On Wednesday night, Oteil Burbridge & Friends made their second stop in Charleston, SC at The Charleston Pour House with Melvin Seals (organ), Eric Krasno (guitar), John Kadlecik (guitar), Jay Lane (drums), Weedie Braimah (djembe), and Alfreda Gerald (vocals). The supergroup set the night in motion with “Water in the Desert,” the soulful, R&B-infused title track off Burbidge’s recently released solo album. Spirits were high as the band moved onto Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing,” sung by Gerald and featuring a scorching B3 solo from Seals. The Jerry Garcia Band classic “Rubin and Cherise” followed, allowing Krasno and Kadlecik to loosen up, trading guitar licks that were accompanied by tasteful Vince Welnick-esque synth lines from Seals.
The band then moved to the bluesy Pigpen number, “It Hurts Me Too,” in which Gerald sang the third verse from the top of the subwoofer. As the song progressed, she beckoned for the crowd to join in. At one point, Gerald handed the mic to a member of the audience, who sang the tagline of the chorus surprisingly in key. Krasno then took the lead on Burbidge’s own “Unconditional Love,” which was followed by the Peter Tosh classic and JGB favorite, “Stop That Train,” featuring Burbidge on lead vocals. The first set came to a close with dueling guitar work from Krasno and Kadlecik on “Run For The Roses.”
The second set kicked off with the Grateful Dead’s beloved “Eyes of the World,” the highlight of which was a tasteful solo from Kadlecik. The song transitioned to a spacey improv section led by Burbidge, Lane, Seals and Braimah. Lane took the reins as the song concluded, giving the crowd a boost of energy with hard-hitting drum fills that surprised even those on stage. Gerald once again invited the crowd to participate during the chorus of Duane Allman and Aretha Franklin’s version of “The Weight,” making for an especially soulful rendition of the song.
Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” was next, followed by Kadlecik’s “What’s Become of Mary.” JGB favorite, “Cats Under The Stars” followed, featuring blazing guitar work from both Krasno and Kadlecik. Seals shined on B3 in Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody,” closing out the extended set. The band didn’t waste much time getting back on stage for a two-song encore that consisted of Marvin Gaye‘s, “How Sweet It Is” and Janis Joplin‘s, “Piece of My Heart,” ending the show on a high-note.
Oteil & Friends have remaining stops in Charlotte, Raleigh, Silver Spring (Md) and a sold-out show in Pittsburgh to cap the mini-tour next week. The Charleston Pour House, meanwhile, will host Justin Townes Earle tonight. For a full schedule of upcoming shows at “The PoHo,” visit their website here.
Check out the full gallery below from Ellison White.