Widespread Panic at Fillmore Miami Beach
Renowned as a great live band and among the leading lights of the jam-band circuit over the past quarter-century, Athens, Georgia's Widespread Panic concentrates on old-fashioned song-craft for its new album, Dirty Side Down — all the better as a solid launching pad for WP's free-flowing live escapades. There is, of course, evidence of Panic's improvisational prowess on Dirty, most prominently on the instrumental "St. Louis," a tighter version of a concert staple that still rambles deep into jazz and blues terrain via Jerry Garcia-like guitar work. That the rest of the tracks work nicely as songs is a tribute to WP's dual strengths as well as its eclecticism. Over the course of the hour-plus album, the mood shifts from the haunting, plaintive cover of the late Vic Chesnutt's "This Cruel Thing" to exuberant boogie-fueled Southern rockers such as "Cotton Was King." Elsewhere, there's an amiable country rocker ("Clinic Cynic"), muscular blues-rock ("North"), a New Orleans-style shuffle ("When You Coming Home"), and an ambitious, mercurial tribute to Le Petit Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that wends its way from gossamer surrealism to gritty rock with an undercurrent of Latin rhythms, just the stuff for a prime Panic attack.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.