Rocking the hip Wicker park neighborhood as winter came to a close in Chicago was the band 7 Walkers. Each participating member in this band is renowned for their individual projects besides this band which brought a variety of music styles together. The band was fuzzed together by the former Grateful Dead drummer, Bill Kreutzmann alongside a Mardi Gras mood setter, Papa Mali. These two combined pinches of music styles with bassist George Porter Jr. and impressive multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard. This band has a flash of blues, jamming rifts and solo emphasis of each members individual talents. Together the outcome made you move and sway from the first note to the last.
Anticipation built as onlookers glanced to the stage to see the vast array of instruments that would be shaking the club. The multicolored lights illuminated as the members took to the stage with a roared greeting from the audience. There was a high level of respect in the cheers as the band set their instruments up for the first song. Opening the set with the ”Space” jam, they moved into an upbeat cover of,”Mr. Charlie.” As the crowd got moving there was a hypnotic effect watching these talents create the rhythm. Kreutzmann was cooking up a delicious treat for the attendees ears as his hands whipped up the drum beats. As Porter began the next song vocally with his deep bluesy voice and smooth bass sounds, Hubbard struck the keys creating the beginning rifts of, “Early in the Mornin.” The crowd was energetic, the band involved the attendees as their claps and echoes were an instrument included in the music. “Hey Pocky Way” was next in the set. Hubbard really kicked in the New Orleans flare when he busted out the trombone. This tune really kicked up the stomp vibes. “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” was included next as the band embraced their instrumental skills. At the peak of the set, Papa Mali showed off his assortment of guitars and impressed with his talent on them. “Bottle up and Go,” was played next as the drum and bass instrumentals of Kreutzmann and Porter were emphasized. Another song off the band’s debut album, ”Evangeline” was next in the set. The band expressed openness in meeting the fans who came out and signing their album they were promoting after the show. The set closed with a swaying cover of, “Eyes of the World.” The band exited the stage for set break with many attendees still awe stricken by the first set played.
The Grateful Dead spirit certainly flowed into the combination of this bands own vibes. Opening the next set with, “New Speedway Boogie,” the vibes mixed together and were certainly felt in the music. The band was so thrilled at the second set, sharing that they had never played in Chicago before. Chicago welcomed them with enthusiasm as the song, ”Sue from Bogalusa” was played off their album. Keeping upbeat to get the dance floor moving was, “Mid-night Hour.” The involvement of Robert Hunter in this band was marked and noticed with the variety of older covers and new numbers played. Hunter assisted the band with lyrics to several of the songs off their album. Another tune, “Lay My Burden Down,” was jammed out with the bluesy soul style. The conclusion of the set was jumping as the rifts of, “I Know You Rider,” into ”Sugaree,” were played. Topping the set off with a classic, “Big Rail Road,” kept the crowd smiling and craving more of the music which had moved them the whole evening. As the band came back out for the encore, the expressions of gratitude were stated as they belted out a fantastic GD cover of “Bertha.” Then closing out the show with the song “7 Walkers,” an original song by the band off their album. As the crowd stood in a daze, the positive vibrations of the music were flowing through the small venue. This band truly knew how to spread the music to move the soul and make the spirit a bit more free. A band which should be seen if the opportunity arises and whose music should be heard for they truly capture a sound and style that is special. 7 Walkers music and live performances open up to a variety of musical tastes combined in one to groove you.