Tag Archives: alo

Wakarusa: Live, Backstage & Unplugged, part I with ALO & SOJA

Closing out May in style, Wakarusa once again descended upon Mulberry Mountain, transforming the remote location into a musical heaven of sorts. By possessing a lineup that was fit for kings (and queens), there was music to be heard from morning to morning, providing weekend residents the option to dance under the blended azure skies of the days all the way through the crystal starry skies of night (that can only be found in an area as “untouched” as Mulberry) and the wee morning.


With so many bands on the bill and the vast genre representation found therein, we drooled at the prospect of lugging audio and video gear into the backstage area to capture some special moments. Fortunately for us, Wakarusa was game. So were a handful of carefully selected artists. As a result, we are now able to exclusively & proudly present Live, Backstage & Unplugged at Wakarusa, part I — with ALO & SOJA.


ALO: “Blew Out the Walls”

Album: Sounds Like This


For more on ALO, check out www.ALOmusic.com


SOJA: “Strength to Survive

Album: Strength to Survive

For more on SOJA, head over to: www.SOJAmusic.com




With Friends Like These: An Interview with Dave Brogan and Steve Adams from ALO

Self-described by Zach Gill in 2008 as “Bohemian Jam Pop,” ALO (American Liberation Orchestra) is unique among most modern bands. They have known each other since age 7, have played together since they were 12, and have been in bands together since high school. The band congeals on records in somewhat abstract connectivity, only understood once you realize how long they have known each other and played together.

Honest Tune spoke with Dave Brogan (drums/vocals) and Steve  Adams (bass/vocals) individually on a cool Monday night about their latest album, Sounds Like This. Dave was in New Orleans between gigs enjoying Jazzfest and Steve was in San Francisco, taking a break from their schedule with some rest and relaxation with family and friends.

Speaking with Steve and Dave individually provided insight on how close they are and how they communicate in the studio. Their answers to the same questions were similar but had unique syntax. Like jazz musicians communicating through the trumpet and the snare, Steve was more talkative, filling any pause in the conversation with thoughts about the album or anecdotes about the band; Dave was straight forward, yet cautious in what he divulged. The dual conversations provided a glimpse into a band’s communication process – how  different voices add to the artistic process.

HT:  The press release indicates that this recording process was very different from before, in that it was a collective process. Did you all write and arrange in an overlapping process? Why was it different than before?

Steve:  Part of it yes…. We have been slowly creeping towards this [new] process. [Before] we may have written part of it at home; we always arranged together and then picked it apart to make it “ALO.” But this album was more free jamming and recording in the moment…so this album, more than any, is a collaboration. We have been trying to get to that more and more each time.

The biggest difference was that we had the live show in mind on this album, but the last few were more introspective and more studio produced. We wanted to capture our live shows well. [For inspiration] we kept picking up pictures of the fans and holding it up, reminding us who we were making the record for.

Another difference on this the record was that we recorded in San Francisco. The last one was in Hawaii, so I was only able to bring my electric bass, but I couldn’t bring the little things from home. There were three check-ins to get to Hawaii, so we couldn’t ship a whole lot and used whatever Jack [Johnson] had in his studio.

This time we were a couple blocks from Dave’s house, so we were in such close range we could fill up the car. I think this made the sound on the album broader.

Dave:  We were trying to capture the essence of the live band on the record. In the past, there are people that knew us from the live shows and people that knew us from a record. But we are a very reactive band, and we react in the environment, which affects the set list and the way we play live, [while] in the studio it’s more introspective music. The shows are more of a party, and in the new album there was intent to get the live vibe, ‘now lets picture it with the live sold-out Filmore shows.”

HT:  What was it like to record at Mission Bell?

Steve:  Lots of records have been made there lately. It was so cool! The studio had cement walls and I think it was an old bank. The studio was upstairs, and [was located] in the Mission [neighborhood in San Francisco].

