The Peach Music Festival returned to Scranton, PA’s Montage Mountain this past weekend. As they do each year, The Peach put together one of the summer’s strongest lineups for their 2019 event, making for a remarkable weekend of music for everyone in attendance and everyone streaming from home. Read on for a full recap of the weekend as well as full-set videos and backstage artist interviews.
The Peach 2019 – Official Recap Video
Thursday, July 25th, 2019 – The Peach Day 1
The festivities kicked off on Thursday with performances by Aqueous and Billy Strings, followed by a pair of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sets with a 90-minute The String Cheese Incident set slid in between.
Aqueous / Billy Strings – Full-Set Videos
Pigeons made full use of their first 2019 set at The Peach, working through a number of fan-favorite originals and an inverted cover of Talking Heads‘ “Psycho Killer”. They also offered up the first big surprise collab of the festival when they welcomed Billy Strings to add some extra guitar fireworks to “Burning Up My Time”.
The String Cheese Incident also got right into the Peach spirit at their Thursday night set, debuting a Scranton-appropriate cover of the theme from The Office and dedicating “Restless Wind” to “all those people in the Allman Brothers Band that have passed on, all the people who put their heart and soul into the music for so long with the Allman Brothers Band … most recently Gregg Allman and Butch [Trucks] but all the way back to Duane [Allman].”
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong / The String Cheese Incident / Pigeons Playing Ping Pong – Full-Set Videos
Friday, July 26th, 2019 – The Peach Day 2
Friday marked the first full day of The Peach 2019, as the festival spread out across the Montage grounds to include the Mushroom Stage at the water park up the mountain and the Live For Live Music Stage in the Grove in addition to the main Peach Stage under the pavilion.
As Pigeons Playing Ping Pong delivered a daytime VIP set at the Live For Live Music Stage, the sister duo of Larkin Poe—comprised of Rebecca Lovell (guitar/lead vocals) and Megan Lovell (vocals/lap steel)—rocked the Peach Stage with their fiery southern blues-rock stylings. Meanwhile, Andy Frasco & The U.N. opened the Mushroom Stage lineup with a characteristically raucous set that saw Andy crowd surf straight into the wave pool off to the side of the stage.
Andy Frasco & The U.N. – The Peach 2019 – Full Video
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The Infamous Stringdusters hit the Peach Stage next for some foot-stompin’ bluegrass fusion. Amidst their high-energy originals, the Stringdusters tossed in a number of Grateful Dead teases as well as a full, sing-along rendition of “He’s Gone”.
While the Peach Stage got Dusted, Magic City Hippies earned themselves some new fans on the Mushroom Stage and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers played to a passionate crowd at the Live For Live Music stage. Cory Wong and his band hit the Mushroom Stage next, where they put on a show which drew rave reviews from both fans and artists at The Peach.
Back over at the Peach Stage, Blues Traveler welcomed their current touring partner and moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey to join in for a jam. Up on the Mushroom Stage, Memphis soul/blues outfit Southern Avenue offered up a powerful performance highlighted by a unique cover of Bill Withers‘ “Use Me”. Montana-native bluegrass outfit Kitchen Dwellers put on a pickin’ clinic in the hot sun at the Live For Live Music stage before moe. hit the Peach Stage for their own performance, which featured appropriate nods to the Allman Brothers in the form of some creatively integrated “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” teases.
Larkin Poe/The Infamous Stringdusters / Blues Traveler/moe. – Full-Set Videos
While The String Cheese Incident began their first of two Friday night sets, Dopapod played to a massive crowd at the Mushroom Stage in just their third performance since they returned from a year-long hiatus earlier this year. Meanwhile, Hayle Jane & The Primates turned in a fantastic performance at the L4LM Stage (featuring a memorable “Feelin Alright”/”Walk on the Wild Side” mashup) that had everyone who caught it buzzing the rest of the weekend.
Dopapod – The Peach 2019 – Full Video
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While these top-notch performances went on at the side stages, The String Cheese Incident got some friends involved in their first of two Friday sets on the main stage. First, Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters joined in on dobro for “My One and Only” and “Lonesome Fiddle Blues”. Later, former Gregg Allman Band musical director and guitarist Scott Sharrard assisted on a set-closing pairing of SCI’s “Outside and Inside” and Dickey Betts-penned Allman Brothers Band favorite, “Southbound”.
