, attached to 2021-09-05

Review by DevinB

DevinB What a wild, unconventional show! So much to discuss. How about that seven-song first set? A standard Moma and the relative rarity McGrupp set the stage for a couple big, creative type II jams. Sand is short, but potent, finding a dark funk groove reminiscent of 2001. Trey eventually manages to establish a major key turn, reaching for light in the darkness before sliding back into the groovy mire. Sigma Oasis proves to be even more potent, delivering some monster dark psych and complicated polymetric interplay. This jam packs a whole lot into 15 minutes and it delivers big time! It is a must-hear. The set's only breather comes by way of All of These Dreams, which barely offers enough time to recover. A frenetic Reba and a jumpy, energetic Gin close out the set in a big way. With one in the tank, this is already looking like the best night of the run!

And then comes that second set.

Twists and turns abound, this set features some of the band's most spontaneous and creative playing of the entire summer. They kick things off with an absolute monster Set Your Soul Free, revealing serious jam potential right out of the gate. Grabbing onto the same swampy psych that permeated the middle of the second set, this jam goes deep and dark quickly. Churning rhythms, driving bass, and loopy guitars eventually give way to an anthemic peak. The synergy here between Fish and Mike in particular is a thing of beauty, with Fish laying down some of his biggest, gnarliest stuff all weekend. Seemingly inspired by the commotion, Trey fires up the effect pedals and steers the jam home with laser-guided precision. It's an absolute masterpiece. If you haven't heard it yet, drop everything and give it spin. It's well worth your time!

Lonely Trip serves as another well-earned breather, giving the crowd a moment to reflect on isolation of this past year and the community we are all so lucky to return to. But before we can get too lost in the moment, they hit us with a roiling Simple and the energy goes through the roof! Out of the chaos, we hear the strange Catapult lyrics emerge, but in cadence with broken machines and a clubby, quasi-industrial din. We hear the words repeating, forming hooks, and the jam takes shape into something resembling a song. Is this a song? Someone unfamiliar with this band certainly might mistake it for one. It's just that perfect! I know it's a real challenge to try to judge something as arbitrary as Catapult, but I don't think I'd be remiss if I suggested this one might be in the conversation for Best Ever. Really!

And so, with everyone's minds thoroughly blown, the band kicks off a well-timed dance party by way of Meatstick. But this is no ordinary Dick's Meatstick! As it turns out, this one is hooked to the same machine that drove the Simple -> Catapult madness a moment ago, eventually breaking down into what should, in my humble opinion, be properly noted as Meatstick -> Catapult. To put it simply, this was no simple Meatstick.

The fourth quarter kicks off with a refreshingly straightforward take on Ruby Waves, gathering momentum until hitting a glorious peak. The runtime on this one is deceptive, as it packs a lot of ideas and a whole bunch of energy into its 12 minutes. It's so strong, in fact, that they sufficiently earn themselves another breather, which comes in the form of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it rarity Bliss followed by a delicate Billy Breathes. With palates cleansed, Page leads the band through a slow-burning Most Events Aren't Planned, which steadily builds the energy until the stage is set for a transcendent Hood. Bewildered and amazed, we emerge on the other side with only a vague recollection of what we just saw. You don't get many sets like this one and there's, inevitably, much to unpack.

After acknowledging the crowd one final time, the band delivers a rousing More and a goofy S.A.N.T.O.S. send off. It's a heartfelt, yet unconventional way to cap a a decade at Dick's. Rather than get lost in setlist gags or sophomoric humor or nostalgia of any sort, the band restlessly and relentlessly seeks new ground, undiscovered territory, digging deep and producing some of the most creative jams of the summer.

I'm not sure this one is going to qualify as an all-time classic show, but it's pretty damn close. It demands your attention. It's a band refusing to sit still, refusing to rest on their laurels. With uncertainty lurking on the horizon, the band left it all on the table tonight.

May we be so lucky as to do it again in the fall.


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