Lockn’ is the festival formerly known as Interlocken (for about 6 weeks.) It was held in early September in Arrington, Virginia at Oak Ridge, a huge farm with a horse racing track, the show was set on the infield of the track. It was a different festival concept. Two large stages sat side by side. Sets would segue into one another with little to no pause. One band would introduce the next. The music was plentiful, loud and featured jam bands, reggae, Americana and more, with lots of cross collaboration between bands. It was a new festival so it has some improvements to make. The traffic was epic from what we heard but we took a cab from our hotel so we missed most of it. We’ll hit only the highlights of the music, which is a lot!
Here’s the list of the bands we saw, some in multiple sets. Thursday: Keller and the Keels, Warren Haynes, String Cheese Incident, and Government Mule with Grace Potter. Friday: Founding Fathers, Pegi Young and the Survivors, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Soul Rebels, Jimmy Cliff, String Cheese Incident, Furthur, and Zach Brown Incident. Saturday: Punch Brothers, Black Crowes, Trey Anastasio band, Widespread Panic, John Fogerty and Further. Sunday: Hackensaw Boys, Col. Bruce Hampton, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Black Crowes. We missed a few sets but not many.
Here’s our Top 10 list of really special Lockn moments.
1. Zac Brown was a surprise to us. We didn’t know his music and expected pop country. Turns out he’s more Americana and more like real (old) country. Since Lockn, he did an interview where he basically said most of today’s country is crap. Turns out we have so much in common with him because I’ve long thought today’s pop country is crap. Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was when he joined Furthur and played Free à Into the Mystic àFree. Wow! I was hooked from that moment. Van Morrison is on our bucket list and we may never see him but if not, that Into The Mystic will have to do.
Zac Brown Incident was a blend of Zac Brown Band and String Cheese Incident. Zac and Cheese was great fun. It’s an impressively talented group of musicians and the felt comfortable improvising. They did Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion. String Cheese are much more improvisational than I remember from years ago. We liked them when they came on the scene but really hadn’t kept up with their progress. We’ll be seeing more both!
2. One of the Furthur shows was the full Workingman’s Dead album in its entirety. For those who don’t know, Furthur features Phil Lesh and Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead. Greg’s heard a lot of Dead shows and that was the first time he’d heard them play Easy Wind. Nice to see Furthur play outside with a big crowd, like the old days. They’ve now announced they are taking a break in 2014 so we’re lucky have seen them.
3. Tedeschi Trucks Band played I wanted to Take You Higher with Chris Robinson from the Crowes. That was a Woodstock moment when they wailed on the same song Sly and the Family Stone did at Woodstock.
4. Black Crowes closed one of their shows with Turn on Your Lovelight and were joined Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Bob Weir. What a powerful voice Susan has. She talks like a little girl but sings like a seasoned soul singer. Jackie Greene is a great guitarist too. Love to see him with anyone!
5. John Fogerty played with Widespread Panic. His voice is as strong today as ever. He did a killer Fortunate Son, Bad Moon Rising, and a rousing Down on the Bayou, plus Mystic Highway from a new album. He’s still got it!
6. Warren Haynes is an amazing guitar talent, truly one of the best playing today. He’s an animal, untamed and powerful. He played as Warren Haynes Band and also with his band Government Mule.
7. Grace Potter joined Government Mule and totally channeled Stevie Nicks when they covered Fleetwood Mac’s Gold dust Woman. But the one that blew us away was Dear Prudence. She’s got an amazing voice.
8. Jimmy Cliff is an influential reggae musician. He uses music for social change. He played Many Rivers to Cross and The Harder They Come. He’s written songs for lots of others, like Wild World for Cat Stevens, and he was instrumental in Bob Marley’s early career. Dressed in bright yellow, he told stories before every song to put the songs in context. It was a wonderful sunny afternoon reggae history lesson from a living legend.
9. Friday opened with the Founding Fathers, a project from Chris Pandolfi and Andy Falco, who are members of the Infamous Stringdusters. Fathers are more electric and rock than the Dusters but their music prowess still shines through. And I loved seeing those guys on the big jumbo screen!
10. Trey Anastasio wrapped up his set with a hot encore of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog.