JKB: Getting Lost in the Groove
with the John K Band at the bergenPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

"Strange days indeed" so true in these times of pestilence and wars, yet for almost three hours all was good at the bergenPAC on September 19, 2014. On that night the John K Band joined by Larry Campbell with Teresa Williams presented a magical set of music. We are not sure if the John K Band was commenting on current events or just wanted to jam out Grateful Dead style on the John Lennon classic but whatever the reason their extensive vibrant version of "Nobody Told Me" was engaging. It set a good vibe for the concert.

JKB: Getting Lost in the Groove with the John K Band at the bergenPAC
The John K Band got the groove going early at the bergenPAC.

"The moment the band came out fans either swarmed to the front of the stage or they were on their feet ready to "shake their bones". John was fronting a six-piece sharing lead vocals with a female singer. The group was spontaneous yet seamless running through a set-list of covers along with John's original material.

John Kadlecik of the John K Band was born and raised in the mid-west of the United States. At age nine, he started studying classical violin. A few years later, rock music grabbed John's interest. He learned to play guitar and mandolin. Later, Kadlecik added more instruments to his arsenal. Then, he discovered the Grateful Dead, which lead to John co-founding Dark Star Orchestra a Dead cover band whose specialty is playing set-lists from actual Dead concerts. In 2009, John left DSO to join Phil Lesh and Bob Weir in Further. When not on tour with Further, John is fronting the John K Band. The group performs Kadlecik's original songs along with jam band covers. John is also promoting his new EP Liquid Silver Line.

Back to the bergenPAC, it has been a while since we have been to a "Dead" type show thus it was a pleasure to be a part of the unique scene that the band and their brand of jam attracts. There in the crowd were trusty steel your faces blending with the strong scent of patchouli but most importantly was the music and the John K Band delivered. As you might suspect Kadlecik's guitar tones emulated Jerry Garcia's distinctive style still John blended in other textures into his leads. Throughout the night John with his talented team crafted very danceable grooves.

"Liquid Silver Line" the title track from John's EP was a colorful up-tempo piece that featured fine fret work from Kadlecik combined with innovative interplay from the band. Their sound was well mixed so much so that one could hear the triangle in the song as the melodies of the tune meander over a number of bridges that may have flowed into another song that had an Irish flavor still in the context of jamming.

During "Fire in the Mountain" one could half close their eyes letting the bass line sway you others perhaps were focused on the keys or John K's Jerry like licks. The John K Band worked their way into "Any Road" which moved into another song about travel which was one of John's new songs demonstrating that John's music was also expansive and experimental.

JKB: Getting Lost in the Groove with the John K Band at the bergenPAC
The two groups combined into one big jam band for the fantastic finale.

Heralding from New York City, Larry Campbell during the 70's & 80's immersed himself in the city's country music scene learning to play a load of instruments. Campbell also picked up producing in his travels. Larry is a well respected studio musician who has recorded with Ayo, B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Levon Helm, Paul Simon and more. He may be best known for his part in Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour for the years 1997-2004. Larry is still active and in recent years he has been performing with his wife Teresa Williams.

Since the stage was basically set up for two bands it did not take long for Larry and Teresa as a four piece to start. Their music featured more blues and bluegrass stylings but still up-beat enough to keep fans on their toes. The husband and wife team had a strong chemistry on stage. Larry played a number of guitars and mandolin as Teresa mainly handled lead vocals and sometimes guitar.

Since both Campbell and Williams had worked with Levon Helm they presented an impressive version of "Chest Fever". Harmonies along with layered instrumentation added to the allure of the story within the song. They paid tribute to the Grateful Dead with a stellar "Samson and Delilah". The crowd was clapping and dancing along to the well-known tune with Larry adding his own fluid fret work to the mix. Bringing a soulful element to their set Larry and Teresa baptized the audience with "Wade in the Water" that featured spirited leads from Larry.

"The cross pollination part of the evening" said Campbell as the John K Band joined the quartet for a double shot of Grateful Dead fan favorites. There were now two drummers, plenty of guitars and singers. The bass players took turns on bass added percussion when not on the four string. The two groups put their own special spin on "Sugaree" with Teresa handling lead vocals as the boys jammed and the audience danced. They finished with a feisty "Not Fade Away" a Buddy Holly song with a Bo Diddley beat that the Dead played frequently in their live shows. The concert closed on a high note as the two bands left the stage and the house lights went up. The strange exit was surprising to some in the audience when they realized there would be no encore.

The John K Band with Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams enabled fans to escape the real world, allowing the audience at the bergenPAC to get lost in good grooves for a few hours. The bergenPAC located in the heart of downtown Englewood continues to host impressive concerts such as the John K Band. Up-coming events at the theater include The Dan Band, ASIA, Macy Gray, Pop, Rock & DooWop, Victor Manuelle, Engelbert Humperdinck, America and Bill Cosby.

JKB: Getting Lost in the Groove with the John K Band at the bergenPAC
Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams expanded the jam into a rootsier realm.

Related Links: For more information on the JOHN K BAND and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- John K Band | Larry Campbell | bergenPAC

(Originally Published on September 22, 2014)

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