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Blue King Brown to embark on first North American headlining tour

Blue King Brown from Australia, will be invading N. America when they bring their power packed live show to venues in August of 2008. Hard hitting Urban roots music in the truest sense, with dub, hip hop, afro beat, latin and soul influences Blue King Brown, already a huge success in Australia and Japan, are now hitting US and Canadian soil armed with words and music that reflects the past, acknowledges the present and represents the future.

"Blue King Brown is my favorite band right now. They embody everything I love in music from Ozomatli, African bands, Tower of Power to Santana. They are the voice of the street and the band of the future!" – Carlos Santana

Sharing stages across the world with the likes of Damien ‘Jr gong’ Marley, Santana, The John Butler Trio, Michael Franti and Spearhead has brought this incredible band’s craft to a higher level and a diverse market reach.  Peter Gabriel’s WOMADelaide, Big Day Out, and Al Gore’s Live Earth 2007 are just some of the highlighted festivals that have given Blue King Brown their platform to spread their music and message.

Though still relatively young and fresh to the scene BKB’s talent has already been recognized and acknowledged through collaborations on their upcoming album with Sly and Robbie, Jah Mason, Rovleta Fraser and renowned engineer BONZAI (know for his work with Damian & Stephen Marley amongst many others) assisting Blue King Brown in studios from Australia (SING SING) and Jamaica (Anchor Studios & Bob Marley’s legendary TUFF GONG studios) to New York and San Francisco.

"I am always inspired by BKB’s funky, high energy, socially conscious music. Natalie is a bright light in the world with a vision that extends beyond the stage and together with the rest of the band raise the roof off every show they play. I love em!!!" – Michael Franti (Spearhead)

Fronted by the lyrical Natty Arrow on vocals and guitar, mixed with the rhythm machine of Carlo Santone (bass), Sam Cope (keys), Salvador Persico (percussion) and Pete Wilkins (drums) to create a vibe and stage presence uniquely their own that is a must to be witnessed live! The back-up vocal intertwining of Hailey Cramer and Ngaiire add that R&B flair that keeps the audiences clamoring for more.  The sum is definitely more important that all of the parts in Blue King Brown, a band that can transition their audience from dub reggae to hard hitting Afro-beat political decrees without as much as a misstep.

"BKB are one of those unique truth-telling outfits in our business that defy time. Amazing musicians with a powerful message. What a concept, huh?" – Serj Tankian

Mark the date in your calendar for the day Blue King Brown comes to your town because it is very rare to catch a band of musicians/political messengers of this caliber.

More info at: www.myspace.com/bluekingbrown   and   www.bluekingbrown.com

Complete Tour:

Thursday July 31st           Temple Bar                       Santa Monica, California 

Friday August 1st              Reggae Rising Festival     Piercy, California

Saturday August 2nd         Doug Fir Lounge               Portland, Oregon

Monday August 4th           The Independent               San Francisco, California   Supporting Julian Marley

Tuesday August 5th           El Corazon                      Seattle, Washington  

Thursday august 7th          Media Club                      Vancouver, British Columbia    

Friday August 8th              The Habitat                      Kelowna, British Columbia   

Saturday August 9th          Shambhala                      Salmo (Nelson), British Columbia 

Sunday August 10th          Crankworx Festival           Whistler, British Columbia  

Tuesday August 12th         Wild Bills                        Banff, British Columbia   Supporting Buckwheat Zydeco

Wednesday August 13th    Marquee Room                Calgary, Alberta    

Friday August 15th             Double Door                   Chicago, Illinois   

Tuesday August 19th          Harpers Ferry                 Boston, Massachusetts 

Thursday August 21st         Sullivan Hall                   New York, New York      With Theresa Andersson

Friday August 22nd            Recher Theatre               Towson, Maryland     with DANIELIA COTTON

Sunday August 24th          Castaways                      Ithaca, New york   

All Good ’07 in review

All Good Music Festival 

Marvin's Mountaintop  

Masontown, West Virginia  

July 13-15, 2007 


In Masontown, West Virginia, the major economic engine is coal mining. 

But in mid-July, thousands of people converge on the nearby Marvin's Mountaintop in the beautiful, rolling Appalachian Mountains to cleanse their souls by basking in the sun, vibes, and music that the All Good Music Festival provides each year. 

