Trey Anastasio Band

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trey Anastasio Band Head to Wanee

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trey Anastasio Band Head to Wanee

The 10th annual Wanee music festival lineup has just been announced, with Trey Anastasio Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov’t Mule, Ziggy Marley, Blues Traveler, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Rusted Root, among others, set to take center stage.

Also set to appear are Jaimoe’s Jasssz band, Umphrey’s McGee, Hot Tuna Electric, moe. and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstafunk, who will be playing Led Zeppelin music at this year’s festival.

Other artists scheduled to perform at the festival include Soulive, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Walter Trout, Rob Garza, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Melvin Seals & JGB, Futurebirds, Matt Schofield, Break Science, Sean Chambers and the Yeti Trio.

As ever, the festival will be hosted by the Allman Brothers Band, who will also deliver headlining performances on the 11th and 12th.

In sadder news, Wanee 2014 may be the last chance for Allman Brothers fans to see the band’s current lineup together. Guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced earlier this year that 2014 would be their final run of performances with the Brothers. Each has suggested that he wants to spend more time with his own band, Haynes with Gov’t Mule and Trucks with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, which also features his wife, Susan Tedeschi.

Speaking about the break up, Haynes said “I value the musical relationships and friendships that I have with everybody in this band. I’m sure Gregg and I will continue to do stuff in the future.”

Haynes has, however, suggested that the break up may not be forever, offering Allman Brothers fans a shred of hope.

“We’ll see,” he said when asked if this was just a hiatus. “It’s a good place to kind of stop. I’m not predicting the future.”

Wanee music festival is due to take place between April 10th-12th at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida.

Trey Anastasio Band Book Short Tour for January

Trey Anastasio Band Book Short Tour for January

Trey Anastasio is set to bring his solo band (TAB) on a short tour early next year, kicking off with a two-night stand at the Ogden Theatre in Denver beginning on January 28th.

This TAB outing will include a Valentine’s Day appearance at The Tabernacle, where they recorded their 2010 live album, TAB at the Tab (clever!), as well as stops in Minneapolis, Orlando, Atlanta, a two-night stint at New Orleans’ House Of Blues, among others, before wrapping up on February 15th in Indianapolis. Oh yeah – this will mark the first time TAB have made an appearance in New Orleans since 2005 too so concert-starved TAB fans ought to be pleased.

The new tour will offer Anastasio a break from recording a new album with the band he co-founded and whose name I have never and will never understand because I can’t be bothered to Google, Phish.

Beyond his day job, Anastasio has had a pretty good year and although, the Broadway show he composed the music for, “Hands on a Hard Body”, didn’t do much commercially, it did snatch him three Tony nominations, including one for Best Original Score. He also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, where classic Phish tracks were turned classical.

In more Phish-related news, the band themselves are probably having a short break, having just finished up a mini two-week east coast tour in Atlantic City, where they transgressed against their own self-imposed Halloween tradition of a ‘musical costume’ to debut a new set of songs said to appear on their upcoming album Wingsuit. As for the rest of 2013, they’re also due to play four sold-out shows during New Year’s at Madison Square Garden and ring in 2014 in signature style. So – no – they’re not available for weddings or any of the like over the next few months.

Hangout Festival: The Photographers Perspective

Hangout Festival: The Photographers Perspective

We started the morning ready to give you a traditional review of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Trey Anastasio and Stevie Wonder, but the course of the days events made that impossible. Instead of giving you half baked coverage, I thought we’d take a different approach instead, giving you a day in the life of a concert photographer. I pull double time as reviewer and photojournalist so sometimes getting the photos detracts from my ability to give you the quality review you deserve. It’s a balancing act that we do our best with at ConcertTour, yet admittedly, at times, we drop the ball.

Now first off, I’m sure the concert photographer looks either glamorous or slightly annoying if you’ve muscled your way up to the front. Our job is to capture the magic as it evolves onstage during the first three songs then we before we are ushered out of the photo pit. Usually, we try to move around to catch the artist and various band members from alternate angles so you get the true feel of the show. Security tolerates us while recognizing we have a job to do.

Most artists are happy to play to the photographers just as they do the fans. Some will blatantly preen to the camera like they are an attention starved eight year old, while others simply don’t care for the camera’s watchful eye chronicling their every movement, wrinkle and that Big Mac they had for lunch. Normally, the artists recognize that you are there to make them look good as very few concert photographers are there to take the gotcha photos you see plastered on the tabloids. At the end of the day, we are fans of the music just like the people in the front row. We get a charge being that close to such talent, and we want to capture that greatness in an image for the world to see.

