This past Saturday at a little biker bar in Santiago, CA hippies and bikers came together for the afternoon…and no one died! “This is the first time bikers and hippies have been together since Altmont,” was overheard form one concert goer. We can’t verify that fact but I have to say, it’s likely fairly accurate.
So, what was the occasion for this historic re-acquaintance? The OC Music Festival, which was a staple Summer event in Southern California for many years, held their first concert since 2013. It was called the WINTER JAMS and boy was it a good time.
Kicking off the day of music was Teddy T and his Hempstring Orchestra with special guest drummer, Ed Fletcher from Cubensis. They rocked the outdoor stage from just after Noon until 2:15pm. A great way to start off the day with Hempstring’s blended jam sound that skirts the fine line between the Grateful Dead and Phish. They had a pretty decent crowd to play to early in the day but no one could have expected what the place would look like when Cubensis, the Grateful Dead tribute band, took the stage.
Scheduled to take the stage around 3pm and play until 6pm, Cubensis is a local So Cal fixture having played, non-stop, for nearly 30 years. Craig Marshall and company deliver a version of the Grateful Dead’s music that pays homage to the original while injecting their own bit of flavor into the musical recipe. Folks know it and a free concert on a Saturday afternoon drew them out of their homes to come dance. They even brought the kids out.
Now, this party chose the oldest bar in Orange County, CA as the location. The oldest bar happens to be a serious biker bar. I haven’t spent much time in biker bars but, if I had to paint you a picture, I’d imagine most of them look like Cooks Corner. Not dirty, but not clean. Greasy, yet delicious, food. Cold beer, strong drinks and a staff of bar tenders who can put you in your place with just a look.
This was the first time Cubensis had played at Cooks as a band and the reaction from the 250+ people there leads me to believe it won’t be the last. The crowd of bikers and non-bikers was split pretty close to even numbers and all appeared to be having a great time…albeit not as outwardly obvious from those in black leather chaps and riding jackets vs. the tye-dyed daning bear types. As soon as Cubensis kicked off set two with Hell in a Bucket, starting “I was drinking last night with a biker…”, just about any tension still in the room at that point was released and the place came alive. That energy carried clear through a Sugar Magnolia encore, sending everyone on their way with a sunshine daydream still in their heads.
BR3 played on the bar stage from 1pm-3pm keeping the jamming spirit going between outdoor sets. They kept the bar room crowd very happy with a selection of country, classic rock and jamband covers.
Thanks to our good friend Billy Folsom/Dumb Biker Visions, there are some great photos of the day. Check out more of Billy’s pics HERE.
The OC Music Festival Winter Jams series continues with three more Saturdays beginning next Saturday, March 19th.