The long strange trip continues for Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra. The seven-piece outfit opens its recently announced spring tour on March 30 in Louisville, Ky. Over the course of a month and 20 shows, DSO covers parts of the Midwest, South and Southeast, with a number of two-night stands and festival dates peppered in for good measure. Following the tour opener at Louisville’s Mercury Ballroom, the band plays back-to-back nights at The Orange Peel in Asheville, N.C., then travels to the Wanee Festival in Live Oak, Fla., on April 20 and the SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta on April 23, before concluding with two nights at New Orleans’ Joy Theater. Tickets for all shows are available now. The full list of tour dates can be found on DSO’s official website.
As was the case with the Dead 20 years into their career, DSO has kept a steady touring itinerary since forming in 1997. Their annual New Year’s run kicks off with two nights at The National in Richmond, Va., Dec. 28-29, before moving the party to Philadelphia for a pair of nights at the Electric Factory, Dec. 30-31. After a few weeks off, the band hits its stride for 2017 with Jam in the Sand V in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, alongside Los Lobos and Donna the Buffalo. DSO founded the all-inclusive destination concert event in 2013, and since that time has welcomed a range of artists in the jam-band milieu, including Steve Kimock, David Nelson Band and Keller Williams. This year’s Jam in the Sand features four two-set DSO shows, as well as three shows a piece from Los Lobos and Donna the Buffalo.
In October, DSO added to its 2017 commitments when they revealed a slate of winter tour dates that bridge the gap between Jam in the Sand and the start of their spring tour. The 18-date jaunt kicks off on Feb. 9 at The Showbox in Seattle and makes its way down the West Coast, with two nights at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore. (Feb. 10-11), three nights at UC Theatre in Berkeley, Calif. (Feb. 16-18), and two tour-concluding shows at the Ogden Theatre in Denver (March 4).
“There’s a strength that comes from playing 135 shows a year continuously,” DSO guitarist Jeff Mattson told The Aquarian Weekly last month. “I feel like the band improves in leaps and bounds from year to year. Sometimes it has to do with people coming and going; you get a fresh energy in the band, but I think we’re all working on it. We’ve improved our game and we’re bringing a lot of energy night to night.”