Dave:  It was great! We were around good friends [who own the recording studio], and we actually used the same tape machine that Phil Lesh and The Grateful Dead used on In the Dark. The history of it was kind of inspiring in its own right. We used some modern techniques, so sometimes we would record on tape, but then maybe add something later by computer.

HT:  Was there any moment or note that sticks out in your mind, that inspired you or was an “aha” moment?

Steve:  For me, there was one jam that we came up with on the spot, and it turned into a song, “Falling Dominoes,” and Zach helped me write the lyrics. I had song writing sessions, which was something I had never done before. Zach is the most prolific writer in the band, and he encouraged me and gave me exercises for writing lyrics. It was kind of uncomfortable but kind of exciting for me.

Another that I remember was when Zach kept pursuing an alternate ending to a song, “Blew out the Walls.” Zach had an alternate way of playing it, and we had to choose one way or the other, so we recorded both. [The alternative version is available on Itunes only] It was a cool, standout track and the alternate version kind of reminded me of Talking Heads. It was a transient jam. Because we had been playing for a half hour, we were playing different [musical] interests, and then Dan showed up. Then we went back to the original and played for a half hour again, and then they reeled it in and made it into a song. It was definitely stand out moment for me.

Dave:  The first thing that pops in my mind was “Falling Dominoes.” I loved the way it got created. This was so cool, literally, we were using the tape to record for about a half hour, and then rewind it, then we just started playing few chords and suddenly the song appeared. The tape finished, and the music just came out of thin air. The song was capturing the band. It happened from such a pure space. There are so many cool moments when you record an album.

It was a pretty intense moment and we uncovered a cool piece of music. There is good composition on this album. Nobody brought in their own music, and a lot of the versions that are on the album were recorded before there were lyrics to the song. That discovery is captured on the album. One of the cool things was hearing the songs develop on the tape.

HT:  Do you struggle with the internal pull between making money and keeping true to your integrity and authenticity as a musician?

Steve:  There is definitely a universal struggle of trying to make money. There is the infrastructure that could sell a song, and then on the other hand we are aware of the opportunity we have.

The first record was written for ourselves, with no label in mind. The two records after that, we felt a little pressure so we had to record something we could sell. This record, the conversation came up a lot, and we thought, let’s just forget about it, make the record we want to make for our fans and not over-edit it. Not over think it.

It’s a conversation we have a lot and it’s difficult. It’s a challenge, it’s a balancing act while we are trying to be proud of the music. This album is more whimsical and we let our own voice be what it is. It actually took the pressure off.

Dave:  The one thing with ALO is that it is not in our nature to focus on the business side. On the other albums we spent more time trimming things down, and we purposefully did not do that on this album. Sure, the trimming down bogs you down. It’s always the roughest thing.

We wanted to keep the live spirit. We were not setting out to make longer songs, and we didn’t want to fit the songs in the box. And we have a record label that allows us to create albums we want to. We are not trying to sell records based on the album cover, with a cookie-cutter image.

HT:  Full disclosure, I have had “Reviews (From Here to Zed)” on repeat for the past 2 days. Can you tell me about the song?

Steve:  That one was a composition groove vibe. Zach had words from another song, and the song gravitated through them and then fell into place in a cool way.

We all feel that there is always change, and with art, and sure, the reason you release it is for a little bit of validation. There are people who love us for what we do, and there are people that want us to do something they want us to do. But we wanted to have humor with it.

We did a lot more takes on the song and then we went back to an earlier one. We were throwing things to the wall and culling through things. We realized that the earlier recording was the best. Which goes back to the point of the album: to record what was part of our live shows.

Dave:  We did a bunch of takes, but the first take was the best one, the energy was so good on the first. An inspired recording is way better than precision.

HT:  You just played at Tulane University for the Crawfest [on April 21.] How did it feel to be playing in New Orleans, home to such a rich history of music?

Steve:  It was awesome! We have never played there before, but we have played Jazz Fest before. Last year was our first trip back to New Orleans in four years.

