Peach Festival Montage Mountain Scranton PA August 10 2017
by Ryan O’Malley

Cover photo by Eric J Simon of the THU night Peach festival sunset.

Now that we have gone from a weekend filled with Peachy craziness, our reporters have a chance to sit down and write actual reviews.  Here is the first one, by Ryan O’Malley of Thursday night at Peach. 

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

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

In its previous five years, The Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pa. had stuck to a failsafe routine: host four days of music and camping with headline appearances by members of the Grateful Dead (Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann) or a member of Phish (Trey Anastasio). It’s a blueprint that seemingly works at every festival, but is just that, something that works at every festival. While the music of the Dead and Phish were both present, this years’ incarnation of Peach took a slightly different turn with headline set by alternative rockers My Morning Jacket, and a long-awaited two-night appearance by Widespread Panic.

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While the bigger name headliners were the focal point of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Thursday night was the perfect way to start the festival with appearances by Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and the festival’s hometown boys, Cabinet. Formed in Scranton over a decade ago, Cabinet has become a staple of the current day jam scene and has put in what may be the most sets performed at the Peach. Throughout familiar cuts like “Mysterio,” “The Dove,” and “Diamond Joe,” the sextet had the enthusiastic crowd dancing along before inducing a loud sing along with their take on “Easy Wind,” a thumping version they’ve been doing for several years. As an homage to the fun feel of Peach – and in tribute to one of banjoist Pappy Biondo’s favorite bands – Cabinet ended their set with a solid take on the Cake favorites “Arco Arena” and “The Distance.”

From the video channel of mkdevo

There is a giant gallery of photos by Ryan O’Malley and Eric J Simon located here.



Over on the main stage, Deadhead favorites Joe Russo’s Almost Dead put in a powerhouse two set performance which included wild takes on tracks like “Scarlet Begonias,” “Jack Straw,” and “Dancing in the Streets.” Coming from an extended stint with Dead offshoot band Furthur, Russo is a veteran of the Dead scene and is knowledgeable about the Dead using its music as a vehicle for exploration. At the Peach, the band dug into deep experimental jams which featured teases of Dead songs like “Mr. Charlie” before “Scarlet Begonias” took the forefront. Lead guitarists and vocalists Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger bring the fiery counterpart to Russo’s frantic drumming and Dave Dreiwitz low-end groove while keyboardist Marco Benevento adds some psychedelic zest, thus giving the outfit a sound that is unique to the current Dead scene.

While many outfits, including Dead members themselves, tend to do the Dead’s music as it was on the thousands of live show recordings, JRAD pumps the music full of new energy and gives the songs new meaning decades after they were originally recorded. After ending the main set with a heartfelt run through “Morning Dew,” JRAD encored with a tight “Samson and Delilah,” complete with the ferocious drumming of Russo which was easily one of the highlights of Furthur’s existence. Seriously, the guy looks like and octopus on stage, and sounds like a machine.

From the video channel of mk devo

Last up for the evening was Dopapod, a five piece funky jam ensemble out of Boston. For this year’s Peach appearance, the band was joined by The Blend Horns and Kung Fu’s Adrian Tramontano on percussion for a billing as Dopapod Orchestra. For most of the set, the lineup stuck to Dopapod originals, but towards the end went on a binge of cover material with the horn section from Turkuaz, including Wings’ “Live and Let Die,” The Beatles “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and Tool’s “46 & 2.” Fittingly, the encore was a blazing version of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah.” It was a lively set that brought a lively Thursday to a close.


There is a giant gallery of Peach festival photos by Ryan O’Malley and Eric J Simon located here.

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

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