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.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Rick Mason