WORDS BY HEATH CLAYTON
Lineup: “Everyone Loves Terrapin”
Matt Butler of Everyone Orchestra
Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead
Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico of moe.
Grahame Lesh and Ross James of The Terrapin Family Band
Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman of TAB
w/ special guest Holly Bowling
This past weekend, Matt Butler brought his Everyone Orchestra to Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael California. Matt’s intense style of improv and choice of band members, is always special… But, these two nights at TRX were above and beyond, with the likes of Al Schnier and Grahame Lesh mixing it up with amazing solos. Phil Lesh, Vinnie Amico, and Ross James holding down a solid rhythm section. Holy Bowling was so impressive with her skills on keys, (see her later this week at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam), and Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie “Chainsaw” Cressman, just belted it out on trumpet, trombone, and vocals.
Night one had Matt getting the band members to really link up and get the foundation of their grooves. His mad hatter/ Zappa-esque style of conducting with the dry erase board and hand gestures kept each member right on track. A lot of vocals were swapped along with first set solos from Schnier and Bowling. Phil and Vinnie kept a solid tempo in the first set, during tunes grooves like “Grateful 4 Ya”, (see attached YouTube link), but Lesh didn’t return for the second set… his replacement was Connor O’Sullivan, of Midnight North. Conner stepped right in for the second set and meshed with James and Amico, perfectly. The second set was also very fluid, with the members seeming more comfortable with trading solos with each other. An amazing drum solo by Vinnie along with vocal and guitar work by Al, rounded out the set. By the end of the night Matt had the audience jumping and wanting more… We were all Grateful that night two was right around the corner.
The second night of EO had Matt, (dressed in a white velvet jacket with tails and top hat to match), pushing all the members to their limits. A lot of the first set was led by bassist Phil Lesh and had a bouncy yet driving feel throughout the set. Amazing vocals from Jennifer and Natalie, along with a crying guitar solo from Al Schnier took us to the end of the first set. Phil joined the band for one last song in the second set, and was replaced, again, by O’Sullivan.
All in all, the energy from these two nights, in a small intimate venue, was very special to the fans. And you could tell the members of this Everyone Orchestra knew that being a part of what was titled, “Everyone Loves Terrapin” was a special run of shows. A big thanks to Matt and all of the members of EO for such great improv and energy!
Check out photos below from Paul Citone…