Southern California’s Cubensis wowed the dancing crowd as they took to the stage at the Moroccan Lounge in downtown Los Angeles this past Sunday.
Known for their recreation of the Grateful Dead concert experience, the band brings an authentic and unique spirit to the Dead’s live catalog. Coming in from the previous night’s show in Long Beach, CA at Golden Sails, the band composed of Craig Marshall (Guitar), Nate LaPointe (Guitar), Tom Ryan (Keyboard), Larry Ryan (Bass), Ed Fletcher (Drums), and Brad Rhodus (Drums) delivered a fun mix of archival fan-favorites.
The night began with a groovy “Feel Like a Stranger” with LaPointe soulfully singing on the vocals. Carrying on with the hip tones of “Stranger”, Cubensis strutted next into “West L.A. Fadeaway”. Craig Marshall shined through with a guitar solo that felt distinct and deliberate as he snagged notes from the air. His guitar licks are like red herrings that lead the mind one way and the ears another. Third on the setlist was the Jerry Garcia Band’s “Lonesome and a Long Way From Home”. The JGB tune was complimented by twangy guitar and bass notes felt reverberating in the body.
Following the denouement of “Lonesome”, Marshall took a moment to thank the in-house sound engineer, Yoshi, and Cubensis’ lighting designer, Bill McCoy–also known as “Billy Sunday”–for being there to make the band sound good and look good.
With a country-western flair, the band trotted into Kingfish’s “Big Iron” as LaPointe led the way on the vocals. Sliding down the keys in a bluesy rendition of “Never Trust a Woman”, Tom Ryan echoed the deep heart of Brent Mydland in this 1980’s Dead tune. Throughout the song of triumph for the underdog and ominous warning, Marshall hit his wah pedal outfitting an expressive solo. “Foolish Heart” came next with drummer Ed Fletcher sporting vocals followed by Tom and Nate on the bridge. Larry barreled down the line on the bass, and the band settled into the comfort of heartbreak redemption.
Rounding back up for set two, Tom Ryan led the band with vocals for “Gimme Some Lovin’”. The performance boasted a drum-heavy ending by Rhodus and Fletcher. “Lost Sailor” brought the crowd back in from sea with Nate on the vocals. Portions of the jam section of “Gimme Some Lovin’” included “Dear Prudence” vibes as Craig’s creative spirit called through the guitar. The band followed Craig into “Saint of Circumstance” with a passionate exclamation of “This must be heaven, because here’s where the rainbow ends” lyric section. The lead guitar turned glossy as band members jumped up and through the beat.
The stage is then cleared with Ed and Brad getting loud with “Drums”. Tom joined in for a bit of “Space”. The full band then returned to play “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad”. This is a feel-good jam with waxy pulls on the guitar and the crowd going
To round out the set, Cubensis gave fans an “It Must Have Been the Roses” and closed the night with a fun “Lovelight” that included a jovial tambourine solo by Fletcher. To revive and send the crowd on their merry way, the band encores with a full “Terrapin Station”.
Setlist: Cubensis | Moroccan Lounge | Los Angeles, CA | 2/16/20
Set One: Feel Like a Stranger, West L.A. Fadeaway, Lonesome and a Long Way From Home, Big Iron, Never Trust a Woman, Foolish Heart, Lazy Lightning > Supplication > Might as Well
Set Two: Gimme Some Lovin’, Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance, Crazy Fingers > Drums > Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad, It Must Have Been the Roses, Turn On Your Lovelight
Encore: Terrapin Station