Story by Jamband Sam
There are few places as beautiful as South Florida in March. Musically, March Madness manifested as the outstanding 2nd-Annual Langerado Festival. Basking and dancing in the sunny, postcard-perfect tropical splendor, groups of spring breakers and magical music lovers from coast to coast left the stress of work and final exams behind. Summer-wear sun-seekers were treated to the sonically explosive exploratory jam-band performance festival scene.
Touted as the most pervasive underground musical movement, the live, in the moment, real-deal jammers lit up Langerado’s super sophmore effort. Blending a cornucopia of musical genres attracted an eclectic music-loving audience. Culturally, the event offered up a South Florida musical milestone with the creative combination of original island roots sounds, cutting-edge rockin’ blues, jam-band pyrotechnics, spacey trance-fusion all in a peaceful, fun-filled island of spring fever.
Decorative booths offering cool crafts, delicious food and smiling, festive people made the first major jam-band gathering of the year a memorable one. With four stages simultaneously featuring over 20 bands the perpetual sonic groove permeated the entire park.
The festival’s organizers offered a diverse informational platform for several local and national community organizations, such as Florida Atlantic University NORML (norml.org), Conscious Alliance (ConsciousAlliance.org) and Miami’s Daily Bread Food Bank (dailybread.com).
Music is the messenger and with the Sunshine State of mind wide open, the good vibes flowed freely. An event so well designed and implemented as Langerado is precisely what springtime needs. National and international touring bands put forth their best efforts. Site planning, logistical talent booking, sanitation and security, and the countless details all combined to create a positive concert festival experience.
Concertgoers were provided with a perfect festival location. Located midway between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood’s Young Circle Park is an exquisitely landscaped green zone featuring ancient Balboa trees, glorious palms and spacious lawns. Young Circle is a gem in the midst of South Florida urban design and a splendid oasis with viable access to the main downtown Hollywood shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bars.
Featuring 20 bands on four stages strategically located in each corner of scenic Young Circle Park for nearly 12 hours, Langarado opened at high noon with a set by local favorite Way of the Groove (bassist Felix Xavier Pastorius and drummer Julius Pastorius are the twin sons of the late Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius).
As the spring sunshine peaked in the sky another band on the rise took the stage: Vermont’s Seth Yacovone Band. Tight, rhythm-driven extended jams with soaring guitar riffs complemented the power trio’s interplay (think Stevie Ray Vaughn meets Jimi Hendrix). Extensive touring has refined guitarist Yacovone’s sound dynamics. The band hit stride with a full gale version of Neil Young’s "Hurricane."
New Jersey’s Rana ignited the sun-drenched music lovers. Keyboardist and vocalist rap jammer Matt Durant kept the crowd immersed in the deep Rana groove. Only three years into the Rana project and the band has opened for Govt. Mule and Lynyrd Skynyrd and performed at Bonnaroo.
The extended Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker family delighted the Langerado fans with its Southern-tinged slam-grass. Paying tribute to the family roots of honest, good-humored lyrical tunes, Cracker tugged at the heartstrings, delivering a perfectly twisted version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s "Redneck Mother." Cracker’s captivating moment arrived just before the band departed with Camper’s cover of the psychedelic classic. "Pictures of matchstick Men." Later that night David Lowery and Johnny Hickman of Cracker joined moe. for a tender rendering of "Meat" and a strange, yet interesting stab at "Fire on the Mountain."
Post 4:20, the Wailers took the stage as the last rays of the vibrant sun blazed across the purple-red horizon and blazed a historical performance at Langerado. The phenomenal global impact of Bob Marley’s roots-rock-reggae rock ensemble lives from one generation to the next; the multi-culti, all-ages audience knew sang along to the indelible Marley sonic signature. As soul survivors and music-industry rebels, the Wailers have endured family feuds, tragic fatalities and countless hurdles. With musical grace they continue to spread vital messages to the masses on a global scale.
The Wailers lay it down deep. Marley’s musical director, Aston "Family Man" Barrett, was responsible for the Wailers’ distinctive live sound and studio craftsmanship. The humble Rastaman leads the Wailers with notable precision and surefire tightness. Original Wailers, guitarist Al Anderson and keyboardist Earl "Wire" Lindo, provide free-flight solos and up-tempo and funky syncopation.
Building on a well-balanced set of inspired love songs bolstered by a rootsy militant mix of revolutionary freedom fighter tunes, the Wailers gave praise to the most high. A soulful version of "No Woman, No Cry" sent a potent message of struggle and survival, with the positive chorus, "Everything’s gonna be alright," gently touching hearts and healed heads in these most challenging of times.
Hailing from Sacramento, California, Cake’s live performance popularity has established a Left Coast word-of-mouth fan base for the band lead by the charismatic John McCrea. Cake’s sweet following was quite evident at Langerado. Having your cake and eating it too is a double treat, but the cherry on top is when a band’s diverse musical palette embraces country, hip-hop, and fun funkin’ soul.
As the tropical sunset segued into a most enchanted evening, Langarado presented the jamtronica of Sound Tribe Sector 9. Rising full-moonbeams illuminating STS9’s tranced-out soundscapes. Perfectly timed break-beats meshed into a spinning crescendos of electro-effects all fused together by a solid, playful drums-and-bass launching pad. The polyrhythmic quintet connected visionary light-ship frequencies with the collective antiquity of infinite universal realms.
Headlining Langarado was the ultimate jam-band as far as I’m concerned: moe. Their "One moe. Saturday Night" set explored the fine-tuned evolutionary live sound moe. have perfected over 12 years on the road. Clearly pushing the outer limits of the live performance experience, Al Schnier, Chuck Garvey, Rob Derhak, Vinne Amico and Jim Loughlin fired on all cylinders sonically. Progressively building and sustaining the jam is their moe.dus operendi.
Strong song structure, intelligent, inspired crescendo solos, deep rhythmic overdrive and a metaphorical lyrical base place moe. at the top of all touring jam bands. Their patchwork quilt of lengthy jams, velvet-smooth segues and peak interludes aurally massage all who venture into the moe. zone. The twin-guitar attack, clean, concise chops and an ever escalating sound dynamic, exploratory multi-scale interchange, clear vocal harmonies and lightening rod passages move "moe.rons" through the familiar pearly gates of jam heaven.
Twisted tales of lovable, laughable chaotic characters reflect the common lyrical elements of satire, zany reality and the extraordinarily whimsical nature of negotiating life. Deeply embedded in the moe. mindfield lurks ironic double entendre that’s not only weirdly embraceable but highly infectous.
moe. reach beyond the fragile psyche to the impenetrable heart of sophisticated musical messaging. You either get it or you don’t and nobody seems to care either way. Garvey’s sinister, complex guitar techniques and edgy slide expressions send the listener through a twisting, turning labyrinth. Combining cool, pleasing vocal delivery with insidious metaphor is Garvey’s strength. "Bullet," from the Jammy-winning Wormwood album, is a high-caliber masterpiece that ponders the question, "Would you recognize it if it came speeding like a bullet from a gun?" Derhak’s "St. Augustine" rode wildly on the high-octane kinetic energy. Rallying the spirited chorus of "God is light, light is good, God is good" over-shadowed the deeper lyrical irony in the song leaving room for Schnier’s power-chord exchange with Garvey on slide. The stellar quintet stands proudly at the pantheon of crafted conossieurs of the jam. I’m so glad they made it to Langarado.