Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Enjoyed Myself: The Weekapaug Orchestra

Weekapaug Orchestra
Saturday, October 20
8x10 Club
Baltimore, MD

They play Phish really really well...

Baltimore natives The Weekapaug Orchestra had the smiling crowd at the cozy 8x10 Club in Federal Hill dancing along to the best band playing Phish songs today. Countless bands in the jam scene will tell you that Phish has influenced them considerably, but how many of them will even attempt to recreate one of their tunes? I don't know of any. And why is this? It's because there is no sense in doing it if you can't do it right. The Weekapaug Orchestra not only does it right, they are fantastic at channeling the Vermont quartet ... and they didnt let up for hours.

The four guys in T.W.O. only come together a few times a year to put their spin on a deep collection of Phish's originals and oft-covered favorites. They bring to life not only the songs, but also the stellar musicianship, the improvisation, and an interest in having some fun on stage. They can bring the funk (Cities, Camel Walk), the rock (Piper, Antelope), the composed jazz (Lizards), the hard rock (Carini), and the nonsensical (Roses Are Free). And in each one of these genres, they are convincing. Guitarist Matt Chase and keyboardist Aaron Levy are two-thirds of Charleston, SC based Black-Eyed Susan and bassist Ryan Porter and drummer Paul Weinberg are both formerly of Baltimore's The Bridge.

Phish has mostly faded into the background of my regular listening rotation. For a number of years in the mid to late 90's they were just about all I listened to. They have been replaced by country music, indie rock, and classic rock. And at this show last night I was happily reminded why they commanded my stereo as much as they did. They had enough songs, enough live shows, and enough albums to not have a reason to listen to anyone else.

If you ever find yourself reminiscing about the magical nights of seeing Phish play live or if you never got to see them, keep your eyes and ears open for the next time the Weekapaug Orchestra comes together. You have to hear it to believe it.

See Related:
Weekapaug Orchestra
Black-Eyed Susan
The Bridge

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