Thursday, June 19
Review and Photos: HeadCount 10th Anniversary Concert - Brooklyn Bowl - 6/4/14 - Brooklyn, NY
Over the last ten years HeadCount has been working directly within the world of music to help create a more socially-conscious fan. Working directly with fans and artists at festivals, concert venues and shows from coast to coast they have registered over 200,000 voters since 2004. To celebrate their 10th anniversary HeadCount put together a show with the help of Board Member Bob Weir and his band RatDog and some very special guests including Headcounts Co-Chairman Marc Brownstein, John Popper, Brendan Bayliss, Alecia Chakour, Eric Krasno, Nels Clein, Eric Bloom, and Ryan Zoidis.
Bobby and RatDog kicked off the night with a little jam before diving into the “Hell In A Bucket” which got the crowd engaged quickly before diving into the Bob Dylan original “Queen Jane Approximately” which Weir dedicated to Jane Henderson from HeadCount. This was a beautiful version of a classic tune as well as the first of several that saw the crowd join in to a create a full venue sing along. With the first set moving along at a beautiful and mellow pace the band brought out the first sets only guest John Popper for “Little Red Rooster.” A tune written by Willie Dixon that has been played by some of music’s biggest names over the years such as, The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones. This was just a glimpse of what was to come later in the evening as well as being one of my favorite moments of the night. Adding his distinct vocals and an extremely strong harmonica solo Popper fit in effortlessly with the band, lifting the collective energy in the room to a whole new level. “Ramble on Rose” was up next and the band seemed to eat it up as much as the crowd who hung on every word while singing along as passionately as the band, at one point a fan was seen gently tossing roses across the stage as the band hit the chorus. A venue full of fans singing along to a timeless classic is always good for one’s spirit and perhaps lifted Bobby and the band to a peak as they went into “Mission in the Rain.” The lyrics of this song seem to cut directly into my heart and soul and did more so this evening than ever before with Bobby offering up some of his strongest vocals of the evening. From the opening notes to the ending of the set closer, “Throwing Stones,” this was a passionate opening set of music. Laying a beautifully delivered foundation for what was a uniquely powerful evening of music
The second set began with HeadCount’s Co-Chairman Marc Brownstein joining Bobby and RatDog for a little open jam before diving into spirited versions of both “Shakedown Street” and “Bertha.” This was a solid start to the second set picking up the pace ever so slightly from the first set with Brownstein adding his distinctive style to the mix. Most notably during “Shakedown” where he added a well-placed tease of one of his Disco Biscuit songs “Crickets.” His overall love for music and the people he creates it for shinned through with each and every note as he seemed to draw me even deeper into the music. From there the set moved along with Brendan Bayliss now joining in the fun infusing his prog rock feel into a killer version of “Help On The Way” before absolutely destroying “Slipknott” a song that he has played several times with his band Umphrey’s McGee.
Leading directly into the third and final song Bayliss joined in for “Sugaree” which also saw the emergence of Alecia Chakour whose vocals added to the overall beauty of the song. The interplay between the Weir led band was spot on throughout the evening and may have been most beautifully highlighted by the seamless transition from artist to artist. Each bringing their own style to the stage creating one of a kind versions of some classic tunes such as “Mexicali Blues” which with the added horns of Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis both members of Lettuce was pure fire. The horns delivered a whole new level of energy to the music which carried into “Eyes of the World.” This version also saw guitarist Eric Krasno of Lettuce and vocalist Alecia Chakour emerge onto the stage. During this version the stage had become as full with guests as the room with emotion and the crowd once again joined in for a full on sing along. Krasno played tightly, trading licks with Kimock throughout the song before delivering one of the evening’s most electrifying solos. The band was firing on all cylinders as they transitioned into what for me was the most beautiful song of the evening, “Dear Prudence.” With Krasno, Bloom, Zoidis and Chakour all remaining on stage this song literally brought tears to my eyes as the emotion seemed to run like a waterfall off the stage engulfing the audience in the moment. The set came to a close with “Not Fade Away,” which seemed a perfect metaphor for the never ending love shared between Bobby and his fans night after night. After 2 of the best sets I have personally seen RatDog perform, the band had one more trick up its sleeve bringing out Nels Cline guitarist from Wilco for a “Franklin’s Tower,” “Turn On Your Lovelight” encore. Nels delivered beautifully feeding off of the already high energy in the room trading delicious licks with Kimock throughout both tunes ending the night perfectly.
Over the past 10 years HeadCount has been a leading force in both educating and registering voters throughout the country using people’s love of music as a building block along the way. From their permanent presence at festivals and shows throughout the country to informative media campaigns with some of the industry’s biggest names they have grown and flourished consistently over their first ten years. This evening was a celebration of that and the musicians gave every ounce of themselves throughout the show creating nothing short of a magical evening. The meshing of talent created a uniquely engaging event with moments of pure bliss that I soon won’t forget. As a lifelong fan of music seeing musicians from different bands with varying styles come together to create a new sound is something I have consistently chased over the years. This evening may have been the best example of that I have experienced to date. Leaving me hopeful that ten years from now we all once again gather to celebrate 20 years of HeadCount through music.
Hell In a Bucket
Money For Gasoline
Little Red Rooster w/ John Popper
Ramble on Rose
Mission in the Rain
Shakedown Street w/ Marc Brownstein
Bertha w/ Marc Brownstein
Help on the Way w/ Brendan Bayliss
Slipknot w/ Brendan Bayliss
Sugaree w/ Brendan Bayliss and Alecia Chakour
Mexicali Blues w/ Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis
Eyes of the World w/ Eric Krasno Alecia, Chakour Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis
Drear Prudence w/ Eric Krasno, Alecia, Chakour, Eric Bloom, and Ryan Zoidis
Not Fadeaway w/ Eric Krasno, Alecia Chakour, Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis
Franklin’s Tower w/ Nels Cline
Words: Chason Heins
Photos: Greg Horowitz
©Grateful Music LLC
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