Sharin' the Groove With New Friends - the Final Leg of WMO's East Coast Tour

report filed 9/27/99 3:48pm - My how times flies... we're back in San Diego and I'm finally able to post a new journal entry. Things have been hectic over the past few days. OK. Let's pick up where we left off - Rochester. Great club, cool people, shitty sound crew.

After an energized set from Refried Confusion, the house engineers botched the stage changeover to WMO and what should have taken twenty minutes, took over an hour. I was already tired from a long day that started with the band's appearance on a morning radio program. As confusion reigned, I wandered off to the motorhome for some much needed shut eye. Didn't make it back inside until the last couple of tunes.

Our friends Torin and Michelle drove out from Syracuse for the show and overall it was a good night once the music finally started. Afterwards I took advantage of the room at the hotel and spent the night in the lap of relative luxury. In the morning I jumped in the land yacht for the relatively short drive to Ithaca.

We got to the upstate hippie haven in the early afternoon and had plenty of time to explore while the sun was still shining. After parking the motorhomes in front of the venue, a storied live music club with a thirty plus year history, called 'The Haunt,' everybody did their thing. By cosmic coincidence, several of us walked into a poster shop just as Ryan Kerrigan, the local artist who paints concert posters for the Haunt's Thursday night jamband series, was opening the new and very hip posters for the WMO show.

Ryan autographed a poster for each of the monkeys, and then in return, the entire band signed one for him.

Everybody we spoke to during the course of the day was stoked for the show. There was definitely a buzz around town. Many thanks to Stu and his partner Mark for all their good work promoting the gig with their local radio program, "Share the Groove." They also did lots of leg work and word of mouth networking to get the word out... it worked, the place was packed.

Stu's crew

Wingnut, a local genre bending trio with a strong post-bop-fusion vibe did a nice job, starting the night on a strong note with their edgy and inspired three way musical conversations. The monkeys were also on fire - totally pumped to be playing to a room full of dance happy folks focused on their music.

Things got insane on the dance floor with the return of Big D from Burlington and his Harley ridin' comrade Pauly. Both were in high spirits. Especially D. After jumping on stage and thrilling the crowd with his patented wise monkey dance (only to be joined by a similarly animated Scotty Manicotti), D pulled the shirt off his back and began waving it wildly in a circular motion over his head.

Leaping off the stage red eyed and bare chested, D once again got down on his knees for his trademark celebratory scoot across the dance floor, much to the delight of all in attendance..

After the show everyone feasted on some extra tasty late night calzone from a little pizza joint right next to the club. Knowing they were open 'til 3am, I made it a point to have a turkey sub earlier in the day to preserve the calzone taste buds for later on. Smart move. Damn that calzone was good!

Tim talks drums with Wingnut drummer Zaun Marshburn

After a deep sleep in the motorhomes which were still parked right in front of the club, the groove armada once again lifted anchor and made its way toward New York City for Friday night's show at the Wetlands. We stopped in Nyack to cross paths with Rich 'Ricardo Mahaldonado' Maloney, the patriarch of WMO's sound engineering team. After enjoying a wonderful brunch inside Maloney's parents' house, an exceptional custom home overlooking the Hudson river with a commanding, unobstructed view of the bridge, we continued our trek into the city.

Battling traffic snarls we made our way to 'The Wetlands,' legendary jamband club that the monkey also played last year during their first trip to the East. Opening for Leo Nocentelli, the guitar player from the Meters, WMO was relegated to a short slot, 9:30 to around 11 pm. Picking up from where they left off the night before at the Haunt, the monkey blazed from tune to tune as the crowd filled the dance floor, enthusiastically wiggle bopping to every groove the monkey laid down.

Reed's girlfriend Vin and Tim's wife Crystal flew in for the show, as did Perry and Carmen, friends from San Diego. Knowing that the show was a shorty, everyone in attendance shifted quickly into the boogie maximus gear and rocked the Wetlands from the getgo.

On a personal note, I was pleased to see an old friend, Paul Bastin at the show - always a pleasure to spend time with one of my longtime amigos!

After the gig we drove through the night to the last show of the tour, the Autumn Equinox festival in Brandywine, Maryland. We rolled into Wilmer's Park in the wee hours. I woke up early and walked around, checking out the 80 acre venue that has been the site of a few of my most memorable weekends during the past few years. As the day progressed, I rekindled friendships with many of the folks that have become part of the Wilmer's Park tradition and also met lots of new people that have joined the ranks of the festival scene faithful.

Tim Walther, Marcie from HGMN and Becky of Becky's Cool Music Website lounging at the show

Joining the other girlfriends and wives on the tour at the Autumn Equinox festival was Sean's girlfriend Chris Ann and her Mom, as well as Ed's girlfriend Chrissy. Also at the show - Scotty Homan's sister and brother-in-law. Truly a family affair wise monkey style.

Although WMO was given the pay-yer-dues slot at noon to open the show, an enthusiastic crowd of 500+ groovemeisters filled the lawn in front of the stage and had a blast shaking it up to the monkey under the warmth of the sun. What a great way to cap the tour! Here's a few images from the festival:














John Scofield and Scotty Homan







Scotty 'Liquid' Manicotti and Big Board Bob just prior to their return road trip back to San Diego









Voodoo Daddy-o, Trippy the Tie-Dye Terrier and his master, Jojo the psychedelic clown