Charleston, SC’s Charleston Pour House is hosting its third annual Everyone Orchestra gathering this weekend. On Thursday, the ensemble played a special gig billed as “Everyone’s Dead”, which featured Matt Butler on drums, in addition to an all-star cast of nationally recognized musicians.

The first night of the band’s three-night weekend run featured two sets of Grateful Dead favorites. Butler rounded up Jeff Mosier (Aquarium Rescue Unit), John Kadlecik (Furthur), George Gekas (The Revivalists), Jeremy Schon (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), and Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits).

In the first set, Pour House patrons saw songs reminiscent of an early 80s Grateful Dead set, as the band kicked things off with “Alabama Getaway”. Kadlecik then led the group through a soulful rendition of “They Love Each Other”, while the not so newcomer from PPPP, Jeremy Schon, took the first big solo of the night. While trading off with Magner, the duo locked into a melodic theme, backed by their seasoned bandmates.

Kadlecik continued handling the lead role as the band moved forward with “Althea.” Through the first verses, Schon put together Bob Weir-like inversions underneath Kadlecik’s guitar, while Magner took his Prophet-6 synth for a ride. This gave way for Kadlecik to pass on a solo back to Schon once again. “Bertha” came next, with Magner taking the lead on vocals. Magner wove a tapestry portraying the Brent Mydland Dead years, while showing off his vocal grit throughout the piece. An incredible breakdown by Butler tested Schon, who followed through with a scorching guitar showdown. Kadlecik stepped back to center stage with a dark and dreary “West L.A. Fadeaway”, which eventually landed in an uptempo “New Minglewood Blues.” Mosier began to show his colors on the electric banjo, before the band smoothly-segued into “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Gekas rocked the bass with references to The Revivalists‘ rendition of “Hey Jude,” before diving into a set-closing take on “I Know You Rider”.

Everyone Orchestra kicked off their second set with “Deal”, led by an excited and high-energy Kadlecik. Throughout the night, Butler used gestures and cues to guide the six-piece through the show, in true Everyone Orchestra fashion. Mosier led the next tune with “Black Muddy River”, which allowed Magner to flex his traditional style on piano. A quick transition initiated by Matt Butler into “Samson and Delilah” switched the crowd’s sentimental feelings to those of joy and explosive energy, as the group weaved from biblical to electric. Reverend Mosier took lead on the next sequence with a fast-paced “Friend of the Devil”, which was followed up by “Me and My Uncle”. As Mosier and Kadlecik harmonized through the standard folk numbers, Matt Butler worked his tom-tom drums until the crowd caught a tease of “The Other One.” This ultimately led to a second set jam that was both eery and joyous. The band moved forward with “He’s Gone”, allowing Kadlecik to flex his chops one last time on vocals.

The show ended with a traditional rendition of “Brown Eyed Woman” led by Mosier, along with an introduction of the band from Matt Butler. Instead of an encore, the group played a roughly nine-minute version of “Franklin’s Tower”, which kickstarted what is sure to be one hell of a weekend. The prequel to the third annual Everyone Orchestra Gathering was nothing but impressive. From a single set of Everyone’s Dead featuring Oteil Burbridge on the deck stage back in 2017, to an entire headlining night, Everyone’s Dead at Charleston Pour House has become an occasion.

Matt Butler and company will continue the action Friday, March 1st with a traditional Everyone Orchestra set, with support from Cris Jacobs Band. Saturday will be an all-day affair with members of Everyone Orchestra and local mandolinist Aaron Firetag reviving Jerry Garcia & David Grisman’s iconic album, The Pizza Tapes. Local rockers Easy Honey will keep the party going on the deck following The Pizza Tapes performance. On Saturday, rising progressive rock quartet Schema will handle the evening’s opening duties.

Check out a beautiful gallery of photos from Thursday night courtesy of photographer Ellison White below.

Head here for tickets and more information.

Setlist: Everyone Orchestra | Charleston Pour House | Charleston, SC | 2/28/2019

Set One: Alabama Getaway > They Love Each Other > Althea > Bertha > West L.A. Fadeaway > New
Minglewood > Dear Mr. Fantasy > I Know You Rider

Set Two: Deal > Black Muddy River > Samson and Delilah >Friend of the Devil > Me and My Uncle* >
He’s Gone > Brown Eyed Woman > Franklin’s Tower

*The Other One teases