By: Miranda Stryker
September 8, 2015
If you haven’t seen the lineup for this year’s LOCKN’ Music Festival yet, you might buy a ticket and make a road trip to Arrington, Virginia after reading this article. Now about to execute its third dynamite lineup, LOCKN’ has built up quite the hype for itself of having the best, most unique performances filled with bucket list-making collaborations and surprise sit-ins, jaw dropping solos, and deep space. This festival features a slue of firey, highly skilled improvisational sets that expose the artists’ communal passion for honoring music of the past and present while also pushing explorations on stage with each other. In years past having hosted Further and Trey Anastasio Band in one place in 2013 and then the ending of The Allman Brothers’ reign in 2014 with their performance of ‘At Fillmore East’ in its entirety on the misty Oak Ridge Farm show fields, this year will prove to be no less glorious. Here are five acts for each day you won’t want to miss!
THURSDAY *Canceled* (Campgrounds and festival site closed due to storm)
Rockn’ to Lockn’ contest winners, Virginia’s own Moogatu opens up the festival. Moogatu has opened for EOTO, Dopapod, Keller Williams, Tea Leaf Green and Steve Kimock, and sound very much like they draw inspiration from most of these. With a tone similar to Umphrey’s McGee, dueling lead guitars and a swirling Moog, the young home-state band should make for an explosive kick off.
Fresh from the Newport Folk Festival, Deer Tick will continue their tour in the Virginia foothills. Although a stark contrast to the funky jazz-fusion trio Soulive preceding them, the Rhode Island rockers’ blend of alternative folk, country, and blues will steadily transition the day into a night of ‘70s style rock and roll boogying.
String Cheese Incident is always a big ol’ dance party out on the show fields and the Doobie Brothers are the Doobie Brothers, but can you imagine Doobie in your funk? The Doobie Incident combining such a vast array of musical styles featuring Michael Kang on violin and mandolin, Patrick Simmons on guitar, and Little Feat’s Bill Payne on keys will certainly be worth the dance.
The jam world has been up to its gourds with Grateful Dead reunion talk since the originally planned July Fare Thee Well shows were announced and the mail order service was overflowed on day one. This fest will be a real treat in that respect as the Core Four are scattered over the lineup, even ol’ Bobby.
The Grateful Dead appearances for the night are long time Dead “rhythm devils” Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart.
Drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids lineup includes Jason Hann of EOTO, Reed Mathis of Tea Leaf Green, and features Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli.Percussionist Mickey Hart will appear in collaboration with trance loop masters EOTO.
**Late Night: Galactic with Erica Falls
Friday will be a blues and boogie kind of day with its lineup. Second band of the day, Moonalice having released its first album six years ago already has their name in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their song “Its 4:20 Somewhere” on account of it being the best example of direct-from-artist distribution in the new digitalized age of music. No doubt playing with Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady, their fluctuation of laidback steel guitar ballads and boogying blues tunes is an easy going start to the day.
Following Anders Osborne is Steve Earle & the Dukes in support of his new album “Terraplane” released earlier this year. The album features a rock-based gritty blend of blues, folk, and a little country.
Phil Lesh & Friends, a Lockn’ staple, are sets you never want to miss. Members of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Soulive’s Eric Krasno back the Grateful Dead bassist’s first appearance of the festival. Hoping to hear “Eyes of the World” and “Sugaree” out of this set.
Jefferson Airplane’s 50th Anniversary celebration will be spreading the Summer of Love vibes all around the show fields Friday night. No one can resist shouting along with “Somebody to Love” whenever it’s playing. You can even get your Hot Tuna fix on Saturday afternoon if you didn’t get enough of Jorma and Jack.
