Local promoters, Friends With Benefits Productions (FWBP), once again proved that a successful concert can be organized in the Augusta area after bringing Blues Traveler, The Marcus King Band, and Cranford Hollow to a packed Columbia County Amphitheater. For all of you who attended this event in Evans, Ga. then you know exactly what a great time this night was with this killer lineup and the great cool, fall weather. This was also another triumphant installment in their music series entitled, The Riverwalk Revival, which benefited the Press on Fund. This charity helps with the fight against childhood cancer and if you wish to learn more about this charity please click the link above. This was actually my first time at this particular venue and incidentally, I live less than ten minutes from the amphitheater. So needless to say, I was pretty excited for this night for a long time in anticipation of all this fantastic music. To kick off the night’s festivities, Hilton Head Island, S.C. natives Cranford Hollow introduced the crowd to their southern rock/alternative country sound with a terrific set list of their hits. Formed in 2011, the band (John Cranford- vocals/guitar, Phillip Sirmans- bass, Yannie Reynecke- guitar, Randy Rockalotta- drums, and Eric Reid- fiddler/vocalist) has released four LPs and are currently working on releasing their latest entitled, Color/Sound/Renew/Revive this year.
This quintet put on a very spirited performance that produced a ton of energy that each member of the crowd could feel with every song they played. I was impressed with their sound, especially with the incorporation of vocalist Eric Reid’s fiddle during their set. I’m a sucker for some strings, what can I say? If you still are not familiar with Cranford Hollow and you are a fan of Drive-By Truckers, American Aquarium, and/or Widespread Panic then you should definitely give these guys a listen to see what you might have missed. This band is proof why you make it on time for the very first act because you never know who you might miss.
To be very honest, I was most excited to see The Marcus King Band (TMKB) play some psychedelic blues/rock. And after witnessing his amazing set, I feel that I was correct in getting enthusiastic to see this Greenville, S.C. native come let his guitar speak loudly to us. Not only is Marcus the son of bluesman Marvin King but he has also been mentored by the legendary Warren Haynes. You would never know Marcus was only 20 years old with his ability to take command of the stage with his exceptional guitar prowess. Not since Derek Trucks stepped onto the scene has there been someone who could play with such maturity at such an early age. This alone already speaks volumes to the greatness of Mr. King and we have not even touched on the other five members of The Marcus King Band.
The rest of this great band consist of Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (bass), Justin Johnson (trumpet/trombone/backing vocals), Matt Jennings (organ/keyboards), and Dean Mitchell (saxophones). Imagine The Allman Brothers Band (TABB) mixed with some nasty funk and horns. TMKB brilliantly covered a classic TABB song, “Whipping Post” much to the crowd’s excitement. One of my personal favorite highlights from their set because I was able to see Marcus tell the crowd how much he was a fan of the blues during that song’s solo. Even while writing this article all I can think about was this set from TMKB and when is the next time I can see these guys.
Blues Traveler took the stage on a cool, clear night to a roaring crowd at the Columbia County Amphitheater around 9 PM and did not release the mesmerized crowd from their spell until right around 11 PM. That was a good solid two hour performance from one of the best live rock/psychedelic/jam bands around. John Popper (vocals/harmonica) was very vocal with the crowd throughout the night leading the band into hit after hit from their discography. They played tracks from their first LP Blues Traveler (1999) up to their latest LP Blow Up The Moon (2015) including a rousing rendition of The Charlie Daniels Band classic, “The Devil Went to Georgia”, a partial cover of the Guns n’ Roses song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and ZZ Top’s song, “La Grange”.
Even after all the years has passed, Blues Traveler still performed with so much energy and kept such a tight sound throughout their set. Blues Traveler seemed very comfortable and appeared to be having a great time as they never skipped a beat for the local crowd. Many people in the crowd broke out into sporadic dancing throughout their set especially on their hits like, “But Anyway”, “Hook”, and “Run Around”. Marcus King even came out to join the band and jam out for their song, “Carolina Blues” near the end of their set. Fitting for the South Carolina native to be a part of that piece of history. Anytime you can get all of these great musicians on one stage to perform an amazing song, you’re winning. Good luck and safe travels to Blues Traveler, Marcus King Band, and Cranford Hollow on their upcoming tours respectively.
FWBP made the right call in hand picking these three incredible acts to perform in The Riverwalk Revival series at the Columbia County Amphitheater. Since the beginning, FWBP has been running professional events for the community while benefiting various charities in the process. How can you not get on board with this formula? We want to thank FWBP for giving Concerthopper the opportunity to come out again and witness this amazing night of music under the stars at the Columbia County Amphitheater. You can view our full concert album online over on our Facebook page today.
We cannot wait to see what you have in store for the Augusta/Evans area! Stay tuned for our coverage of Hulaween and various concerts (Warpaint- November 10th, Hot Chip (DJ Set)- November 11th, and Red Fang/Torche/Whores- November 29th.) later this month by following us on all social media formats: Concerthopper on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And follow my personal concert hopping on Instagram also. Remember don’t think about it, just buy the damn ticket! As always, hope to see you at a show or festival soon!