As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. But Equifunk 2013 sure went out with a bang. Here’s a rundown of days two and three of the all-inclusive music fest.
Saturday’s performances began on the Pool stage at 11 am. I’ll Be John Brown was first up followed by Superhuman Happiness. Then Keller Williams & More Than A Little took the stage. It was a bit amusing to watch Keller play with a band that seemed destined to backup Rick James. The lineup consisted of a funky trio (drums, guitar and keyboard) plus two female vocalists accompanying Keller’s quirky style. Their covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Sampson And Delilah” and “West LA Fadeaway,” as well as the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” and “Once In A Lifetime,” provided some sing-along fodder for festivalgoers. Keller closed out his set with a phenomenal run of “Freaker By The Speaker” and “Hey Ho,” from his album Bass.
The Heavy Pets were next up on the Pool stage followed by Marco Benevento. Marco’s set was full of shenanigans, featuring the TigerFace mask, explosive musicianship and, of course, smiles all around. Benevento closed with a new song entitled “Again.”
As the Pool stage shut down for the evening, the main events of the night got set to storm the “E-Rena” stage. Saturday night’s lineup was stacked. First came a very soulful performance from the Nigel Hall Band followed by Anders Osborne. Osborne is no stranger to Equifunk and his performance with keyboard wizard John Medeski drew a large crowd. Taking on songs like “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” Anders made a point to show he’d stepped his game up.
The final Saturday evening acts were Soulive and the Shady Horns with Maceo Parker, and The New Mastersounds. While Soulive’s smooth funk caressed the ears of all who listened, their special guest Maceo Parker really made the set memorable. However, the action was really happening at the Marco Benevento campfire sing-along. Even Nigel Hall accompanied Marco on a crazy jam. The New Jersey native covered everyone from Pink Floyd to The Temptations. The music continued until 9 am. And a full day of music awaited the drowsy audience on Sunday.
Papa Mali kicked things off on the final day of Equifunk. Mali was joined on the Equinunk Pool stage by 13-year-old guitarist Bobby Paltauf (who had played with his band on Friday). Paltauf’s contribution spruced up the set as both brought a different sound. Percussionist and honorary artist-at-large Mike Dillon followed with his band. The 45-minute set displayed an array of quirky funk jams highlighted by Dillon’s vibraphone work.
Arguably the hardest rocking blues band of the weekend, the London Souls, grace the Equifunk Pool stage after a four-week tour with the Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks Band. They started things off with Little Richard’s “Lucille,” and followed up with a bunch of originals. The Souls even threw in a phenomenal take on Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe.”
The Equifunk All-Stars were next up on the Pool stage. The all-star lineup included Eddie Roberts, Stanton Moore, Nigel Hall, Pete Shand, James Casey, Mike Dillon, Carly Meyers (trombone), Tash Neal and Joe Tatton. With band members from the likes of The New Mastersounds, Mike Dillon Band, Galactic, Lettuce and the London Souls, the musicianship onstage was top notch. Their last song was a promising instrumental rendition of Carlos Santana’s “I Hope You’re Feeling Better,” as requested by one of the festival organizers.
The Main Squeeze followed the All-Stars on the Pool stage. The band impressed over the three-day weekend, playing a gig Friday evening and engaging with fans throughout the event. Vocalist Corey Frye delivered on multiple levels, even taking to the keys for a bit to show his musical chops. The group’s elongated version of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” was a set standout.
As Equifunk’s gears shifted from the Pool stage to the “E-Rena” Sunday evening, fans were treated to an hour-long set from The Revivalists – another very impressive act, one that will no doubt be blowing up any minute. The Revivalists’ New Orleans indie-rock sound was a change of pace that turned out to bring the energy level up even higher. Between Ed Williams smoking a cigarette while shredding the pedal steel and Michael Girardot jumping into the crowd from the back of the stage, it was clear that the group intended to help close Equifunk in style.
The most mysterious band of the festival had to have been Pork Tornado. The five-piece side project of Phish drummer Jon Fishman played just its second gig in ten years on the E-Rena stage. Perverted lyrics and rants by Joe Moore kept things interesting, and also fit his wacky neon orange hair. The hour and a half set was full of songs off their self-titled 2002 release. However, the few covers sprinkled in were certainly diverse. A funkified spin on the second Zappa cover of the day, “Trouble Every Day,” was followed by a cover of another Frank, as the band launched into Sinatra’s “Bim Bam Baby.” The rare performance also included a cover of Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself.”
With an all-star set already in the books, the closing ceremony of Equifunk 2013 was narrated by The M&Ms. The name might not sound familiar, but the musicians that make up the group will. The project started with John Medeski, Stanton Moore, Rob Mercurio and Papa Mali. But other Ms got in on the act as well, including Maceo Parker, Mike Dillon and Marco Benevento. The setlist was mostly comprised of covers, including Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come,” Neil Young’s “Walk On,” The Who’s “Eminence Front,” and Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times.”
The only way to make this all-inclusive festival any better would be to make it a legitimate months long sleep away camp – because three days just didn’t cut it. –Tyler Curtis
Check out our Equifunk photo gallery