Who better to launch the grand finale at this year's Rothbury Festival in Michigan than the Dead, playing their only show this summer?
Primed for action by the String Cheese Incident the previous night, jam-band fans and Deadheads were more than ready when the surviving members of the Grateful Dead took the stage 30 minutes late. And from the start, the band delivered its free-form rock, with plenty of "sick" (which seemed to be the most popular way of describing them) drum solos. Even sicker: the fireworks display that capped the show.
Speaking of pretty lights, a few stages away at the Tripolee Tent, Pretty Lights performed. Their DJ & drum setup sounded a lot like Girl Talk — except there was more percussion. There was plenty of electronic/hip-hop thrown into their mix, as they tapped into a similar style. But they're way more soulful, especially Cory Eberhard’s funk-flavored beats, which blended perfectly with Cory Vincent Smith’s mixes.
Over at to the Ranch Area, Umphrey’s McGee united the jam-band and prog-rock audieneces with their set. Their newest album, Mantis, is more proggy than past records, and their show reflected this. Stellar vocal leads and bass lines made for an insanely full sound, which flooded the forests of Rothbury.
Eoto brought the night home with a 2:30 a.m. slot back at Tripolee. Their sub-step electro house beats kept the crowd moving late into the night. —Carissa Bowlin