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Luckily the sun didn’t get high enough to cook people out of there tents until around 9 a.m. Coffee presses were a
popular thing that morning. Once the coffee gets people moving they all start making breakfast burritos and it seems
like everyone has their own personal twist on how to make the simple classic festival grub. Hydration was key to
success on the second day; temperatures would eventually rise to 95 degrees and feel more like 110.
At 11 a.m. Donna the Buffalo started music for the day at the Blue Ridge Bowl. The sun was beating down on the
faces of a full ridge of fans as those who made it out to the bowl were ready to rock the day away. We had an amazing
day ahead of us and Donna the Buffalo started to fed our ears with the breakfast we needed. Festivities started in the
main venue with progressive rock improvisors Moogatu at noon; the DC-based group was scheduled to play as the
Rockin’ to Lockn' contest winners the previous year, but fell to the microburst that cancelled Thursday's events.
Moogatu’s show peaked with an exploration of the Eagles' “Hotel California” that took the song through a reggae
infusion. At the conclusion of the performance the rotating stage revealed another funky act, performed by Brooklyn’s
nine piece Turkuaz who offered a showcase of both their bass section and colorful costumes. Fans experienced a high
energy sweaty hour of funk featuring a well placed cover of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In.”
LOCKN' Festival : Day Two
Oak Ridge Farm : Arrington, Virginia : August 26, 2016
Again, the stage rotated and fans were blessed with a second helping of the nerdy funk band Vulfpeck. Music by
The Band was again brought to the festival through an explorative cover of “Up On Cripple Creek,” featuring a guest
appearance from Turkuaz’ own tenor saxophonist Greg Sanderson. This rendition was also played in Levon Helm
style as the drummer sang from behind the kit. Their performance reminded many of Phish as they explored Stevie
Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” peppered with numerous amusing stage antics.
White Denim rocked the crowd next with their unique sound that blends alternative, indie, and garage rock influenced
by frontman James Petralli’s love for bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, and Frank Zappa among others. As of late
the band has been adapting to a few personnel changes as drummer Josh Block left to focus on projects with Leon
Bridges and was replaced by Jordan Richards of Ben Harper’s Relentless7. During the early part of the set, Scott
Metzger, who would later play with Joe Russo’s Dead Wolf! joined White Denim for renditions of “HA HA HA HA
(yeah)” and Rozy Music's “2HB.” Next, Charles Bradly battled the heat showing no signs that he had been recovering
from surgery earlier in the month.
Following Charles Bradley's performance, Peter Wolf of the J. Giels Band performed to the main venue who, at the
height of the sun, were hiding in the shade. Those brave enough to fight the sun and step up to the stage were
rewarded with a rather intimate experience. Peter Wolf started the set out with multiple tracks from his solo career,
followed by a group of songs that expressed his connections to the San Francisco scene involving the Grateful Dead
and Jefferson Airplane. His setlist explored J. Geils Band originals like “Cry One More Time,” which he dedicated to
Gram Parsons, “Start All Over Again,” “The Usual Place” and “Love Stinks” as well as John Lee Hooker’s “It Serves
You Right to Suffer,” Moe Bandy’s “It Was Always So Easy (To Find an Unhappy Woman)” and Bill Monroe’s “When
My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again.” I was hoping for “Monkey Island” at some point, but I’ll just have to follow Peter
around for that later.
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Ween then set loose with a set filled with classics to those who knew their music. For many Ween virgins this show
was full of first time experiences including tracks: “The HIV Song,” “Your Party,” “Bananas and Blow,” “Voodoo Lady,”
“Piss Up a Rope,” and “Roses Are Free” which the Phish fans had been anticipating since the lineup was announced
in February. Deen Ween made it a point to mention before “Roses are Free” that this was the first time Ween and
Phish had shared a bill acknowledging the long time relationship many of their fans have had with both bands since
1997 when Phish first covered the song. Trey Anastasio also watched part of the show from the side of the stage
before his set with Phish that would follow.
There was a lot of chatter in the campground about how Phish would handle this festival. Generally speaking,
Phish tends to play setlists at festivals that showcase their material and have a straight forward feel to them.
Their Bonnaroo performance in 2009 comes to mind. Many fans just wanted Phish to be Phish. Appropriately, Phish
opened the first set with “Wilson” involving the crowd with the tradition of chanting “Wilson” at the top of their lungs
before dropping into the song. This was followed by a false start into “Down With Disease” and a rendition of “Free.”
Later in the set, the band gave their fans a jammed out “Simple” followed by an acapella version of David Bowie’s
“Space Oddity” that included an acapella guitar solo and all the parts by voice. Fans roared as the band left the stage
for a healthy set break. The second set was just what the fans wanted as it was anything but a 'best of' festival
showcase. There were no breaks for applause during the seven song set the explored song potential deeply. Phish
opened the second set with “Punch You In The Eye” and transitioned into “Blaze On” and then into “Fuego.” The set
really caught fire with extended explorations of “Ghost” and a rare second set “Bathtub Gin.” This was followed by a
version of “Backwards Down the Number Line” that brought the fans back to earth before careening through a tight
version of “You Enjoy Myself” which featured fishman chanting, “you get your ass handed to you everyday” during the
vocal jam segment of the song. I think he was referring to the heat. The band then Encored with “Character Zero.”
After Phish, fans found their way to the Woods where they were greeted by Neal Casal and his Circle Around the Sun
project which featured the music from the webstream intermissions during the Grateful Dead 'Fare Thee Well' shows in
Chicago and San Francisco. This was one of many examples of the interconnectivity of the lineup showcasing the
relationships that many of these bands have. Everyone who performs at LOCKN' has some sort of history with multiple
other acts on the bill. This example might have been the bridge between Phish, as Trey Anastasio had played lead
guitar for 'Fare Thee Well,' and the following set of music by Joe Russo’s Almost Dead which featured another night of
exciting interpretations and explorations of the Grateful Dead catalog. I might add that Joe Russo’s band kicked our
teeth in again that night. This set featured Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz again with highlights involving renditions of
“The Wheel” and the complete “Terrapin Suite,” rarely played in its entirety. Following the show, fans explored the
grounds and eventually found their tents as they relived the day's memories with friends and prepared for another day
of music in the hot Virginia sun.