The sun came out bathing the Ventura fairgrounds in a beautiful orange glow as sleepy festival goers woke from a long night of music and partying. The noontime drum circle was the wake-up call for many. But it wasn’t until about 3 PM, when Northern California’s premiere Grateful Dead cover band, the China Cats took the stage, that most people finally gathered together for a dance jam. The group formed in 2008 in Santa Cruz California and has garnered a loyal following since.
Becoming a Dead Head was and still is a remarkable thing, much richer and more complex than simply deciding to like a band. It means becoming part of a community, a family of kindred souls. It’s about celebration but also about learning – new music forms, whether it’s obscure blues or chanting monks or … everything.
On Thursday, December 6th, the hill in Boulder will again be grooving to the sounds of the Grateful Dead. Making their first appearance at The Fox Theatre is Los Angeles, CA tribute act Grateful Shred. Accessing a full repertoire of songs from the Dead’s 60’s and 70’s catalogue, Grateful Shred’s sound is Workingman’s Dead incarnate, focusing more on the Folk and Americana elements on the Dead and less on the electrified Psychedelic, Progressive, Jazz, or
The thing is, Los Angeles-based Grateful Shred manage to channel that elusive Dead vibe: wide-open guitar tones, effortless three-part vocal harmonies, choogling beats, and yes, plenty of tripped out, Shredded solos. The look, the sound, the atmosphere. It’s uncanny. “It’s more of a ‘take’ on the Dead than a tribute band,” says bassist Dan Horne. “We end up sounding almost more like the Dead because we approach it in this free-spirited way.”