At one point Zach was talking to the crowd, and I felt like we were these California ambassadors, relating to college students, bridging the gap between USCB and Tulane. I can still relate to them because they were excited about the music, like when we played at Santa Barbara.

Dave:  Tulane was great! It was a full day of music. It was fun because we did a shoot for an ALO video for “Sweetest Dreams,” and then the show kicked off the Jazzfest.

HT:  That being said, how pumped are you to be playing at First Annual Nolafunk Jazzfest Series? [At the Republic April 27th first weekend of Jazzfest with Anders Osborne, members of the Grateful Dead & Little Feat, plus Marco Benevento]

Steve: Dave stayed in New Orleans for the whole week; good to go home, Zach and Dan flew back for their family. So much of the music that we love comes from there…Dr. John, old Jazz, Cajun music, and you go there, music all day all night for two weeks. Threaded into their cultures, live music.

Dave:  I’ve been here the whole week. I am intrigued by regional music. It is interesting these days that the lines are so blurred because everyone has access to so much music. You can see different combinations [online], but I like to find the guys that are doing the sound of the region, a pure form of the region’s music, and every region still has that, and as we travel I seek that out.

HT:  Dave, back in a 2008 interview [with HT&E] you said that you’d like to work with Amos Lee. Has that happened?

Dave:  It hasn’t happened yet! I had just gotten the new album and I love his music but we have never even met. I would stand by that! I caught him last year at Jazz Fest on my day off, and he was doing a set with the expanded band that he has now, and the band was such a bonus.


Sounds Like This was released May 8, 2012 on Brushfire Records.

ALO & guests (w/ Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers), 2/25/12

ALO (with Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers)
The Fillmore
San Francisco, CA
February 25, 2012



It wasn’t by mistake that ALO decided to close out their sixth annual Tour d’Amour at the Fillmore in San Francisco, for it is the Golden Gate city that the quartet calls home. Therefore, it is where their friends live.

On this night — that was also supported by the fiery Nicki Bluhm and her group of Gramblers — ALO’s Zach Gill, Dan Lebowitz, Steve Adams & Dave Brogan were intermittently joined by some of San Fran’s finest culls, Reed Mathis, Scott Rager, Josh Clarke (Tea Leaf Green), Pete Sears (Moonalice), Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono (Mother Hips) and many more.

Susan Weiand was on hand as the sold-out hometown crowd welcomed home their neighbors.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Susan J. Weiand

(Susan’s Music Photography Group on Facebook)





Echo Project adds to line-up

The Echo Project confirmed the second round of performers slated for the inaugural three-day eco-responsible music and arts festival in Atlanta, Georgia this October 12-14, 2007. 

The additions to the lineup include: The Flaming Lips; Thievery Corporation with their full live band; Les Claypool; The Bravery; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; Secret Machines; MSTRKRFT; JJ Grey & Mofro; Son Volt; The Egg; The Album Leaf; Man Man; Tea Leaf Green; The Benevento/Russo Duo; Lazaro Casanova; and Telepath.

The Echo Project kicks off its annual eco-responsible music and arts festival in Atlanta, Georgia this October 12 – 14, 2007.  The three-day, multi-stage camping festival will be held on 350-acres of scenic Chattahoochee river front property on a privately owned 1250-acre farm just south of metropolitan Atlanta.

With a green focus and philosophy, The Echo Project is set to revolutionize how music and arts events affect our environment through eco-friendly event production by ways of carbon emissions, power consumption and creation, alternative energy sources, and waste management and recycling initiatives. For its inaugural event, The Echo Festival along with Sustainable Waves and Rivers Alive is also launching a major Chattahoochee river clean up prior to the festival.  Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 30th and are available at www.the-echoproject.com.

Featuring a diverse range of talent, from rock to hip-hop, The Echo Project also announced its first round of performers today, which include The Killers, Phil and Friends, moe., Stephen Marley, The Roots, Cypress Hill, Polyphonic Spree, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, The Disco Biscuits, Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues, Brazilian Girls, The Avett Brothers, Lyrics Born, RJD2, Toubab Krewe, Spam Allstars, ALO, Greenskeepers, and Afromotive.

