Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football selected to finish fourth in MAC East preseason poll -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Legislature overrides Baker’s UMass budget cut -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

DSO bring back the Dead

Courtesy of Myspace

This past Thursday, the illustrious Dark Star Orchestra did not disappoint fans at the Calvin Theatre.

In the seating section and the pit, the fans trickling in appeared to be surprisingly diverse for a Grateful Dead cover band. The pit was full of not only a great deal of older fans, but also a wider spectrum of the younger fans. Instead of the expected tie-dye and bandanas, a great deal of the college-age crowd was wearing street clothes, such as jeans and t-shirts, certainly not what would commonly be labeled as “hippie” clothes. This was rather curious since, as one could imagine, The Dark Star Orchestra has a reputation for drawing a crowd similar to that of the Grateful Dead.

Dark Star Orchestra strolled on stage at around 8:15 p.m., and got right to work making final adjustments and tuning up. They didn’t waste any time with an opening band, and didn’t say much before diving into their first set.

The groove of the two drummers together immediately laid down a foundation for the rest of the band. As the performance went on, they seemed to synch up even more, with tighter and longer jam sessions. Each song spilled further and further out into improvisation, only to recede back into a familiar chorus such as “Don’t murder me, oh I beg you, please don’t murder me,” from “Dire Wolf,” or, “Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain’t no place I’d rather be,” from “Tennessee Jed.”

The improvisation bubble finally appeared to pop as the jam in “New Minglewood Blues” erupted with some serious shredding from lead guitarist Jeff Mattson into a terrific climax by the entire band before they came in one last time to finish the song. 

Then, just when it looked like the band couldn’t take it any higher, they burst into “The Music Never Stopped” and rode it out for what seemed like an eternity. They effortlessly switched the rhythm into three-four time and then back to four-four time without missing a beat. DSO raged harder and harder with every note until they reached the very end. After that, they left for a set break, which gave the crowd a chance to take a rest and recover from the powerful performance.

 At this point, anyone would be sufficiently convinced of this band’s precision and skill in not only their art, but also in recreating an atmosphere comparable to that of the Grateful Dead themselves.

At around 9:30 p.m., Dark Star Orchestra returned for a second and final set and were met by the eager and energized audience. Sure enough, the band got right back to work building on each others’ playing and closing in on some terrific sounds.

 They branched farther out with each song and blew the crowd away with their persistent groove. At times these jams would get a little off track or seem to float off course for a little too long, but the crowd never stopped dancing. DSO always rewarded their loyal fans with something even better than before.

Towards the end of the set, the band played “Dancing in the Street” for one of the longest jams of the night, which led into a duet from the two drummers, who kept a furious pace throughout the show.

To the dismay of the audience, DSO eventually had to bring the night to a close.  Euphoric yet exhausted, fans sluggishly walked away from the Calvin, excited to have added another show to their growing list. DSO later announced they had played the Grateful Dead set from the Paramount Theater in Portland, Ore. on Oct. 1, 1977, exactly 33 years ago.  In a sense, the audience came as close to experiencing the real Grateful Dead as anyone could possibly hope for.

David Kincaid can be reached at dkincaid@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “DSO bring back the Dead”
  1. Tie Dyed Jim says:

    DSO is a great band. If you are expecting to see a lot of patchouli wearing tie dyed road warriors then you’re gonna be disappointed. The tie dyes are still there but most of the kids today have more than one shirt, thank God! I used to tour around with The Grateful Dead and trust me there is no finer representation of the spirit of The Dead than Darkstar Orchestra. The music never stopped. The destination…Furthur. These guys are all amazing musicians and serve up an audible treat for those lucky enough to venture. If you ever have the chance then drag your ears to where these guys play. Trust me, your ears will thank you.

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