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CELEBRATE WIDESPREAD PANIC DAY!

photo by Sanjay Suchak- for the Grateful Web

Georgia's own Southern jam kings Widespread Panic return this weekend to their home away from home, Colorado.  The sextet will perform three straight sold-out shows at famed Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison (10 miles northwest of Denver).  What will make these performances so special is that fact that it will mark 32 consecutive sold-out concerts the band has played at the venue.

No other artist has taken the stage at Red Rocks as many times as Panic has; not the Dead, not Willie Nelson, nobody.  And to mark the momentous occasion Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has declared June 27th to officially be "Widespread Panic Day".  It is no easy feat to sell over 9,000 tickets per show, and the band's rabid fan base will surely be thanked with another exciting weekend of music.

The rock collective began their sold-out runs dating back to May of 1996.  Since then, they have gone through three guitarists (this will be new guitarist Jimmy Herring's second run at the Rocks with the band), but have seemingly not lost a step during those transitions.  It will be near impossible for any other artists to break this streak seeing how few groups can retain such popularity over so many years.

On a side note, rumors of late have swirled in the fan community that the band will reward the Colorado faithful with their first ever New Year's Eve show in the Rocky Mountain state, reportedly to be at Denver's Pepsi Center (home to many of Colorado's pro sports teams).  Keep your fingers crossed, and in the meantime grab a tall boy and toast "Widespread Panic Day".

Pearl Jam: An Act of Common Sense and Greatness

"If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered." -Edgar Allan Poe

New From JEMP Records – 7/22/97 Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC

On July 22, 1997,  Phish performed the second show of their U.S.

STS9 Releases 'Peaceblaster,' July 8th, 2008

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Dubbed "...one of the country's most intriguing, innovative outfits around" by XLR8R Magazine, STS9 steps out this summer armed with their brand-new, highly anticipated studio album, Peaceblaster. STS9 releases their fourth studio album Peaceblaster, available online and at independent retailers beginning July 8th, 2008 on their self-owned record label, 1320 Records (visit www.thinkindie.com) to find a store near you). The new album features never-before heard tracks that artfully mirror the intensity of STS9's live shows, while preserving the musical intricacies of past studio albums that critics and fans have touted.

Consider the title of the California-based outfit's long-awaited fourth album: Peaceblaster. The two words rub against each other to create an image that is simultaneously utopian and violent, fraught with the very contradiction that permeates America circa now. The result is a tour-de-force of gut-punching rhythms and textured, shimmering tones. The songs don't seem to have been written so much as plucked from the sky. It's as if the beats and melodies have always existed, just waiting for STS9 to channel them.  STS9 already has a tremendous fan base, but Peaceblaster is perhaps more accessible than the band's previous efforts. Peaceblaster is, of course, dense with the Eno-esque layering of live and electronic instruments that STS9 is known for-the chords and samples swirling atop the pulsing bass and drums. But between the beats there is a distinctly human element absent from past records. 

With Peaceblaster, the band has honed their studio chops, but STS9 made their bones on the live stage. Consistently ranking in Pollstar's Top 50 American touring acts, the torrid roadwork continues this summer with an itinerary that takes the band from headlining gigs at legendary venues like Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Berkeley's Greek Theatre, to stops on the festival circuit, where they'll join acts as diverse as Snoop Dogg and The Flaming Lips. This diversity works to shatter the boundaries of genre and scene.

For the month of July, touring heavyweights STS9 and Umphrey's McGee team up for what promises to be one of the hardest-hitting tours of the summer. This co-bill will feature extended sets by both bands, and will stop in Midwest and east coast cities throughout the month of July.  Look, also, for very special late night sets by each band in select markets, including Philadelphia, Raleigh, Madison, Chicago, and NYC. A complete list of STS9's U.S. summer appearances follows.

STS9 and Umphrey's McGee tour stops in the following cities:

July 10 Willow Island Centre Madison WI
July 10 Barrymore Theatre  Madison, WI (STS9 AFTER PARTY)
July 11 Live on the Levee St. Louis MO  FREE SHOW!
July 12 Westfair Amphitheatre Omaha NE
July 15 Moonlite Gardens Cincinnati OH
July 16 Innsbrook Pavilion Glen Allen VA
July 17 Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Columbus OH
July 18 White River Lawn Indianapolis IN
July 19 Charter One Pavilion Chicago IL
July 19 House of Blues Chicago IL (STS9 AFTER PARTY)
July 23 Higher Ground Burlington VT (STS9 Only)
July 24 Roseland Ballroom New York NY
July 24 Blender at Gramercy New York NY (STS9 AFTER PARTY)
July 25 Festival Pier at Penn's Landing Philadelphia PA
July 25 Fillmore at TLA Philadelphia PA (UMPHREY'S AFTER PARTY)
July 26 Bank of America Pavilion Boston MA
July 27 Pier 6 Concert Pavilion Baltimore MD
July 30 House of Blues Myrtle Beach SC
July 31 Koka Booth Amphitheatre Cary NC
July 31 Lincoln Square Theatre Raleigh NC (UMPHREY'S AFTER PARTY)
August 01 Masquerade Music Park Atlanta GA
August 02 Masquerade Music Park Atlanta GA

