The Jam ‘Lympics brought out the best in bands on day 3 at LOCKN’. ‘A’ games ruled the day.
In the early going, Moon Taxi? quickly became Moon Taxi! as the Nashville band quickly won over the early afternoon crowd with their Southern rock inflected jams, with highlights being an “All Along the Watchtower” cover and set-closing “All Day All Night” and it’s soaring guitars big rock finish.
Vermont jammers Twiddle spun around the stage next, opening with a lengthy take on “Polluted Beauty” that brought out influences from many jam band mavens before them. Keller Williams came out to lend a hand on “Best Feeling” which ended with a jam on Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. The set ended as it began, with a drawn out version of “Jamflowman” which opened groovily but ended in a flurry of explosive guitar rock (which would continue to be a theme on this day).
Stanton Moore picked up nicely on the departing sounds and brought in Galactic with a flourish of drums before the rest of the band joined in. New Orleans native Erica Falls joined the band throughout the set to pick up the vocal duties on songs like “Hey Na Na” and “There’s Something Wrong With This Picture.” The real highlights of the set came when harmonica giant, Lee Oskar, of War fame, came out to add a little more funk muscle for takes on “Slipping Into Darkness,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and nearly half the set overall.
Hard Working Americans brought their rough and tumble barroom rock attitude next. They weren’t going to win on style points, but were trying to crushing it on raw rock power alone. Dave Schools and Duane Trucks provided the engine while Neal Casal’s guitar and Jesse Aycock’s lap steel twist around each other. Lead man Todd Snider lead them through incredible versions of “Stomp and Holler,” “Dope is Dope,” and “Something Else.” With Phil Lesh’s set delayed the band extended their set, Todd Snider taking over with some spoken word ramblings while the band rocked out behind him, building yet another rocking finish. “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. Well I listened to the wind and it didn’t tell me a fucking thing, so much for folk music,” Snider quipped, like a true rockstar.
The rotating stage and interlocking sets concept didn’t quite work so well for most of the day, including a break of over 30 minutes while Phil Lesh got his friends ready to go. It certainly was a lot of musicians to coordinate. But Phil Lesh is the ultimate coach, and what seemed to be a bizarre collection of players, Lesh knew it would work. With Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Joe Russo, Anders Osborne and the Infamous Stringdusters it was essentially a LOCKN’ All-Stars. The set took advantage of the players, mixing some bluegrassy tunes like “Dire Wolf” and “Rosalee McFall,” with more stretched out versions of “Uncle John’s Band” and “Scarlet Begonias.” Russo kept the gangly band tight together while McConnell provided an enormous and impressive groundwork for the others to launch from. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi joined the group for takes on “Mr. Charlie” and “Sugaree,” which saw Trucks and Jeremy Garret weave solos together that was brilliantly unexpected. Leave it to a coaching genius like Lesh to see the potential of the the fiddle and slide guitar to sound so good in that spot.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band left it all on the field for LOCKN’ with a stellar performance. The 12-strong band beat out even Lesh’s assemblance in total manpower. The set ranged from straight blues, classic rock, New Orleans jazz, fusion and soul, and they stuck the landing from every angle. Trucks assumed control of the band throughout the night, taking solo after relentless solo, showcasing his talent in all its magnificent glory. The set consisted almost entirely of covers, including “Within You Without You” (Beatles), “Keep On Growing” (Derek and the Dominos), “Had to Cry Today” (Blind Faith), and “Bitches Brew” (Miles Davis). But the highlight of the set was when all the diverse influences came together for their closing rendition of their own “Let Me Get By,” yet another big rock finish.
Many fans dread a band’s “festival set” due to their generally truncated nature and their tendency to lean heavily on the hits. My Morning Jacket operates in exactly the opposite direction. Their festival sets are something to seek out and look forward to, and their first LOCKN’ appearance was no exception.
My Morning Jacket declared victory with their set opening “Victory Dance.” The bar had been set high by what had come before them. But they set the bar higher, and then vaulted over it with relative ease. An early set “Off The Record” set the scene properly. There had been a lot of rocking on the stage during the day, but none quite as coordinated and ferocious as that. Throughout the set the band would take songs further and deeper than usual, and focused on the songs that could do so. “Steam Engine” got dragged out into a powerful sax lead jam, while “Phone Went West” found a melodic run and built it into a blistering rocker. Every single song in the set seemed to end with the aforementioned big rock finish, the energy reached a point that just could not be topped so they just kept pushing it back to the top. They played tribute to Bob Marley (“Could You Be Loved”), Prince (“Purple Rain”), David Bowie (“Rebel Rebel”) and the world on the whole with a surprisingly fun and rocking “What the World Needs Now.” When “One Big Holiday” reared it’s head, it became clear the energy couldn’t be sustained any longer, and the set came to a close after over 2 hours of relentless rock genius.
Sunday’s artists will need to watch out for splinters after that stage shredding that took place on the penultimate day of LOCKN’.