Tedeschi Trucks Band will be joined by Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge of the original Mad Dogs lineup, as well as Chris Robinson in their tribute to Joe Cocker. They will be performing renowned songwriter Russell’s first true commercial success and Cocker’s most popular album, ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ in its entirety. With Cocker’s passing just last December, this will be an amazing musical memorial marked by Susan’s soul-fluttering vocals and Derek’s perma-frown shredding that we know and love about TTB**Late Night: Umphrey’s McGee
The master of the Hammond B3 organ himself, Melvin Seals & JGB, will be opening up the day on the Blue Ridge Bowl stage with John Kadlecik joining him both Friday and Saturday. Get the morning started with some essence of soul, R&B and gospel-style jams with remaining members of the Jerry Garcia Band and long time Dead associate, guitarist Kadlecik of Further and Dark Star Orchestra. Along with the staple songs we expect, the group is supposed to be performing some deep cuts that the original JGB lineup only performed a handful of times in its heyday.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe which is typically a super funky, soulful, jazzy performance full of energetic stage antics, comes to Lockn’ with session keyboardist Chuck Leavell, formerly of The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers. Leavell will undoubtedly add some gritty texture to the Tiny Universe, which is the aim of their new album being released in early 2016.
Widespread Panic, another Lockn’ staple, is making their first appearance at the festival with reggae artist Jimmy Cliff. Panic is never a dull time. Two Jimmys on stage and some reggae influence will be a refreshingly provocative change of flavor amongst the jams.
Phil Lesh & Friends with Carlos Santana! I mean really, Carlos Santana, Warren Haynes and Phil Lesh all together on one stage!? With the Friends being members of Moonalice, this is probably one of the most exciting sets to be seen. Santana has been working on forming a supergroup that he wants to play a Coltrane-inspired style of jazz-fusion. This information is only a huge tease for what could potentially come out of this Saturday night festival performance. Be prepared to get sucked in and get lost—the good kind of lost.
After suddenly canceling the remainder of RatDog dates and removing Further from last year’s Lockn’ lineup, Bob Weir finally returns to Oak Ridge Farm. The final Core Four member being the most recent addition to the festival’s lineup, who is to say what will happen on that stage or whom it will happen with? It is bound to be magical, and one for the books.
**Late Night: Mickey Hart’s Deep Rhythm Experience with Steve Kimock
Sunday is the day for church—Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel kind of church, that is. If you missed Keller’s Grateful Grass and Grateful Gospel sets in the trees last year, you don’t want to miss them this time. It’s the greatest way to wake up on the fourth and final day of a long weekend full of mind-boggling musical talent. Just feel the breeze, put your toes in the grass and listen to Keller sing.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones came out of nowhere a couple of years ago and has shot straight up ever since. Since 2012 they have been playing gig after gig of absolutely relentless heart and soul. It is so amazing to see them on the bill of a festival filled with so many greats in the world of timeless music. What better way to spend your Sunday than with the ex-preacher himself, Paul Janeway, and his suit and tie disciples of soul.
Gotta get your southern rock jam fix with Gov’t Mule. Warren Haynes has been considered by Rolling Stone editor David Fricke to be the 23rd greatest guitar player of all time over the likes of Buddy Guy, Dickey Betts, and Brian May. His musical awareness and adeptness allow him to perform various styles including jazz, rock, dub, jam, and bluegrass. Gov’t Mule is gifted at going through its original tracks and then teasing well-known tunes of other great bands during extended jams that then lead back into the original after a good, say, 8 minutes of semi-controlled tangent playing. Needless to say its going to be yet another unrelenting performance.
Although the Led Zeppelin singers’ voice is old and tired, Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters write and play with a reminiscence of the old Zep days, minus the Bonham drum styling. In the name of the classics, Plant and his Shifters will come to rock and hopefully melt faces. Between the early set on Saturday and this final one, hopefully they will play “No Quarter” and make the show field turn into outer space.
Then there is the church of horns. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will be fulfilling the need for some stank face New Orleans style crunch. The Louisiana native trombone prodigy and his band produce an easily accessible mix of jazz, funk, hip-hop, and any other style Troy can wrangle, that is appealing to just about anyone with a set of ears and a booty to shake.
Check out the full lineup for Lockn’ 2015 on September 10 – 13.