The Charleston Pour House hosted their 3rd Annual Everyone Orchestra Weekend Gathering this past weekend, February 28th to March 2nd. The Pour House in collaboration with Conductor Matt Butler brought together local and nationally based artists to celebrate the beauty of improvisation.
After a celebration of The Grateful Dead by nationally touring artists on Thursday, sets on Friday and Saturday shook the nostalgia and brought some of the most unique collaborations. On the deck was local favorite and Pour House Family member Jeff Kozelski playing tunes off his new album titled Systematic Static. The jazz rooted indie-rock album is on Itunes, Bandcamp, and Spotify. Give a listen on Spotify here.
The opening of the Main Stage gave way to Cris Jacobs who is no stranger to Charleston. In January he opened for Greensky Bluegrass at a sold-out Charleston Music Hall. With the Pour House beginning to fill in, he laid down some of his traditional blues tracks. Eventually Jacobs busted out his signature cigar box guitar and closed out his set. Soul and blues fans should check out Jacobs’ recently released single titled “Painted Roads”.
After a 20 minute break, the members of this installation of EO took over the stage. If you’re unfamiliar with Everyone Orchestra, conductor and musician Matt Butler hand picks musicians for a night of improvisation led by his use of a whiteboard, gestures, and help from the audience. From left to right on stage had local favorites Ward Buckheister (Sol Driven Train), Kanika Moore (Doom Flamingo), and Mike Quinn (Doom Flamingo). Next to Quinn was Reverend Jeff Mosier (Aquarium Rescue Unit), John Kadlecik (Further), local Steven Sandifer (Dangermuffin), Vinnie Amico (moe.), George Gekas (The Revivalists), Jeremy Schon (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), and Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits) rounding out the stage on a huge rig which included a Hammond Organ.
The first of two nights almost filled The Pour House up, but ended up showing a night of quality over quantity. The energy was electric as Butler notioned for Ward Buckheister to take the first solo on trombone starting “Take a Chance” that brought Jeff Mosier into the mix on vocals. The Reverend rapped of opening up, letting loose, and enjoying the cohesive and creative nature The Pour House bolsters. The next sequence started by bassist George Gekas paved room for Jeremy Schon to show his colors. Schon played rifts reminiscent of Talking Heads guitarist David Byrne.
Mosier began to find out what the band was made of with a motivating “Find Out” jam that pushed John K out of his usual Grateful Dead territory. This also made room for Sandifer to work his cowbell as a solo. After bringing that piece home, John K was asked to start the next number teasing a Brown Eyed Woman that was played the night before during Everyone’s Dead. Mosier rapped once again until Kanika Moore and Mike Quinn joined the stage. Butler immediately let the Doom Flamingo sax player take a solo to close out the set.
The second set included a funk piece led by Kanika’s vocals celebrating Pour House as a “No Place Better Than This” jam went on for nearly 10 minutes. Mosier and Kanika traded off vocals in references to the church that was built over the last 16 years, a place where careers were ignited and patrons could attend religiously every week. Magner was asked to start the next number that ended up akin to The Who classic “Eminence Front” that they made into “What You Been Thinkin’.”
Ultimately, Cris Jacobs from the performance earlier was thrown into the mix. Mosier handed a bluegrass style piece to him that felt like a passing of the torch to a newfound bluegrass rooted Cris Jacobs. This piece built from a foundation of Vinnie Amico and George Gekas laying down bass work that resonated throughout the room ultimately letting Quinn and Moore show off their seasoned harmonies. A Mosier and Kadlecik led “Good ol’ Days” jam brought the night to a close as Butler ended the first night wishing everyone a safe ride home and to come back tomorrow.