BIG Something made a splash in their evening set at the Mushroom Stage, where they were joined by Andy Frasco for some high-energy stage antics. Down the hill, Denver-based power trio Cycles kept the Live For Live Music stage raging with their potent, genre-melding jams.
BIG Something w/s/g Andy Frasco – The Peach 2019
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The Friday late-night lineup was stacked across the board, with Lotus on the Peach Stage, the Allman Betts Band on the Mushroom Stage, and Magic Beans on the Live For Live Music stage. While the laws of time and space kept Peach-goers from making it to all of them, ambitious (and quick-footed) fans could manage to catch a little of each.
Up by the water park on the Mushroom Stage, Devon Allman, Duane Betts, Berry Oakley Jr. and company honored their fathers and this festival they inspired with a number of Allman Brothers Band classics, selections from their recently released debut album, Down To The River, and even a cover of Prince‘s “Purple Rain”.
Allman Betts Band – “Purple Rain” [Prince cover] – The Peach 2019
[Video: kembra allen]
Lotus blew minds on the main stage, where they welcomed Dopapod’s Eli Winderman (who also plays with Lotus’ Jesse Miller in Octave Cat) for a mind-bending sit-in. Out on the L4LM Stage, Magic Beans had their enthusiastic crowd dancing and chanting for more as they worked through a jam on Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” and a reimagined, funkified Sturgill Simpson cover.
Magic Beans – The Peach 2019
The String Cheese Incident / Lotus – Full-Set Videos
Saturday, July 27th, 2019 – The Peach Day 3
While all three stages were running once again on Saturday at the Peach, the overwhelming star power on the Peach Stage made it difficult for most attendees to tear themselves away from the pavilion all day. It’s hard to argue against staying put when the schedule goes Star Kitchen > Stephen Marley > Lettuce > Greensky Bluegrass > Trey Anastasio Band (x2) > Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.
That’s not to discount all the incredible bands and artists who played elsewhere at the festival throughout the day, including Kat Wright, Ghost Light, Michigan Rattlers, Goose, Fruition, Jaimoe’s Jassz Band, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Maggie Rose, Thumpasaurus, Percy Hill, The Motet, Mungion, and Organ Freeman. The Peach lineup this year was truly an embarrassment of musical riches, forcing attendees to make some tough decisions.
Ghost Light – The Peach 2019 – Full Video
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Goose – The Peach 2019 – Full-Set Video
Star Kitchen, the relatively new “psychedelic funk” project from Marc Brownstein (Disco Biscuits), Danny Mayer (Eric Krasno Band), Rob Marscher (Addison Groove Project), and Marlon Lewis (John Legend, Lauryn Hill), kicked off the stacked Saturday Peach Stage lineup with some help from special guest/Pigeons Playing Ping Pong guitarist Jeremy Schon. Stephen Marley was up next, adding a dose of reggae to the jam- and bluegrass-heavy lineup with selections from the revered catalog of his father, Bob Marley, and his brother, Ziggy Marley, among others.
Stephen Marley – “Stir It Up” [Bob Marley cover] – The Peach 2019
Lettuce followed Marley’s reggae with some funk on the Peach Stage to close out the first leg of their summer tour behind their recently released new album, Elevate. Following a rendition of their Elevate arrangement of Tears for Fears‘ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, the band steered things down towards New Orleans with a cover of The Meters‘ “Fire On The Bayou” in honor of Meters patriarch Art “Poppa Funk” Neville, who passed away last week.
Greensky Bluegrass was up next to add a little grass to the jam- and funk-heavy Saturday lineup on the Peach Stage. The quintet delivered a set full of fan-favorite songs from their deep repertoire as well as a Peach-appropriate cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”.
Star Kitchen with Jeremy Schon/ Lettuce / Greensky Bluegrass – Full-Set Videos
From there, Trey Anastasio Band took over the main stage at the Peach for two fantastic sets. Coming in hot off of a top-notch Phish tour this summer, Anastasio and his “other” band were all in fine form in Scranton, working through a number of Phish, TAB, and Ghosts of the Forest songs with even more bounce in their step than usual. It was clear throughout his two sets that Trey loves playing this festival. Here’s hoping he’s back again soon. You can check out a full recap of Trey Anastasio Band’s two-set Peach show here.
