The Lawn Boys Overwhelm With Olfactory Hues
Bob Weir once declared that the thing about Deadheads is that they only listen to the Grateful Dead. The fans of Phish have similar tendencies and that may be the reason for the numerous tribute acts to the group, which still tours at a relatively generous pace. The Lawn Boys are a fairly recent entrant into the increasingly crowded field, and quite possibly the best.
Last month, CEG Presents brought the Boys to Sullivan Hall for a late night two set scorcher. Part of The Lawn Boys success lies in their use of social media to reach out to the Phans, even considering themselves the Phantasy Tour house band. The setlist for the show was penned by a fan and chosen from a field of about 70. Free entry to the show was also doled out to the creators of Most Creative Setlist (an alphabetical marathon of a show) and Best Old School Setlist.
The energy in the building rose palpably as the Boys prepared to take the stage, not quite at arena levels, but close. The opener was the first Phish song ever (as we learned at Coventry), “The Curtain,” followed by fan fave “Reba.” The funk excursion vehicle “Ghost” was jammed into a thick “Foam.” The setlist was chosen for the exemplification of everything that is great about Phish: “complex compositions, incredible jams, funk and just straight up silliness.” The full breadth of Phish’s genre mastery was on display as well with the twangy uptempo Americana of “My Sweet One” giving way to the lilting reggae of “Ya Mar” and the jazzy “Cars Trucks Buses.” At the end of “Antelope,” a standard set-closer, they busted into the raucous synthesizer rock classic “Frankenstein.”
More fun was in store for the second set which opened with a solid rendition of “Oh Kee Pah” into a “Suzy Greenberg” that inadvertently led to one of the show’s funkier jams when the guitarist popped a string leaving the remaining trio to improvise. A dark, spacey “Split Open and Melt” bled into a high energy pairing of “2001” and “Maze” that stirred the crowd into a fine frenzy. Foreigner and Neil Diamond got some love too. The Gamehendge classic “Lizards” made a welcome appearance and the quintessential Phish composition “You Enjoy Myself” concluded the set. After an encore of two more classics – “David Bowie” and “Golgi Apparatus” – the crowd was sent blissfully into a pristine winter night.
You can catch The Lawn Boys on the Island this Saturday at 89 North in Patchogue playing another setlist culled from contest entries.
1: The Curtain > Reba, Ghost > Foam, My Sweet One, Ya Mar*, Drums, Cars Trucks Buses > Run Like an Antelope > Frankenstein
2: Oh Kee Pah > Suzy Greenberg**, Split Open and Melt, 2001 > Maze, Cold As Ice > Cracklin’ Rosie > Cold As Ice, Lizards, You Enjoy Myself***> Icculus
E: David Bowie****, Golgi
*Oh Kee Pa tease. Brad joined Andrew on the drums for drum solo
**Guitarist popped high E string. Band played on while it got re-strung (not part of the set list)
****All Things Reconsidered Tease