On September 25th, jam band stalwarts Perpetual Groove went live from Music Matters in Atlanta, GA for an immersive livestream event. The career-spanning performance closed out with a segue of the relatively-new composition “A. Retro” into a choice cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.

Ahead of the stream, dubbed Sweet Covidious Antidote, the Georgia-bred outfit warned that this would likely be “the only event of this scale” they will host “during COVID times.” Additionally, out of an abundance of caution drummer Albert Suttle did not travel to the gig and was instead replaced by Darren Stanley (Col. Bruce Hampton, Jimmy Herring and the 5 of 7).

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From the band’s 2019 self-titled album, “A. Retro” takes direct aim at the institutions and agencies in the United States that have allowed for systematic oppression and the ever-increasing divide between rich and poor. Using the 360-degree LED screens available at Music Matters, the band projects images from the front lines for the fight for equality, featuring protests and other peaceful demonstrations.

By employing Springsteen’s title track from his 1995 folk album, which itself is a reference to The Grapes of Wrath, P Groove brings home the idea that this class divide is nothing new to this country. This rendition also marked the band’s first performance of the cover, and saw keyboardist Matt McDonald don the guitar and join frontman Brock Butler. For their interpretation of the song, Perpetual Groove went with the much heavier Rage Against The Machine rendition, rather than the original acoustic version by Springsteen.

Watch Perpetual Groove perform “A. Retro” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” during their Sweet Covidious Antidote stream from September 25th. Scroll down to watch the full livestream.

Perpetual Groove – “A. Retro” > “The Ghost of Tom Joad” – Atlanta, GA – 9/25/20

[Video: Perpetual Groove]

Perpetual Groove – Sweet Covidious Antidote – Atlanta, GA – 9/25/20