Since the schedule for The Peach Music Festival 2021 was announced, many fans have had Saturday, July 3rd circled on their calendars. From a packed daytime slate of buzz-worthy artists to a nighttime pairing of two highly sought-after, all-star collaborations, Saturday at The Peach was always going to be special—a bar met and exceeded by the fireworks (both musical and literal) that lit up Montage Mountain on the festival’s third full day.

Related: The Peach 2021 Friday Recap: JRAD, Umphrey’s, ‘Fillmore East’, moe., Ghost Light, Aqueous, & More [Photos/Videos]

Kitchen Dwellers kicked things off over at the Peach Stage with some high-intensity bluegrass. As opposed to the blues that started off on Friday, the banjo and mandolin provided the sustenance to carry one’s soul into the long day ahead. With originals like “Broken Page” mixed in with covers of “Circles” (Arthur Lee via Mac Miller) and a closing tribute to the late Jeff Austin, Dwellers didn’t waste a moment of their hour on the big stage.

Next up came a solo set from Mr. Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. The guitar skills of the ever-growing former child prodigy have never been in question, but here we got to see the full range of his talent as he led a band of his own and showcased his songwriting abilities. The years have been kind to Taz, which isn’t something you can commonly say for bluesmen.

Taz’s ascension to master bandleader would wind up being one of the overarching themes of the weekend, due in no small part to his reverence for his many legendary teachers. Watch out, everyone—Brandon is coming in hot. Watch him perform “Compared To What?” as an homage to Col. Bruce Hampton below.

Brandon “Taz” Niederauer – “Compared To What?” (For Col. Bruce Hampton) – 7/3/21

[Video: Michael Broerman]

Yak Attack and Ballyhoo! got the Mushroom Stage moving for the day. Dark storm clouds threatened rain over the water park as Andy Frasco came up next to lead The U.N. and the usual motley crew of “whomever happens to be hanging side stage” through a rowdy water park set. Notable sit-ins included Frasco’s “step son, Taz Frasco,” Devon Allman, Doom Flamingo’s Kanika Moore, and Aqueous guitarist Mike Gantzer, who got in some crowd surfing during his guest spot on “Love Is A Gun”. Frasco even stripped down to his boxers to properly rage a cover of “Killing In The Name”. Festival debauchery at its finest.


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Andy Frasco & The U.N. – Mushroom Stage – Full Set – 7/3/21

[Video: mk devo]

Back on the Peach Stage, instrumental prog-jam quartet TAUK set fans up on a very clear path toward the dark sounds that would eventually come from Oysterhead later in the evening. With fan-favorite originals like “Times Up” and “Afrotonic” mixed in with the new original “Aquatic Curtain”, it was impossible to resist the urge to head-bang when you weren’t getting lost in the wizardry of Isaac Teel’s drumming. Between Joe Russo, Isaac Teel, Kris Myers, and more—with Copeland to come—the drum riser on the Peach Stage has been hallowed ground this weekend. The band also brought out Kanika Moore for an appropriately smoking sit-in on Jimi Hendrix‘s “Fire” ahead of her own set.

TAUK/Oteil & Friends (Combined Audio) – Full Sets – 7/3/21

[Video: Sinclair]

At every festival, despite best laid schemes, there is always a big miss—that one set you’ve been dying to see, the one you’ve had circled on the lineup for weeks, but you just can’t make happen. The early-evening Neal Francis set at the Mushroom Stage was a casualty of logistics for us on Saturday. We can’t wait to catch Neal on tour, and luckily he has some fun shows on the books. But sometimes, you just have to stay put…

Case in point: Celisse at the Grove Stage. Many fans at the Peach know Celisse from her role as a singer with Trey Anastasio‘s Ghosts of the Forest and her guest spots with Phish, but none of those appearances had put her trusty Gibson SG in her hands. Now, with her band behind her and a huge crowd braving the elements in front of her, Celisse commanded the guitar-loving Peach masses with palpable delight.

