On a beautiful day in Lake George, Formula 5’s Rock the Dock festival provided family fun and good music for the plethora of attendees that made their way through the gates. A portion of Rock the Dock’s profits were donated to the Fund for Lake George, a non-profit organization focused on keeping the Lake clean and healthy.
Rock the Dock is a very intimate festival, taking place on the dock for the famous steamboats the Mohican and the Lac du Saint Sacrement, with the Minne Ha Ha docked there for the event as well. Attendees were able to go up on any of the three boats to watch the music, enjoy the full service bars, or look at the stunning scenery of some of the Adirondack mountains standing tall around the lake. For food options, the festival featured trucks from the Plaid Pancake and O’Pablo’s Mexican Food, a father/son snow cone tent, and a tent selling hamburgers and hot dogs.
The music kicked off with Saratoga Springs-based group Let’s Be Leonard, a 5-piece rock outfit that put forth a very unique sound while still providing the listener with the familiarity of that “jam band” tonality. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Karl Bertrand addressed the crowd saying how different it was to have the audience on boats after performing the first few songs, seemingly enjoying the uniqueness of the festival. The group ended their set with an impressive segment of an original tune “Good” into the Grateful Dead’s classic “Estimated Prophet,” into another original “Princess on the Run” which was one of the highlights of the set.
Next up was the New England-based electrofunk group Strange Machines, a nice change of pace after the rock stylings of Let’s Be Leonard. Strange Machines play the Saratoga/Albany area often, so the crowd started to fill in as their set continued. The group’s set included many fan-favorites, such as “Klepto,” “Canopy,” “Motion Potion,” and a newer one, “Wook in a Onesie.” Strange Machines also covered a Grateful Dead song, following in Let’s Be Leonard’s footsteps, performing their take on the classic Bob Weir-penned “Feel Like a Stranger,” which had the crowd boogieing like it was 1980 all over again.
Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski’s (of Trey Anastasio Band) funk duo Soule Monde were the final band to take the stage before the headliners, Formula 5, performed, and they brought the house down with their danceable grooves and jazzy melodies. This was one of the first few gigs Paczkowski played since the removal of his brain tumor, and he didn’t waste any time getting back into the swing of things as he coaxed those familiar Milkman sounds out of his vintage keyboards. The pair performed a mixture of songs from their newest LP, Must Be Nice, and their previous EPs, and they had the whole crowd dancing by the end of the set. Before they concluded the music, the duo brought up Formula 5 guitarist Joe Davis to sit in on their tune “Bernard,” where he locked in with Ray’s keyboard melodies and got to show off some of his chops to the crowd before F5’s set.
As the sun started to set over the lake, Formula 5 took the stage for the final set of the evening. The group performed a range of their original music, from one of their newer songs, the uplifting “Blue,” to a bust-out with the electronic “Nu-Gen.” One of the highlights of the set was the debut of the classic Warren Zevon tune, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” often covered by Widespread Panic, which had the crowd singing along and dancing the night away as the last glimpses of sunlight disappeared behind the mountaintops. Another bust-out from the night was the blues-jazz fusion tune “Excalibur,” a song that’s been shelved for a while, which was met with ecstatic cheers from the crowd as the jam at the end of the song drew to a close. “Nu-Gen” was the jam of the night, featuring an electronic jam that isn’t typical of Formula 5’s style, lasting around 15 minutes. After a short encore break, drummer Greg Marek came out to say a quick thank you to everyone attending, and the group broke into their another new song, “Breaking Glass.”
Rock the Dock featured a lot of local, talented bands, and unique vendors that provided attendees with the ultimate small festival experience. The festival will return in 2019. More videos and audio from some of the sets will be coming in the future.
Come Along, Pedro* -> Excalibur, Sad Bed* -> Lawyers, Guns, and Money^, Blue ->
E: Breaking Glass
^ Warren Zevon cover, debut
Slide B, Whassat, The Story, Take My Hand, Jody Grind, Allah Uya, Bernard*, Tango
*with Joe Davis (Formula 5, guitar)
Golden Rule > Remote Dream > Golden Rule, Canopy, Wook In a Onesie > Moose Soup, Motion Potion, Feel Like a Stranger*, Klepto
*Grateful Dead cover
Let’s be Leonard
Sunrise, Foresight, Open Your Eyes, How Do You Fall In Love?, Good > Estimated Prophet* > Princess on the Run
*Grateful Dead cover