The Echo Project is promoted by Nicholas Bouckaert of Rivertown Entertainment, LLC. in conjunction with Meatcamp Productions. Greening partners include Sustainable Waves, a national provider of mobile solar powered sound and staging solutions; Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner electricity and carbon offset products; and the Environment Media Association (EMA) which mobilizes the entertainment industry in a global effort to educate people about environmental issues and inspire them into action.

Tickets go on sale for The Echo Project on Tuesday, July 31 at 10 AM EST. Three-day tickets begin at $145 and are available online at www.the-echoproject.com and 1-800-594-TIXX.

High Sierra back in fine form

High Sierra Music Festival

Quincy, California

July 5-8, 2007


The High Sierra Music Festival has always been about more than just music.

At its best it is about magic. 

In the summer of 2007 that magic that was back in full force.

Thanks to the hard work and cooperative efforts of festival organizers and the city of Quincy, California, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office was not nvited to this year's festivities.  Instead, sympathetic community volunteers walked the festival grounds as a peace keeping force.  This allowed festival goers to freak freely and let the magic flow.

High Sierra was again the gem that all festivals should aspire to being.  By focusing on the hottest mid-level and up-and-coming acts on the circuit, this four day music festival draws true music lovers to revel in sound and each other's company for a long and lovely weekend.

If "the heat" had been held at bay this year, the heat was not.  As the fest opened Thursday temperatures climbed well past 100 degrees as campers settled in and built as many shade structures as they could. 

The weather proved no impediment to the fun, however, as Vince Herman and Great American Taxi  kicked off the music on the main stage, while Los Angeles' Shannon Moore entertained the Shady Grove stage with her hook-laden rock sounds, 

The March Fourth Marching Band combined burlesque and acrobatics with their set, Salvadore Santana (Carlos' son) fused world rhythms, rock and hip hop, Garaj Mahal turned into a quintet with the addition of bassist Kai Eckhardt's extremely talented pre-teen son on drums for their complex fusion jazz, and That One Guy worked his unique instrument of pipes, reeds and loops.

Sol Jibe proved itself one of the hardest working and most delightful new finds at the fest by lending it's world beats and Latin rhythms to two different stages during the course of the day, winning new fans every time it played.  The Waybacks offered their blend of bluegrass, rock and country sounds, Hot Buttered Rum tore it up in an acoustic way, while Zilla offered more electronic grooves.  As Galactic's hard New Orleans funk closed out the main stage the heat had not yet yielded, lending a Southern feel (minus the humidity) to the proceedings.

When the outdoor stages were closed for the night at 11 the heat finally let up.  Things may have eased up on the bodies of all the festival goers, but the music geared up for round two of day one. 

Anders Osborne kept the New Orleans vibe going in the Funk N Jam House with String Cheese Incident's Kyle Hollingsworth on keys and Galactic's Robert Mecurio on bass before Soulive held funky court there. 

String Cheese Incident's Michael Kang brought his electric mandolin to the African funk sounds of Chris Berry and Panjea in the Tulsa Scott Room before Kan'Nal rocked the psychedelic tribal groove there. 

But it was the Yonder Mountain String Band that was still rockin' the Music Hall with it extremely energetic newgrass as the first light of dawn cracked the sky at five A.M.  If there were those that were tempted to leave earlier, that temptation ended when Vince Herman came out and joined the band for "Cuckoo's Nest > Jack London" during the second set, including an extended, improvised romp with lyrics about what a dream High Sierra is.


all photos by Susan Weiand 





Read on for Friday


While it was warm again as day two began, temperatures would not again reach the brutal highs of that first day, providing some relief.  Some festivarians chose to hit the nearby swimming hole, while others opted for cold showers even though hot ones were available.  Many others began cooking bacon, which seems to have become the breakfast of choice for serious festival goers.  The combination of stomach-settling grease, water-retaining salt and  energy-providing protein in a candy-meets-meat form was almost as popular as coffee and Bloody Marys for breakfast in camps throughout the fairgrounds.

