Tag Archives: Georgia Theatre

The last stand: Farewell to Perpetual Groove

Perpetual Groove
Georgia Theatre
Athens, Georgia
April 5, 2013

For many, Perpetual Groove is one-of-a-kind. From East Coast to West Coast and over to Japan, they have created a loyal following with no geographical barriers. Affectionately known as PGroove, they have molded a dedicated fan base with their willingness to be personable, and songwriting/musical abilities that create what can only be likened to a shared consciousness that leaps across age groups and gender.

Sadly, Friday, April 5, 2013, was their swan song – the start of the group’s hiatus due to guitarist Brock Butler’s need for a break to enhance his own health (Butler released a letter to all fans describing the reason for his departure.) The show was held at the heart and soul of PGroove’s territory, Athens, Ga, at the newly rebuilt Georgia Theatre.

pgroove1-AAfter the opening set by Ghost Owl – an electronica trio made up of  PGroove minus Brock Butler – the band was given a plaque listing the statistics of PGroove at GATH: 68 shows (44 sold out), 55,256 tickets sold, and 12,930 minutes of music. The band donated $20,000 dollars for a bathroom project – a.k.a. the shitter show. And June 19, 2009 – a PGroove show that never happened because GATH had a major fire that morning; the band generously donated another $7,332 for the employees after the fire.

Their final performance began with “Crowded Tub,” the lyrics of which could almost be interpreted as alluding to the hiatus. Butler, guitarist and vocalist, was very much in the moment, reminding many of the heart and soul he puts into his performances.

At the top of his game, Butler brought many to tears as he showed one last time how he is the master magician of the band – the wizard; he contributed most of the music and lyrics, and sung 90% of the lines. Albert Suttle, drummer and calm core, provided the steady, solid performance that fans have always appreciated. Adam Perry, bassist and energist, enjoyed the show as much as the audience did, and often one could read in his face that playing music on stage is where he belongs. Matt McDonald, keyboardist and returning member, supplied fans with sounds that brought forth an imagery unique to each individual.

This conclusive end to an era show in Athens brought in fans both new and old – from people who have seen 300 shows to those who had only been to a few. Hugs and tears were exchanged as the musicians on stage reminded us of why we came – to embrace the music and share the experience that is PGroove with friends that have become family.

After “Crowded Tub,” the band played one favorite after another, into “La Case Bien” and “Stealy Man.” “Walking In Place,” where the Reverend Butler usually goes into a monologue, evoked tears with his final speech; he mentioned that he couldn’t think of a finer group of people, and that he held the audience in the highest esteem. “Turn to your friend,” he said, “and then we’ll ask you again if it was alright.” Butler aluded to the fact that maybe they would be together again – as a band and a family – and every fan in that room agreed with that sentiment.

pgroove1-BPGroove delivered more favorites like “Speed Queen,” “Cairo,” “Robot Waltz,” and “Paper Dolls,” and many were grateful that the band broke their declaration of “no repeats” during the final four shows with the ultimate crowd pleaser, “Teakwood Betz.”

Fans raised their voices and sang along to the lyrics of “Three Weeks,” a song that features lyrics some fans may have linked to the way Butler must feel about the ending of the band he created: “I never had the thing I thought I had, the thing that made me think I had it made.”

The most intense part of “Three Weeks,” and for many the heaviest part of the show, came when Brock sang these lyrics from the same song, “I gave all I had, then they showed me the door.” It resonated deeply with many fans because the other members of PGroove are soldiering on without Butler – without a confident vocalist, capable guitarist, or soulful contributor.

The encore, “All My Friends,” had the audience arm in arm, embracing each other as the band performed its last notes for the time being. “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” brought many to tears with the lyrics, “burning so bright no one could see,” as folk were reminded of the band’s personal struggles and internal difficulties, and the reality that a huge chapter in the lives of the band and fans was coming to an end.

Perpetual Groove’s swan song was one of their best, and certainly most heartfelt, performances in recent years. A huge thank you to all that you have done for your fans, your family, and the community of PGroove and a very fond farewell.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz…

Gov’t Mule (w/ Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen), 10/17/12

Written By Honest Tune & David Shehi/ Photos By Brad Kuntz


Gov’t Mule (with Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen)
Georgia Theatre
Athens, GA
October 17, 2012



Leading up to the release of The Georgia Bootleg Box, the recently released six disc set that takes fans back to a three night run across Georgia in 1996, Gov’t Mule celebrated with similar run, with one being held at the same venue, as it was way back when. That one was this night at the historic Georgia Theatre that, though recently restored and quite a bit nicer than it was in ’96, still holds that certain degree of special that can only be felt, not explained. (The other two stops were at Atlanta’s Tabernacle, as opposed to the Roxy in ’96, and Macon’s Cox Capitol Theatre, as opposed to Elizabeth Reed Music Hall in ’96.)

