[Shane Finkelstein]

Bringing the Jam to Jackson

10:45 June 03, 2023
By: Shane Finkelstein

After a three year Covid-related hiatus, the two-day Cathead Jam returned to Jackson, Mississippi featuring some of the hottest jam bands around at the downtown Cathead Distillery. The first-class Friday night production featured an hour-and-thirty minute set by Cimafunk and two sets from the red-hot Goose.

Around 1,500 fans turned out for the Friday night show, interrupted by a thirty minute heavy rain storm during the first set by Epic Funk Brass Band. The rain got so bad, it cleared the field, and the local band had to take cover under an awning where they continued to jam on some tight brass band standards.

By the time the rain cleared and the stage was reset, Cimafunk was ready to jam out to their unique blend of Afro-Cuban funk. This was my first time seeing this 8-piece band, but they were a hot ticket at a recently sold-out show at The Civic during Jazz Fest. Totally understandable as the high-energy combination of horns, percussions, and harmonies wowed the audience the entire set. The eponymous Grammy-nominated singer has a stage presence that reminded me of Bruno Mars and vocals that mix funk and hip hop with a bit of island flare. Also impressive were the background vocals and horns by sisters Hilaria and Katy Cacao. It all combined for a very enjoyable set, and I can't wait to see these guys again.

Speaking of hot tickets, Goose is now headlining summer festivals all over the country. They were the featured band at the Faubourg Brewery during the Daze Between last month with closing sets on both nights. I caught their act at the Joy Theater last October and was immediately impressed with their torrid jams and epic light show. If you've never seen these guys, they're this generation's Phish, but they rock harder and appeal to a larger audience than hippie-infused culture bearers.

Goose took the stage as the skies darkened for the first of two sets. I'm not yet a big enough fan to distinguish one song from another, but the five-piece band led by guitarist/vocalist Rick Mitarotonda and keyboardist Peter Anspach came out firing on all cylinders with the two in constant motion as their hands mastered their respective instruments. The songs are long with infrequent bursts of vocals from Mitaronda, but the energy is there the entire time. If I had one complaint, it would be that maybe the songs sound a bit too similar and hard to distinguish one from the next. The audience didn't seem to mind. When the band finished the first set, I was the only one heading for the exits as I had a long drive ahead of me and I had been there since the gates opened at 4pm.

It's not too late to catch day two of the Cathead Jam featuring Larkin Poe, Shakey Graves, and the Flaming Lips. There are over a dozen food trucks to choose from, craft vendors, and a cocktail menu of some of Cathead Distillery's most popular expressions. Get there early, set up a chair and a blanket, and enjoy some great tunes from another stellar lineup of festival favorites.

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