Greek Theater in Berkeley or with my feet in the water at the Ventura county fairgrounds..

Also on Sunday, reggae legends “Toots & The Maytals”, a rocking young, sublime style, surf band from Hawaii, Pepper. So it appears as though that will be the big day for me. I will probably end up spending most of the day at the venue. I am sure I will get plenty of sun there too. Anyway, it is time to put the computer away. I see the lights from the Florida coast out my window, the flight attendant is asking me to put my seat froward, so I guess I will be signing off.

In closing, I would like to say thanks for reading this far, please, please, please, comment me, permalink me, I need & want traffic so that I can continue to spend the time that it will take to turn this blog into the glorious vision that I have tucked somewhere in the attics of my mind. Anyway, sure i own the blog, but in the hippie tradition, please consider this your blog too. Feel free to write comments, if you want to post show reviews, links to music, even photos or video, please feel free to contact me at:jerry@jambandblog.com

Responses

The Heavy Pets huh? I’ll check em out. The site looks cool, so I’ll try to check back regualrly.

Thanks for popping my comment cherry & for giving me some inspiration to actually make this blog into what i have envisioned & been putting off for so long. Cheers!

Anything new coming out soon?

is this blog even active anymore? new jamband blog

muisc and arts blog

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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