Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Apr 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Power Outage

music_darkstarDark Star Orchestra lights up a rare acoustic show
Formed in 1997 as a Chicago bar band that played Grateful Dead tunes, Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) soon began touring upwards of 200 nights a year. With an increasing number of people hungry to see DSO, the band now plays the same large concert halls at which the original 1960s iconic band used to perform. DSO lead guitarist John Kadlecik—talking from the road in Seattle—reflects on the early years. “I had been initially playing with another Dead cover band, but my idea was to recreate shows in their entirety,” he reminisces. “When DSO caught on, we all quit our day jobs.”

Rolling Stone magazine hails DSO’s fanatical attention to detail. Famous for playing Dead shows from different decades—song for song, including onstage banter and era equipment—DSO has earned its reputation by being fastidiously dedicated to the music and the feel-good spirit of the experience. When the tribute band perfectionist is asked about the upcoming rare acoustic show at the Rio Theatre, Thursday, Oct. 8, he’s as funny and slightly mysterious as Garcia ever was. “We don’t do it enough for there to be any generalization to make,” Kadlecik says. “I may be bringing a new piece of gear in or a new acoustic sound. Acoustic shows use different tones—the drummers play more with the congas and brushes. Everything could change when we get there and see what the limitations of the room are. Everything that I tell you right now might go right out the window.”

The Washington D.C. native is still reeling from his recent inclusion, alongside Grateful Dead founders Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, in a new conglomerate called Further. While the rest of DSO just had their first time off in years, the reprieve wasn’t much of a rest for Kadlecik. “Rehearsals for Further were intense,” he says. The multi-instrumentalist may have spent a lifetime walking in the shoes of the bearded one, but he says that playing alongside the originators of the sound was unusual. “I was a little bit nervous. It was weird and exciting.” With more Further shows just announced, this could be the beginning of a bigger stage for the Jerry clone.

The DSO online forum was buzzing with comments leading up to the Further show in Oakland, as loyal fans were anxious that Kadlecik wouldn’t be allowed to shred the guitar solos. He comments, “From my perspective of intent, I was pulling out all my influences. Really just letting the Garcia fall naturally here and there.” At the helm, Bob Weir took the lead, and Kadlecik adjusted his playing to the rhythm guitarist’s instrument choices. “I would dial in tones based on what Weir would play—not so much for the song, but if he picked up the Gibson 335, I’d go for more of those early ’70s Strat tones, using a thinner pick and different choice of pick-ups not to necessarily play in that style, but just to match up guitar tone with guitar tone.”

DSO’s West Coast tour is working in conjunction with the Rex Foundation, formed in 1984 by members of the Grateful Dead and Bill Graham as the giving-arm of the Dead’s large family. The Rex Foundation has funneled $10 million dollars into charitable nonprofits that further humanity through the arts, science or education, and DSO has been a vital part of helping raise money. On this leg of the tour, all tickets sold have one dollar going to benefit the foundation.

Kadlecik leaves the door wide open when asked if the show at the Rio is going to be an epic evening of entertainment. “Every time we do an acoustic show it’s a special event. I think people will hear what they want to hear.”


Dark Star Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at The Rio, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25. For more information, go to ticketweb.com or call 423-8209.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Forty Years of Good Times

When I came on board as the publisher of Good Times a year ago, the lease was up at the office where the paper had resided for nearly 20 years, and a move to new offices was imminent.

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s

 

What’s your favorite happy hour downtown?

The 515. I like their french fries, and they've got great cocktails. Spring Carver, Santa Cruz, Cashier