Throughout her set, Celisse challenged preconceived notions of a typical lead guitarist. As she quipped, “People expect the voice and then I start playing guitar and they’re like, ‘this can’t be!’ But it is, in the flesh, it’s me. It’s time to rethink what rockstars look like, huh?”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe vibes emanated from Celisse as she dug into a searing cover of “Chain of Fools” while the weather rapidly shifted overhead, both rain and sun peeking through the breaking clouds. With time for a few more songs—and the rain now pouring down in buckets—Celisse welcomed up special guest Trey Anastasio (on the “special guest mic”) for a three-song sit-in.

As Celisse joked while Anastasio got situated ,”Trey gets onstage and I get a bunch of smoke. It’s like, he brings the smoke… The guitar god is here!”

A big smile on his face, Trey responded, “The guitar god has been here the whole set.”

The sparks came instantly as Trey and Celisse dueled on “Undercover”, a thrilling exchange of riffs and raw energy between two friends and bandmates who had yet to perform live together on two guitars. The impact of the jam was immediate, a dazed Celisse joking that “we may as well end the festival now” while a grinning Trey added, “The f*cking pandemic is over, everybody.” It’s good to be back.

After a run through the traditional “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”, Celisse, Trey, and company closed out the standout performance with an appropriate rendition of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll”.

Watch a full video of the “Undercover” Celisse/Trey Anastasio guitar duel below (and a huge thank you to Ike Richman for standing strong in the downpour to capture this amazing moment).

Oteil Burbridge & Friends began with some ambient instrumental jams on the Peach Stage for a set that would weave through numerous genres, catalogs, moods, and special guests. The Dead & Company bassist soon brought out guitarist Eric Krasno for “Cats Down Under The Stars” and a wishful “Here Comes Sunshine” as storm clouds raged just outside the safety of the amphitheater. Those fans lucky enough to get under the pavilion settled in for the long haul, Oteil providing the spiritual nourishment to pray this rain away.

With virtually the entire Allman Betts Band making appearances throughout the set, the enduring legacy of the Allman Brothers at The Peach was as apparent as ever. Gesturing to a stage full of extended ABB family and second-generation Brothers, Burbridge gushed, “This is how you do Peach Fest, right here.”

Oteil Burbridge & Friends w/ Eric Krasno – “Here Comes Sunshine” – 7/3/21

[Video: Michael Broerman]

Next, Doom Flamingo made its Peach Stage debut in the same spot where Kanika Moore helped Ryan Stasik and Umphrey’s McGee ignite a cover of “Dazed and Confused” the night prior. With a level of animation and charisma that makes it impossible to look away, Moore, Stasik, and the rest of the Doom crew gave off Blade Runner-like club vibes as a precursor to the evening’s headliner.

Up at the Mushroom Stage, Dopapod welcomed the twilight hours—and the emerging sunlight—with a fantastic performance to a packed crowd. Following an expansive “Vol 3 #86″, bassist Chuck Jones appealed to the crowd to chant “Tim!” for his young son’s second birthday. The audience gladly played along with the heartwarming gesture—most of them blissfully unaware that Chuck doesn’t actually have a two-year-old son named Tim. From there, the band dove into its surprising yet satisfying cover of Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy”.

Guitarist Rob Compa took a moment to address the crowd at The Peach and thank them for coming, explaining how he’s been at Montage Mountain hanging since Thursday because “this is my favorite festival in the world.” The band moved nimbly from heavy bass to delicate tones to soaring peaks as the set went on—even going full “Harry Hood” on a blissful “Blast” jam later in the set—a testament to Dopapod’s endless range and creativity. Check out the full setlist here and watch a full video of the set below.

