Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gathering of the Vibes 2013

As you read this please keep in mind that my user name is OldRockr1.  I am not a kid by any stretch of the imagination so please know that someone younger may have a different impression of this festival.
Vibes is huge!  There had to be over 20,000 attending and Bridgeport's Seaside Park turns into a mini city for a week in July.  We didn't camp so I can't comment on that experience but the Holiday Inn was very welcoming to the "Vibe Tribe" and shuttle service was OK back and forth to the festival.  Security varied...tough on some and easy on others with lots of cans of beer seen on the festival grounds each day.  Security on the concert field was pretty much nonexistent and there was a police presence but they didn't seem too engaged.
The setup allowed you to get pretty close if you arrived by noon each day but it got very crowded by the time Phil Lesh played each night.  The problem for me each night was the younger, douche stoners.  I have no patience for these assholes.  Do what you want but just blasting through peoples chairs to get a good spot down front just sucks.  Most of these losers are play acting a Dead show experience having never been there themselves.  Given the choice I think I will be leaving these shows to them in the ruins the day for me when I want to punch some little turd in the head.  So those of you of a similar age and mindset should keep this in mind if you are thinking about one of these huge jam fests.
Aside from this the music was very good at Vibes and that was the main reason we all go in the first place.  Four days of music for $170 is a hell of a deal and if you get there early each day you can set up pretty close as I said and move down to the front of the stage for most of the acts, which I did each day.
Some highlights for me: 

Dark Star Orchestra - A great first set by this long time Dead tribute band.  Sometimes these guys are more fun than Phil or Bobby on their own (I know, I know that's sacrilege but true).  The Spirit of the Dead is alive and well in DSO.

Railroad Earth - I love these guys.  I have watched them grow from 200 seat venues up to some of the larger theaters in the NYC area and they just get better.  I am a huge fan of acoustic instrumentation and they take that roots/bluegrass base to places no one else even attempts to go.  They should have an even bigger audience.  Check Railroad Earth out live if you get the chance.

Tedeschi Trucks Band - I initially thought their first album was just OK but a bunch of friends got me to play it a few more times and boy did it grow on me.  Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks have put together an outfit that makes bluesey-soulful sounds that positions them to be at the top of the jam heap for years to come.  They play songs folks.  Yes Derek is a guitar legend but the band plays really good songs which is often missing from many jam band repertoires.  They were my favorite act of the entire festival.

Wavy Gravy - What more can you say?

Gov't Mule - I've been on the Mule bandwagon since sometime in 1997 and I still love seeing them live.  They played a bunch of new songs which were good, but I don't know how often I'll play the new album.  Like a lot of the acts at Vibes I am starting to lose a little interest.  Maybe it's age, maybe it's just a shift in my listening habits, but I had the same feelings during a lot of the festival.  I liked it but I didn't love it.

Phil & Friends - I have always liked the Phil & Friends shows I have seen.  It's usually an interesting group of musicians playing some of my favorite songs in new and different ways.  The line-up with Scofield and Medeski was no exception.  I would have liked to have seen and heard more but the crowd just pissed me off too much to stay each night. 

Some of the other acts had some interesting moments, in particular Galactic and The Revivalists doing Gimmie Shelter which absolutely killed.  The Funny Meters were pretty good as were Assembly of Dust, but I was a bit disappointed in Grace Potter.  Ms. Potter has moved far away from what I liked on her first two records into more of a heavy pop sound.  Not my thing.  Here's a few more pictures.

So all in all it was a fun weekend with some good and sometimes very good music.  Will I be back?  Probably not, but it may work for you.

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