This year, the annual catharsis commenced with Thursday performances by British psychedelic trance-jammers The Ozric Tentacles and the Grateful Dead cover band, the Dark Star Orchestra.  The DSO, known for re-creating historic Dead shows in their entirety, transported the festival revelers to De Kalb, Illinois and the Field House at Northern Illinois University as they recreated the Grateful Dead show from October 29, 1977. 

On Friday, Yonder Mountain String Band delivered an energetic set of their Colorado jamgrass.  As always, Yonder was fun to watch as they kept the large crowd going strong, even when a thunderstorm rolled in and dumped heavy rain accompanied by lightning and thunder.  YMSB dipped into their entire catalog, from older tunes like "Bolton Stretch" to offerings from their new album like "Angel." 

A highly anticipated set from the trio, Keller and the Keels (Keller Williams with Larry and Jenny Keel) featured the Tom Petty cover-medley from their album Grass — a mish-mash of "Last Dance with Mary Jane" into "Breakdown" and back into "Last Dance with Mary Jane."  That was followed by an unexpectedly crowd-pleasing Jon Denver cover (!): "Take Me Home, Country Road" with its fitting West Virgina reference. 

Yonder Mountain's Jeff Austin joined the band as they covered his band's "New Horizon."  But the peak of this set was the final two songs when Bob Weir joined the band for smoking renditions of the Grateful Dead's "Loser" and "Dupree's Diamond Blues." 

Lotus was up next on the Magic Hat Stage.  They only had a 45-minute set, but came out on fire.  From the opening "Jump Off" until the closing "Sunrain," the band displayed power and energy.  Jesse Miller's thundering bass and the excellent guitar riffs and percussion were great all night, even though the set was short. 

Bob Weir and Ratdog headlined Friday on the All Good Stage, with Steve Kimock on lead guitar in place of the ailing Mark Karan.  Steve Kimock never fails to impress on guitar, and boy, did this combination work.  Bob's great voice combined with a bunch of classic Grateful Dead songs and Kimock echoing of Jerry Garcia riffs blew the crowd away.  After their starting intro, the band went into a nice "Casey Jones."  

The "real" show started with a very psychedelic "Dark Star" sandwich, Kimock screaming on the guitar.  They then navigated through a series of Dead classics including "Hell In A Bucket," "Me And My Uncle," and a sick "Tennessee Jed." 

Keller Williams joined Ratdog for a while, giving Weir a rest, and when Bob came back out and Keller departed, Ratdog went into a great rendition of the Beatles' "Come Together."  This long but excellent sandwich closed with the reprise of "Dark Star." 




As soon as the music stopped, the Benevento/Russo Duo started playing on the adjacent Magic Hat stage, only to be interrupted by Rat Dog saying "not so fast, we have one more."  This was an awkward moment for the fest but the "Touch of Grey" was worth it.  

Some seemed a little upset that Ratdog was perceived to be "breaking into someone else's already short time slot."  However, Benevento and Russo played very well despite the miscommunication, and were the talk of the crowd the next day as being the new find of the weekend. 

Friday ended with the late-night set from Sound Tribe Sector 9.  They played their trance-y brand of music well into the early morning and kept the crowd dancing into the wee hours. 

Saturday started off with some great reggae from SOJA and groove- rock from Assembly Of Dust

Perpetual Groove followed on the All Good Stage, though the daylight didn't exactly serve a band accustomed to light-show-enhanced late night sets. However, this was the band's first show in West Virginia, and it was one to remember.  P-Groove started with a great version of "A Day the Way," followed by the classic guitar-driven "Robot Waltz."  They played the new "Under Lock and Key", "Save for One" from their latest album Live Love Die, and ended the short set with "Out Here."  P-Groove put on a decent performance, but, perhaps because of the early slot, never really got into their groove and showed little deep jamming.    

Next up on the All Good Stage was Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.  It was good to see a band fronted by a female musician/vocalist and they brought out a large crowd.  Potter played both piano and guitar and led the band through a theatrical high-energy performance.  A highlight was the crowd-pleasing "Nothing But The Water" parts 1 and 2, where everyone in the band playing the drums in the middle of the tune.  More than one person walked away from that show comparing Potter to Janis Joplin, and nobody was disagreeing. 

Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers mixed things up a bit following Grace Potter, providing the contrast that makes festivals like All Good great.  They brought a change of pace, delivering some high energy rock and roll fueled by Jack Daniels. Shifting gears again, Les Claypool and his band were up next, and showcased the bassist's quirky style, amplified by Mike Dillion's great percussion and Skerik's crazy facial expressions.

