Friday, February 3, 9 p.m.
Rock Island Brewing Company, 1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island IL
Boasting a lineup of veteran musicians from central Illinois taking a deep dive into the magic and complexity of the Phish songbook, the tribute artists of Birds of a Feather will headline a February 3 concert at the Rock Island Brewing Company, this musically thrilling night at RIBCO featuring the talents of Dave Littrell (The Station and Deep Hollow), Jeff Cunningham (The Station, The Blue G's, Los Injectors), Mike Tasch (Sunshine Daydream) and Ron James (the Brandon Santini Band).
Formed in Burlington, Vermont, in 1983, Phish is known for musical improvisation, extended jams, blending of genres, and a dedicated fan base, with the group composed of guitarist and lead vocalist Trey Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman, and keyboardist Page McConnell. The band was originated by Anastasio, Gordon, Fishman and guitarist Jeff Holdsworth, who were joined by McConnell in 1985. Holdsworth departed Phish in 1986, and the lineup has remained stable ever since. Phish began to perform outside of New England in the late 1980s, scored a platinum-selling studio album with their 1989 debut Junta, and enjoyed continued popularity throughout the 1990s via gold-selling hits such as Lawn Boy, A Picture of Nectar, Rift, Hoist, and Billy Breathes. In October of 2000, the band began a hiatus that ended in 2002, but they disbanded again in August of 2004, officially reuniting four years later for subsequent reunion shows, Since then, Phish's musicians have resumed performing regularly, with all four members also pursuing solo careers or performing with side-projects that have continued even after the band's reunion.
Phish's music blends elements of a wide variety of genres including funk, reggae, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, folk, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, electronic music, and pop. The band is part of a movement of improvisational rock groups, inspired by the format of the Grateful Dead's live performances and colloquially known as "jam bands," that gained considerable popularity as touring concert acts in the 1990s. Over its decades of performance, Phish has developed a large and dedicated following by word of mouth, the exchange of live recordings, and selling more than 8 million albums and DVDs in the United States. Beyond releasing a quintet of live albums over the last three years, Phish delivered their most recent studio recording in 2020's Sigma Oasis, which AllMusic.com deemed a "unified and relaxed" work "that feels as effortless as a Phish concert."
Birds of a Feather performs their Phish tribute at the Rock Island Brewing Company on February 3, and more information on the 9 p.m. concert is available by calling (309)793-1999 and visiting RIBCO.com.