It’s that time of year again. The ground’s starting to thaw (unless you live in upstate New York), the birds are starting to sing. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training sooner rather than later. Yep – it’s almost Spring.
For most in the music scene, that means new tour dates and festivals on the horizon. But for the Allman Brothers Band, it means one thing: the Beacon Theatre.
For over a decade, the Beacon has been home to the Brothers in March, as they set up camp and play an extended run. It’s a big deal to the band; they can bring their families up to Manhattan for a little time together, even though the band is officially “on the road.”
This year, the band will indeed have their family up in New York again, but in a different capacity – playing their own gigs. Everyone knows about Derek Trucks’ blood connection to the Allman Brothers – he’s drummer Butch Trucks’ nephew. However, he’s not the only relative of a band member with musical talent. Friday, March 23rd is the second show of the 2007 Beacon run. Later that night, two bands will take stages elsewhere in the city.
Honeytribe – fronted by Gregg’s son, Devon – will be playing at BB King’s. The second of two musical offspring of Gregg (Elijah Blue fronts Deadsy, a hard-rock act), Honeytribe has been touring heavily behind their 2006 release, Torch. I’ve seen Honeytribe a few times. While I can’t say I was blown away either time, I’ll say this – they’re a talented band. At times Devon sounds so much like his dad it’s scary. He’s got some chops on the guitar as well. Dickey Betts’ bass player, Pedro Arevalo played with them (on slide guitar) both times I saw them. He’s not a permanent member of the band, but he should be.
My one gripe about the band is the billing – their official name is “Devon Allman’s Honeytribe.” I’m sure this is a marketing thing – having that Allman name certainly gets a few extra bodies in the door each night. However, this is a band that’s talented enough to get there on their own, even if it takes them a little while longer. Dickey Betts can stick his name in front of Great Southern because he’s paid his dues and made it already – Devon can’t really say the same thing yet, so it just looks gimmicky.
Bonobos Convergence, fronted by Butch’s son Vaylor, will also be up in New York on the 23rd, at the Ace of Clubs. Where Honeytribe is a band in the vein of the Allman Brothers Band, Bonobos Convergence leans a little more towards progressive rock. Vaylor plays guitar, midi-guitar, and bass, and night-in and night-out shows that his cousin Derek is not the only Trucks with guitar skills. This band is a tight group of musicians.
I first saw Vaylor sitting in with the Allman Brothers back at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta in 2004. He did nothing for me, to be honest. I thought his style of play didn’t mesh with the Allmans at all. However, when I finally saw his band on its own, it was a whole different ballgame. They were, in a word, great.
So, if you’re looking for a little activity after the Allman Brothers show at the Beacon on the 23rd, you can keep it all in the family. There are Allman kids and Trucks kids making music just like their fathers, and it’s pretty damn good.