Those who popped over to the Live For Live Music Stage between Trey and JRAD were treated to some highly proficient musicianship from Chicago jam quartet Mungion, who welcomed Dopapod’s Rob Compa to sit in for some dual-guitar acrobatics. Following Mungion’s performance, LA-based trio Organ Freeman closed out the night’s schedule on the L4LM stage. While they played to a relatively small crowd with JRAD commanding the Peach Stage just a few short steps away, those who caught them caught something very, very special.
Mungion w/ Rob Compa (Dopapod) – The Peach 2019
Perhaps the biggest storyline of the night came with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s midnight set on the Peach Stage on Friday night. The night before, Russo’s wife gave birth to their second daughter three weeks early, rendering the drummer/bandleader unavailable for their scheduled Peach set. However, as Russo noted in his announcement of the change in plans, “THE SHOW MUST GO ON.” In Joe’s place, the band tapped their 19-year-old drum tech (and Russo’s nephew) Evan Roque as well as decorated drummer and frequent Russo collaborator Ben Perowsky to double-drum at the Peach in Joe’s place.
The two stand-in drummers availed themselves brilliantly for what turned out to be a standout Joe Russo’s Almost Dead set sans Russo (Almost Joe Russo’s Almost Dead? No Russo’s Almost Dead?). After kicking off with a deep “Shakedown Street”, the band continued through classics like “Me and My Uncle”, “Eyes of the World”, “The Music Never Stopped”, “Franklin’s Tower”, “Althea”, “The Other One”, “Viola Lee Blues”, and “I Know You Rider” before closing things out with a “Not Fade Away” encore, the entire Peach audience dutifully clapping along.
While this set didn’t feature the sort of high concept teases and unusual tangents normally prompted by Russo, it was special for a different reason: For their set at the Peach, band members Marco Benevento (keys), Tom Hamilton (guitar), Scott Metzger (guitar), and Dave Dreiwitz (bass) just went out and played the good old Grateful Dead—and did it wonderfully. Dad wasn’t home, and you could see and hear a particular giddiness coming from the rest of the band due to the unusual situation. Even Joe (who streamed the show from the hospital) thought so:
Trey Anastasio Band (2 Sets) / Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (Sans Russo) – Full-Set Videos
Sunday, July 28th, 2019 – The Peach Day 4
The vibe was noticeably more relaxed—spiritual, even—on the fourth and final day of The Peach 2019. With no shows running at the Mushroom Stage and a hard end time of 10 p.m., everyone seemed to find their friends, park themselves around the amphitheater and the lawn, and truly appreciate the wonderful experience the weekend had provided. However, there was still more music in store—and, as it turned out, it was some of the best of the weekend.
After Yonder Mountain String Band kickstarted the day on the Peach Stage, Scott Sharrard (guitar), Eric Kalb (drums), and Brett Bass (bass) served as the house band for the first-ever Peach Guitar Pull. The set was inspired by the old Southern tradition of sitting around on porches playing guitar and singing songs. As festival producer Dave Niedbalski explained, these laid back jam sessions often featured more guitarists than actual guitars, leaving participants to jockey for time with the instruments (i.e. “Let me pull that away from you”).
Peach’s onstage reimagining of the Southern Guitar Pull easily ranked among the most memorable sets of the weekend. After the core band opened the set, they proceeded to bring up a parade of guitar virtuosos including Samantha Fish, Jake Cinninger (Umphrey’s McGee), Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Steve Kimock, Rob Compa (Dopapod), and Stanley Jordan. Each new lead guitarist put their own spins on everything from their own originals to classics like “They Love Each Other”, “Norwegian Wood”, and “All Along The Watchtower”. For the set’s grand finale, Sharrard brought up Fish, Cinninger, Kimock, and Jordan for a 5-guitar rendition of the Allmans’ “Southbound”. The Inaugural Peach Guitar Pull was a resounding success, and it’s safe to assume this new tradition will continue for years to come at The Peach.
Following an acoustic performance on the Live For Live Music Stage by singer-songwriter Leah Blevins—whose voice carries a hint of classic Dolly Parton—The Marus King Band took the stage for a scintillating set which featured a sit-in from ABB affiliate Junior Mack on Eddie Boyd-penned blues standard, “Five Long Years”.
