Five great bands, one great DJ. That is what is in store at the 3rd annual Dazed & Defrosted concert at Killington Resort this Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The best part is, it’s free! Enjoy Earth Day with soft bumps, cold brews, on-snow demos, photo booth and an environmental village. If you are a season pass holder, the resort will treat you to a free barbecue, as well. I look forward to this concert every year. I’ll be spinning the tunes in between all these awesome bands that I’m honored to share the stage with.
The Brandt Taylor Band kicks off the show. Brandt Taylor is a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Connecticut who started playing at the age of 9, and professionally by age 16. He frequently gigs around New England with his band, Brandt Taylor Band, or BT3. Backing Taylor are Dylan Butler and Kevin McIntyre from Steve Malec & the Electric Flood—a Rhode Island based rock band. They play a variety of genres, spanning blues, rock, folk, country, and alternative-rock. I got to see Steve Malec & the Electric Flood last Saturday at the Umbrella Bars. The variety of music had everyone entertained and this Saturday should be no different.
Named after a Sublime song on the B-side of the “Badfish” CD single, Roots of Creation is made up of guitarist/lead singer Brett Wilson, keyboardist Tal Pearson, and drummer Mike Chadinha. The trio came together at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire where they embraced the state motto, “Live Free or Die,” in their music and message. Today, the original trio is joined by newest members Billy Kottage (Reel Big Fish) on trombone/rhythm guitar/keys/harmony vocals/Andrew Riordan on saxophone/synth/harmony vocals; and Nick Minicucci on bass guitar. In 2012, the band won the Cider magazine award for “Favorite Jam Band,” and in 2013, it won the New England Music Award for Best Band in New Hampshire. In 2014, the band released “Summer in the 603” with The SSP (Super Secret Project), a parody video of New Hampshire. The video went viral, hitting major news outlets and surpassing 75,000 views. Last April, the band’s newest studio album, “Livin Free”, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae charts. This is the band’s third studio release and the title is a nod to the band’s home state of New Hampshire and its motto. Relix magazine describes their show as “Reggae-Funk-Rock that erupts on stage, severing artist-audience barriers while summoning fans to join them in an awakening.”
If you like funk and the Grateful Dead, then Steal Your Funk is for you. The band hails from Connecticut and has an all-star lineup that is led by the “Queen of Pipes,” Jen Durkin from Deep Banana Blackout and Jen Durkin and the Business. Joining her on keys/Hammond B3 organ is Jordan Giangreco from The Breakfast/Viral Sound/Legion of Jerry. On guitar is Darian Cunning from The Business/BRYAC Funk All Stars. The drummer is Ryan Lunderville from Crown Jewels/Boom Sauce and the bass player will either be Ron Spears from The Breakfast or Doug Wimbish of Living Colour. Steal Your Funk began in January 2015 at New Haven’s Pacific Standard Tavern and plays everything from the Grateful Dead to classic Motown stuff. This band is full of funk and full of energy.
Max Creek is celebrating its 46th year in the music business and this will be its second Dazed & Defrosted appearance as the band headlined the first annual event back in 2015. Max Creek has been blowing minds with its unmistakable blend of Americana, country, rock, calypso and jazz. They never play the same show twice, guaranteeing different songs from a vast song list. Ironically, they never write a song list. They just wing it—every night, every show. Max Creek was the first jam band before such a term existed. Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead and Mike Gordon of Phish are among Max Creek’s longtime fans. The band has built an ever-expanding, multi-generational fan base concentrated in New England, but also spread nationwide through years of touring and hosting annual festivals such as Camp Creek and Strange Creek. Max Creek members are contemporary legends, innovators of the improv scene, and the band that everyone you know knows someone who has seen them pushing the envelope of the live must-see band. Though the front line—guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Mark Mercier and bassist John Rider—has remained intact since the mid-70s, the current drums and percussion team of Bill Carbone and Jamemurrell Stanley weren’t even born when Max Creek was founded.
When you go to a Creek show, you never know what they’re going to bust out and neither do they. Mercier said, “It either works for you or against you. All our shows are a stream of consciousness which makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Sometimes between songs you’ll hear us grind down to nothing while we figure out what to play next. The crowd is wondering what’s happening and if they should go use the bathroom, but we’re just like, ‘well, we’re just figuring it out.’ Sometimes things just follow each other like clockwork and those shows are outstanding.” They never write a song list, ever. “Sometimes I like to go into a song of mine but start it differently. I don’t do it consciously, but it changes the whole song. John will walk over to Scott and question what I’m doing.”
Forty-six years in the business is really impressive. An agent told them a few years ago that they’re an amazing band because they’re like the Phoenix that rises from the ashes continually. He said that every time he thinks they’re gone, he turns around and there they are—stronger than ever. Mercier said, “This becomes so much a part of our lives that we can’t imagine living without it. I think the music, family, the people that we know, the people that we’ve met is just a huge lifestyle that we’ve become accustomed to. To try and give that up would be like cutting off your arm. The very cool thing is the people that saw us in the 70s and 80s are still coming back to this day. For them it’s like coming back to the old hometown for Christmas—it’s the music and the community. There’s something there that has a life of its own. It just moves you. It’s really a place to be. If music can ever be a place, this would be it.”
Back to Dazed & Defrosted, on the top of the mountain at the K-1 Peak Lodge, stop in to see Rev Tor from 1-3 p.m. He will be doing his solo show, which is not to be missed. With the use of a looping unit, Tor creates tasty yet infectious grooves allowing him to build the song and improvise over it as he goes, essentially becoming a one-man band. He formed his full band, the Rev Tor Band, in western Massachusetts in 1996. Since its conception, the band has evolved into a power house on the East Coast club and festival circuit, performing in venues from Maine to Key West. In its native New England, the band keeps a heavy performing schedule enthusiastically supported by a large following of dedicated fans. Creek, SYF and Rev Tor have shared many stages together, so maybe they’ll all be on one at the same time on Saturday? Maybe a super all-star jam is in order.