With western U.S. headlining shows including:
August 15 The Independent San Francisco, CA (SOLD OUT)
August 16 The Greek Theatre Berkeley, CA with Bassnectar and special guest TBA  
August 22 McMenamin's Edgefield Portland, OR with special guests Blackalicious
August 23 Marymoor Amphitheatre Seattle, WA with special guests Blackalicious
September 04 Boulder Theatre Boulder, CO (SOLD OUT)
September 05 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO with special guests Talib Kweli and Flying Lotus
September 06 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO with special guests Ghostland Observatory and Bassnectar
September 20 San Diego Street Scene San Diego CA

All shows on-sale now at www.sts9.com and on-sale locally through TicketMaster at www.ticketmaster.com.

STS9's Peaceblaster comes nearly three years after their acclaimed 2005 releases, Artifact & Artifact: Perspectives, both of which were named in iTunes list of top albums of the year.  After a flurry of industry attention, STS9 retreated from the limelight to do what they love most:  play music. On the touring front, STS9 reached number 29 on Pollstar Magazine's "PULSE Charts" of the country's top touring artists. The band has shared the stage with a diverse range of acts including James Brown, Jurassic 5, Tortoise, Digable Planets, RJD2, De La Soul, The Brazilian Girls, Prefuse 73, Blackalicious, Saul Williams, Soulive, Cut Chemist, and many others, and has played such festivals as Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Winter Music Conference, and Vegoose Festival.  Recently, the band sold out a 4 night headlining run at Atlanta's Tabernacle, and a 2 night run at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium.

Bridgeport & Gathering of the Vibes Extend Contract till 2012

The City of Bridgeport and Gathering of the Vibes have finalized an agreement to hold the annual music, camping and arts festival at Seaside Park for the next five years, through summer 2012.  This year's 13th annual event, scheduled for July 31–Aug. 3, 2008, features New Orleans legends The Neville Brothers, southern rockers The Black Crowes, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and Friends and Bridgeport's own Deep Banana Blackout.

Dark Star Orchestra Fall Tour Dates Announced!

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Looking Back At The Road To Roo'

Thanks to all of you who were able to come out and see DSO this spring on our winding road to Manchester, TN. Along the way we were honored to welcome two very special guests as Rob Eaton Jr. joined DSO for "Easy Wind" on the first night and Phish's Mike Gordon sat in for a few tunes on both nights at Higher Ground in VT. The end of the road brought DSO to Bonnaroo greeted by thousands of fans under 'The Other Tent' for their Late Night slot on Thursday night. Highlights include a highly energetic and crowd-participated Tennessee Jed, and a mega-sandwich to end the show: I Need a Miracle> Shakedown St> Drums> Space> Alligator> Attics of My Life> Not Fade Away (reprise).

All Good Vibes Tour Kicks Off

If Bonnaroo and Langerado didn't tip you off yet, it's festival season! We'll also be playing quite a few Midwestern and mid-Atlantic shows scattered between this year's All Good, 10,000 Lakes Festival, Gathering of the Vibes and Mighty High Festivals - so we hope to see you soon! Visit our website for DSO dates in your area.

Fall Tour Announced! Tickets on Sale Now

For those of you situated outside of this summer's tour don't worry, because Dark Star Orchestra has already lined up more dates for this fall. Tickets are on sale now through DSO Tickets so be sure to grab yours early.

GratefulFest Presale & Raffle Donations

Presale has begun for the 9th annual GratefulFest at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park featuring 4 days of Dark Star Orchestra, plus Keller Williams, Donna Jean & The Tricksters, New Mastersounds, Peter Rowan, "Ramblin" Jack Elliot, Cornmeal and many more. Donations are now being accepted for the benefit raffle so show how grateful you really are! If you have some Grateful Dead or music related items you wish to donate to raise money for a good cause - please email dave@darkstarorchestra.net with details about your item.