The Live For Live Music Stage schedule was initially slated to close out with a pair of 45-minute sets by British blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor, but after visa issues kept her from making it to Scranton, another young guitar wizard stepped in to fill those sets: Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. Playing with his newly streamlined 4-piece band, Taz delivered an outstanding show complete with notable covers like a “Fire on the Mountain” (Grateful Dead)/”Blackbird” (The Beatles) combo and a “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix) encore. He also worked in a number of newer originals, all of which affirmed the same notion: No matter how unfathomably talented this young guitarist is, he manages to get noticeably better every time he hits the stage. The sky is truly the limit for Taz.
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer – The Peach 2019
The festivities on the Peach Stage continued with the highly-awaited Warren Haynes & Grace Potter duo set. Though the pair had played onstage together numerous times in the past, this marked their first time ever performing live as a duo. With Warren on guitar and Grace moving back and forth between guitar and organ, the pair worked through a mix of each of their original songs and classic covers like “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan and “I’d Rather Go Blind”, popularized by Etta James, inserting charming banter between numbers. After a hair-raising duet on Led Zeppelin‘s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, the Haynes and Potter were informed by the stage crew that they had blown past their set’s end time. After a few moments of lament about all the songs they had prepared but not gotten to perform, they were given the green light to play on. For their final number, the pair moved into signature Haynes’ signature Allman Brothers tune, “Soulshine” featuring a guest appearance from saxophonist Ron Holloway. Even with a handful of botched lyrics by Potter, this “Soulshine” was a soul-cleansing closer to a beautiful performance.
The Inaugural Peach Guitar Pull / The Marcus King Band / Warren Haynes & Grace Potter – Full-Set Videos
Finally, with both side stages done for the weekend, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh gathered with a wild lineup of Friends including guitarists Warren Haynes, John Scofield, and Grahame Lesh, keyboardist Holly Bowling, drummer John Molo, and to close out The Peach 2019 on the main stage.
Coming in hot off his set with Grace Potter, Warren kicked things off by leading the super-band through an extended take on Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love”. Phil took over vocals next for a rendition of Robbie Robertson‘s “Broken Arrow”. Haynes retook the microphone for a rendition of Brent Mydland/John Perry Barlow-written latter-day Dead chestnut “Just A Little Light”. Out of the embers of “Just A Little Light”, the opening notes to “Bird Song” fluttered in, with Phil eventually taking vocals as the band eased out of the intro jam and into the first verse. Warren took lead vocals once again on an excellent “All Along The Watchtower” (the second rendition of the day played on the Peach Stage following the Stanley Jordan-led version during the Guitar Pull), which featured some stellar soloing from the incomparable Scofield. Bowling got a chance to flex her piano chops on the exploratory “Viola Lee Blues” that followed before Van Morrison‘s “Into The Mystic” brought the set to a close.
Just as the set was finishing, grey clouds began to gather overhead. Haynes laughed briefly, noting “It wouldn’t be Peach Fest without a storm,” before an official announcement urged everyone to clear the concert field and take shelter. However, the storm passed quickly, and before long Phil & Friends were back on stage and diving into a lengthy “Playing In The Band” jam. Equally exploratory renditions of Traffic‘s “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”, the Garcia/Lesh/Hunter-penned Dead favorite “St. Stephen”, and signature Phil-written Dead tune “Unbroken Chain” followed in succession, the band growing increasingly comfortable and creative as a unit with each passing minute. With time beginning to wind down, Haynes took the reins for a chill-inducing “Morning Dew” before the whole team took it on home with “Uncle John’s Band”. For their encore—and the final song of The Peach 2019—Haynes led the band through a touching “Patchwork Quilt“, his musical remembrance of the day Jerry Garcia shuffled off this mortal coil.
Check out a full audio recording and a selection of crowd-shot videos from the two-set Phil & Friends performance at The Peach 2019 below:
Phil Lesh w/ Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Holly Bowling, John Molo, & More – The Peach 2019
[Taped by Keith Litzenberger]
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Sunshine of Your Love” [Cream cover] – The Peach 2019
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Morning Dew” – The Peach 2019
Phil Lesh & Friends – “Playing In The Band” – The Peach 2019
We had a blast at The Peach, and we’re already counting down the days until next year! Until then, stay tuned for more exclusive backstage content from The Peach 2019 on Live For Live Music.