This morning was when the magic became palpable.  Start wondering where a friend was and they would appear.  Realize you needed something and it would be offered before you spoke.  Think you even wanted something and it too would manifest.  "Careful what you wish for" became a running joke but the reminder seemed unnecessary because the positive vibe was everywhere.

Friday also featured many of the acts of day one on different stages at different times, providing opportunities to see bands missed when the inevitable tough choices among High Sierra's four stages and playshop room all operate simultaneously.  Yonder rocked the mainstage just as they did during their evening set.  The Waybacks, Anders Osborne (again with Kyle Hollingworth), Soulive and Kan'Nal all did it again in the broad daylight.

New acts were also showing up to join the fun.  Brett Dennen was joined by members of ALO in an inspired Big Meadow stage set of his thoughtful, tender and utterly catchy songs.  Xavier Rudd proved himself equal parts Ben Harper, Michael Franti, Keller Williams and tribal rocker as he wailed away on electric dobro and three different didgeridoos; if there is one word that characterizes his music it might be "love." 

The Devil Makes Three is an old time string band on steroids, while the Drive-By Truckers rocked the house in a whiskey-soaked set to close out the mainstage in Southern style again.

The annual Camp Happiness cocktail party earlier in the day was set to feature the New Mastersounds at 4:20.  Their drums were still in transit as the party began.  No worries.  Vince Herman, the very spirit of the festival, had stopped by.  He picked up his guitar (after another rollicking set with Great American Taxi on the Shady Grove stage) had a mic taped to a keyboard, and proceeded to hold court with two members of Eddie & The Roughnecks on bass and keys and Sam Johnston (Box Set) on harmonica for over an hour of unalduterated joyuntil the New Mastersounds were able to take over.

After all that sonic goodness, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk still managed to steal the best act of the day award with a blistering set of funk the way funk is supposed to be played — loud and dirty.  Highlights included an Al Green tribute, A Rolling Stones cover, and the theme song from The Sopranos.  Two basses, a kick drum that could be felt more than heard and some serious shredding from the guitar of Ian Neville had folks dancing for hours and talking for days.

Late night again offered something for everyone as SCI drummer Michael Travis' project Zilla and DJ extraordinaire Bassnectar provided electronica,  The Waybacks and Hot Buttered Rum served up the grass, while The Phix's Phish tribute opened for Garaj Mahal's fusion in another room.




Read on for Saturday


Saturday began with temperatures still high but since they weren't as hot as day one, and people began to adapt, it was becoming more bearable. Some of Austin's finest took over during this day, including Guy Forsyth's Tom Waits inspired madness, Patrice Pike's conscious rock, and perhaps most importantly, Carolyn Wonderland

Wonderland is equal parts Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  She clearly had the single best, most powerful voice at the festival and she can shred on the slide guitar.  All while remaining conscious of what truly matters and humble too.  Why Carolyn Wonderland is not a huge star is and shall remain a mystery.  Her Vaudeville Tent set brought down the house.

Other inspired sets were turned in by ukelele wizard Jake Shimabukuro, the rollicking country of the Mother Truckers,  Nickle Creek's Chris Thile's
solo project How To Grow A Band (featuring Greg Garrison and Noam Pikelny of Leftover Salmon), the African sounds of Asheville, North Carolina's
Toubab Krewe, the jazz of Bobby Previte's Coalition of the Willing, the crazy rock of Les Claypool and the old school bluegrass of Del McCoury.  The Ryan Montbleau Band won many fans for its sweet rock on their first trip to the far west.

Again it was the closing act of the Vaudeville Tent in the midnight hour that stole the show for many, however.  Something happened when JJ Grey & Mofro took the stage that mere talent alone can not account for.  It was that old High Sierra magic that infected that Blackwater swamp rock this night and many jaws were set agape by the Jacksonville, Florida unit's new lineup featuring a horn section.

