Concert Review: DMB Caravan supporting acts

Band: Supporting acts of the Caravan
Date: June 24-26, 2011
Venue: Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ
Rating (5-star rating): 5

G. Love

This post will be dedicated to the acts I was able to check out during the three-day music festival in Atlantic City. Playing in my own back yard, I was excited not only for my favorite band to be playing a three-night stand but for about 30 fantastic supporting bands to be playing.

While I wasn’t able to catch everyone due to work (missing out on a few that I wanted to see), I did get to catch a good portion of the following bands and their sets.

On Friday, I was too late to catch Jeff Coffins Mu’tet and was forced to miss the Flaming Lips cover Dark Side of the Moon in order to get fantastically close to the main stage for DMB. On Saturday, I had to work and missed Guster, Dave & Tim and when I arrived, chose to listen to Warren Haynes over OAR, who I’ve seen over 10 times. Sunday, I showed up a little later and missed out on Alberta Cross and Amos Lee.

Here are the bands I got to give a listen to:

Friday
TR3 – Tim Reynolds is an awesome guitarist. I know this because I’m a huge DMB fan. But what I did not know is that his own band, TR3, was 10x more fantastic than I had heard stories about. I don’t know a single one of their songs but I was absolutely taken back on how amazing the trio played. With bassist Mick Vaughn and drummer Dan Martier, they produced a fat sound that many trios can’t master.

Tim Reynolds

They opened with an instrumental cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” with Reynolds on the double-neck 18 string guitar, much like the one Jimmy Page made famous in the 70’s. They then went into a set filled with their own songs, mixing fun and hard rock together while Reynolds shredded on a Flying V and Fender Strat.

G. Love & Special Sauce – I’ve seen G. Love with his band open up for the Fray (who sucked) and then by himself when he opened up for Jack Johnson, both last year. So I knew coming in what type of fun set they would hit the Jersey Shore crowd with.

From Philly, G. Love is a hometown boy, hitting us with classics such as “Cold Beverages,” “She’s Got Sauce,” and “Can’t Go Back to Jersey” while dazzling us with a few songs of his solo album “Fixin’ to Die.” He covered Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” as well as his new songs “Fixin’ to Die” and “Milk & Cereal.”

Rebellution – I’ve never heard of these guys before and only listened from the picnic area. They sounded like a slowed-down version of 311, which I really enjoyed. I can’t tell you a single song or lyric from these guys but I can tell you I enjoyed listening to them while eating a $10 burrito.

Ray LaMontange – LaMontange is good but not my cup of tea at a live setting. He was extremely mellow, making Jack Johnson look like Metallica. I didn’t know he was the guy who did that song “Trouble” he went into it. All the ladies were into his stuff, especially the three we met and camped out with on Friday’s set.

Saturday
Warren Haynes Band – As I walked into Bader Field after work, I was greeted by Haynes. He was in the middle of doing dirty little things to his guitar that he would later do with DMB. Haynes has always been one of my favorite musicians as I enjoy listening to Gov’t Mule. He’s also been a part of Allman Brothers Band as well as Grateful Dead. He’s been around the jam scene and he’s one of the most respected musicians I know.

Sunday

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals – I got in five minutes before their set started and stuck around for a half hour. They were as good as I had heard. Potter is a great singer and sounded amazing live. I know many female singers have a harder time singing live than in studio but Potter nailed the part.

Her backing band was pretty great too. She had a pop sound to her but still kept the blues, folk and hard rock feel to their music. I’m sure what I heard was very recent stuff because it had a little main stream sound but I definitely dug it.

Micheal Franti & Spearhead – I caught parts of this set from a distance. Another act I really wanted to see but they were too close to DMB’s set, Spearhead sounded incredible. They have a hip-hop, reggae, funk and hard rock sound, a combination I love seeing bands play with. At one point during their set, they rocked out to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

David Gray – Gray was another too-mellow act for the festival setting, especially being one of the main supporting acts for DMB. He has a great voice, a great band and is a great writer but overall, I wasn’t feeling it as I wanted to get amped for DMB’s final set of the weekend. In fact, I almost dozed off but kept it together. Gray is awesome and he will have music on mu iPod shortly but I won’t be seeing him live any time soon.

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