Warming up the night was the pharaoh himself, Col. Bruce, who served up a  plentiful, even if a bit too short, set filled with soul-stewed Zambi alongside his kitchen stewards, that continues to include the blistering slide work from A.J. Ghent.

To thunderous applause, The Mule took the stage, thoroughly demonstrating what 18 years does for  a band’s musical maturation. Needless to say, many of the faithful recalled the days of Allen Woody, the eternal Mule bassist who co-founded the band with front man, Warren Haynes, as an Allman Brothers side project, and was as responsible for The Mule’s sonic foundation as was Haynes. (Woody passed away in 2000)

As many suspected, the night saw Bruce Hampton rejoin the stage alongside the aforementioned Ghent and another guest, Ike Stubblefield, to close things out during an encored offering of “Spoonful.” (Stubblefield and Ghent also guested during the soul and R&B classic, “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”)

For Honest Tune‘s part, Brad Kuntz was on the scene to bring back the photo report.






Gov’t Mule


I: Dixie Peaches Jam > Temporary Saint > Gameface > Mountain Jam > Gameface > Trane > Eternity’s Breath > St. Stephen Jam > Presence of the Lord, Don’t Step on the Grass Sam, Birth of the Mule, Banks on the Deep End, Time to Confess

II: Goin’ out West > Bang A Gong > Goin’ out West >  Gonna Send You Back to Georgia, Beautifully Broken, Forevermore, I’m a Ram, Feel Like Breaking up Somebody’s Home*, Mule > Whole Lotta Love > Mule

Encore: Spoonful**

* w/ AJ Ghent and Ike Stubblefield
** w/ Col. Bruce Hampton, AJ Ghent, and Ike Stubblefield


Download an audience recording of Gov’t Mule’s set, HERE

(Includes Warren & Matt Abts’ rooftop set that preceded the show)


Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen


Fixin’ to Die, Feelin’ Good, Midnight Walker, Aint’ Nothin’ You Can Do, Surrender, There Was a Time, Right Now, Pharaoh’s Kitchen, I’m So Glad


Download an audience recording of Col. Bruce’s set, HERE


Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz





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Matt McDonald to rejoin PGroove, bassist Perry and McDonald comment on announcement (Audio)

After weeks of speculation, today some very special news has come out of Athens, GA.

It is official. Keyboardist Matt McDonald will be rejoining his Perpetual Groove band mates beginning tomorrow night (11/18/11) in Athens at the Georgia Theatre.

Many recall the day that the Georgia Theatre burned, the night before PGroove was set to play their beloved hometown venue.

On what is sure to be a special night, Honest Tune will be on the scene and had the opportunity to speak with McDonald and PGroove bassist, Adam Perry, about the exciting news on Tuesday. Have a listen below with official press release to follow.


Matt McDonald and Adam Perry discuss McDonald’s return to Perpetual Groove with Honest Tune…

Mobile users (or if the you are having difficulty with the player), please click here to listen.

Did Band Hire Clone Of Former Keyboard Player Matt McDonald?

Athens, GA – Well-known keyboard player and pianist Matthew McDonald has rejoined Athens, GA based rock/jam band Perpetual Groove.

McDonald — known for his fusion of electronic, jazz, gospel and rock and roll keyboard magic – was last seen playing with the band Perpetual Groove at Amberland in 2008.  Since that time, McDonald has pursued other interests, performing with other acts, being a dad and a husband and, evidently, tinkering with cloning.

McDonald will join current PGroove keyboardist John Hruby at the high profile Georgia Theatre show on Friday, November 18th, 2011. The show marks Perpetual Groove’s emotional return to their hometown venue which was nearly lost to fire the morning of a scheduled two-night PGroove run in 2009.

Keyboardist John Hruby will finish the year on keys for the band before moving on to other endeavors. McDonald and Hruby will both join the band for their scheduled New Year’s Eve shows on 12/30 and 12/31 in Atlanta, GA at Center Stage.

Perpetual Groove and McDonald then literally set sail into their second decade of making music together when they board Jam Cruise 10 on January 9th, 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

To read more about what McDonald has been doing with his time over the past three years, please click here.