New Monsoon brought some San Francisco style to the Magic Hat Stage, albeit for a short but sweet 45 minute set.  The departure of the percussionists has forced New Monsoon to evolve— gone is the Indian tabla and Latin percussion and more prevalent is high energy rock and roll with screaming guitars and occasional banjo.  Lead guitarist Jeff Miller stood out as they ran through "Bridge of the Gods," the bluegrass-tinged "Romp," and closed with the fest-favorite "Traveling Gypsies." Michael Franti & Spearhead perform a high energy blend of modern day reggae, hip-hop, and funk that's just perfect for outdoor festivals.  If anyone can get the crowd to into the performance, it's Michael Franti; when he says jump, thousands of people do and when he says light up your lighter, thousands of points of light are seen across the crowd.  An often-repetitious setlist not withstanding, Franti is a top-notch performer.  Highlights were "East to the West," "Time to Go Home" (with a video intro of President Bush speaking the lyrics) and "Light Up Ya Lighter" with everyone doing just that. 

Immediately following was one of the better sets of the festival, courtesy of Tea Leaf Green.  They came out punching hard with "Franz Hanzerbeak," then tore it up with the lyrical sensation "Garden" trilogy and ended with a fantastic "If It Wasn't For The Money."  This performance was extremely energetic with great sound, and the energy from both band and crowd was awesome.    

Saturday's main event up on the All Good Stage was moe.  The Buffalo, New York act came right out of the gate blazing, starting with a killer "Rebubula" sandwich and into a "32 Things," "Spine of a Dog" and back into "Rebubula," making their way into a awesome "Plane Crash," and ultimately back into "Rebubula."  A nice "Akimbo" closed the set.  Their "Crab Eyes" encore was amazing, with featuring the sizzling dual guitars from Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier.  A camera strategically placed in Jim Loughlin's percussion kit gave the audience a front-row seat through the drum heads to the underside of his hands.  

The next couple hours….well into the early morning… provided one of the highlights of this year's fest – the Late Night All-Star Jam hosted by moe.  moe. started things off with fan favorite "Meat," followed by some hardcore Beat Box from The Bridge.  "Woodstock" with Reid Genauer of AOD was great.  P-Groove returned for a great Brock rap with a Kayne West "We Don't Care" which passed into a heavy hitting "Sex In The 70's" from Tea Leaf Green. 

The highlight of this all star jam was probably a superb rendition of Neil Young's classic "Cortez The Killer" from the talented vocalist Grace Potter.  moe. came back out to finish with a reprise of "Meat" and a "Godzilla" encore.  The set was perfect way to end a Saturday night at a great festival.

On Sunday, Soulive performed their set as the skies darkened and thunderstorms began pounding during their first song—a great version of "Steppin." The music was stopped for about 15 minutes for safety reasons and fear of lightning strikes.  But once the rain stopped, they returned to the stage for about another 45 minutes of great jazz- rock.  Eric Krasno is one of the best guitar players out there today and he delivered several power-packed solos.  Toussaint joined the band on vocals for several new songs.  They closed out with the classics "Jesus Children of America" and "Feel Like Makin' Love."  The crowd wanted more but apparently they couldn't stay as they had a plane to catch.  

The festival closed with just the third show of Leftover Salmon's brief reunion tour.   While the band had been hiatus for several years, it was clear they hadn't lost a thing, putting on one of the best sets of the festival.  The band walked onstage with a "Howdy West Virginia," and when they sang the lyrics "And the West Virginia waters went down, down, down" the final downpour of the weekend showered the crowd.  Luckily, the rain held up until the set was almost complete.


Click on for the photo galleries – photos by Brad Kuntz{mospagebreak} 













Vegoose line-up announced

Vegoose, to be held October 26 – 28 in Las Vegas, Nevada, has announced its initial line-up.  The festival will again be held at Sam Boyd Stadium and Star Nursery Field, along with Vegoose at Night which will take place in various clubs throughout the city.


Here's the "first draft" of the line-up:

Rage Against The Machine
Daft Punk
Iggy & the Stooges (performing the album Fun House)
The Shins
Cypress Hill
Queens of the Stone Age
Public Enemy
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Umphrey's McGee
Thievery Corporation
Ghostface Killah & The Rhythm Roots Allstars
Blonde Redhead
Gogol Bordello
Ghostland Observatory
Pharoahe Monch


The first round of artists performing at Vegoose at Night:

10/26: Thievery Corporation @ House of Blues

10/26: moe. @ The Pearl

10/27: Umphrey's McGee @ House of Blues

10/27: Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Joint

10/28: STS9 @ House of Blues

10/28: The Shins @ The Joint 


Franti to play San Quentin

Outspoken Anti- recording artist and award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Franti will perform an extremely rare San Quentin Prison concert on Saturday, May 19th at 11 a.m.  With a theme of tolerance and co-existence, the first gig inside the prison in five years – since Metallica’s 2002 appearance – will be held before roughly 2,000 inmates.