With that said, my day started in a hurried rush over to the Chevrolet stage to photograph Galactic by their 2:15 start time. They are a New Orleans jazz-funk band that play off of one another and have a lot of fun in the process. Saxophonist Ben Ellman and the trombone player probably had the best chemistry of the group, easily giving and taking of the groove. We got an unexpected treat in the form of Living Colour front man Corey Glover. Glover slid right into the groove like he was a part of the family. Of my brief interlude with Glover and the boys of Galatic, they performed a fun set with a talented group of guys.

My three songs was up, so it was time to head down to the lawn chairs for a slight rest before hitting the Hangout stage for Ellie Goulding. The British songstress is a sensation in Europe, but just beginning to make her mark in America with her first single “Lights.” I’d heard the camera loves Ellie, and man they weren’t lying. Those blonde locks and beautiful face will sucker the lens every time. She had a drum beside the microphone that she would occasionally wail on (more for effect than actual percussive might) and her hair would flail about in violent rhythm.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of her recorded work. Its strong EDM slant and pop driven feel isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but she comes off as more genuine live. Her songs really hit at the heart of her talent, and seem to pull back the covers on who she really is as an artist. She had some of the best photos of the groups at Hangout Fest, as well as one of the most enjoyable sets musically. I’d go see Ms. Goulding again in a heartbeat. I’d also love to ask her what she sees in Skrillex. It boggles my feeble mind.

Since Ellie was rubbing me the right way, I stayed planted in the sand for most of her set before cutting out a few minutes early to make the trek back across the festival grounds for Imagine Dragons. These guys are really making a lot of hay right now with their latest single, “It’s Time.” As I made my approach, there was a huge drum that rested smack dab center-stage beside lead singer Dan Reynolds’ microphone. Once he hit the stage, he began to pound away full throttle. He was a bundle of energy waiting to explode, and explode he did onstage. Reynolds had broken his finger not long before Hangout, and he was jumping up and down off the stage like he was hopped up on speed. The band’s manic energy just oozed out over the Hangout crowd.

I caught a few songs before playing ping pong ball once again to the Hangout stage for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O is a sight to behold. All I can really say about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is they are weird. Not bad mind you, but weird. I think they would take that remark as a supreme compliment. This isn’t a knock on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but they’re just not my thing. I see them as an acquired taste, and given enough exposure maybe they’d convert me into a believer, but at Hangout, I was busy eying the upcoming bands.

Here is where the day gets a little dicey. As I said, we’d originally planned to cover YYY, Trey Anastasio and Stevie Wonder. Last night at Tom Petty, they only allowed thirty photographers into the pit. We didn’t know this ahead of time so those conscientious few got to shoot from the best vantage point and the rest of us were left scrambling.

Jumping through hoops for the headliners at festivals has unfortunately become the norm of late. It’s a strange phenomenon since 99 out of 100 bands that play in any other festival slot have virtually no restrictions past the standard first three songs, no flash. As soon as they bump up to headlining status though, all sorts of odd ball restrictions go into effect.

So, in speaking with the Hangout press rep, she implied not everyone would be getting in to the photo pit for Stevie Wonder and that his manager may be approving only certain outlets to shoot. With that in mind, I went across the beach to shoot Trey Anastastio on the Chevrolet stage to then make the mad dash back to the Hangout stage to queue up for Stevie.

I’d never seen Anastasio as part of Phish or his own group. His prowess on the guitar is, of course, legendary and his band Phish has morphed into the Grateful Dead of this generation. He’s almost a mythical figure within that community, and I wanted to see him in action. The stage security told us we would have fifteen minutes to photograph since his songs could string on for crazy intervals. Sure enough, his opener stretched almost the full fifteen minutes, and we were out. He was cool to photograph as he jammed out, but I couldn’t help but notice he seemed transfixed on something off on the horizon. His gaze almost never left it. Maybe it was some hot thing in a bikini. Who knows?

So I missed basically all of Trey Anastasio to get the chance to shoot Stevie Wonder. Are you beginning to see why the reviewer in me was beginning to bristle at the situation? I made it to the Chevrolet stage in record time and took my place as twelfth in line. So, for the two hours before Stevie Wonder was to hit the stage, instead of watching Trey bastardize the guitar, I was left shooting the shit with the other photographers wondering what Wonder’s management had in store for us.

As the hours past, more photographers made the pilgrimage, queuing up at the end of the line. Before it was said and done there would be around fifty photographers lined up. The Hangout press rep came over to tell us only thirty photographers would shoot. Ten had already been pre-approved (festival photographers, large local press outlets, etc) so the rest of us were set to battle over the remaining slots.

