Show Reviews

    River Street Jazz Cafe John Kadlecik Band by Ryan O’Malley

    by Ryan O'Malley

    John Kadlecik Band

    River Street Jazz Cafe Plains, PA

    October 28 2016

    by Ryan O’Malley

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    Since coming into the jamband scene as a founding member of Dark Star Orchestra, John Kadlecik has become a sought-after guitarist and vocalist for numerous Grateful Dead related bands like Phil Lesh and Friends and lead guitarist for Furthur, an immensely popular band featuring Lesh and his Dead cohort, Bob Weir.

    Along with the previously mentioned roles, Kadlecik is also a current member of Golden Gate Wingmen, and a tight four-piece known simply as the John Kadlecik Band, who returned to the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains, Pa. on Friday for a solid night of Dead tunes, various other covers, and some fiery originals. The night started with a spirited run through “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” done in the style of the Jerry Garcia Band, who often covered the song throughout its career. For the Kadlecik version, the nine minute rendition showcased some fluent soloing from Kadlecik and keyboardist Todd Stoops, who was featured prominently throughout the evening.

    Check out Ryan’s gallery of photos from this night.

    A tender take on the latter day Dead ballad “Lazy River Road” lead into a segue of two early 90’s Kadlecik originals, a fun “(Acid) Rain,” and the bluesy “It’s Alright.”  While Kadlecik is certainly respected for his own material, he is also revered for his interpretations of some of the Dead’s slower songs. Such was the case Friday as Kadlecik brought one of the standout performances of the evening with a touching “So Many Roads.” Bassist Klyph Black led the quartet through a brilliant take on the Phil Lesh classic “Box of Rain” which also had some tight harmonies from Kadlecik, before ending the first set with an upbeat “What’s Become of Mary.”

    Stoops was at the forefront of the second set kickoff in the form of some soaring keyboards leading the group through a reggae-tinged offering of the Jimmy Cliff classic “The Harder They Come,” which was also a staple of the Jerry Garcia Band for nearly its entire career. A slower run through the Kadlecik original “The Hanging of John Collins” blended into a mash up of songs Kadlecik has been performing for several years – George Harrison’s “Any Road” which lead into the Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain” before returning to the Harrison chestnut. The pairing might seem odd, but the way Kadlecik meshes the songs together speaks volumes about the musicianship of the outfit.

    A psychedelic take on the early-era Dead classic “The Other One” was a fine example of how cohesive of a unit the four-piece is, before they slowed things down with a delicate rendition of David Crosby’s “Page 43.” Ending the set proper, Kadlecik and company brought one of the loudest applause of the night with a rocking cover of The Who gem “Join Together.” For the encore, Kadlecik kicked into the instantly-recognizable opening of the Dead’s “Ripple” which found the front man singing in both English and French.

    Overall, the show at the River Street Jazz Cafe was one of the best shows the venue has seen in months, and also showed how tight the John Kadlecik Band has become in just the last year alone. The tight musicianship of the band is something that has to be witnessed to be fully appreciated. If the past has been any indication, hopefully the River Street Jazz Cafe will be providing its fans the chance to witness it again in the future.

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    Check out Ryan’s gallery of photos from this night.

    To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at

    Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.