About this show
In the realm of jam bands, Cast of Clowns is a supergroup of key players from other groups, tonight celebrating both founder Craig Wright’s 50th birthday and the release of the band’s CD, “Have a Heart.” Most of the musicians have appeared at Ashkenaz in other bands, and the Clowns played one of their first shows after forming in 2008 at Ashkenaz, but this is their first time back since then. Brought together by Ashland, Oregon, singer-guitarist Wright, the Clowns are co-founder Greg Anton on drums (of the band Zero), singer-guitarist Stu Allen (Mars Hotel, Ghosts of Electricity, JGB), organist Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band, JGB), and bassist Robin Sylvester (Bob Weir’s Ratdog, JGB, Ghosts of Electricity).
Music runs from Wright’s originals (often with lyrics by Robert Hunter) and on to fresh interpretations of Garcia and Grateful Dead tunes that mix rhythmic drive with often-cosmic group explorations. The Cast of Clowns always know where they’re starting, but the end is never known until they get there, after hours of ecstatic jamming for dancing. They may include some tunes from the new Melvin Seals album as well. Seals is best-known as the keyboard player in the Jerry Garcia Band, and continues that group as JGB.