Hippiefest 2011

There's enough baggage with just the name of this thing for several encyclopedias, beginning with such issues as cynicism, exploitation, and stereotyping. For the record, this hodgepodge of bands probably only tangentially relates to the hippie phenomenon, and then only because they existed in the same era. The nostalgia factor is huge, of course, but so many decades have passed since these guys' heydays that what you'll get is a total crapshoot besides some version of each's hits. Keyboardist Felix Cavaliere (pictured) is likely the most reliable of the bunch. He's leading a group of non-original Rascals, one of the great blue-eyed soul groups of the '60s with immortal hits like "Groovin'" and "Good Lovin'." Cavaliere has kept up his chops in the interim in part on projects with the great Memphis guitarist Steve Cropper. Worst will definitely be Mark Farner, former guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad, whose lame, sledgehammer rock was abysmal from the get-go and likely hasn't improved. Plus, Farner is literally wrapping himself in the flag these days as the "Rock Patriot" and linking himself to wacko libertarian politics and the NRA. Who-really-knows territory includes keyboardist Gary Wright, an original Spooky Tooth who later had a big solo hit with "Dream Weaver"; guitarist Rick Derringer, who had a monster hit with "Hang On Sloopy" while leading the McCoys in '65 and later issued some decent, meat-and-potatoes rock 'n' roll; and guitarist Dave Mason, a key early member of Traffic who had one great solo record in 1970's Alone Together. Best advice: Be up for Cavaliere, keep an open mind on the others, run for your life when Farner hits the stage.
Sun., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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