The Sweetwater 420 Music Festival continued into day four, which had an equally impressive line up to the prior days. The weather continued to cooperate and made for a beautiful day at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Ga. The music was anchored by Oysterhead, Joe Russo's Almost Dead and Thievery Corporation.
Thievery Corporation kicked things off on the Sweetwater Stage, and delivered a lively performance considering they were a late night act the night before at the Variety Playhouse. Their had incredible energy in their downtempo meets World Music vibe. The band's singers rotated into and out of the show, and included Mr. Lif, Puma, and Natalia Calvier. Percussionist Frank Orall lended his singing skills during "Heart's a Lonely Hunter" from The Cosmic Game.
Concurrently, Boombox got the beats going early on the Hazy Stage. Normally a late night act, guitarist/singer Zion Godchaux and Kinsman MacKay perfomed along side Backbeat Brass. The two horns added another layer and created a more full sound, especially for an afternoon show.
Joe Russo's Almost Dead followed Thievery on the Sweetwater Stage for two smoking sets. They are always inventive with their takes on the Grateful Dead and others, and tonight was no exception. Notably missing from the line up was Dave Dreiwitz, who was with Ween at Jazz Fest. Bassist Jon Shaw filled in and meshed with the band well.
The first set started with a jam that lead into the Grateful Dead's "Feels Like a Stranger." They also executed perfectly on the "St. Stephen" transition into the traditional "Sitting On Top of the World." The set closed out with another jam sandwich: "Cats Under the Stars" > "Cumberland Blues" > "Big River."
Set two picked up where set one left off "Dancing in the Streets" dancing into "They Love Each Other," which was sung by guitarist Tom Hamilton. The set wrapped up with the classic Dead tune "Rueben and Cherise" > "Throwing Stones" > "Terrapin Station." The entire crowd was singing during "Terrapin Station" and everyone was feeling the love during this set.
The Grammy winning instrumental act Snarky Puppy took the stage during Joe Russo's Almost Dead on the Hazy Stage. The band was delayed to start, which was quite uncommon at this festival. They eventually emerged to deliver a jazz meets edgy rock and dance, and brought Jennifer Hartswick from the Trey Anastasio Band on stage for an exciting collaboration.
The last artist for the day and festival was the musical rarity Oysterhead on the Sweetwater Stage. This band is a joint effort between guitarist Trey Anastasio, bassist Les Claypool and drummer Stewart Copeland, and began at Jazz Fest in May of 2001. They tend to include darker prog rock riffs but blended with funk and a dose of weirdness. The power trio has officially played only twenty seven shows together prior to this appearance, which was rescheduled from their reunion tour in 2020.
The set kicked off with the funky "Mr. Oysterhead" and high energy "Oz Is Ever Floating," both from their lone album release in 2001, The Grand Pecking Order. Claypool turned up the heat during "Rubberneck Lions" and "Little Faces." All three members contributed vocals to "The Grand Pecking Order."
"Polka Dot Rose" got a bit jammy as Trey began to noodle for a few moments before the band dove into "Army's on Ecstasy." Claypool brought out the Whamola upright bass, while Anastasio turned to the Matterhorn antler guitar, to elevate the levels of weirdness during this song. The creepy "Shadow of a Man," sung by Claypool followed. "First Tube" made it's second appearance of the weekend, as Trey Anastasio Band played this song the night before. This version was complete with a "Southbound Pachyderm" tease by Primus. "Owner of the World" ended this set of great set.
The band returned for one last tune, "Pseudo Suicide." Prior to this, Anastasio gave a nod to Copeland by asked Claypool, "When I was in high school, do you know who the best drummer was?" Claypool responded "I can introduce you," just as Copeland counted off this quintessential song. The festival ended on a high note, as good times were had by all. Check out more photos from day four.
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
Jam > Feel's Like a Stranger, St. Stephen > Sitting On Top of the World, Cats Under the Stars > Cumberland Blues" > Big River
Dancing in the Streets > They Love Each Other, Reuben and Cherise > Throwing Stones, Terrapin Station
Mr. Oysterhead, Oz is Ever Floating, Rubberneck Lions, Little Faces, The Grand Pecking Order, Polka Dot Rose, Army's on Ecstasy, Shadow of a Man, First Tube, Owner of the World