Austin1s own Larry jams at the Moon |

Austin1s own Larry jams at the Moon

Wren Wertin

Tonight, the Half Moon Saloon brings you Larry, a band even a grandmother could love. In fact, Tom 3Fee Watts, guitarist, invited his 88-year old grandmother to one of their Santa Fe shows.3We concentrated on more song-songs, he said. 3And on not blowing her away. She liked it.The six-piece band out of Austin, Texas, began as a garage band. Their midnight jam sessions were code-named Larry. At that point they were just a bunch of guys playing Widespread Panic songs. As they tentatively entered the club circuit, they were usually billed as just that<until one place accidentally called them a Phish cover band. They were mercilessly heckled by a loud-mouthed whippersnapper all night long. He1d come to hear Phish, and he by God was going to hear some. Or so he thought.Larry knew nary a Phish tune, and so the disgruntled audience member had no choice but to join the band and teach them some. Watts has been with them ever since.3To be honest, none of us were very good when we started, Watts said, laughing. 3Just young and hungry. Now, though, we1ve come a long way. We can read each other on stage; we intuitively communicate really well.Which is important for a jam band. Larry is billed as a southadelic hick-hop group that showcases a mix of Texas-seasoned jazz, funk, blues, Latin, Tex-Mex, and Cajun with the occasional classical riff.3We have so many different facets with funk, jazz, country and rock, said Watts. 3For instance, we all like jazz, but not everyone listens to it all the time. It just depends.Recently voted one of Austin1s top bands by 3Texas Monthly, Larry has released their third CD, 3Among Friends. The name is representative of their feelings about their fans.3We1re just normal dudes who like hanging out and having fun with our fans, he said. 3We feel like it1s just one entity, all of us, instead of a division between the musicians and the audience. Their energy is just as important to the performance as ours is.As a band, Larry looks to the Grateful Dead and String Cheese Incident as they shape what is increasingly becoming a big business.3We respect the family-oriented nature of their fan base, said Watts. 3And we1re family oriented ourselves.They1re also tour-oriented. The band has been on the road almost constantly, promoting 3Among Friends and riding the momentum of their fan base. Now that Phish is presumed dead, and Widespread Panic declaring this summer as their grand finale season, there1s more room on the jam-band front for smaller bands.Beginning April 17, Larry will be supporting their good friends Leftover Salmon throughout Lubbock, Austin, Dallas, Tulsa and more. After losing their banjo player Mark Vann to cancer, a slew of familiar faces have been rotating through the band. Matt Flinner will be on tour with the band for their Spring Migration Tour, and Larry is pleased to be playing with all the musicians.In addition to Watts (guitar), Larry is Tom Vickers (guitar), Andy Vickers (drums, vocals), Bob Amonett (brand-spanking-new on the bass), Rick Cannon (harmonica, vocals), and Jeff Bradberry (lead vocals, washboard). They1ll arrive in their converted airport shuttle van (complete with homemade bunk) for today1s show at the Half Moon Saloon in West Vail at 10 p.m.

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