Everyone Orchestra at The Charleston Pour House Photo: Scarlet Bucket
This past weekend The Pour House hosted Matt Butler's Everyone Orchestra for a sold out two night run filled with surprises. Matt Butler brings musicians together and conducts them through an unscripted show with something new and creative around every corner. The group of musicians with Butler this weekend was an All Star cast from all over the music community. This rendition of Everyone Orchestra kicked off last Thursday in Asheville, NC at Salvage Station and ended Saturday at The Pour House.
Everyone Orchestra led by Jeff Mosier rapping. Photo: Ellison White
The horn section and back up vocals Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) on trombone. Jeff Mosier (Bluegrass Underground) played banjo next to Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk). On the bottom, Claude Coleman Jr (Ween) led the charge with Oteil Burbridge from The Allman Brother's Band and Dead & Company on bass. Phish and Grateful Dead rising star Holly Bowling took on the keys as one of the crowd favorites, but local musicians led the charge being pushed by conductor Matt Butler and other members. Wallace Mullinax of Dead 27s played lead guitar seemingly all weekend and Mike Quinn provided a lead saxophone that brought funk and jazz improvisations that captivated the crowd.
Mike Quinn shares the stage space with Natalie Cressman & Jeff Mosier. Photo: Ellison White
Runaway Gin kicked the entire weekend off with a free show on Friday night. Renditions of "Lovin Cup" and a rockin' "Birds of a Feather" brought a promising buzz to begin the weekend. Dead 27s lead Trey Francis took the crowd through soul icon Bill Withers' "Just As I Am" with lead guitar provided by Wallace Mullinax who stayed on stage to perform with Everyone Orchestra. When Butler came out in a white tailcoat and hat he had funk on his mind. The 8 piece set, with the help of the crowd, wove a tapestry that shouted vibrant horns from Cressman and Quinn, partnered with serious work from Holly Bowling as she switched from classic keys to slap style Hammond. As the night came to a close, stars ventured onto the deck to meet some of Pour House regulars.
Wallace Mullinax and Anders Beck trading riffs on The Pour House deck. Photo: Scarlet Bucket
Day 2 was Dead. It started with the announcement that Anders Beck, dobro player from Greensky Bluegrass was going to join forces with Everyone's Dead for a special happy hour set. Holly Bowling, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Mosier, Matt Butler on drums, and Wallace Mullinax played Grateful Dead favorites to a packed deck crowd. They kicked off with "Sittin on Top of the World" led by Mosier on banjo. Wallace then stepped to the plate and led the band through "Sugaree" on lead vocals followed by "I Know You Rider" led by Mosier. Throughout "Rider", Mosier rapped the words with plenty of support offered by the crowd. Bowling, Mullinax, and Beck traded licks throughout the entire set as they geared up for New Orleans Dead staple "Man Smart (Women Smarter)". The band ended the set with renditions of "He's Gone" and "Black Muddy River" that left the crowd craving more. Scroll down for full audio from the special happy hour set.
Everyone's Dead rocks the deck. Photo: Ellison White
Thanks to chrisdavis, here is a full recording from Saturday's (3/11/17) special happy hour Everyone's Dead set:
After Everyone's Dead, progressive rock band Schema kept the crowd entertained on the deck while The Reckoning set up as the first band inside. The Reckoning was scheduled to perform Workingman's Dead in its entirety, and PoHo patrons got that and more. Sit-ins from Holly Bowling brought on an electric "Cumberland Blues" and Bobby Hogg led "Easy Wind" into the final number of "Casey Jones". The band then played Dead classics "Loose Lucy" and "One More Saturday Night" as encores with the help of Mike Quinn and Holy Bowling in the latter number.
The Reckoning playing Workingman's Dead 3/11/2017 Photo: Ellison White
Night 2 of Everyone Orchestra began with Matt Butler describing what is achieved after three nights with this type of group. Mike Quinn held the first solo in a funk collaboration reminiscent of Friday night until Wallace took over and the band started a rock bit which drove him all over the fret board. Butler called upon Mosier throughout the set for impromptu lyrics with heavy support from Cressman and Quinn. Cressman provided stand out vocals and traded with Mullinax on guitar for a stellar collaboration. Butler let Coleman Jr. and Burbridge, two of the most accomplished musicians on stage take the intro of a bass heavy jam that added horns, synthesized banjo from Mosier, and more noodling from Mullinax.
Mike Quinn. Photo: Scarlet Bucket
Once again, Holly Bowling was the stand out on keys, leading a steady ascension toward the final pieces of the night. The show came to full fruition after the "In The Garden" jam that Butler noted they had been working on since Thursday. In closing, Butler thanked the crowd and a few members of the orchestra stuck around to hug it out and share stories.
The highlight of the weekend was the integration between the local musicians and visiting musicians. After asking Holly Bowling what she thought of the local guys, she mentioned "Wallace is killer". Before the Everyone's Dead set, Oteil Burbridge was inside with Bobby Hogg from Runaway Gin and The Reckoning talking basslines and tech that helps bring the music to a different level. Conductor Mat Butler pushed the Charleston musicians to show out and be creative all weekend, and that they did.
Everyone Orchestra was a treat for Charleston, and we all hope Butler returns sometime soon to bring the best out of our local musicians and the legends alike. Butler was not just integrating these musicians, he fostered relationships and friendships that will undoubtedly help to keep the growth of improvisation and creativity going for the foreseeable future.
The All Star cast of Everyone Orchestra at the Charleston Pour House. Photo: Scarlet Bucket
The Pour House promises for a great springtime filled with a ton of awesome shows. The rest of March will host plenty of superstar lineups like Cabinet, George Porter Jr, and what should be a rocking show March 25 for the Dangermuffin release party of their newest album Heritage. Always check the deck schedule for free weekly shows like Holy City Heaters (Monday), The Reckoning (Wednesday), PoHo Family Funk Revue, and Runaway Gin (Sunday).