Unyielding rain dampened clothes but not spirits Saturday as the Peach Music Festival continued at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton.
Inclement weather, and presumably-peak attendance, brought concert-goers together under the massive main-stage tent, during a day that saw high-profile bands play in front of thousands and acts on the rise entertain for few who braved the elements to see open-air shows.
The day’s highlights included the soulful psychedelia of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, a nostalgic moment when jam band moe. joined Little Feat for a performance of Little Feat’s celebrated live album, a rain-defiant performance by Nashville songwriter Nicki Bluhm and her band, and a change of pace by blues rockers Gov’t Mule in playing a full set of Pink Floyd.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood, fronted by its namesake and former Black Crowes frontman, offered a rousing afternoon set of blues-rock and soul layered with psychedelic tones.
The wispy jam of “Good To Know” introduced guitarist Neil Casale’s ringing solo work and re-familiarized the audience with Robinson’s full-bodied vocals. Consciousness-altering number “Narcissus Soaking Wet” followed, bringing the psych-rock to a fever pitch, and late-set rocker “Rosalee” reminded listeners of Robinson’s Southern rock roots. The set ended with an experimentally pleasant cover of The Coasters R&B staple “I’m A Hog For You.”
Taking the early-evening slot for second day in a row, jam ensemble moe. welcomed Little Feat — the classic-rock era fusion group that combines West Coast rock and Southern boogie — along with the Turkuaz Horns, onstage to perform the elder statesmen’s “Waiting For Columbus.”
With the muscular presence of two bass players, the low end demanded attention on “Fat Man In The Bath Tub,” and gave way to a heightening organ interlude by Little Feat keybordist Bill Payne. Little Feat guitarists Fred Tackett and Paul Barrere showed their prowess on “Day Or Night,” when they each took an instrumental solo on the creeping rock tune, and moe. fretman Chuck Garvey delivered some harrowing notes on “Mercenary Territory.”
Nicki Bluhm and her band travelled from Nashville to brave the Northeastern Pennsylvania weather, and although few were willing to stand in the rain before the set began, Bluhm’s mix of alt-country, rock and soul brought people to the waterpark stage.
Starting with the rocker, “Things I’ve Done,” Bluhm established her powerful voice and introduced her backing musicians, consisting of drummer Lemuel Hayes, lead guitarist John McNally, multi-instrumentalist Kellen Wenrich, keyboard player Jeff Adamczyk and bassist Cameron Carrus.
Adamczyk and McNally played wailing solos as Bluhm crooned her passionate version of Dan Penn’s “I Hate You,” and the group got soulful on “Can’t Fool The Fool.”
The latest set of the day saw blues-rock freight train Gov’t Mule take on the psychedelic catalog of Pink Floyd. Disturbing organ work set the stage and Mule opened with “Echoes,” followed by “One of These Days.”
Guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes’ Southern rock style worked well in interpreting Floyd guitarist David Gilmore’s signature licks, and before set’s end, Mule powered through moving renditions of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” “Have A Cigar” and “Welcome To The Machine,” laying out a full spectrum of hard-charging and mind-expanding classics.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @RMatthewMattei.