And Franti doesn’t just want to just deliver his message of “Power to The Peaceful on the Inside” to concert attendees in the yard.  He is currently in talks to allow the event – organized by Guerrilla Management and the non-profit organization Bread & Roses – to be broadcast to San Quentin’s death row inmates via closed circuit television.

Preceding the performance, Franti will be interviewed live on Al Jazeera TV’s “Riz Khan” show next Thursday, May 10th, at 12 Noon PST.  Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East.  It has more than 86 million global viewers and can be viewed for free via www.relavista.tv.

Franti – who won the Best International Documentary Award in the prestigious Harlem International Film Festival for his heralded 2005 film about the Iraq war, I Know I’m Not Alone – took time out from his busy touring schedule with Spearhead to visit with and perform for injured soldiers at Washington’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center this past March.  Earlier that month, the performer’s efforts for peace earned him the honor of “Michael Franti Day” from Austin, Texas’ Mayor Will Wynn.

I Know I’m Not Alone – shot during his travels to the war zones of Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2005 – has been called “an antidote to despair” by anti-war activist Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange.

Inspiring last year’s acclaimed Anti- disc Yell Fire!, which The San Francisco Examiner dubbed it “a call for hope,” Michael Franti and Spearhead fuse hip-hop, rock ’n’ roll, reggae and folk sounds with a distinctly candid political voice.  Heralded as “the most important artist recording and touring today who has yet to reach the masses,” by Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell, Franti has also been confirmed to appear at the 2007 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee the weekend of June 14th – 17th.

All Good announces line-up additions

Six more stellar acts have been added to the ever-expanding talent lineup of the 11th Annual ALL GOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL as its celebrates the diversity and loyalty of the improvisational music scene with its most extensive and intensive lineup to date. Drive-By Truckers, Benevento/Russo Duo, Sam Bush, the Bridge, Lee Boys and the Ryan Montbleau Band have come aboard the East Coast’s longest-running camping event for its return to the magnificent Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, July 13-15, 2007.

They join many of the improvisational scene’s leading attractions – Bob Weir & RatDog, the newly reunited Leftover Salmon, moe., Keller Williams, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Les Claypool, Dark Star Orchestra, Yonder Mountain String Band and Sound Tribe Sector 9 – as well as Lotus, Tea Leaf Green, Ozric Tentacles, Perpetual Groove, AOD (Assembly of Dust), PBS (Porter-Batiste-Stoltz), Soldiers of Jah Army, New Monsoon, Will Hoge, West Indian Girl and Lovewhip, with many more to come!

Two more unknown, unsigned and up-and-coming artists will be discovered and showcased through SonicBids (www.sonicbids.com) when The East Coast’s mid-summer live music highlight enters its fifth consecutive year at Marvin’s Mountaintop. The deadline for artist submissions is Friday, May 4th at 6 PM, with the lucky winners selected, notified and announced soon afterward. Bands wishing to enter are encouraged to vising and sign up at www.sonicbids.com/allgoodfestival.

The list of artists confirmed to play the 11th Annual ALL GOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL to date:

Bob Weir & RatDog

Leftover Salmon

moe. (+ additional All Good All-Star Jam hosted by moe.)

Drive-By Truckers

Sam Bush

Benevento/Russo Duo

Keller Williams

Michael Franti and Spearhead

Les Claypool

Dark Star Orchestra

Yonder Mountain String Band

STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) (performing late night set)


Tea Leaf Green

Ozric Tentacles

Perpetual Groove

AOD (Assembly of Dust)

PBS (Porter-Batiste-Stoltz)

Soldiers of Jah Army (SOJA)

The Bridge

Lee Boys

Ryan Montbleau Band

New Monsoon

Will Hoge

West Indian Girl


…plus many more TBA

More bands, guest musicians, and festival activities are to be announced in the coming weeks.

