Mike Dillon Band jams the Divided Sky

Larry Sabo / Tahoe Onstage
Photos of the Mike Dillon band at the Divided Sky by Larry Sabo.

Mike Dillon’s high-energy performances mirror his offstage life

In the next few months he will release three records and a DVD. After Dillon disembarked in Miami from a Jam Cruise, he took the time to call Tahoe Onstage before he flew to the West Coast to start a tour that included an intimate and wild show on Jan. 14 at the Divided Sky in Meyers.

It was Dillon’s third appearance in the upstairs venue.

Dillon, a percussionist and vibraphonist, moved from Texas to New Orleans almost 10 years ago. He performed on the cruise with several of his NOLA (New Orleans, LA) peers: Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Johnny Vidacovich and Dumpstaphunk, along with several bluegrass bands and the British soul-jazz quartet the New Mastersounds.

Clearly, the definition of a jam band is quite broad. Dillon’s music fits in many spaces, too, including punk rock, jazz and experimental rock.

The bandleader also has collaborated with Les Claypool and Primus and played with Galactic’s drummer Stanton Moore in Garage A Trois. The Mike Dillon Band played twice at Tahoe in 2014 after releasing the album “Band of Outsiders.” Trombonist Carly Meyers and the other members have since moved onto other projects.

At the Divided Sky, Dillon was accompanied by a longtime musical friend Brad Houser, guitar and baritone sax, Nathan Lambertson, upright bass, and drummer Paul Thibodeaux. Houser played bass and co-founded Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.

Dillon said the DVD “Mike Dillon Band Live in New Orleans” has just been released.

On Feb. 26, the album “Dogs” will be released by Royal Potato Family. The band’s name is Nolatet, and it includes Dillon, Brian Haas, James Singleton and Vidacovich, the legendary New Orleans drummer.

“It’s a really elegant modern jazz record,” Dillon said.

On April 29, Dillon will release “Functioning Broke,” an album of Elliot Smith songs, and finally, in the fall, the Mike Dillon band will release “New Orleans Vikings,” also on the Royal Potato Family label.

Dillon learned of the death of one of his heroes, David Bowie, at the end of the cruise.

“Some artists transcend genres and times, like Thelonious Monk,” Dillon said. “He was asked, ‘What kind of music do you like?’ And he said, ‘I like good music.’ And Bowie made good music.

Dillon said one of his first band’s covered Bowie’s “Suffragette City.”

“He was multifaceted and an inspiration,” Dillon said. “I was always into punk rock. ‘Let’s Dance’ came out when I was in high school. He was one of the cool pop stars. He was a guy who got big but never lost his integrity.”

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ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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One Response

  1. Such a great performer! I enjoyed seeing them last time and I’ve been waiting for another opportunity to see them again. Hoping to see him/her/them when they come to The Pour House Music Hall- Raleigh on the 13th of October.

    https://seatnerds.com/things-to-do-in-raleigh-north-carolina/pour-house/

    Should be cool!

    Anyone else going?”

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