As a new Baltimore resident, it is truly incredible to see such amazing support for local music. On Wednesday, August 12, I took my second trip to The 8x10 in the heart of Baltimore’s Federal Hill area. This date marked the second week of LITZ’s August residency at the intimate venue, and fans were promised a special treat in the form of an Allman Brothers tribute set featuring the legendary Ron Holloway on saxophone! But before we could rock out to the classic tunes of one of the greatest rock bands in history, we were treated to an opening set from the DC natives, Moogatu.
Moogatu is on a whole new level of rock music. I imagine that when Umphrey’s McGee was playing at local bars and small venues that people felt a similar sense of perceiving the future of the genre. The band led us through shredding solo sections, complex composed portions and deep, psychedelic jams. As the crowd filled out, Moogatu fed off of the energy and brought out some serious energy! By the end of their set, the crowd was roaring with applause after every tune. The future is bright for this epic quartet, as they gear up for an appearance at Lockn’ Festival. Highlights of this particular set included a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime” and guest saxophone appearances from Ron Holloway and Austin Litz.
After a quick changeover, LITZ took the stage, joined by Chris Lee (Moogatu, guitar) and of course, the featured guest of the evening, Ron Holloway. This group tackled some of the most complex and intense Allman Brothers tunes with the utmost respect, skill and grace. From “Statesboro Blues” to “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” to “Jessica” and “Whipping Post,” the venue full of fans danced like there was no tomorrow. It is one thing to play cover tunes and pay tribute to the great bands who have influenced us and changed the game, but the Allman Brothers is a whole different process. You cannot just play their tunes, you have to pay tribute to their improvisational genius. LITZ featuring Ron Holloway and Chris Lee truly did them justice and rocked out an incredible set of pure ABB bliss. Lee and LITZ guitarist Justin Robb channeled their inner Duane-Dickey combo beautifully, playing dueling solos and harmonic dual lead sections, while Mr. Holloway proved over and over why he is such a legend. His sax solos absolutely blew me out of my head, reaching incredible heights and wailing all over the musical spectrum. We were even treated to a nice dueling sax solo section between Holloway and Austin Litz! The crowd roared with applause after this amazing tribute set to one of the best bands in rock & roll history. The 8x10 was hot and steamy with excitement as the band left the stage for a set break.
Upon returning to the stage, LITZ proceeded with a set of their own music to close out the evening, laying down some serious funk coupled with their fun-loving sense of humor. Once again, I was truly amazed at the sense of community in the Baltimore area that is rallied around local music, and I cannot wait to continue to be a part of it. LITZ continues its Wednesday night residency throughout the month.