Initially formed in 1999 as a one-off project to laud fallen Grateful Dead guitarist and figurehead Jerry Garcia, this Athens-based tribute act has steadily risen among the ranks of many similarly-themed groups. Today, they are widely becoming known as one of the most faithful practitioners of this most sincere form of musical flattery. However, that doesn’t mean they sound just like the fabled Dead. In fact, one of the things that befuddles some in the crowds —but which has won them the acclaim and friendship of many actual associates of the GD— is their willingness to remain true to the restless spirit of that legendary improvisatory band of psychedelic warhorses.
Using The Dead’s back catalog and voluminous library of officially-sanctioned bootlegs as their guideposts, Cosmic Charlie pull standout tracks and basic arrangements, but pride themselves on applying the same unpredictable nature the original band was known for to their own live shows. And it’s working out very well.
While CC still play regularly at clubs and small venues across the USA, they are increasingly headlining shows in theatres and large, outdoor festivals (including festivals The Dead frequented in their heyday), and it is not uncommon for former GD members or associates to sit in with the group on stage — such as keyboardist Vince Welnick, Ratdog members Mark Karan and Robin Sylvester, and GD archivist and songwriter David Gans.
Says Gans of CC’s devotion to the music he’s devoted a large portion of his life to exploring, “They really are a great band - they do this music the way it should be done: by having the conversation in their own voices.”
This show marks the 12th anniversary of Garcia’s death, and will be their only local appearance this summer. And, yes, unlike The Dead, they do take requests. Sat., 10 pm, Loco’s (downtown).
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