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Heavy Hittin’ Moments From LockN’

Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA once again played host to the second annual LockN’ Festival over the past four days. The music was an interlocking tangle of various genres, with each day bringing a little something for everyone. Thousands of fans came from near and far to experience this massive festival under the blazing sun. With several changes made to the venue this year, the festival was more organized, providing for a safer and more enjoyable fan experience. In only its second year, it was a huge success.

Check out some of our heavy-hitting moments below:

Kraz Jams With The Revivalists

The Revivalists came on as the first official “interlocken” set of the festival. High-energy as always, these New Orleans rockers seemlessly blended their classic rock chops with contemporary electronic and pop elements. They pull it off quite well. Their set finished on a super high note when Lettuce’s Eric Krasno joined the band for a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” This marked the first collaboration at LockN’ 2014.

Lettuce Brings The Funk

Brooklyn-based funk band Lettuce took to the stage on Thursday afternoon, throwing down a funk-laden set to get the crowd on their feet. With an extraordinary emsemble that features the likes Adam Deitch behind the kit, Jesus Coomes on the bass, Nigel Hall on vocals, Benny Bloom on trumpet, Krasno and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff on guitars, Neal Evans on the keys, and Ryan Zoidis on the saxophone, these guys know how to get down. The set also included a sit-in from the No BS Brass Band. Each funk tune seemed more energetic than the last, building the crowd into a frenzy!

Be sure to catch Lettuce on tour this fall, as presented by Live for Live Music.

String Cheese & The Gang with J.T. Taylor & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Let’s face it. The String Cheese Incident can play any style of music; bluegrass, rock, funk, calypso, etc. So when fans saw SCI would be playing a Kool & The Gang Tribute with former member J.T. Taylor, and accompanied by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, they knew things were going to get weird. Coming off of a really tight set earlier in the night, SCI strapped on their funky shoes and busted out some classic Kool & The Gang material alongside Taylor like “Jungle Boogie,” “Ladies’ Night,” “Joanna,” and “Get Down On It.” The collaboration ended with a very appropriate rendetion of “Celebration” that brought the entire crowd to it’s feet. This capped off an extremely eventful first day of music at the main stages at LockN’.

Check out a fan’s video of “Celebration.”


People’s Blues of Richmond – Hometown Heroes

Friday saw another Virginia based group take the main stage, People’s Blues of Richmond, who fought their way to the afternoon set via the ‘Rockn’ To Lockn’‘ battle of the bands competition. PBR had just come off a ten day tour when they learned of the news that they would be performing at Lockn’. PBR was formed in Richmond, VA in 2009 and consists of Matthew Volkes on bass, Nekoro Williams on drums and Tim Beavers on guitar and vocals. Williams was also lucky enough to perform with Lettuce at the festival on Thursday night. Their set was packed with high-energy, funk rock beats. The Stage design included a mannequin, blown up cutouts of their faces in front of the stage, and an oversized baseball bat. These guys definitely got the audience on their feet despite the blazing sun. At one point, Beavers was playing the guitar with his teeth. The set ended with the smashing of an old television and speaker on stage. Overall, their tight sound reflected the excitement of performing at such a large event.

TAUK Delivers A Jam-Packed Set

TAUK, a five piece jam band from Long Island, NY, performed on the main stage at The Lockn’ Festival on Friday afternoon.  TAUK consists of Matt Jalbert on guitar, Charlie Dolan on bass, Alric “A.C.” Carter on keyboard and Isaac Teel on drums.  TAUK has a melodic, improvisational sound that does not include a singer. This allows the band to go to adventurous musical places without having to focus on vocal quality.  

Their set at the Lockn’ was a labyrinth of harmonious energy that flowed from one song to another. The compelling melodies were a perfect backdrop under the beautiful skies of the day. TAUK has been on a steady rise in the music scene. After their appearance at Lockn’, don’t be surprised if their fan base grows tenfold.

