December 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

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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