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All Good Festival 2012 - Buckeye Lake, OH  
Posted: 10 years ago by KindWeb Ed
All Good Festival 2012 - Buckeye Lake, OH
64 Viewed  - 0 Dug it

When it comes to legendary outdoor concert venues places like Red Rocks, Alpine Valley, Deer Creek and Shoreline instantly come to mind.  But if you surveyed a bunch of old school Deadheads, especially those from the Midwest, stories of another legendary venue emerge: those of a central Ohio venue named Buckeye Lake.  Aptly renamed Legend Valley, the venue that once hosted Grateful Dead (and AC/DC among many others), and more recently has been the home to numerous Hookavilles, became the new home for the 16th annual All Good Music Festival.  With a lineup boasting three of the remaining members of the Dead and a headlining set from the legendary Allman Brothers supplemented by a stable of festival veterans and a sprinkling of emerging acts the festival promised to add new legends to the pantheon of concert lore.


Often a festival’s “Thursday pre-party” lineup is populated with regional bands that are on the cusp of emerging as headliners.  But the All Good approach was to book an evening’s worth of music that made early attendance a mandatory requirement.   Kicking off the proceedings were Minnesota based bluegrassers Trampled By Turtles whose ultrahigh-octane approach to traditional bluegrass immediately sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy.  The festival’s side by side dual stage set-up catered both those who crave immediate gratification and those who might want to maintain their main stage position but still be able to enjoy the second stage, as the Lumineers launched into their short energetic set within mere seconds of TBT’s last note (and it should also be noted that the stage crews did an absolutely amazing job all weekend of turning over the stages so that the music never stopped).


With dusk falling, it was time for the weekend’s first special treat, the one-off collaboration of Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis.  The trio started with a long jazzy Birdsong that was somewhat uneven due, no doubt, to the fact that as familiar the tune was to all of them, it is unlikely that any of them had ever played it as part of such a small ensemble.  But this unevenness was remedied by the gradual and subtle introduction of several of Bruce’s Noisemakers to round out the sound and allow the stars, especially Marsalis, the opportunity to shine.  With a few Hornsby tunes interspersed into a string of Dead classics, including the use of Rainbow’s Cadillac as the introduction to Franklin’s Tower, the augmented trio ultimately delivered a very satisfying set.


Next up were The Werks an emerging band from nearby Columbus.  The band took full advantage of their prime positioning, for which they humbly proclaimed their gratitude, to showcase their trippier take on the danceable beat while the main stage was being switched over.  Their too-short set left many wanting more but also provided an exceptionally potent preview of their own Werk Out Music Festival which is also moving to this venue this September.


To round out the evening’s musical festivities (at least for me, as I left the Shpongle experience to those who like to be shpongled), Phil Lesh took the stage with his latest assortment of Friends.  This group included Lesh’s sons Brian and Graheme, but the workhorses of the ensemble were Jackie Greene on keys, Larry Campbell on guitar and the amazing Joe Russo on drums, and ultimately it was the contribution of vocalist Teresa Williams, especially on the gospel nugget Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning, which allowed the band to truly take off.


Day two of the festival promised a wholly different experience than the rest of the festival as the lineup lacked the historic jamband presence of the other days and instead featured a slew of headliners drawn from all across the country.  The music again began with a rootsy feel as Elephant Revival helped the festival goers greet the day with their sweet harmonies.  They were followed by West Coast rockers ALO who delivered an excellent set that featured several tunes from their new album, including the infectious “Speed of Dreams” a sweet tune that immediately sticks with the listener.  Their set also featured the debut of the festival’s “artist at large” Roosevelt Collier the master of the sacred steel who is probably best known for his work with the Lee Boys.


Next up on the mainstage (after a short second stage set of “stompin’ blues” by 4 on the Floor) were the Wood Brothers.  Oliver and Chris’s brotherly harmonies, both vocal and instrumental, were supplemented by Jano Rix on drums and “shitar”.  Highlighted by a beautiful new tune called “Heaven is a Honey Jar” and a Collier sit-in on “Atlas” this was the first really memorable set of the weekend. 


And the memories kept coming as Matt Butler led his Everyone Orchestra onto the side stage.  For those unfamiliar with this experience, Butler gymnastically conducts his ever-changing assemblage of festival musicians in a wholly improvised and at times interactive musical journey.  For this journey the orchestra was comprised of ALO supplemented by the Bridget and Bonnie from Elephant Revival as well as the horns from Rubblebucket.  The ensuing “Create the Legend” jam and the madness that followed when Butler instructed the group to “Follow Lebo” (ALO guitarist Dan Lebowitz) made most wish that the ensemble been allotted a much longer set.


SOJA’s ambitious attempt to invigorate and re-invent reggae with a hip-hop sensibility never caught fire and marked the weekend’s first letdown.  But the “cave music” set from Moon Hooch was ample proof that festival promoter Tim Walther is always trying to find the next new band. Although they were showcased in a late afternoon set, this NYC based trio, featuring a pair of dueling saxophones (and occasionally a contrabassoon) backed with drum accompaniment, seem destined to become a staple of the late-late night festival dance party.


G Love and Special Sauce delivered their trademark energetic set of hip-hop flavored blues.  Having seen the group two other times earlier in the month (as the opener for Umphrey’s McGee) this set was much more connected to and appreciated by the audience.  It also featured the weekend’s most amusing moment when, during his “basketball” rap, G Love invoked the name of LeBron James to the raucous derision of the central Ohio crowd.  Rubblebucket’s set of dancy jazz was fun but their sound, especially those processed vocals, might be better served by being heard in a smaller enclosed environment.


Festival stalwarts Yonder Mountain String Band demonstrated yet again that they are a band at the height of their musical prowess.  With a nugget like the cover of the Talking Heads “Girlfriend is Better” (on which they were joined by Collier) tucked in the midst of bluegrass classics, Yonder supplied the crowd with the perfect soundtrack to greet the sunset.  This set also provided the most poignant moment of the weekend as the band, after noting that first and foremost they were “a Colorado band,” humbly asked the crowd for their thoughts and prayers in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting.  The set from the Pimps of Joytime had the misfortune of coming both in the wake of Yonder’s stellar set and directly prior to one of the more anticipated sets of the weekend, that of The Flaming Lips, and, combined with the shortness of the set, the Brooklyn based ensemble was unfortunately relegated to filler status.


No band compels its audience’s attention as much as the rock and roll c