Bill Kreutzmann’s LockNstep Allstars

 Photo Via Jake Blakesberg Photography

After the sting of Bob Weir having to cancel his performances at LockN’ (and all other performances) wore off, festival goers had something to smile about again when it was announced that Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann would fill in with a makeshift lineup dubbed the LockNstep Allstars. This group of Allstars included Jerry Garcia disciple and Ratdog guitarist Steve KimockDisco Biscuits’ keyboard player Aaron Magner, the Allman Brothers Band’s Oteil Burbridge on bass, and the American Babies’ Tom Hamilton on guitar, with special guests Keller WilliamsCol. Bruce HamptonPapa MaliEOTO, and the immortal Taj Mahal. Needless to say expectations were high. 

With Kreutzmann directing traffic up front, the group got acquainted with a cover of Sam Cooke‘s “Let The Good Times Roll,” and oh, how they did. As the night wore on, the Allstars ramped up their improvisational sections and dug deeper and deeper into the Grateful Dead catalog. After some sly guitar work from Keller Williams on “They Love Each Other” and “Bird Song” it was time for Taj Mahal to take center stage. The grizzly veteran joined the ensemble for outstanding versions of “Further On Down The Road” and “Stagger Lee,” both of which he demonstrated his still superb picking skills on. 

Photo Via Jake Blakesberg Photography

However, the real centerpiece of the set was the final run of segues and jam vehicles: “Help On The Way” > “Dark Star” > “Wharf Rat” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower.” “Help On The Way” can twist and turn in any way it likes and this one found it’s way to an incredible “Drums” section in which Kreutzmann was left alone in the darkness playing only to the beat in his head. Meanwhile, next door at the Oak stage, String Cheese Incident drummers Michael Travis and Jason Hann aka EOTO took to their sets and started to share in the groove. This “Drums” section was electric, with all three players feeding off one another, building up the energy until the dreamy chords of a “Dark Star” lead by Steve Kimock emerged out of it. Pure bliss. After finishing their section, the EOTO guys came around stage and both embraced Kreutzmann together. The crowd went wild.

Kreutzmann and the Allstars rounded out the set with a chilling version of “Wharf Rat,” aided by Papa Mali, and a “Franklin’s Tower” that had everyone “rolling away the dew” before the end of the song was over. Musicians that seldom play together can make for some of the most spectacular moments. This set counted as one of those moments.

The Gary Clark Jr. Afternoon Blues

Make no question about it. Gary Clark Jr. is the real deal and a force to be reckon with. His afternoon set on Saturday at LockN’ was as heavy as anything played over the four days at the festival. His playing was ferocious and precise from the onset, and just when you might’ve thought he was only a great blues guitarist, he opens his mouth and sings, and it’s like something off of a great 70’s LP. There are very few one-two punches as good as Gary Clark. For a stream of his set from LockN’ click here.

Keller Williams Takes Over The Triangle Stage

Situated among the shade and hammocks of the forest camping area, the Triangle Stage played host to Keller Williams three times in four days. Traditionally a one-man band with his use of loops and multiple instrumentation, Williams came to LockN’ with the music of the Grateful Dead on his mind and a number of different ways to play it in. Not only was he a part of Bill Kreutzmann’s LockNstep Allstars, Williams brought along his side projects, Grateful Grass and Grateful Gospel (his funk band, More Than A Little, with the support), too. Selections during Grateful Grass included a number of Dead staples like “Jack Straw,” “The Greastest Story Ever Told, “Loose Lucy,” and even a Garcia special, “Catfish John.” Hearing Dead tunes being played in the context of a string band can’t help but put a pep in one’s step. 

Come the final day of the festival, Williams was dressed in his Sunday best and lead the packed afternoon crowd through a delightful set of gospel music according to the Grateful Dead. This unique arrangement made the forrest feel like a hallowed church and the throngs of people its’ devout congregation. Keller kicked out some classic Dead material including a “We Bid You Goodnight” opener, a terrificably soulful breakdown of “Samson And Delilah,” and a next level “Eyes Of The World” that left an imprint on the entire crowd as they went on with the rest of their day. Grateful Gospel was the only way to start Sunday morning at LockN’.