They had thirty of us sign releases for the twenty spots and said they would send them over to Stevie’s rep who would approve twenty. Our outlet was left on the cutting room floor ten minutes before Stevie Wonder was set to take the stage. After the two hour wait and missing out on the wonder that was Anastasio, it was a draining revelation.

It’s hard not to look back on the wasted potential of our day. Many festivals will let you know in the early goings what direction the headliners are taking, concerning coverage, so you can plan your schedule accordingly. We don’t place blame on the festival since they are largely just conduits for the artist’s management, but it is a common courtesy that was absent that affected a lot of individuals who were here to do a job.

Exhausted from the day, I hung out for about an hour before calling it. From the subset I heard, Stevie did his reputation right even if he leaned suspiciously heavy on covers in the early going. Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” populated three of the first five songs.

So our Sunday at Hangout Festival yielded a lot of great pictures (keep scrolling to the slideshow below), but not a lot of probing words about the headliners to complement them. My hope, in spelling out a day in the life of a concert photographer, is to show you the reality of our profession. It may look like the perfect gig, but it’s a lot of time on your feet, working in crowded spaces with artists who may or may not want you there. The job is challenging, a lot of fun, and a lot of work.

Just as a side note to the dozen or so people who always ask me to take a picture of them with their smartphone. The picture I take isn’t going to be any better than if the drunken frat boy standing next to you snapped it. Smartphones take crappy pictures, and me holding it isn’t going to fix that. Now me taking your picture with my high dollar setup, will get you what you’re looking for. Show some interest in the photographer’s publication, and most will be happy to oblige you with a great shot to remember your time at Hangout.

I hope everyone had a fantastic time at Hangout Festival 2013. We saw a ton of great bands over the weekend and loved the Gulf Shores festival setup. Check-in with us later in the week as we give you a look at Hangout Festival in pictures as well as touch on some of the bands who may have been neglected in our coverage thus far.

Album Review: Trey Anastasio ‘Traveler’

Album Review: Trey Anastasio ‘Traveler’

When Trey Anastasio made the decision to enter into the realm of indie rock, it can at least be said that he was in no way trepidatious about it. This album is so loaded with quirky ambience and atmospheric swells of strings that it puts bands like Arcade Fire and The National to shame, but to really work it has to have the ring of authenticity.

‘Corona’ features a quite ethereal vibe, resulting in a track that feels like a bright morning out on the road with a steady, chugging beat and rhythmic guitar, complete with sing-along vocals. It presents two themes for the album and makes the case that they can work well together, provided that Anastasio can build on it.

The album was framed by its co-producer, Peter Katis, as one for fans to listen to on the way home from a show, saying, “we set out to make a record that people could pop on in their car on their way back from a concert, or that they could throw on at 2am when they’re driving”. Many of Traveler’s tracks have that sing-along, slightly hungover quality, but this isn’t the core of the album and it’s not represented with as much gusto as its light, indie, almost easy-listening motif.

‘Let Me Lie’ is a straight up do-over of a Phish song from Party Time, and it’s only slightly changed here. The light and friendly vibe is maintained, with a little more density to the airy aesthetic. It’s disappointingly close to the original though, seeming almost unnecessary.

The indie rock motif Anastasio goes for here comes quite naturally to him, but it doesn’t necessarily resonate that way as an auditory experience. If anything, the record comes across as a fan of hipster rock paying tribute to a genre, without really attempting to put his own spin on it. When the album tries to speak to its concept, it falls a little flat, feeling safe and unadventurous.

It’s the songs that stray the furthest from Traveler’s center of gravity that have the greatest impact. ‘Land of Nod’ gets much more rhythmic and drops the light aura, for a reggae guitar, frenetic percussion and unhinged horns. It’s primarily an instrumental, and it feels something like climbing a mountain to deliver a subpoena to a wicked witch. When the traveler arrives at the summit, the song falls back on the ethereal, floating mode this album turns to so often. The concept is to take the listener into a nightmare and twist it into a beautiful dream, but I felt like I was taken to a superior album only to have the rug pulled back out from under me.

‘Pigtail’ feels like a Phish song, and it’s the only one. This track leaves indie sensibilities behind for a classic rock interlude. ‘Scabbard’ combines aspects of the two previous songs, and it might be the best that Trey Anastasio has to offer here. This section of the record is its clear highlight, but the bulk of the other songs come nowhere near this brief visit to a more satisfying sound.

There are a lot of collaborators present on the album, lending more credibility to the idea that Anastasio is acting as a tribute or a cover band. ‘Clint Eastwood’ is one of the greatest offenders in that regard, even though the song itself is great. It is faithfully covered here, but is a faithful cover really the sort of music an artist like Trey Anastasio should be focusing his energy on? Virtually nothing about the song is changed.