Dopapod – Mushroom Stage – Full Set – 7/3/21

[Video: mk devo]

Now, down to the business: the festival’s headliner, Oysterhead. The supergroup trio featuring Les Claypool (Primus), Stewart Copeland (The Police), and Trey Anastasio (Phish) first came together on May 4th, 2000 for a late-night performance in New Orleans during Jazz Fest at the Saenger Theatre and, due to overwhelming demand, reformed in 2001 to record and release The Grand Pecking Order. After the North American tour that followed (and a one-off reunion at Bonnaroo in 2006), Oysterhead was out of action for nearly 15 years. The trio returned to action last year and announced a slew of tour dates—including a headlining slot at the scrapped 2020 edition of The Peach—but the pandemic intervened following two February reunion shows in Colorado.

Oysterhead wasted no time diving into darkness for just its third performance since 2006, appropriately opening the deranged display of master musicianship with “Mr. Oysterhead” (when all else has been done and said…). Weaving through a nonstop string of songs and mind-bending, ominous improv—with Trey taking some obligatory turns on the “Matterhorn” guitar—the set was like a fever dream. More so than a “superjam” between three legendary artists, this was a stunning performance by a top-notch band—one we didn’t realize how much we had missed until they were back in front of us.

Of note, Oysterhead briefly broke from its recorded repertoire for a run through Trey/Phish favorite “First Tube”, Claypool’s inimitably rumbling bass serving as a fitting homage to the late Tony Markellis. After closing the set with “Owner of the World”, Trey, Les, and Stewart returned for a manic “Pseudo Suicide” encore to cap their first big show since their last big show, some 17 months ago.


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Oysterhead – Full Set – 7/3/21

[Video: oskar]

To close the Peach Stage, Turkuaz took the stage with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew for the long-awaited debut of their Remain In Light Talking Heads tribute. The many voices and players onstage came together seamlessly to bounce around the album’s track listing as well as other Talking Heads favorites like “Psycho Killer”, “I Zimbra”, “Drugs”, “Cities”, “Rev It Up”, “Life During Wartime”, and “Take Me To The River”. The band also worked in a rendition of King Crimson‘s “Thela Hun Ginjeet”, a nod to Belew’s work with the prog rockers, his unmistakeable guitar tones shining through.

They also worked in “Ophidiophobia”, the new Turkuaz track written with Belew and Harrison. The Talking Heads fare continued from there, as Josh Schwartz did his best Byrne on “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)”. Throughout the show, the presence of Harrison and Belew provided an added layer of excitement, with Adrian consistently adding his other-worldly sounds on guitar and Jerry’s voice and presence exuding the very nature of the Talking Heads. This party was 100% worth the wait. Make sure you catch it on tour this year.


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Turkuaz w/ Jerry Harrison, Adrian Belew – “Psycho Killer” – 7/3/21

[Video: Skelator Revised]

All the while, just a few steps away at the Grove, Yam Yam was throwing down a set of jams for a delighted crowd of fans. You can watch a full video of the Yam Yam set from The Peach below.

Yam Yam – The Peach – Full Set – 7/3/19

[Video: YAM YAM]

Though it was already midnight, Spafford refused to let the party end over on the Mushroom Stage. With two hours to play, the band thrived on its ample two-hour set time slot as fans raged, raged against the dying of the night with an opening “Ain’t That Wrong”. It ain’t.

While there were some massive peaks from Brian Moss, the band was also able to take its time with some slow funk through Atlanta Rhythm Section‘s “So Into You” courtesy of Andrew “Red” Johnson. The baby-making music was alive and well before things took a hard turn through “Who Can It Be Now?” by Men At Work. The set wound down with “Mind’s Unchained” and “My Road, My Road” to put a cap on a fantastic day at The Peach.

Spafford – “Doghouse” – Mushroom Stage – 7/3/21

[Video: Michael Broerman]

Spafford – “Plans” – Mushroom Stage – 7/3/21

[Video: Michael Broerman]

Check out some photo galleries from the Saturday festivities at The Peach 2021 below via photographers Jesse FaatzAndrew Hutchins, and Jake Katznelson.

One more day today—see you out on the mountain for a sunny Sunday at The Peach 2021!

You can also revisit our daily coverage from ThursdayFriday, and Sunday at The Peach.