Before one could fully digest what had transpired, however, the late night fun began indoors.  The funksters headed over to see the Meters inspired sounds of The New Mastersounds (with Papa Mali opening), those seeking heady trancefusion headed over to see the Disco Biscuits, while the largest crowd gathered to see the reunion of Leftover Salmon.

The sold out hall was first treated to Darol Anger's new supergroup, Strings for Industry.  Anger is a true virtuoso on the fiddle, but when he gathered his new Portland, Oregon based unit featuring Tony Furtado on guitar and banjo, Scott Law on electric guitar, Tye North (formerly of Leftover Salmon) on bass and monster drummer Carlton Jackson the magic was flowing again. 

But it was the Leftover Salmon reunion that drew the crowd.  Playing their first gig as a full band since they went on hiatus at the end of 2004 (a gig two weeks before at Telluride was without keyboardist Bill McKay), it was like they never left the road.  The band was on fire from the first notes and the crowd responded in kind.  Drew Emmitt is a spectacular player and singer, and Vince Herman is a force of nature, but something happens when the two of them are on stage together that is far greater than the sum of the parts. 

As if they could not get enough of playing together, the group kept it up until five thirty in the morning, going past the crack of dawn to dawn itself.  As the last notes of "River's Rising" greeted th new day everyone wondered how Leftover Salmon could possibly top that on Sunday, the final day of the festival.

Vince Herman was later seen playing a morning game of kickball with fans rather than heading to bed.  Your reporter managed to catch only two hours
of sleep after the Salmon set, but that is not the reason the majority of things he saw the last day were on the mainstage.




Read on for Sunday


For years now Maria Kelly has handled all the MC duties for the Grandstand Stage, but this year she could not be there. I was among the radio personalities given the honor to announce the acts there on Sunday.  It was an honor and a real joy to do so.  I did manage to catch the first hour of the Gospel Show on the Big Meadow stage while eating breakfast that morning, however, and what a way to start the day.  Carolyn Wonderland, Patrice Pike, Papa Mali, Shannon Moore, Guy Forsyth and others really know how to start a Sunday morning!  Sweet, rootsy, funky gospel goodness replete with prayers for peace is how to do it and they did right, song circle style.  With all that talent on stage there was no way to do it otherwise and, man, did it work.  If church
was always like this I would go every day.

As people started to wake up, however, it became clear that haze obscuring the mountains across the valley wasn't simple fog, it was smoke.  A few scary thoughts crossed everyone's minds until it was learned that the major wild fire creating all that smoke was over 30 miles away, not moving in the direction of the festival, and not being whipped by winds on this still morning.  So the smoke, which had settled into the valley overnight (and mostly dissipated by late afternoon), was an annoyance, not a threat.

Whatever else was going on at the festival (including sets by New Mastersounds, Eddie & The Roughnecks, Ryan Montbleau, Disco Biscuits, Chris Thile, ALO, the Budos Band, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, I was content to be at the mainstage.  After a set by Lynx, a unique young hippie woman whose music combines folk, looping, computer beats and conscious lyrics, Albino, a San Francisco-based Afrobeat band, got people dancing despite the heat and the smoke.  The legendary Mavis Staples was up next, and the gospel theme continued into the afternoon.  An hour and a half break and the evening's festival closing sets were lined up. 

JJ Grey & Mofro were very good, even if they did not quite scale the heights they did the night before.  Phish's Page McConnell (who played a previously unannounced solo piano playshop earlier in the afternoon) brought his new band on and truly rocked the house for two hours of inspired rock.  McConnell may be the best leader to emerge from Phish, and he will certainly prove to be the most consistent unless Trey Anastasio eventually gets his shit together.  I was never much of a Phish fan so it was a great surprise to me just how good this group is.

