WILKES-BARRE — With the Dave Matthews Band on hiatus in 2017, die hard DMB fans will have to turn to reputable tribute groups for their folk-jam/jazz fusion fix.
Hailing from Fairfax, Va., Crowded Streets: The Dave Matthews Experience will return to the Wyoming Valley for a 9 p.m. April 1 performance at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains Township with supporting act Vine Street.
Crowded Streets frontman Gabe Matthews said the band’s Jazz Cafe performance a year ago was the first show for then new bass player Nick Soderstrom.
“He’s more of a traditional jazz player, and he’s added a whole new feel,” Matthews said. “He’s a phenomenal bass player.”
Matthews said Soderstrom’s quiet, reserved personality is a welcome balance to the quirkiness of other band members.
“He’s added a foundation we didn’t have in the past,” Matthews said. “We’re happy with the musical direction we’re going in.”
Matthews said Crowded Streets has, true to form, kept set lists fresh by revisiting traditional songs from their DMB repertoire and by adding new material.
“We’ve taken a two-prong approach,” Matthews said. “We’re blowing the dust off of some older songs and that will be our focus. In addition, we’ve reached out to our fans and said, ‘what do you guys want to hear?’ “
Matthews said the band has posted on Facebook and received about 150 responses containing suggestions.
“We’re focusing on the people who come to see us,” Matthews said. “They’re the reason we’re doing this.”
Matthews said performing the music of such a beloved group has its moments, letting the members of Crowded Streets know when they’ve performed well.
A recent instance, he said, came after a February performance at a small, intimate venue in Philadelphia.
“We were fortunate enough to sell the place out,” Matthews said. “When we were done, there were probably half a dozen folks that said, ‘you took me back to my days in college. It was so nice to reminisce.’”
Matthews said it is in those moments, reminding people of some of their best times, that he feels the band is going in the right direction.
“To me, that’s what it’s all about, making people feel carefree for an hour and a half,” Matthews said. “It’s more worthwhile for people as they go through life and get older and have children and more responsibilities.”
Matthews said the band’s sphere of touring has expanded over the last year, bringing it to Minnesota and into Ohio for the first time.
“I’m an Ohio native, so I loved it,” Matthews said.
An outdoor concert series performance in Cincinnati drew a particularly good crowd, the singer and guitarist said.
“It speaks to the Dave Matthews Band’s ability to touch so many people,” Matthews said. “The crowd participation was phenomenal. We got into some uncharted waters and absolutely loved it.”
A three-day music festival Crowded Streets was slated for in Minnesota became an affirmation of another kind.
“We played half a sound check song and the skies opened up,” Matthews said.
Torrential rain cancelled several performances, but, Matthews said, organizers found another place for several acts to perform to satisfy fans.
“They carted us over to this neighborhood bar,” Matthews said. “Three hundred people in the venue migrated over there to see a mixed performance. Something horrible ended up being something fantastic. It was cool to walk away saying, ‘we did something good here.’ “
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.comments powered by Disqus