Dispatch with O.A.R. and G. Love
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
August 27, 2022
By Mike Perciaccante
Featuring similar genre melding (an amazing mixture of rock, reggae, indie rock, pop with a little bit of blues, a touch of punk, some roots rock and a lot of good old jamband) sounds, it’s only natural that Dispatch and O.A.R. finally tour together. If one adds-in the good-time hip-hop/blues/jam band hybrid music of G. Love, audience members are in for a night to remember. On a sleepy Saturday evening in late August on Long Island, fans of each of the three artists got what they had hoped for and much, much more.
The evening’s festivities began with a solo set by G. Love. Appearing on stage while the sun was still shining brightly, casually dressed and armed with only an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, the musician was able to immediately connect with the audience with his opening tune, “Drinkin’ Wine.” His short, seven song set was highlighted by the cover of the Beatles’ “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” and the Jack Johnson-penned “Rodeo Clowns” as well as his own “SoulBQue,” “Love From Philly” and, of course, the set closer “Cold Beverage” with (the added twist of having) his son Garret accompany him on harmonica.
O.A.R. (which, for the uninitiated, stands for Of A Revolution) was up next. The band was formed in Rockville, MD in 1996 and during its career has released ten studio albums and six live albums as well as an EP and a “best of” compilation. Opening with the new track “Inside Out,” from 2022’s The Arcade (Black Rock Recorded Music), O.A.R. delivered a stunning 14-song set of the college/party rock. The set included hits such as “Love and Memories;” “Shattered (Turn The Car Around);” “Hey Girl,” from Soul’s Aflame (Orafin Records, 1999); an epic version of “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” during which the faithful showered the other fans in attendance with multiple decks of playing cards; “Heaven;” its latest single “In The Clouds;” a somber version of “Peace” as well as a cover of “Ring Of Fire” (featuring G. Love). Fittingly, the final song was a cover of Billy Joel’s “Downeaster Alexa” (the storied outdoor venue is, after-all, located on Long Island, not far from Joel’s home base in nearby Oyster Bay).
On this tour, Dispatch was the headlining act. Formed by band leader/front man Chad Urmston (aka Chadwick Stokes) and Brad Corrigan (vocals, drums, guitar, percussion, harmonica) while in college in Vermont, the band was originally active from 1996 until 2002. It went on hiatus, but performed reunion concerts in 2004, 2007 and 2009. In 2011, the hiatus was officially ended with the release of the Dispatch EP on Bomber Records. Since that time the group has released an additional three studio albums and a number of live collections. Opening with “Skin The Rabbit,” Dispatch immediately brought the audience to its feet. And there they stood bopping, dancing and singing along as the band roared through a set that included: “Open Up;” the prog-rock influenced “Painted Yellow Lines;” “Bang Bang,” the fan favorite from the 1997 album of the same name; “The Legend of Connie Hawkins;” “Flying Horses” and a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor.” The main set came to a close with a fantastic version “The General” and a fiery version of “Bats In The Belfry” with help from members of O.A.R. The performance ended with two encores featuring G. Love and members of O.A.R. joining together with Dispatch on a wonderful cover of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” followed by “Letter to Lady J.” All of the musicians then bid farewell to the audience a disappeared into the backstage area.
Photos by Christine Connallon