After some heartfelt thank yous from the festival organizers to the city of Quincy for stepping up to quell the the civil rights violations of the Sheriff's office the last few years and trusting them, and the festivarians, to take care of ourselves, Leftover Salmon took the stage again.  With so little sleep and so much magic happening everywhere, it seemed a little like it was third set of a long Leftover Salmon show with some truly great tweeners as LoS took absolute command of the festival.

If their latenight extravaganza had been great, this was somehow even greater.  It was more focused, tighter and had even more energy, if that is possible. Guests included Darol Anger for most of the set, Chris Thile on mandolin, Page McConnell on keyboards for song, and others, but mostly it was Leftover Salmon proving that they are now and always will be the very spirit of the festival.  The group seems to understand the magic, chaos, joy and energy of the festival and turn it into sound.  It's just that incredible.  I for one hope they never stop playing together, even it is just sporadic summertime festival gigs every year.

Later on I wandered around a bit, tempted by the San Francisco party that ALO and Tea Leaf Green were throwing in one late night hall while Les Claypool or the Everyone Orchestra played in others, but instead went to a party I had been hearing about in Camp Harry in RV area near the Big
Meadow stage. 

What a scene that was as Eddie & the Roughnecks (another UK funk band led by Eddie Roberts of the New Mastersounds) tore it up as people danced and talked.  Eventually, however, I had to give into being tired and realize that it had really happened.  High Sierra 2007 had gone on for four days — almost around the clock — with virtually no trouble, great amenities (note to all other festival producers: the importance of clean portapotties for the entire weekend can not be underestimated and is worth whatever it costs!), great food and drink and most importantly, great people.

The campers not only enjoyed the music and each other's company, they respected the space they were in.  As the tear down began on Monday morning it was clear that people were bringing their trash and recyclables to the proper spots and leaving very little matter out of place for the Clean Vibes crew (who also did an amazing job) to deal with.

Let the news ring out throughout the land: High Sierra is back and believe it or not, better than ever.  The Best Fest in the West is back!





ALO finds their comfort zone


Speaking with ALO bassist Steve Adams shortly after the band wrapped up a short tour in support of their new album Roses & Clover, one gets the impression that he could talk about his friends, their band and their music all day. 

And why shouldn’t he? 

He is in a band with some of his closet friends some he has known since childhood.  How many people can say they get to go to work with their best friends?  They have just released an album that is their strongest to date and is a mature transition from their last, the exceptional Fly Between Falls.

Continue reading ALO finds their comfort zone

ALO brings Cali cool to the South



Memphis, Tennessee

May 18, 2007


There’s been a resurgence of late: San Francisco is cranking out bands are making great music once again. 

In the 60s and 70s, you had the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.  Today, there’s Tea Leaf Green, New Monsoon, Hot Buttered Rum, and Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO).

ALO recently made its first trip to Memphis, and made a great impression from the start.

This is a band that oozes California cool; maybe it’s the easy, breezy lyrics, or their laid back rhythms, but something about ALO just screams Golden State.  There’s just something about their syrupy-sweet music that makes you want to grab a cold beer (or maybe something stronger) and chill.

The band picks up where Jack Johnson, whose label the band is on, leaves off – they bridge the gap between his singer/songwriter style and the jamband world.  They’re a positive force in a day and age when things aren’t always so rosy.  They’re almost refreshingly simplistic – Their songs aren’t complicated; they talk of happiness, friends, and partying. 

Make no mistake – ALO clearly has the chops to stretch out musically, but often just doesn’t – instead, they get on stage and nail their songs.  Some may call that "playing it safe," but that’s not always a bad thing.

When ALO takes the stage, they clearly enjoy the hell out of playing their music for an appreciative crowd.

Most bands play to few faces on their first jaunt through a market, but the audience at Newby’s, tucked just a block away from the University of Memphis, was pretty strong for the band’s Memphis debut – ALO had a crowd.  Touring behind then three week-old Roses & Clover, the band kicked the show off with the album’s title track, and from there, the audience was whisked away to a happy place, filled with sun, sand, and good vibrations.




