Yesterday's Green Apple Festival (held simultaneously in 8 US Cities) left a minor crater in our beloved Golden Gate Park yesterday as about 30,000 assorted freaks and critters turned out for what was a gorgeous, sunny day - a bit on the cool side, but definitely pleasant following Saturday's gale force winds assault on the city by the bay.
The initial act of the day was a young kid named Brett Dennon who did a fine job with his "KFOG" ready radio rock. #I didn't get to see too much of this set but what I saw was fun.
The days 2nd act was Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks which always hits a solid entertainment homerun. #Dan has to be the MVP of the pscyhedelic error - still going strong with his terrifically delivered and comedic string swing jazz.
Richard Chon of several notable local SF based western swing bands did a handy job on fiddle and occasionally on a nice Collings A mandolin performing tunes like Swing '42, Limehouse Blues, The Blues My Naughty Sweety Brings to Me and I Scare Myself, among others. #
The last tune mentioned featured Mike Kang on a Ron Oates custom 5 string Electric Octave Mandolin doing a long funky jam. #Mike hung out for a bunch of tunes and the show was fine - but not amazing. #The crowd enjoyed it but expectations rose when the next band hit the stage....
Yonder Mountain String Band has a fairly deep history in SF with some significant shows in their history including a number of sold out Fillmore Shows. #I hadn't seen them in some time and they seemed to be operating on all cylinders with a lot of electronic interface gear - racks of stuff in fact. #Jeff Austin was playing (I think) a wire and torch headstocked Nugget - though I am not positive as to the exact luthier. #He was using a complex electric rig and putting everything through a Fender Amp - but also using the house PA with an SM 57....
This band can jam endlessly and imho seems to be at their best beating a melody to death - but their best can also be their worst. #My feeling after their set was they were good, hot musicians with a lot of skill and hot jamming, but no memorable melodies stayed with me. #The crowd ate that s**t up though. #
The last act of the day was a hybrid conglomeration of notable musicians... It started with Bob Weir and Mickey Hart performing an acoustic renditions of Dead tunes like Peggy O and Friend of the Devil - ultimately backed up by Michael Kang on a more expanded electric mandolin rig all plugged into a high end "Two Rock" Tube amp. #Also Ben Kaufmann on bass of YMSB playing his electric upright through an Ampeg SVT with one of those 8x10 Refrigerator bass cabinets.
After a number of tunes Mickey brought out a cadre of different drum troupes - some playing nigerian djembes, some with brazilian berimbau's, a wide variety of percussion troupes, styles and approaches were featured including a trio of cute african dancers, stilt walkers and drummer ranging in age from under 10 to senior citizens.
Ultimately the stage was populated with about 50 drummers and then Bob Weir, Mike Kang, Ben Kaufmann and Micky drove the jam into a giant Not Fade Away groove. #
Careful observation also revealed the presence of John Fishman of Phish and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue on stage risers pounding giant war toms.
Then to make things even more surreal Joan Baez hopped out on stage to dance and sing. #This was a little bit like a train wreck of the mind for those keeping score.
The jam seemed to never really get off the ground but they drove forward with it.
A fake ending ensued and then a reduced #band hit the stage to cleanly play Not Fadeaway with just Bobby, Mickey, Ben, Mike, Joan and Tommy Lee - with the deep pounding ending left to Micky and Tommy Lee.... #Weird, but somehow, oddly satisfying considering it was a free show...
Attached are a few snaps, which were taken under very challenging back lit conditions with a ###### portable Canon powershot digicam from the front row... they are kinda dark - but better than nothing.
I should have more posted on my Photo page at www.worldwideted.com fairly soon...