John Kadlecik Side Project Dates:

DSO lead guitarist John Kadlecik will be keeping busy in between tours, performing solo Friday, June 20 at the Savory Cafe in Takoma Park, MD and he'll also be at the same venue again Friday, June 27 with the experimental, electroacoustic duo, Firewheel.

DATE VENUE CITY DSO TICKETS
All Good Vibes Tour Begins
Thurs 07/10 Penn's Peak Jim Thorpe, PA  
Fri 07/11 Governors Island New York, NY  
Sat 07/12 All Good Music Festival Masontown, WV TICKETS
Mon 07/14 Kent Stage Kent, OH TICKETS
Wed 07/16 Veterans Park Springfield, OH  
Thurs 07/17 Headwaters Park Event Pavillion Fort Wayne, IN TICKETS
Fri 07/18 Annie's Cincinnati, OH TICKETS
Sat 07/19 CEFCU Center Stage at the Landing Peoria, IL TICKETS
Mon 07/21 Barrymore Theater Madison, WI  
Wed 07/23 10,000 Lakes Festival Detroit Lakes, MN  
Fri 07/25 Park West Chicago, IL TICKETS
Sat 07/26 Park West Chicago, IL TICKETS
Sun 07/27 Bluebird Bloomington, IN TICKETS
Wed 07/30 House of Blues Atlantic City Atlantic City, NJ TICKETS
Thurs 07/31 Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport, CT  
Fri 08/01 Saranac Brewery Utica, NY TICKETS
Sat 08/02 Gateway Pk. Concert Series North Tonawanda, NY  
Sun 08/03 High Falls Brewery Rochester, NY TICKETS
Wed 08/06 Innsbrook Pavilion Glen Allen, VA  
Thurs 08/07 Bottle and Cork Dewey Beach, DE TICKETS
Fri 08/08 NY Metro Balloon and Music Festival Shirley, NY  
Sat 08/09 Vasa Park Hackettstown, NJ TICKETS
Sun 08/10 Mountain Music Meltdown 08 Festival Saranac Lake, NY  
All Good Vibes Tour Ends
8/29-9/1 Gratefulfest @ Nelson Ledges Garrettsville, OH  
Fall Tour Begins
Wed 09/17 Crossroads KC Kansas City, KS TICKETS
Thurs 09/18 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, OK TICKETS
Fri 09/19 House Of Blues Dallas, TX TICKETS
Sat 09/20 Stubb's Waller Creek Austin, TX TICKETS
Tue 09/23 Orpheum Theater Flagstaff, AZ  
Thurs 09/25 House Of Blues Anaheim, CA TICKETS
Fri 09/26 Wave House San Diego, CA TICKETS
Sat 09/27 Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, CA TICKETS
Tue 09/30 Crystal Bay Club Casino Crystal Bay, NV TICKETS
Thurs 10/02 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA TICKETS
Fru 10/03 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA TICKETS
Sat 10/04 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA TICKETS
Tue 10/07 Crest Theater Sacramento, CA TICKETS
Thurs 10/09 Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR TICKETS
Fri 10/10 The Showbox Seattle, WA TICKETS
Sat 10/11 The Showbox Seattle, WA TICKETS

North Dakota's Legionnaires: Get the Fever

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

Every time I write about these boys, I somehow slip into my hill country roots and all sorts of mountainisms start coming out of my mouth. I guess it's because I get caught up in the theater of the band and the fact that they don't take anything seriously—except their music. You can't believe a word written on their websites—especially the bios of each current member and former member. (I ought to know because my son used to drum for them when the band first started.)  In fact, their names are so far removed and far-fetched from the North Dakota residents that they are that any local would know these folks are pulling more than your leg. They are currently Cactus Kristofferson and his brother Copenhagen, J "Skull" McCready, Phillip DeSnaatch, and Gunter Banger. A couple of the former members' names really tip into rudeness.

The band is called the Legionnaires. They aren't named for anything noble like the French Foreign Legion or even the DC Comics Legionnaires from the Legion of Super Heroes. They are named for the disease that gets into lungs and brings on a high fever. The Legionnaires honestly will produce a kind of delirium and has created an uncommon loyalty among fans.

They also are making quite a name for themselves across the country because of their funny but very adult lyrics. When the band is mentioned, people say, "You know, those guys in the dirty country band." Live burns from their shows have found their way into the hands of prominent bands like the Animal Liberation Orchestra (AOL). They also have gathered a crew of guest musicians who are eager to sit in with the group, becoming honorary Legionnaires.

