ryan’s forecast

by Ryan Snyder

upcoming shows you should check out


It hasn’t exactly been 15 years since the first SmileFest, but the festival’s two-year vacation still prompts a minor touchstone when it happens this weekend and even if the organizers aren’t ballyhooing it on their site, the lineup reflects it. The festival’s perpendicular stages allow for non-stop music in one place and, beginning this Friday, a round of local jamophiles that includes the Electric Soul Pandemic, Doby and Jackass Flats to set the tone for the weekend. Then around sundown, the sounds of picking float up from the tree canopy behind the stage and the first night of SmileFest starts to heat up. Sandwiched in between Acoustic Syndicate-styled bluegrass by the trio of Sanders, Cardine & Pond and reigning jamgrass champs Railroad Earth is one of the most progressive reggae acts going. The New York Daily News once described John Brown’s Body as “more Massive Attack than Marley,” and that nugget is the Boston octet in a nutshell. Heavy, melodic dub tinged with electronic that never strays too far from its roots played by eight incredible musicians of one mind. One interesting thing about SmileFest is that there’s rarely a rhyme or reason to the schedule curation, and that becomes apparent early on. Electronic-soul trio Pimps of Joytime follow Railroad Earth, and Brit-funk quartet the New Mastersounds lead into an unamplified, Friday-closing set by pickers the Virginia Dare Devils. Saturday brings a quartet of great headliners to follow up-and-comers the Lizzy Ross Band, Big Something and Sol Driven Train, starting with acoustic roots by Larry Keel & Natural Bridge. If there’s one band on the bill that personifies the festival’s spirit, its Saturday night main at traction

Melvin Seals and JGB. The former Jerry Garcia sideband sideman is the keeper of the flame for his ancillary material, but they also throw in plenty of Dead jewels. They’re followed by the funky-swampy one-two punch of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and JJ Grey & Mofro, before Sunday goes almost entirely acoustic with Tara and Jeb from Donna the Buffalo, the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band and Danny Barnes & Friends. You’ll need a password to buy tickets ($115) online or at the gate, which can be had by e-mailing


Trombone Shorty puts on one hell of a show, but his booking at the Blind Tiger on June 8 was kind of a Sazerac-taste-on-a-Hand- Grenade-budget scenario. The show by the best young NOLA player alive didn’t make it, but another next-gen talent is stepping in to fill the void. Devon Allman, son of Gregg and spitting image of Duane, is bringing his band Honeytribe to the Tiger next Wednesday for a night of blistering guitar and gritty jazz-influenced Southern rock. Sound familiar? The apple certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree. He’s built his own musical identity with his last album Space Age Blues, which saw the Top 10 of the Billboard, iTunes and Amazon Blues charts. Its sci-fi bent is an uncanny take on contemporary blues playing, though the ABB influences remain obvious in his playing. He’ll be joined at the show by another fantastic young player in Sam Robinson & his Groove Elators. Tickets for the show are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and the music starts at 8 p.m.