Peach Festival 2019 Day Three: JRAD Plays Their First-Ever Two-Drummer Set as Evan Roque and Ben Perowsky Fill-In for Joe Russo

Isabella Fertel on July 28, 2019
Peach Festival 2019 Day Three: JRAD Plays Their First-Ever Two-Drummer Set as Evan Roque and Ben Perowsky Fill-In for Joe Russo

The Peach Music Festival continued on Saturday with a jam packed day of music at Scranton, Penn.’s Montage Mountain, including back-to-back sets of Trey Anastasio Band, the first ever JRAD set with two drummers, and more.

“So it turns out, sometimes babies come 3 weeks early!!?? Last night my incredible wife gave birth to our second daughter,” Joe Russo wrote, noting he would not make it to Peach, and his drum tech/nephew Evan Roque as well as BOYFRIENDS percussionist Ben Perowsky would fill in. “…We here at JRAD HQ have gone into ‘holy shit the baby came early contingency mode’ and have decided THE SHOW MUST GO ON.”

Earlier in the day, Stephen Marley and his band offered an energetic daytime reggae set. Marley channeled his father’s energy, covering hits like “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Jammin.” Marley’s vocal instrumentation shone brightly in his original song “Medication,” and with nine people on stage, the set was a celebration of life and music. Marley showed love to the audience as he parted, saying “until we meet again—one love.”

Jam quartet Goose took the stage at The Grove tent next, greeting a small but effervescent crowd. The Connecticut-based band had fans flocking in droves and packing tightly to see them, as the music constantly pivoted from one song to the next, diving headfirst into experimental jams. Goose had a fun, creative setlist, featuring a Magic School Bus-theme tease, and a “Mississippi Half-Step” cover. Later in the set, Goose took on Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is,” and guitarist/keyboardist Peter Anspach fully let loose and flew around the keyboard, playing solos that made the audience smile and chant “Goooooose!”

After Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band brought some certified ABB jams to The Peach, Trey Anastasio took the main stage and greeted the crowd with a warm, “How’s it going?” before launching into a grooving “Set Your Soul Free.” Anastasio had a grin on his face the entire time as he played with his reliable backing band, grooving to their runs and enthusiastically counting each soloist into their jams on favorites like “Cayman Review,” “Everything’s Right” and a set-closing “Gotta Jibboo.”

Although the first set ended almost twenty minutes early, the band jumped right back into where they left off rhythmically with “Night Speaks to a Woman,” chock full of saucy instrumentals and standout solos from the horn section of Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman and James Casey. Early into the second half the band ripped through “Sand,” another cornerstone of the TAB experience (while Anastasio has been playing “Sand” with TAB since Phish’s hiatus, and Phish picked up the track as a second set jammer back in ‘03).

A standout song from the second set was “A Life Beyond a Dream,” from Trey’s latest solo project Ghosts of the Forest, a tribute to the singer’s late friend Chris Cottrell who passed earlier this year. The second set closed out with Phish fan favorite “First Tube,” featuring classic Trey antics, lifting his ax got higher and higher and the jam it its peak. TAB closed out their second set with a double encore featuring “Brief Time” and “Push On ‘Til The Day.”

From there, JRAD picked up their LOCKN’ midnight set tradition, opening up the late night portion of Saturday with a 15 minute plus rendition of “Shakedown Street.” Keyboardist Marco Benevento introduced the bands first-ever two-drummer lineup, consisting of Roque and Perowsky. (Roque is also filling in for Russo alongside Mike Gordon drummer Johnny Kimock in Vermont later this weekend.)

Through “Shakedown Street,” Benevento and Tom Hamilton were vibing hard, and that creative energy lent itself to a spacey interlude through “Me and My Uncle,” which then launched into an “Eyes of the World” sang mainly by Hamilton. The second half of the set featured “The Music Never Stopped,” “Althea,” “The Other One,” “Viola Lee Blues,” ending with an incendiary “I Know You Rider” set closer.

Ahead of the encore, Benevento once again lead the crowd congratulating Russo on the arrival of his second child, giving props to Roque and Perowsky. JRAD closed their Peach stint with the ever-appropriate “Not Fade Away,” as the crowd stomped and clapped out the refrain for a good five minutes after the band left the stage.

The Peach Music Festival continues this Sunday, and if you can’t make it out to Montage Mountain, a free livestream is available.

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