Over the span of six days, Atlantic Beach’s hottest spot, Hotel Palms, became the home of The Art Camp. Led by French painter Lucas Beaufort, the event welcomed nine U.S. artists to connect, collaborate and create original works onsite with an open door policy for locals to pop in and watch the creative process.
Thursday night featured a special community event featuring an art market and live music. Room 301, which served as a collective workspace for the artists, housed the market, where attendees could purchase works ranging from sticker packs to large scale prints—so every budget had an opportunity to leave with a keepsake. The market also included a raffle for one-of-a-kind items including Volcom jeans painted by each participating artist that even your booty would thank you for winning.
As the sun began to set, the concert stage came to life with Orlando-based indie-psych group Timothy Eerie. Even those who had never heard of the band needed only to look at the bearded, biker-looking synth player in a groovy Hawaiian print onesie to gain insight into the sounds to be provided. The eclectic five-piece has a broad appeal to listeners with a wild and upbeat tempo that also soothes the soul. An entire block of Atlantic Beach echoed with their bold rhythms, causing passing bicyclists to ask, “What’s happening here tonight?”—on their way to another boring night at Ragtime. Front man Eerie, seemingly serenaded by the sun—and singing directly to it— not only had the crowd swaying to the beat but also the sun shade above the band bopping up and down.
Following Eerie, Kairos Creature Club did a set with three new songs, as well as others I consider to be instant classics. With drummer Lena Simon just returning from tour with La Luz the night before, you’d never know they hadn’t rehearsed much. Glenn Van Dyke released an onslaught of guitar notes that varied from bluesy to awesome with a louder than normal vocal pairing that unleashed some true feelings of ignited passion. One thing I’ve always loved about the Club is that the songs really speak for the writers, bringing an ambience of equality to the group and giving each member a voice. The set was exciting for fans of the Club and band members alike, showcasing a promising future for recording. Since a Kairos set isn’t ever long enough, the idea of new music and week-long listening binges should give fans something to rejoice about and inspire others to join the cult club.
Every now and then, an event occurs that immediately fuses itself into musical legend and reflects the power of togetherness that comes from live music. Just 24 hours after playing to a packed and energized Daily’s Place, Dave Matthews Band performed a second show there. The second night’s performance was quickly heralded by the exuberant departing crowd and in social media posts that followed as an “instant classic” and making a strong case for the First Coast to become a permanent stop on future tours.
From the opening notes of DMB concert mainstays “One Sweet World” and “Satellite,” the knowledgeable fan base sang along and gleefully debated among one another how the set list would unfold. Each show is different, featuring a fresh array of music on every tour stop, giving each fan a new chance to catch their favorite song played live. Showing their versatility, the band gently transitioned into a beautifully jazzy, extended version of “#41” featuring an extended piano solo by Buddy Strong, a key player in the band since the exit of original member Boyd Tinsley in 2018. After shifting into “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)” from the album Come Tomorrow, followed by a 2021 original “Madman’s Eyes” and the passionate “Do You Remember,” the audience showed their strong approval as the band entered into a 20-minute slow build to a frenzy of funk/jazz fusion with the DMB classic “Seek Up.”
As the show progressed, fans were treated to a powerhouse cover of the 1986 Peter Gabriel hit “Sledgehammer,” about which a spirited Dave Matthews told the excited crowd: “I played that record ’til the grooves ran through. Those were the old times…now look where we are!”
At the end of the second set, a venue-shaking roar from the crowd erupted when Matthews announced: “We have some good friends that don’t live far from here….” before welcoming Jacksonville native and legendary guitarist Derek Trucks to the stage for a tour debut of the “Crash” album classic “Lie in Our Graves.” Trucks displayed his trademark slide guitar chops and created what some fans have called the “definitive live version” of the song, as he wove a dreamlike web that captivated the appreciative hometown audience.
Earlier rumors of an appearance by acclaimed soul voice and guitarist Susan Tedeschi (of the Tedeschi Trucks Band) were confirmed as she took the stage to wild applause and launched into a blistering 16-minute cover version of the Bob Dylan classic “All Along the Watchtower,” trading strong vocals and fretwork with Matthews along with the full weight of the band and husband, Derek Trucks, behind her. The combination of these powerhouse talents was a thrilling sight.
The delightfully exhausted crowd was given an opportunity to catch their breath after band photos featuring the audience were taken and a short break ensued, followed by Matthews’ solo rendition of “Rye Whiskey” and a popular show-closer “Ants Marching.” In an exhilarating moment for this author and surrounding fans after the closing notes, Matthews approached me, took my phone and proceeded to take selfies with the crowd.
In addition to their masterful musicianship and lyrical prowess, the members of DMB keep the fans returning year after year by making connections with the audience and showing the chemistry between the band members. This is widely apparent in their interactions on and off stage, smiling throughout and joking with one another (seemingly the largest catalyst being founding member, percussionist Carter Beauford). Fist bumps and handshakes occur within the band after each song as they show their unity and support for one another; it’s contagious, and the spirit carries through to each audience member. For example, while waiting in line to obtain an original poster for the festivities and holding tickets for seats in the middle balcony, a fan approached me and, in a random act of kindness, gifted a top-priced ticket for the general admission pit so I could have the best view of the band. This is not uncommon at a Dave Matthews Band show, where fans become family quickly, and “Concert Karma” and selfless “paying it forward” actions are plentiful.
To quote Matthews: “Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain.” After 30 years, the Dave Matthews Band continues to shine, thrilling audiences of all ages and etching themselves into Jacksonville history by delivering a unique, epic and memorable performance that will resonate with those in attendance for years to come.