Every time Grateful Dead tribute band Grateful Shred hits the road, principal members Dan Horne, Austin McCutchen, Sam Blasucci, and Clay Finch bring with them songs they’ve never played before. From tunes by The Grateful Dead to music from the individual careers of its members like Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, the cover band is bringing its ever-expanding repertoire of material to SOhO Restaurant & Music Club tomorrow for a set built to please both casual listeners and the most dedicated Deadheads.
“One of the cool things about our shows is that everyone shows up. We try to please everyone as much as possible,” bassist Dan Horne told the News-Press.
Grateful Shred came together in 2016 when guitarist and singer Austin McCutchen called on Mr. Horne and fellow singer-guitarists Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch to play a set of Grateful Dead covers when Mr. McCutchen’s regular band was out of town. Accompanied by a rotating cast of drummers and keyboardists, the band has been performing The Grateful Dead’s music ever since. When Mr. Horne and his bandmates started out, they could perform one or two separate sets of Dead material without repeating a song. That has since grown to four or five sets.
Mr. Horne couldn’t yet say which yet-to-be-performed Grateful Dead songs would be featured during his group’s next round of touring, but he remarked that the last tour saw the inclusion of Jerry Garcia Band songs “The Harder They Come” and “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” When asked about the best songs to play live, the bassist named “Cumberland Blues” and “The Music Never Stopped” as audience favorites. He remarked that the latter in particular causes audience to “freak out.” For him personally, the 1977 song “Terrapin Station” is a favorite because it not only entertains the crowd, but provides an opportunity for him and his bandmates to be musically adventurous.
He stated, “Just the crowd reaction is really cool. They’re always really excited to hear it. Also, it can be done a number of different ways.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Grateful Dead tribute concert without some extended improvisational sections, which were the most famous aspect of the psychedelic rock band’s live performances. Grateful Shred’s approach to improvising varies. Sometimes, the band embarks on the exact, same instrumental passages that the Dead played in concert. Other times, they perform their own original improvisations on the spot. Rather than dressing up like members of The Grateful Dead and run the risk of coming across like a parody of the band, Mr. Horne and his bandmates try to capture the band’s feel by genuinely expressing themselves within the framework that the Dead provided: Its songs.
“I think the idea is that we use the repertoire as a vehicle for our own expression,” Mr. Horne said. Tickets for Grateful Shred’s concert at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club cost $25 and can be purchased online at www.sohosb.com. The concert begins at 9 p.m. tomorrow, with doors to the venue opening at 8 p.m.