The Pour House faithful were treated to a rare piece if able to get up by the time 4:20 pm hit. John Kadlecik, Jeff Mosier, and Aaron Firetag (Red Cedar Review), alongside Matt Butler on drums revivified Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and Tony Rice’s unrehearsed 1993 album The Pizza Tapes. If you are unfamiliar with The Pizza Tapes, David Grisman and Tony Rice were picking at the studio, invited Jerry Garcia over and played for the first time together. Amidst a pizza delivery transaction, Garcia’s copy of the recording got stolen by the delivery boy and ultimately got recovered in a bootleg CD box at a Grateful Dead show. Later after its recovery, David Grisman released The Pizza Tapes in 2000 with their conversations, improvisations, and faults all included. In true Pizza Tapes fashion, Butler used musicians that had never played together.
Throughout their set, they weaved in and out of the original Pizza Tapes album, which John K noted were “the off menu options.” One of those off menu options was the Merle Travis classic “I Am A Pilgrim” that showed off Mosier’s improvisation with lyrics once again. Amidst this and other songs he weaved in the use of bubbles as a child on the Pour House deck played with bubbles throughout the entire set. Just for her by request the group went into “Itsy Bitsy Spider” before returning to to Pizza Tapes original “Rosalie McFall” “Drifting To Far From The Shore” weaving into a “House Of The Rising Sun” jam that closed out the set.
Once the sun started to set, local rock group Easy Honey took to the deck for a power set that included a Beatles cover of “I Am The Walrus” and originals that brought an easy transition from heartfelt bluegrass to the Night 2 progressive rock openers Schema. The two bands will be hitting Royal American together on May 17th for a show that was just announced.
The instrumental quartet Schema, made up of Charleston locals & Pour House staff packed the inside of The Pour House as electric openers. They took the theme of imrov and rolled with it as they pushed songs new and old further than recent memory. Ryan Bresnihan (Guitar), JP Treadaway (Drums), Matt Jackson (Bass), and Adam Coyne (Guitar/Synth) made the transition from the day from acoustic to electric with their take on progressive synth driven rock. With songs like “Ultimatum” and “Bamboozled” the dance party started as the group reached higher peaks within their original arrangement. The highlight of the night was their most popular song “Ometepe” that winds from a consistent tempo to a controlled chaos jam. In the last instance of the piece Schema came back to the original piece and ended their set. You will be able to catch them at The Home Stage at Trondossa Music Festival, along with a bunch of other dates around the Lowcountry. Catch their recently released EP here.
Night 2 sold The Pour House to a nut to butt capacity. Kanika Moore and Mike Quinn switched spots so the newfound friendship between Mosier and Moore could work itself through the night. The group started off with a “Make Me Happy” jam that led into Butler writing SKA down on his whiteboard. Mosier developed an acronym within SKA telling The Pour House that life is about Soul, Kindness, and All The Things that Bring Us All Together. Within this Moore and Mosier kept their relationship from last night as she rapped “What Is Love” within Mosiers playful lyrics.
The second set of the final night was started by Magner continuing to wrap the whole weekend together. Instrumental references of “Dear Mr. Fantasy” gave way to Kanika Moore leading the charge. “Fightin’ Surviving” came out of this that exuded what hard work and dedication can do for an artist. Throughout the set different collaborations made it different from the night before. There was Jeremy Schon and Steven Sandifer playing together. Butler eventually asked Sandifer and Amico to switch from percussion to drums throwing the local Dangermuffin drummer onto the center of the stage.
Buckheister was asked to start one of the last numbers. He took on the theme of how beautiful the day was, from his attendance at the Charleston Symphony to playing with their own Symphony Pour House. “Beautiful Day Today” came to fruition with the mention of all the happenings throughout the day. The final build up came from Butler making the crowd involved once again with his traditional “Yes!” chant to close out the final night.
The 3rd Annual Everyone Orchestra Weekend Gathering wrapped up nods to the birth of improvisation and ended with collaborations of some of the fastest rising musicians in the country. The Charleston Pour House hosted a flawless weekend that had everyone walking out the door full of life and ready for the stacked season ahead. Check out www.charlestonpourhouse.com for the upcoming shows along with their Spotify playlist featuring upcoming artists!
Thanks to Matt Butler, the EO musicians, and The Charleston Pour House staff for yet another year of Everyone Orchestra. Cheers to many more.