Two Bands, Four Styles, Several Surprises, One Happy Me

“Is this the The Other One?”

I can’t believe I’m about to ask this of a guy who looks to be the dad of the band we’re watching at a park in Upstate New York. The kids in the band are blaring distorted guitar and screaming vocals; they’re metal in every way. There is no chance they’re playing not only The Grateful Dead, but one of the spaciest, least-covered, weirdest songs the Dead ever played. But when I start to ask Band Dad this, he turns to me, and I see he’s wearing a Jerry Garcia baseball cap. Riddle solved.

We have terrible timing when it comes to seeing bands we like while we’re on the road, but twice in the past two weeks we’ve stumbled upon sweet surprises.


Last night at Schodack Island State Park, I walked five minutes to the marina to hear a mystery band playing during the fire station hamburger fundraiser. I almost turned around; from the trail they sounded like a garage band that shouldn’t have been let out.

Then I heard how tight the three boys played together, and then I sat myself down directly in front of them in my lawn chair with my maple popcorn and really listened. And then my mind was blown.

G.o.L.e.M.’s (and I thought my blog name was challenging) Spotify bio says the band “blends the explosive and thrashing garage cacophony of bands [that I don’t know and am glad of it] with more relaxed jam oriented influences like The Grateful Dead […]. Genre bending is the name of the game.” No joke.

Photo from Spotify

What was even more adorable than the guitarist looking like Angus Young is that the drummer’s an elementary school teacher, and his tiny students were there running in the grass in front of this amazing noise. What a delightful surprise.

.Dallas Louis & Emerson B

Talk about genre bending. Last week, we were sitting outside a brewery in the Finger Lakes, trying for a Take Two after having walked out on the absolutely most depressingly mediocre band ever (their motto was quantity over quality). Our expectations were low at the next place where this one guy gets up onstage with his one guitar.

Turns out he’s super smooth and nimble, and his loops are downright eloquent.

Wait, and what is that he’s playing, Elton John?!? He’s morphed Rocket Man into his own guitar-driven, unpredictable-pacing, totally addictive style. You want to listen for the guitar mastery and fun, and to hear what the heck’s next. Whitney Houston, for example.

And then he brings out his buddy. There’s a spiel about them being old, old friends (they’re not old enough for that) and having just found each other again, and this is a reunion. Then they hit it.

Freestyling is a rap genre where you improv everything that comes out of your mouth, sometimes nonsensical and sometimes on-theme and sometimes rhyming. This guy was always making sense and always rhyming; he was basically performing real magic on the stage. A freaking wizard right in front of us, and no one’s listening; they’re all playing cornhole.

He freestyled about his buddy’s guitar playing and about the setting sun over Seneca Lake and about pizza the brewery was serving, and it was masterful.

Photo from Spotify

The guitarist is on Spotify as .Dallas Louis, and both guys are on SoundCloud, the rapper as Emerson B.

Photo from SoundCloud

I’m not going to listen though because nothing will beat hearing them together, a singular performance of reunited old friends, under the Finger Lakes’ setting sun.

Once again I’ll say, this is why we travel.

10 thoughts to “Two Bands, Four Styles, Several Surprises, One Happy Me”

    1. To be fair, I saw the bands over two different days, but for both I was the only one really listening and the settings were perfect. For sure!

  1. I love the way you describe these bands. “Quantity over quality,” eh? At least they are aware of their own limitations! I’m not familiar with that Grateful Dead song so I’m listening to “The Other One” right now. Not sure if there’s a definitive version, but live at Fillmore East seems to have the most streams. I’ll report back in 18 minutes and 3 seconds.

    1. Fillmore East what year, though? Ha!

      It’s a very spacey, bass-driven, jammy song, so you’ve been warned. Now imagine a 3-piece teen-garage band speeding it up, adding distortion, and hopping and banging their way through.

      1. April 28, 1971, to be exact.

        I was a little startled when Jerry actually started singing 10 minutes in, but I suppose that’s the point of a spacey jam. It’s actually pretty good!

          1. I categorize Morning Dew as a textbook “Jerry Whiner” song. I’m not a fan of his singing those whiner songs, but ya can’t beat the guitar solos!

      2. Wait a minute, I just described the Dead at about that time! Cracking myself up, here.