Peach Festival in Scranton celebrates Gregg Allman on day two
SCRANTON — Day two of the Peach Music Festival at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton was a grand opening.
After whetting the musical appetites of festival goers on Thursday with performances by six acts over two stages, Friday showcased 21 groups over three stages. Performances by Allman Brothers Band alumni payed tribute to fallen-ill brother Gregg Allman, and some of the most respected names on the jam band circuit played high energy sets.
Fans were sweating early with a combination of intense sun and the electro-funk of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Their performances of “Melting Lights” and “Henrietta” had their audience grooving in the heat and intermittently cooling off in the pool.
Floodwood took the Grove stage in the afternoon, treating their crowd to some foot stomping bluegrass. Set highlights included a cover of Troy Spencer’s “40 Years Of Trouble” and mandolin player Jason Barady’s bluegrass lullaby, “Lollipop.”
Toots & The Maytals brought feel-good reggae to the scene, putting on a joyous Peach (main) stage performance that included their song “Pressure Drop” and covers of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” and John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.”
When Les Brers, a project that includes original Allman Brothers drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks, took the main stage, they dished out original southern blues rock before ending their set with epic versions of Allman Brothers tunes “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed” and rallying cry for the down and out “Whipping Post.”
Philadelphia resident Merima Babic celebrated her bachelorette party at the Peach Festival. The die-hard Moe. fan saw her 92nd and 93rd shows Friday.
“I always wanted to have (my bachelorette party) at Moe.down (Moe.’s yearly festival in upstate New York), but there wasn’t one this year,” Babic said. “I saw that this was close, all my friends could make it, and Moe. was playing two sets.”
The jam giants played an early evening set that included live staples “Captain America,” “Lazarus” and “Recreational Chemistry.”
Allman Brothers alumni collaborated with The String Cheese Incident for a project called The Allman Brothers Family Incident. The supergroup drew the largest crowd over the first two days. SCI guitarist Bill Nershi told the crowd the ensemble was thrown together as a “get well card” for Allman.
Impassioned performances of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” SCI’s “Outside and Inside” and Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo,” had the audience cheering louder than they had for any other set in Allman’s honor.
When Moe. returned for their second, longer set of the evening, they played mostly a tribute set to Pink Floyd but in a more deliberate, methodical fashion than their jam brethren Electron had the night before.
One set highlight was transitioning Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” with it’s voiced question “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” into Moe.’s dark funk instrumental “Meat.”
Babic said Moe’s first set of the night was a crowd pleaser and in the second the band nailed their original songs and their Floyd tributes.
“That was the best ‘Meat’ I ever heard,” she said.
Moe. took a quick break, and, as he does at every show, guitarist Al Schnier came to the mic to read announcements of fan birthdays and names of those attending a landmark number in shows, such as 50th or 100th.
Babic’s maid of honor had notified the band via Facebook that her bride-to-be was celebrating her bachelorette party at their concert. She even flew a paper airplane on stage with the same note as a contingency plan.
“Happy bachelorette party, Merima,” Schnier said through the sound system.
Babic stood on her chair and raised her arms. Immediately following, Moe. went into their original “Buster,” and the bachelorette and her group of half a dozen friends and bridesmaids danced down the aisle together.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts