Dallas’ Forgotten Space pays tribute to the late Jerry Garcia

Forgotten Space

7 p.m. Saturday


Granada Theater

3524 Greenville Ave.


214 824-9333; granadatheater.com

Posted 8:30am on Thursday, Aug. 01, 2013

In observance of what would have been Jerry Garcia’s 71st birthday, Dallas’ resident Grateful Dead tribute band, Forgotten Space, will be headlining the fifth annual “Jerry Fest” on Saturday at the Granada Theater.

“People really seem to respond to the idea of getting to celebrate Jerry Garcia and his birthday, and people really come out,” says lead guitarist Kenny Withrow, whose band performs annually on Garcia’s birthday. “It’s been the biggest event of the year. … This will be the fifth time we’ve done it. It’s cool to get to concentrate on the Jerry material.”

Forgotten Space is a little-known entity that could be written off as just another cover band. However, for North Texas Deadheads, Forgotten Space is a hidden gem, comparable to any current, touring Dead show, whether it’s Chicago’s Dark Star Orchestra or San Francisco’s Furthur, established in 2009 by former Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

“Expect a spontaneous event to happen, and not necessarily a cover band sort of situation, because both Phish and the Dead are improv-based groups,” Withrow says. “Both bands approach this from a unique improvisational standpoint. The songs are a framework to work from. Every show will be different and will be a unique experience that night.”

Playing intimate venues such as Club Dada and Poor David’s Pub, Forgotten Space has nestled into the minds and hearts of Dallasites.

Forgotten Space began performing in 2006 when six local musicians — Withrow, rhythm guitarist Hunter Hendrickson, keyboardist Will Hodges, bassist Bob McConville and drummers Jerry Saracini and Pablo Russell — came together through a mutual love of the Grateful Dead.

“This type of music connects with people who are willing to be open about it,” Saracini says. “If you can be open, you’ll probably have a really good time even if you don’t know the songs. You can dance and connect not only to the energy of the music but the vibe of it, and it becomes a really beautiful thing.”

Austin-based Phish tribute band A Live One, which formed in December 2010 and began touring at the end of 2012, will open, as it will in Austin and Houston, too.

The quartet (guitarist Josh Pearson, drummer Dan McGreevy, keyboardist Wes Haynes and bassist Mike Boyd) has garnered a following in Central Texas as well as North Texas, and continues to gain momentum.

In an effort to re-create the experience of following the Dead around, the two bands will put out hours of jam band — and Grateful Dead — goodness.

“It’s super fun — you know all three shows are going to be unique and different,” A Live One’s Pearson says. “I imagine Forgotten Space isn’t going to play very many repeats, and A Live One’s not going to play many repeats.”

One can’t help but think Jerry Garcia would be pleased at the effort these local Texas bands have demonstrated in honoring his memory.

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