Almost too sexy for a family show! Bringing real down-home music to the River Jam stage.
When it comes live southern-rock bands, they get two things right: loud as hell — blow-your-eardrums-out music — and those downtrodden yet so uplifting vibes that you cannot ignore the dancing monster within. We’ve been covering River Jam at the US National Whitewater Center for a bit now and this is the first one I’ve had to pull out the old trusty earplugs! The stage was visited by funk-jamming, r&b-hinting and bluesy-soul presented by Charleston, SC’s The Dead 27s. They opened the show with Michael Jackson’s 1979 classic “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough,” — done right, and the night just got better from there.
A note I jotted down as I settled into my spot for the show:
It’s a fun scenario: I’m set-up with my mini-laptop listening to the chatter about the band (which is now singing a ballad), blues guitarist Wallace Mullinax’s vessel of love is enchanting the audience. It’s crying, my heart is beating a little faster, this crowd, it weeps too. Most are actually dancing… soft pause in the chorus and again the swell of vocalist Trey Francis’s tempered-falsetto voice echos in angelic prose and next to me I see a lady crying, full-on tears. Her husband rubs her back gently and I wonder the story. Lights of the sky are falling now and we are being treated to the next verse. Her tears dry up and she begins to move to the music; a small smile perches upon her lips and I realize that music is helping the sadness. Music truly transcends those heartfelt places.
As the night progressed, we were treated to a five minute drum-solo by Daniel Crider, who showed unparalleled skill on the skins. At one point I was thrust into a drum circle attempting to twirl fire canes and yodel at the top of my lungs, at least in my overactive imagination. It was pretty intense as guitarist Mullinax enraptured the crowd.
When he would jump out with a solo, or three, all focus was immovable. He’s a modern day B.B. King. I just never wanted it to end. The grassy island flooded with people just as satisfied swaying to the sultry tunes and feeling the insurmountable heat and Summer.
Tonight I walked away more in-tune with the Summer sky and my bluesy heart just wanted to say thank you, The Dead 27s for putting on such a great show! We will see you again very, very soon.
Until then — everyone can get jazzed for the follow-up of their 2014 album Chase Your Devils Down that they will be recording with Grammy nominated producer, Ben Ellman of Galactic; and fitting they will go to New Orleans to record, where their music, voices and instrumental skills will fit like a fine wine with the best cheese.
More photos of the night:
River Jam Schedule:
Aug. 1 – Underhill Rose
Aug. 13 – Jarekus Singleton
Aug. 15 – Ancient Cities
Aug. 20 – The Mike Strauss Band
Aug. 22 – The New Familiars
Aug. 27 – Humming House
Aug. 29 – Tellico
Sept. 3 – Sinners & Saints
Sept. 5 – Erin & The Wildfire
Sept. 10 – The Get Right Band
Sept. 12 – Big Daddy Love
Sept. 17 – The Quiet Life
Sept. 19 – Samantha Fish
Sept. 24 – Front Country