Spartans Play Dead to perform Grateful Dead songs at The Crown
By: Terry Rader
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro will present “Another Year of the Dead” performance by the band, Spartans Play Dead, on Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. at The Crown at the Carolina Theatre. The band will cover Grateful Dead songs as part of a year-long series of events marking 30 years since sociologist and professor Rebecca G. Adams took a class of 21 UNCG students on tour with the Grateful Dead.
Adams said that the series of events is a collaborative effort by a large committee of volunteers.
Organizer, department head of Anthropology and guitar player of Spartans Play Dead Bob Anemone said that the musical performance is only one event for UNCG’s academic 2018-2019 interdisciplinary events series “The 60s: Exploring the Limits.”
Anemone said he worked with Charles Frank, writer/producer of the music collective and booking/promotion agency Uncle John’s Bone, to put out a call for artists and organize bands with the help of Muhsin Orsini, and UNCG alumnus Justin Able. Anemone said the musicians who responded to the call were UNCG department heads, faculty, staff, and alumni, and well-known musicians including David Bryan of The Terrapin Chamber Ensemble from New York.
“Everyone in our band, from our local up-and-coming musicians to the pros are all inspired by the love of the music of the Grateful Dead, and we are looking forward to performing at The Crown,” Anemone said.
UNCG professor of Asian History, singer-songwriter and one of the musicians in the band James Anderson said that the performance will include an acoustic set covering songs from albums such as “American Beauty” (1970), “Reckoning” (1981), followed by an electric set covering the 1960s through the late 1970s with songs such as “China Cat Sunflower” (1969) and “Shakedown Street” (1978). He said that all of the musicians are UNCG faculty, staff, former students or employees and some play in both bands with several guitar players taking turns playing the lead.
“This show is a homage for the Grateful Dead and playing with this amazing group of accomplished musicians and their great love of the Grateful Dead music inspires me,” Anderson said. “That love of the music just rubs off and fills the room in our practice sessions.”
The acoustic set band includes Bob Worrells, lead guitar; Dave McFadden, guitar, vocals; Anemone, guitar; Gavin Douglas, guitar, mandolin and fiddle; Able, bass; Melissa Floyd-Pickard, vocals; Anderson, harmonica; and Jeremy Fountain on drums.
The electric set band includes Melissa Floyd-Pickard, vocals; MC Armstrong (Viva la Muerte), guitar and vocals; Bob Worrells, (High Strung Bluegrass), guitar; Jason Blalock, guitar and vocals; Anderson, guitar and harmonica; Eddie McGee (Dante’s Roadhouse) keyboards; Jeremy Fountain, drums; and Ryan Waide (The Fat Katz) on drums.
Anemone said the series of events also includes a screening of the documentary film, Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead at the Greensboro Project Space. The first two parts of the film were screened in 2018 and led by UNCG department of history professor Richard Barton, P.h.D. According to the Greensboro Project Space website, parts three and four’s screening discussions of the film will be led by Adams on Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Parts five and six discussions will be led by the film’s director Amir Bar-Lev on April 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Two other concurrent Grateful Dead events include an art and photography exhibit. Curators Emily Edwards and Lisa Goble will speak at the “Psychedelic Counter Culture” art exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Project Space, and this exhibit will run from Feb. 4 through Feb. 9. “Images of the Grateful Dead and Deadheads” photography exhibit (curated by Adams and Lena Rodriguez-Gillet of LDR Galleries) will open on March 1 with a closing reception on April 27 at Tate Street Coffee House and will feature D.C.-area photographer Lloyd Wolf, along with the work of other photographers.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Adams said. “I am really looking forward to the events leading up to the full day of scholarly discussions and closing reception for the photo exhibit in April.”
Adams said she also wanted to publicly thank College Park Baptist Church and Greensboro Project Space for offering rehearsal space for the bands.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, poet and songwriter, formerly an ad agency creative director/branding strategist/copywriter and Earth Harmony columnist, a storyteller on a mission to raise awareness for creativity and environmental sustainability along with part-time work in Community Outreach & Wellness at Deep Roots Market co-op and her pet/home sitting business, Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind.
2/4-2/9, opening 6 to 9 p.m., Psychedelic Counter Culture Art Exhibit, Greensboro Project Space, 219 W. Lewis St., gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., and is free and open to the public. 2/15 at 8 p.m., Another Year of the Dead, two back-to-back live music performances, open to the public, free with suggested donation, The Crown at The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. 336-333-2605, box office hours: Mon.-Fri. 12-5 p.m. 3/1, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Images of the Grateful Dead and Deadheads Photography Exhibit with a closing reception on 4/27 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., and is free and open to the public.