In its fourth year, Mountain Jam has become one of the staples of the festival circuit.
This is a well-run, well-organized festival that gets a little better every year. And as long as the weather cooperates, which for the most part it did this year, it is in a beautiful setting at the base of Hunter Mountain.
There is a ton of music to cover over the three days. Day one is below, with days two and three to follow shortly.
After checking in at our Bed-and-Breakfast (yes, we are over the camping thing – and the inn is wookie-free), we made it to the mountain in time for Jim Weider’s Percolator Project. Weider is billed as from “The Band,” but since he replaced Robbie Robertson in a re-formed 1985 version of The Band, that’s kind of like saying that Kenney Jones is a member of The Who.
He was followed by the first “must-see” band of the weekend for me, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
This was the first time I saw her with the full band, having seen her at the Jammys a few weeks ago. Grace’s voice reminds me of Sheryl Crow and I enjoyed her set immensely.
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk was up next, bringing some serious energy and groove to the mountain.
It was a great set by Ivan Neville’s band, featuring Tony Hall on bass. I’ve always loved his work with the Trey Anastasio Band, and it was great to see him with a different lineup.
Next up was Umprhey’s McGee. For a band that I don’t like, I’ve seen these guys too many times. Their MJ set did nothing to change my opinion of them. I know so many people that are into them, I’m sure a lot of you like them, I’ve just never gotten it.
They played “In the Kitchen,” which is the one song of theirs that I do like, and I did appreciate their teases of both “Immigrant Song” and “Roundabout.” For most of their set, however, I was getting some dinner so I could avoid the pre-Mule rush.
Gov’t Mule always brings their A game to Mountain Jam and this year would prove to be no exception.
The first set was a burner right from the onset with a smoking “Hammer & Nails” and one of my favorite Mule tunes, “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam.” This featured Brian, Warren’s guitar tech, leading the audience in the chorus with cue cards.
They played a ton of covers and while none hit me as hard as last year’s “Creep,” the sheer variety that night was staggering. From Led Zeppelin to The Beatles and the Dead in just the first set alone.
The second opened with “Dear Prudence” followed shortly by “Spanish Moon” which featured Ivan Neville. “Thirty Days in the Hole” was the encore, closing out the day.