Here’s a nice portion of what went down at Grateful Gospel on Sunday:

Phil And Friends x2

Friday evening ended on the main stage with Phil Lesh & Friends. The makeup of the band was Phil Lesh on bass, Joe Russo on drums, John Scofield on guitar, Warren Haynes on guitar and vocals, and John Medeski on keyboards. It goes without saying that there was a lot of noodling going on during their set. Scofield’s jazz/fusion style of playing intermingled with Warren’s precise and snarling tone always makes for interesting exchanges when these two guitar gods get togeher. Surpringly enough, Phil & Friends covered two Traffic tunes, “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” the night before Steve Winwood was set to play with Widespread Panic. An odd choice in set selection, but extremely enjoyable nonetheless.

The highlight of the set was unquestionably the “Unbroken Chain,” an incredibly long tune that drifted in and out of form. The jam was mind blowing. The set of the evening/early morning hours led into a mind trip, transporting fans back to the days of when the Dead still toured.  Their second show of the festival on Saturday was much more relaxed than Friday night’s performance but was cut short due to impending severe weather that left festival directors with the decision to evacuate the festival grounds. Nonetheless, the band was able to churn out a snappy version of “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad,” deep cuts of “Dark Star” and “Wharf Rat,” and also indulged the LockN’ crowd with a cover of The Beatles‘ “She Said, She Said.”

Check out some fan footage of “Unbroken Chain” below:


Double Rainbow At Wilco

[Via Lockn’ Facebook]

A quick down pour during Wilco lead to a double rainbow. They kept the crowd on their feet even with the rain. A nice cool off during this oppressive day was very welcome.

High Energy From Tedeschi-Trucks Band, Tedeschi Guests With Everyone

Susan Tedeschi of the Tedeschi Trucks Band was nothing but a ball of energy. That guitar was ripping while she was belting out the tunes. Derek Trucks looked at home and at ease on stage. Tedeschi later appeared with Willie Nelson, and even came out with Widespread Panic to play a cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me.” Check out the audio below!

Steve Winwood Leads Widespread Panic Through Classic Gems

Among the most anticipated collabartions of the weekend was Widespread Panic with legendary Traffic front man Steve Winwood. After the storm had passed over Oak Ridge Farm Saturday evening, festival atendees scurried back into the venue to see what WSP and Winwood would throw down. What they got was a great mix of old school traffic songs like “Glad,” “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Also of note were several Spencer Davis Group tunes, ones that Winwood has made his own over time – “I’m A Man” and the ever energetic “Gimme Some Lovin.'” It was a perfect send off for the set and one of the better nights of music at LockN’.


The Allman Brothers End Festival With At Fillmore East

For the final set of the festival and their final festival appearance ever, pioneers of southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band, took to the stage to recreate one of their finest pieces of recorded work, At Fillmore East. The crowd was buzzing with antiicpation leading up to the first notes, as there was hardly any room to manuver around the crowd when the lights came down. The band also dedicated the set to the late Brian Farmer who served as Warren Haynes’ guitar tech in all of Haynes’ ventures. The entire band sported black Farmer t-shirts. It was a very nice touch.

Once Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks launched into “Statesboro Blues” everyone knew it was game on. The sweet slide guitar licks Trucks featured on “Statesboro” must have had Duane Allman looking down from heaven and smiling. Gregg Allman would get in on the action soon enough too, as he lead the band through a sweet and sultry version of “Stormy Monday.” The Allmans have always been able to flip the switch from their heavy southern rock style to sweet, easy blues. This was a great example.

The energy got ramped up again towards the end of the set when bass player Oteil Burbridge start dropping bombs to the unmistakable intro of “Whipping Post.” The energy at that point was crazy and the pace of the jam fierce. ABB rounded out their set with a heady “Mountain Jam” > “Blue Sky” > “Little Martha” > “Mountain Jam” segue that had the entire Oak Ridge farm grooving. Despite a flub from Gregg during “Blue Sky,” the band rebounded well and wrapped up their final festival performance with a “Mountain Jam” reprise. The riff is so contageous one can’t but bob their head to that sweet signature sound of the Allman Brothers’ guitars. The set was a glorious send off for the Allman Brothers and one that atendees of LockN’ 2014 will not soon forget.


-Written by Sarah Bourque and Shane McFarland