The New York City-based rock outfit High Time has spent the last 18 months establishing itself as one of the more talented Grateful Dead tribute acts since they began hosting sold-out monthly performances at Brooklyn’s Union Pool starting in February 2018. Since then, the five-piece group has been forced to relocate their monthly Dead-themed shows to nearby Brooklyn Bowl, where the sizable performance space permits the equally larger number of NYC area Deadheads, which the band continues to attract.
Following their phenomenal two-set performance at Brooklyn Bowl on Sunday, it’s become impossible to ignore High Time–in a scene populated with Grateful Dead-inspired bands–as one of the standout acts which carries on the legacy of Jerry Garcia and company. With larger draws like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead now simply too popular to fit into their old Brooklyn Bowl home, High Time has managed to find their own niche corner of the Dead universe to become the venue’s new hometown heroes with the ability to impressively pack the popular music hall even on a Sunday.
High Time, which specializes in the “Primal Era Dead” live catalog of 1965-1974, opened up their show with high-energy, but mostly contained performances of “Jack Straw” and “Brown Eyed Women”. The start of the set continued with their take on Noah Lewis‘ “Big Railroad Blues” followed by a lively “They Love Each Other” and “Beat It On Down The Line”. The band finally began to channel the psychedelic watercolor light show which flooded the crowded venue by unleashing their first lengthy jam of the night following the first verse and chorus of “Playing in the Band” as they grooved their way right into a lengthy “Eyes of the World” before returning to “Playing in the Band” to close the two-song, three-part segue. The set came to a close with a very fun rendition of “Cumberland Blues”, which featured guitarist Michael O’Neill and drummer Adam Kriney along with keyboardist Kevin Uehlinger really stepping up to knock the choral harmonic vocals out of the park.
The band returned following set break to open the second half of the show with a pair of tunes themed around weather of the warmer variety beginning with “Here Comes Sunshine”, which jammed its way into the familiar opening notes of “China Cat Sunflower”. As Deadheads celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s first “China Cat Sunflower” pairing with “I Know You Rider” earlier this week, it was only fitting that High Time charge its way into their cover of the blues standard after a wonderful transition out of “China Cat Sunflower” to launch the second set into orbit.
The packed venue was, by this point, all-in on staying out late for a Sunday performance as the band continued into “Scarlet Begonias”. Afterwhich, Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan made his way to the stage to help the band charge into a wildly psychedelic take on “Dark Star”. Following some jamming into the cosmic rock anthem, Rabinbach sung out the first verse before leading the music’s transition into “Wharf Rat” and “The Other One” with Kaplan’s added guitar only fueling the high levels of psychedelia oozing its way around ‘The Bowl.’ The music continued right into the thunderous drum intro of The Crickets‘ “Not Fade Away” and followed by “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” before moving into the more intimate “We Bid You Goodnight” to close the set. The band returned for a one-song encore of “Bertha”–sans Kaplan–to send fans into the work week with a dance in their step.
Watch the performances of “Dark Star”, “Wharf Rat”, and “The Other One” featuring Kaplan’s sit-in below.
High Time feat. Ira Kaplan – “Dark Star” – 10/6/19
[Video: High Time]
High Time feat. Ira Kaplan – “Dark Star” > “Wharf Rat” > “The Other One” – 10/6/19
[Video: High Time]
High Time continues to climb the ranks of New York City’s larger music venues as their next show will take place at Bowery Ballroom across the East River in Manhattan in a few month’s time. Fans should take the initiative to purchase their tickets for the show sooner than later, as High Time continues to pile on new fans with each show by the dozens. Make no mistake–High Time is the real deal.
Scroll down for a gallery of photos from Sunday’s show, courtesy of Tom Coyote.
Setlist: High Time | Brooklyn Bowl | Brooklyn, NY | 10/6/2019
Set One: Jack Straw, Brown Eyed Women, Big Railroad Blues (Noah Lewis cover), They Love Each Other, Beat It on Down the Line, Playing in the Band > Eyes of the World > Playing in the Band, Cumberland Blues
Set Two: Here Comes Sunshine > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider (Traditional cover), Scarlet Begonias, Dark Star* > Wharf Rat* > The Other One* > Not Fade Away* (The Crickets cover) > Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad* (Woody Guthrie cover) > We Bid You Goodnight* (Traditional cover)
* w/ Ira Kaplan