The band is the brainchild of Pat Linerts, who used to be the front man for a Fargo band called Bad Mojo that was one of the first regional bands to play the 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, MN, back in 2003. Shortly after that major gig, the band broke up, and Linerts spent a lot of time writing songs just for the heck of it. These were parodies of the country music he grew up on, but none of those songs were strictly parodies of any one particular country song like Cletus T. Judd did with the songs of country icons like George Strait and Faith Hill. Linerts just used the standard country structure to hang his tales of love, loss, and hope that had titles like "You've Got Worms" and "Rotten Rhonda" (about the guy who only dug up—literally - his girlfriend Rhonda when he got lonely).

As Linerts made the rounds of the local club scene, talking to other bands, he shared some of these songs and soon found key players to form a new band, mushrooming into a six-piece extravaganza that spilled over the stage when guest musicians joined them. Those early songs he wrote became Legionnaires' favorites and began to draw fans. Though the band claims it started in the basement bar of a Fargo strip club, I do know for a fact that the boys played the Moose Lodge and the VFW in Moorhead and quickly skyrocketed to the Cabooze stage in Minneapolis and repeated appearances at the annual Log Jam Music Festival in Minnesota. They have played with many regional bands like the White Iron Band, Down Lo, WBPN, Trampled by Turtles, Javier Trejo, the Afro-Cuban funk/dance band New Primitives, and  the Big Wu. They have also opened for The Radiators, Shooter Jennings, and Banyan—and Linerts sat in with Banyan.

The main attraction at first was their raunchy lyrics. But the songs themselves were not just vehicles to say an X rated word or to write about something perverse. They just were experiments in songwriting that often stretched the limits of even bad taste. Over time, Linerts has used his new songwriting ability to pen some good songs that aren't so adult. However, even the most adult show now has some good straight-up ole country or peace-and-love reggae that doesn't have a hint of XXX.

In fact, it's been said that if Linerts would just replace the lyrics of one of his Legionnaires's standards to "Wash my truck, it's Christmas," instead of "Suck my b***s, its Christmas," they could get radio play.  And his "Feets Don't Fail Me Now," a song about being held held captive by a wild woman, has some of the best four part harmony I've heard in a long time! But, Linerts can write a good song that doesn't have anything too weird attached to it. "The Ballad of Jose" is a song in the vein of  "Poncho and Lefty" about a weed dealer pursued by the federales. "Take Me to the Other Side" is Linerts' own take on reggae, and it rocks.

But no one can deny the showmanship and musicianship of the players. The band has expanded and contracted over the years, but always maintains a lineup with chops. Linerts, of course,  handles the lead vocals and plays a killer electric guitar. Josh Reinhardt (Günter Banger)adds lead guitar flourishes. The other members, all under aliases as J. "Skull" McCready (bass and sometimes guitar), Copenhagen Kristofferson (drums), and Philip DeSnaatch (keys) complete the sound with very tight vocal backup harmonies. The keys player adds a whole new level to what would have been just a plain country band. Under Linerts' influence, the band has become a country/jam entity that is poised to sweep across the country—if they could get loose from their day jobs long enough.

Long Time Comin', the Legionnaires' first studio album was mastered last year at Wonderland Studios in St. Paul, MN.  The twelve tracks include songs with the original band members and new ones with the current lineup.  Half of the material is straight, serious stuff.  Linerts still is constantly writing new materials. The band is currently in the studio (this time one in Fargo), working on a new  CD that will be out later this summer or the early fall.

Last year's CD tour had them playing while artist  Norman Wisdom painted. Wisdom created the energetic cover for Long Time Comin'. He has done interpretive painting for other events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, the opening of the Baliagio Hotel in Vegas, and the premier of Cirque du Soliel's "O" and "Alegria" shows also in Vegas. He has also painted with other bands, including Ivan Neville, Beck, Rob Wasserman, Richie Havens, and Steven Perkins (Jane's Addiction), as well as classical orchestras, jazz bands, dance troupes, and poetry readings. And he is sometimes flown to Morocco to paint murals for a prince.

Whether it's the raunchy lyrics or the great vocal and instrumental talent of the band, everyone wants to get infected with the fever of the Legionnaires.

A Wet and Windy Wakarusa 2008

Despite two evenings devastated by severe thunderstorms and even hail, the 2008 Wakarusa Festival held at Clinton Lake, Kansas powered through it all and still provided its attendees a great weekend of music, camping, and all around good times.

Behind the Dead Symphony: A Look at Lee Johnson's Great Opus

For classical composer Lee Johnson, tackling the work of the Grateful Dead was like discovering the musical foundations of a new foreign country. Johnson is known for his concert pieces, choral works, short operas and musicals, planetarium soundtracks, and solo/ensemble pieces that cross into jazz and big band music.