’s Hulaween 2023 Preview – Part 2

Suwannee Hulaween is just a few weeks away from its 10th-year anniversary edition and it will be my eighth consecutive year. There’s a super buzz about the even particlarly since the organizers added a second night of Pretty Lights headlining to replace Rainbow Kitten Surprise. It will also undoubtedly serve as a tribute the the recently departed James Casey, an extraodinary sax player  and touring member of the Trey Anastasio Band. I expect TAB and Jennifer Hartswick Band to pay respects to James, and he’ll be missed.

Also, the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak was hit by Hurricane Idalia and was damaged and crews are heavily involved in the repair to get the park ready to be descended upon by thousands of music fanatics. There will be over 90 bands performing with String Cheese Incident at the top of the bill. I’m hoping to hit about 30 sets over the four days. This is Part 2 of my coverage with the second set of bands that I’m targetting (Part 1 is here). Here’s the rundown – hope to see some of you Hulaweeenies there!

The Sets

Ghost-Note is one the funkiest bands on the planet, full stop. It’s the brainchild of Rober “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth of Snarky Puppy fame. Ghost-Note is an incredible blend of slammin’ percussion and pumpin’ horns, of course with an amazing rhythm section to top it off. The bands double album Swagism is packed full of non-stop dance party grooves that will highlight their set. And I’m sure there will be a lot of unexpected funkified jams that you definitely don’t wanna miss.

The Dip is a Seattle-based, old- and new-school soul band. They’ve got all the ingredients that I need – from the ultra cool vocals from Tom Eddy, a straight-ahead top-notch, 3-piece horn section and a slick rhythym section. They’ve been rising in reputation and fan base over the last four years and I expect that a lot of people seeing them for the first time are gonna be shocked.

Trey Anastasio Band is of course led by Trey, from that little band called Phish. But in this incarnation, he’s heavy on the funk jams with a full horn section featuring Jen Hartswick (trumpet) and Natalie Cressman (trombone) and formerly James Casey. This is sure to be a very emotional set for the crew and I’m sure very high energy. The Hula family will be all about love at the Meadows Stage.

Eddie Roberts and The Lucky Strokes is a new band formed by Eddie, the leader and founder of another long-time Suwannee favorite, The New Mastersounds. It will be my first time seeing them as they only formed within the last year and performed a few dates so far.

Here’s the writeup pulled directly from The Lucky Strokes website,  “If luck is what happens when hard work meets opportunity, the union of Eddie Roberts & The Lucky Strokes epitomizes that adage. The New Mastersounds’ guitarist and bandleader has a knack for leaning into individual strengths and that sensibility is evidenced through his recruitment of Mississippi-based guitarist and vocalist, Shelby Kemp, who brings a Southern rock grit and candid, nimble songwriting to team up with the Tampa Bay-based Galbraith sisters who possess a simpatico rhythm section chemistry only found within a family bloodline. Powered by the urbane guitar playing and production of Roberts and you have a new tour de force ensemble that makes listeners stop in their tracks the same way Roberts did upon hearing the talents of Kemp and the Galbraith Sisters. The quartet first teamed up to perform Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom’s 20th Anniversary party in Denver, CO, and recorded a full-length record at Color Red Studios the next day to further solidify the newly forged musical connection. The sound is an amalgamation of celebrated country lyricists such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and George Jones mixed with the rhythmically driven aesthetics of James Brown and rounded out by honest rock ‘n’ roll—a combination slated to make its own luck and take the scene by storm.” I’ll have more to say for sure as a eyewitness in my post festival recap.

Toubab Krewe will always be one of my favorites because they were the very first band I saw in SOSMP at Bear Creek Music Festival in 2010. Their mix of West African instruments and melodies with those of Appalachia create a sound and vibe like no other. The band is tight all around and masters of their craft. They were the final band I filmed at Hula last year and I’m so excited to catch them again.

Jennifer Hartswick Band puts on an incredible show and Jennifer is one of the best performers on the planet. I’ve seen her many times over the years with TAB, sitting in with Snarky Puppy at Hulaween 2016, with The Nth Power, and with her own band. She swung through Atlanta back in May and it was absolutely one of the best shows of the year. She featured TAB bandmates Natalie and Dezron, Nick from The Nth Power and childhood friend Conor Elmes on drums. Here newest album ‘Something in the Water’ is fantasic and she’ll pepper her set with tunes from it likely along with some great covers and maybe some surprises too.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is another party band, always bringing the fun to the funk as in F-U….N-K. They get down with the best of them and seem to have as much fun as the crowd. Their high energy, power playing and catchy lyrics make guarantee their set will have positive vibrations.

Roosevelt Collier Band always creates a buzz in SOSMP. “The Dr.” as Roosevelt is a master of the pedal steel and lap steep guitars.  His backing band is always top shelf, frequently and probably Electric Kif who are hitting Hulaween with their own set as well. The Dr. knows how to get down and get the audience up and I’ll be there to witness his mix of southern soulful gooves.

The Nth Power presents JeNth Power will combine two powerhouses, The Nth Power and Jennifer Hartswick, a long-time collaborator. Nick Cassarino (guitar), Nate Edgar (bass), and Nikki Glaspie (drums) are a formidable Nth Power trio that always plays inspirational soul music. I’m expecting some nods to James Casey, another collaborator with Jen as featured in the video here. The band is another long-time SOSMP favorite to look forward to.

Cadillac Jones hails from my hometown in Atlanta. I’ve heard about them for a minute but first caught them opening for the Jennifer Hartswick Band here back in May.  I didn’t capture any video of the that show regrettably, but it was a great mix of funk, jazz and soul — right up my alley. I’m really stoked to see them on the Hulaween lineup and capture their set.

The Orange Constant plays jam, funk, psychedelia and is also a local Georgia band that have seen and enjoyed a lot. This will be their first Hulaween show and actually only their second national festival appearance so it’s exciting to have them build their fanbase after touring for several years. They’re likely to be in an afternoon slot on either Campground or Spirit Lake stage so come on out and check them out.

Empire Strikes Brass is another can’t miss set for me – hell, with brass in the name, I know they’ll kick ass. They play some classic NOLA funk. This Asheville band has the horn section right up front in your face, playing originals and covers. Featuring a couple of top flight singers and banging rhythms, I’m thrilled to be catching them for the first time.

Steeln’ Peaches is an excellent Florida-based, Allman Brothers cover band. They’ve been amping up their schedule and their vibe is 100% party. We’re in the South y’all and Steeln’ Peaches knows how to deliver that Southern rock sensation. They’ve been playing some tunage in honor of 50th anniversary of Watkins Glen so I hope they bless us with some of that goodness.

Altın Gün is Amsterdam-based Turkish psychedelic rock (also known as Anatolian rock) band. The bands name translates as ‘Golden Day’ and I’ve been interested in catching them live since I missed the opportunity when they passed through Atlanta a couple of months back. My friends who witnessed it couldn’t stop raving so I know this is one that I can’t miss. This is likely to be under the radar for a bunch of people but that’s what Hulaween is all about, finding those hidden gems and making it a golden day.

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