While Traveler might not be a perfect or important record, it’s a pretty decent one. Other than a few standout tracks, it is very easily dismissed, but pleasing, if dangerously close to finding itself relegated to background music.

Release Date: October 16, 2012
Image Courtesy of Ato Records

Avett Brothers, Thievery Corp, Trey Anastasio Head to Summer Camp Festival

Avett Brothers, Thievery Corp, Trey Anastasio Head to Summer Camp Festival

Next year’s lineup of Illinois’ Summer Camp Music Festival will feature the Avett Brothers, Thievery Corporation and two sets by the Trey Anastasio Band.

The 13th annual incarnation of the festival will be held May 24-26, 2013 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois, which just north of Peoria, Illinois.

Other acts that will appear at the festival include moe. (performing all three days), Umphrey’s McGee (performing two days), STS9, Yonder Mountain String Band, Taj Mahal Trio, Zeds Dead, Keller Williams and More Than Little, and many more that will be announced at a later date. In all, 75 artists will perform at the festival on seven stages.

“The first Summer Camp Music Festival was held in 2001 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois,” said a statement on the official website of the festival. “About 1,000 attended the festival that year, and enjoyed over 20 bands on 2 stages over the course of 2 days. Since then, Summer Camp Music Festival has grown to more than 15,000 attendees, hosting more than 100 bands on 6 stages over 4 days. And while our numbers have grown, Summer Camp still maintains the same energy and family feel we had when we started over a decade ago.”

The website also points out that the festival nearly triples the population of Chillicothe during the weekend it takes place. Artists that have performed at the festival in the past including Willie Nelson, the Flaming Lips, Widespread Panic, Les Claypool, Skrillex, the Roots and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.

A three-day ticket purchase includes a camping pass for the festival, however, if festival goers want to camp the Thursday night before the festival, they much purchase a Thursday Pre-Party pass. Festival organizers will be releasing further information about VIP Packages and RV Passes in the coming weeks.

Phish Goes Classical, Trey Anastasio Readies Orchestra Tour

Phish Goes Classical, Trey Anastasio Readies Orchestra Tour

It wasn’t all that long ago that Phish announced it would perform this year’s version of its legendary New Year’s shows over a four night run at Madison Square Garden in New York, but frontman Trey Anastasio already is looking into the future. On Monday, he announced his first ever orchestral tour—dubbed the Trey Anastasio Winter Symphony Tour—that will begin in February 2012. Though the trek is only four dates long, there will be about a week in between each show, so the tour will stretch from February 9 to March 10. Beginning in Atlanta, then moving to Pittsburgh and Denver before concluding in Los Angeles, Anastasio will make use of each cities respective symphony orchestras at each stop.

At each show, Anastasio will play orchestral versions of a wide variety of Phish songs, as well as mixing in selections from his own solo catalog. Though this will be the singer/songwriter/guitarist’s first symphony tour, he previously has played with orchestras on a few occasions. Most notably, he worked closely with Orchestra Nashville composer Don Hart to produce Time Turns Elastic, a long form piece that was recorded by that orchestra and later played live with the same group of musicians at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Anastasio later performed the work in Baltimore and at Carnegie Hall in New York, and Phish also has played a new version of the song.

Joining Anastasio at all shows will be Scott Dunn, who is the associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the group that will accompany the singer at the final show of the tour.

As per recent tradition, all four Phish New Year’s Eve shows already have sold out, and as of now are the only announced future dates for the band.

Trey Anastasio Band Follows Up Phish Tour with Fall Dates

Trey Anastasio Band Follows Up Phish Tour with Fall Dates

The average musician might be too worn out to tour following performing eight sets at the festival of their band’s. However Trey Anastasio of Phish isn’t your average musician. “Phish: Super Ball IX” only wrapped up a few weeks ago. However, Anastasio has already announced a run of fall tour dates for Trey Anastasio Band. Their seven day outing will kick off on October 9 and starts and wraps up with festivals in Florida: Bear Creek and Langerado.

Musical backing for Anastasio will be provided by the same group that worked with him earlier this year on his winter outing: keyboardist Ray Paczowski, bassist Tony Markellis, drummer Russ Lawton and horn section comprised of Natalie Cressman, Jennifer Hartswick and Russel Remington.

Tickets for all but the Charlottesville, VA and festivals who will have a presale from July 29 to August 3 at treytickets.rlc.net. Tickets for the Charlottesvile show will be going live the very same day but end on August 10. Visit trey.com/tours for more information on tickets.