As the band (and fans) celebrated keyboard/vocalist Zach Gill’s birthday, the crowd was treated a heaping portion of tracks from R&C, and while the crowd loved "Empty Vessel" and "All Alone," the energy in the room really took off when ALO started in with the stuff from 2006’s Fly Between Falls. 

It was a mild shock to hear Memphis sing along to "Girl I Wanna Lay You Down," and Dan Lebowitz’s great lap steel work on "Wasting Time" was cheered enthusiastically.  ALO just isn’t well known in Memphis, and for the band to get crowd participation – well, that’s great on many levels.

As ALO started to run through their cover of the Band’s "Opheila" that appeared on the tribute album Endless Highway, the crowd began to chant for Barbeque, appropo given Memphis’ unofficial claim as the BBQ capital of the world.

The band promptly obliged, and followed it up with the lead-off track from R&C, "Maria," before getting into one of the few extended jams of the night with "Shapeshifter."

"Shapeshifter" is an interesting track for the band – it’s the one time where they sound dark – the jam mid-song is pheomenal and it really puts the band’s musical prowess on display, but at times it just sounds moody and very anti-ALO.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – just an observation.

The one-set show closed with a groove "Walls of Jericho, and after the band returned from their encore break, they gave a deliberate shout-out to Memphis. 

While the band threw "Waiting for Jaden" in as the first "official" song, it was wrapped in city and state lore, from "Rocky Top" and Paul Simon’s "Graceland" to Johnny Cash’s "Ring of Fire."  The audience especially ate up "Rocky Top," singing along like they were at a University of Tennessee Football game.

After "Country Camper" and "Beast of Burden," the band thanked the crowd and rolled out of Memphis.

Memphis tends to be fickle with concert attendance – especially on a band’s first trip to the Bluff City.  However, the venue was crowded and excited, and the band responded, making for a special show.  




Roses & Clover, Empty Vessel, All Alone, Wasting Time, Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down, Try, Ophelia, Shine, Barbeque, Maria, Shapeshifter, Plastic Bubble, Lady Loop, Walls of Jericho

E:  Rocky Top > Waiting for Jaden > Rocky Top > Graceland > Ring of Fire, Country Camper, Beast of Burden


photos by Josh Mintz / photosbyjosh.com  




Dance of the Dead at Yosemite

Blue Turtle Seduction and TerraFin Entertainment are honored to host the 2nd annual Las Tortugas Dance of the Dead Halloween Celebration, nestled at the western border of Yosemite National Park.

The festivities begin Thursday, October 25 and run through Sunday, October 28, at the magical Evergreen Lodge in Groveland, CA.  Four days of festivities include the Thursday night kickoff party featuring ALO and Blue Turtle Seduction, Friday's Full Harvest Moon Fiesta, Saturday's Costume Extravaganaza and the Sunday Jubilee celebration.

There will be 3 stages including The Big Top Tent, as well as on site cabins and camping, nearby hotels, and off-site camping.

This Halloween soiree features an outstanding musical lineup with headlining acts Tea Leaf Green, ALO, New Monsoon, and Blue Turtle Seduction, with phenomenal up and coming bands from across the country including Greensky Bluegrass (Grand Rapids, MI), Izabella (Sacto), Mr. Brown (Austin, TX), Reeble Jar (Eugene, OR), Tracorum (SF), and hometown heroes The Trespassers (El Portal). 

In addition to all of the amazing music, there will be a costume contest, pumpkin carving, an open mic hosted by Jay Seals of BTS, and nightly themes.

There will be a special pre sale on tickets and cabins made available exclusively to the fans of each band from May 21-June 21.  A limited number of discounted 3 day passes will be made available during the pre-sale for $85 for Friday-Sunday.  The Thursday night kickoff party featuring ALO, Blue Turtle Seduction and friends, will be an additional $5. 

After the discounted tickets sell out, the price will be $100 for 3 day passes (the Thursday night party will continue to be $5), so get your tickets as early as you can.  Tickets can be purchased at http://evergreenhalloween.inticketing.com