“Please don’t dominate the rap, jack, if you got nothing new to say…”
When it comes to Grateful Dead tribute bands, this classic line from New Speedway Boogie is relevant as fuck. It seems everyone these days is a fan, even the aging punk rocker you know who always claimed to hate hippies will quietly confide after a couple of beers that he’s always been a closet fan -- just don’t tell anyone.
And, according to science, every one of these people who can play an instrument, or thinks they can, will at some point, start or join a Grateful Dead cover band.
And for good reason.
The music of the Grateful Dead is much more complex and diverse and rich with influences than most casual fans would ever know. It’s fun and exciting to channel, and way more difficult to do so than most would imagine.
Unfortunately, most Dead-related cover projects (and most jam bands in general) just don’t have the combination of technical chops, deep musical knowledge, and improvisational skills to do the songs justice. It’s not enough to play them note for note; these songs need room to breathe and grow and change and adapt to the player and the audience and a million other things happening simultaneously.
A lot of bands don't get that, or can't do it. Winterland does.
The Iowa-City based band specializes in the music The Grateful Dead played during the 60s and 70s, a time when the Dead’s rhythm and blues, folk, and country roots were still deeply embedded in their music even as they explored the wild and experimental outer reaches of psychedelic rock.
They recreate the music of the Dead with technical proficiency and contagious, unbridled joy that allows and encourages all in attendance to influence the music as it plays the band… It’s not the Grateful Dead, but it is, as they describe it, “a thing of subtle and wily magic, not to be missed.”
They are one of the very rare bands out there that truly “get it” and do justice to the Grateful Dead catalog without abandoning their own style and influences.
Winterland is returning again to the Vaudeville Mews for another New Year’s Eve show, and you really shouldn’t miss it. The Mews is the perfect place for this party – intimate, with plenty of dancing room and cheap drinks.
And to make the show even better this year, front man Stacy Webster and bass player extraordinaire Byron Stevens are bringing their original band The Muckrockers to the stage as well in the opening slot.
Besides Webster and Stevens, The Muckrockers consist of Matt Kearney, Jamie Kearney and Scott Cochran, the singer-songwriter who created the band.
“I’m just a sideman in this band,” says Webster. “Byron and I wanted to show it off to our Des Moines fans. Its original music, kind of punk/country/folk/rock with great songs by Matt Kearney and Scott Cochran (not the Scott C. from Des Moines who plays blues). It’s loose and garage-like, but the writing is top notch – and Matt Kearney blows a bad-ass harp."
Doors open at 8 pm and The Muckrockers take the stage at 9. Winterland will play a couple of sets immediately following and will take us into the New Year with the hope, optimism, and psychedelic fervor that we’re all going to need to get through another trip around the sun.
Where: The Vaudville Mews
When: New Years Eve, Doors at 8, Show at 9
Event info at: www.facebook.com/events/261409304561254/