Bob Weir will share the stage with members of The National at California’s TRI Studios on March 24. Produced by HeadCount, a non-profit organization that promotes voter registration and democratic participation, the event is billed as The Bridge Session.
According to a statement from HeadCount, “mixing different musical genres, political discussion and a showcase of modern technology, the event aims to ‘bridge the gaps’ between people of various tastes and viewpoints. The name of the event also references TRI Studios’ location 15 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and The National’s home base of Brooklyn and its equally famous bridge.”
HeadCount founder and Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein will serve as the event’s emcee. Weir, a founding member of The Grateful Dead, serves on the organization’s Board of Directors and is the visionary behind TRI Studios. The entire event will be webcast for free on the TRI Studios website.
National co-founders Scott and Bryan Devendorf (bass and drums, respectively) will curate the show and lead the evening’s house band, which is slated to include Brooklyn-based musicians Josh Kaufman, Thomas Bartlett, Kyle Resnick, Walt Martin, Conrad Doucette and Samuel Cohen. Weir will join the ensemble for a set that includes original songs by The Grateful Dead and The National, as well as cover songs with subtle—and not-so-subtle—political messages. Between sets, a roundtable discussion will focus on issues that “potentially unify people of divergent ideological perspectives—specifically, getting money out of politics and protecting the First Amendment.”
Grateful Dead lyricist and activist John Perry Barlow, one of the first public figures to bring attention to the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), will be among the panelists. Fans will be able to watch performance and participate in a Q & A with Weir, Barlow and other special guests via Twitter. HeadCount is also giving away two tickets to attend in person via an online contest. For more information on how to enter or acquire tickets please visit www.HeadCount.org.
Long associated with the indie rock genre, the members of The National helped bridge the hipster/hippie divide by inviting Trey Anastasio to sit in with them at the Beacon Theater in December. Bryan Devendorf is also slated to appear on Anastasio’s forthcoming solo album.
Though this will be the Devendorf brothers first performance with Weir, the musicians cite the Dead as one of their earliest influences.
“[The National’s] Bryan and Scott Devendorf have been to many, many Grateful Dead and Phish shows—they have a long association with that music, especially the Grateful Dead,” National guitarist Aaron Dessner told Jambands.com/Relix in 2008. National guitarist Bryce Dessner echoed his brother’s statement in another Jambands.com/Relix interviewing, admitting, “The full-on Deadhead in my community is National drummer Bryan Devendorf. The Dead and New Order are the two things that are essential for him.” Scott Devendorf also wore a Steal Your Face shirt onstage at Bonnaroo in 2010. As previously reported, the members of The National will also curate a Dead tribute album in the coming year.