The general “never miss a Sunday show” rule of thumb rang true this past Sunday, July 15th, at the Ardmore Music Hall when Grateful Shred high-stepped on into town.

Among the newest bands on the Grateful Dead scene, Grateful Shred quickly proved that they’re more than just another tribute to the Dead. The talented assembly of West Coast cosmic cowboys, which includes bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Circles Around The Sun), guitarists Clay Finch, Sam Blasucci, and Austin McCutchen has been making waves in the scene as of late. A slew of psychedelically charged music videos coupled with a fresh feel on the music straight out of the late 70s era and a laid-back demeanor to boot, it’s no question why this band caught the wave so fast.

The group took their fourth night of their East Coast tour to the stage of the Ardmore Music Hall with a high energy showcase of a new wave of Grateful Dead music alongside drummer Richard Gowen (The Growlers) and pianist Frank LoCrasto, augmented by the mind-expanding visuals of the Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show.

With the lava lamp-style liquid lights running, opening act Mapache took the stage. Comprised of Grateful Shred guitarists Blasucci and Finch, the duo performed a set of their original psychedelic-tinged folk songs and some notable covers that revealed the deep roots of influence behind their songwriting including Peter Rowan‘s “Lonesome LA Cowboy” and Townes Van Zant’s “Loretta”.

After a short break the full Grateful Shred lineup took the stage, launched into a jostling “Casey Jones”, and within in a few minutes, it was clear that the train had left the station at full steam ahead. Sticking the landing on the opener and convening in between songs to decide what would be next, the first set stuck with a country western and blues feel with classic cowboy tune “Me & My Uncle” followed by “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Mr. Charlie”. The first set closed with a warmed-up band stretching their improvisational muscles on a “Scarlet > Fire” that sounded like it was plucked from the soundboard of Spring ‘77.

The second set flew in with another sprinkling of country western in the always welcomed “Jack Straw” before the night took an interesting (and funky) turn for the cosmos via a vast “Estimated Prophet”, among several other strong jams that would round out the set. Bassist Dan Horne took lead vocals and proved just how deep the Shred can go on Bob Dylan‘s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, a well-earned slower paced song for the band before they launching into a monstrous “Playin’ In The Band > Space > Truckin > Playin’ In The Band”. Another deep cut followed in the fun bluesy romp that is “I’m a Hog for You”, and the set was ended by a balls-to-the-wall “Shakedown Street” that sonically explained the reason behind the “Shred” in Grateful Shred. Just when the audience thought the music was flowing one way, the band brought it another way; and just as tight as they began, the group reeled it in for a photo finish. “You know, this country was born right up the road from here,” recalled guitarist Austin McCutchen before the band saluted the historic significance of Philadelphia with a fitting “U.S. Blues” encore.

It seems safe to say that the hype being built behind Grateful Shred rings true. The music of the Grateful Dead is in good hands these days, and young bands like this are a great reminder that the music will never stop.

For a full list of Grateful Shred’s upcoming performances, head to their website.

Setlist: Grateful Shred | Ardmore Music Hall | Ardmore, PA | 7/15/18

I: Casey Jones, Me & My Uncle, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Mr. Charlie, Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain

II: Jack Straw, Estimated Prophet, Loose Lucy, Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues, Playing In The Band > Space > Truckin’ > Playing In the band, Althea, Tennessee Jed, Shakedown Street

E: U.S Blues