For the 20th annual event, organizers of the Southern Brewer’s Festival managed to curate an alluring and notably jam-centric lineup to attract a sizeable crowd (many of whom traveled from out-of-town) out to the Chattanooga riverfront park. With over 100 breweries showcasing their suds and a strong lineup that included jam scene vets moe. and Soulive on Friday followed by Gov’t Mule and Greensky Bluegrass on day two, as far as getting bang for your buck on short money, this was about as good a city fest as any going down in the southland this summer.

Soulive at Southern Brewer's Festival 2014 | Photo by Wesley Hodges
Soulive at Southern Brewer’s Festival 2014 | Photo by Wesley Hodges
The setting for Soulive’s 90-minute set couldn’t have been more ideal as the veteran NY-based trio took the stage just as the sun was beginning to set. Highlights included a couple of impressive Beatles covers (“I Want You (She’s So Heavy” / “Eleanor Rigby” pairing) and my personal favorite Stevie Ray Vaughan instrumental (“Lenny”) to help accent their always relentlessly taut and varied collection of original jazz-infused funk music that comprised the remainder of the set. Playing most of the vocal melodies on his classic hollow-body guitar, Eric Krasno cleanly articulated and expanded upon this pairing of Beatles classics we all know and adore and did SRV proud on this beautiful take on the euphonious tune. Despite being around for a decade-and-a-half, this debonair and envelope-pushing trio continues to be an always-intriguing can’t miss that did every bit as well as the night’s headliners.

1-IMG_0008Never one to mail in the the often-lamented “festival set” that has plagued many-a-jamband over the years when given an abbreviated slot, moe. chose instead to open with a sprawling and set-highlighting “Recreational Chemistry” that would weave, meander and apex multiple times throughout the 23+ minutes that the band let it patiently develop. A few of the newer tracks like “Same Old Story” and “Billy Goat” played well to the largely unfamiliar crowd in attendance and the lysergic psychedelia of the mellifluous and multi-faceted “Silver Sun” would serve up yet another huge highlight of the set. Closing with an enjoyable “Brent Black” (w/ Drums) before returning for a “Crab Eyes” encore, it was abundantly clear from the growing crowd response (from beginning to end) that despite being around for over a quarter-century now, moe.’s still got a knack for gaining new fans when playing to a mostly unfamiliar festival audience. Undoubtedly an all-too-brief but satisfying set that made the trip up from Atlanta worthwhile.

Continue below for photos from Friday night’s moe. and Soulive set as well as a setlist from the headliner’s impressively tight 100+ minute set.

moe. at Southern Brewer’s Festival 2014 | Friday, August 22, 2014

Recreational Chemistry
Annihilation Blues
Billy Goat
Silver Sun
Same Old Story
Puebla >
Brent Black

ENCORE: Crab Eyes

*NOTE: You can download this show here.