For complete information, visit the official ALL GOOD web site at: www.allgoodfestival.com

Celebrate green community under the sun at the Taos Solar Music Festival

Each year, through the universal language of music, the Taos Solar Music Festival celebrates sun and renewable energy, and continues to be the festival of choice for music fans around the country who share an environmental consciousness and zealousness about this community we call Earth. 

Now in its ninth year, the Taos Solar Music Festival is quite likely one of the music industry’s original Green  events. Hosting attendees from over 30 U.S. States and internationally reputed for blazing a trail in awareness for solar energy, the Taos Solar Music Festival honors the unparalleled contributive power of the sun with three days of eclectic music, interactive exhibits and activities, and much more. Attracting over 5,000 people annually from all over the country, the festival’s main stage is powered through the use of photovoltaic panels. As always, the Solar Village, located on Solar Fest grounds and free/open to the public, will feature booths and demonstrations designed to inform and expose alternative and renewable energy sources and solutions. Festival producer Dawn Richardson explains, “We’re really proud of the Solar Village – and hope that it helps to inspire and nurture sustainable communities in the region and throughout the nation.  We think the Solar Village is what makes this festival stand out from so many others around the country.” This year, the Solar Musical Festival’s Solar Village will be one of only a handful of places to find Toyota’s Mobile Hybrid Experience, which will be on site showcasing their Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicles. Stay tuned at www.solarmusicfest.com for additional details on Solar Village specifics.

The festival’s complete musical lineup will be revealed in the coming weeks.  For now, let it be known that Big Head Todd and the Monsters will kick off the weekend on Friday, June 29. Front man Todd Park Mohr, a long-time renewable energy advocate himself, says, “We always look forward to playing Solar Fest in Taos.  It is a beautiful setting with a great lineup of artists alongside a much needed plug for solar energy and environmental awareness.  It is always a raucous celebration!”  Also on the bill, Michael Franti & Spearhead and John Butler Trio. Additional artists TBA.

A premier vacation spot for the entire Four Corners region and beyond, Taos can be accessed through some of the most scenic and majestic highways and byways of America. A fun road trip and weekend getaway for family and friends, the festival is just a four to five hour drive from the Denver area, just over two hours from Albuquerque, or a day’s jaunt from northern Texas.

Festival details are as follows:
9th Annual Taos Solar Music Festival
June 29, 30 and July 1
Kit Carson Park in Downtown Taos
Tickets are on sale now.
Kids 10 and under free
Visit www.solarfestmusic.com for tickets, lodging recommendations, and more.

A thousand miles with Michael Franti

Words and photos by Bob Compton / bobcompton.com

Its the hands that you start to notice. His and theirs.

I recently joined Michael Franti and Spearhead on their "Yell Fire" tour.  Night after night, once the show started everybody in every venue had their hands in the air for the whole evening, save during some of Michael's softer, acoustic numbers.  During those, the audience was quiet, giving him and his words their rapt attention.

Continue reading A thousand miles with Michael Franti

Michael Franti, Keller Williams to headline inaugural Asheville Music Jamboree

The inaugural Asheville Music Jamboree has announced its lineup, featuring more than 30 bands on two stages over three days June 1-3 at Deerfields Amphitheater.

Located just outside of Asheville in Mills River, NC, the debut event features the musical talents of such noteworthy nationally-touring performers as Michael Franti & Spearhead, Keller Williams & the WMD’s, The Avett Brothers, Donna the Buffalo, Acoustic Syndicate, Asheville’s own Toubab Krewe along with dozens of additional acts.    

Complementing its impressive headliners, the Asheville Music Jamboree also features appearances by Afromotive, The Booty Band, Barrel House Mamas, CX-1, Ménage, Jen & The Juice, Barefoot Manner, Ras Alan and The Lions, The Bridge, DJ Williams Projekt, Purple Schoolbus, Fifth House, Bombadil, Sol Driven Train, Artvandalay, Incognito Mosquito, Thacker Dairy Road, Possum Jenkins, The Lost Ridge Band and additional acts still to be added.

Gates open Friday, June 1 at 9 AM, and children 12 and under are free with paid parent admission.

Tickets are available now via the festival website: www.amjam.net and are $95 until April 8, then $110 until May 15, and $125 at the gate. Tickets include primitive camping and vehicle camping is $35 in advance, $45 at the gate while RV camping is $75 in advance and $90 at the gate.

Full information regarding tickets, artists, schedules, camping, family activities, and more can be found at www.amjam.net.  More information on the Deerfields Amphitheater is available at www.deerfields.com.