Skip to main content

Andrew Downing


  • Drake Honors Lil Wayne, Previews Album on First Headlining Tour

    "Who misses the greatest rapper of all time?" Drake asked a crowded Lantz Arena midway through his 70-minute performance at Eastern Illinois University on Tuesday. But the Canadian-born musician, getting his first solo headlining tour — a 23-city jaunt that runs through May 21st in Austin — off the ground, wasn't talking about heavily eulogized […]

    • Music
  • Is Rothbury the New Bonnaroo? Mike Gordon, More Weigh In as Fest Announces It'll Return

    With its idyllic location (The Double JJ Ranch & Golf Resort, a tree-lined mecca six miles inland from Lake Michigan), environmental bent (organizers set a "near-zero waste" goal for the festival) and jam-band friendly lineup (Widespread Panic and Phil Lesh, among others), many artists and attendees were trumpeting the inaugural Rothbury Festival as the next […]

    • Music
  • John Mayer Finds a Serene Groove on Rothbury's Closing Night

    Perhaps the Zen spirit of Rothbury's jammy vibe engulfed John Mayer. The singer-guitarist with the biting wit was in chill-out mode for his Sunday evening set. "Waiting on the World to Change," as smooth and serene as the nearby lake, came across like the most passive-aggressive protest anthem ever written. Guitar licks fell as slow […]

    • Music
  • Gov't Mule Offer Rothbury a Pleasant Surprise With "Hunger Strike" Cover

    Gov't Mule guitarist-singer Warren Haynes, with his shoulder-length gray hair and ever-present smile, appeared to be enjoying his time at Rothbury more than anyone (including the guy who fashioned a hat from a hollowed-out watermelon and fell asleep/passed out in Sherwood Forest). He jammed with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, paid homage to the host […]

    • Music
  • Phish Nearly Reunite at Rothbury for Beatles Cover

    Former bandmates Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon were the Ross and Rachel of Rothbury, subject to countless "will they or won't they" rumors among fans hoping for a Phish reunion at the festival. Those rumors came one step closer to reality on Sunday when Anastasio and Gordon joined with Phish drummer Jon Fishman for a […]

    • Music
  • Dave Matthews Lets His Spirit Loose for Rothbury Set

    Dave Matthews' between-song banter devolved almost as quickly as the mental capacity of those campers experimenting with mind-altering substances in Rothbury's Sherwood Forest. At the onset of the nearly three-hour performance he talked about the weather in mundane terms ("What a beautiful day"), but less than 30 minutes later he was riffing about laying in […]

    • Music
  • Michael Franti Does Politics, Impressions at Rothbury

    Throughout his late-afternoon Rothbury set with Spearhead, Michael Franti displayed a knack for impressions that would put Dave Coulier to shame. During an amped-up cover of Sublime's "What I Got," the singer dropped a few bars of "The Rainbow Connection" in his best Kermit the Frog voice and briefly channeled Cookie Monster as he chanted […]

    • Music
  • The Black Keys Hit Rothbury With Powerful Set of Grizzled Blues Rock

    Akron, Ohio duo the Black Keys delivered an hour-long set of bluesy rockers that were every bit as grizzled as frontman Dan Auerbach's increasingly bushy beard. A rowdy "Set You Free" found drummer Patrick Carney pummeling his kit like a back-alley brawler finishing off an over-matched opponent; "Strange Times" veered between spacey psychedelia and whale […]

    • Music
  • Secret Machines, Dresden Dolls Inject Rothbury With a Bit of Darkness

    The three members of the Secret Machines, outfitted totally in black, looked as though they might wilt in the midday sun Saturday afternoon at Rothbury. But the trio's droning dirges — best experienced in dingy clubs long after nightfall — proved a nice tonic from the crunchy festival fair. "Alone, Jealous and Stoned" was a […]

    • Music
  • Widespread Panic Jam Into the Sunset at Rothbury

    Widespread Panic's sunset performance — the first of two sets the group played Friday at Rothbury — had the feel of a spring break beach party. Dozens of yellow balls tagged with smiling faces bounced like popped corn on the throng of onlookers — an inordinate amount of whom were sporting the same fuzzy, Dr.Seuss-style […]

    • Music