On a cold snowy night in NYC all bars really look the same. American Beauty is no different. When you walk past you might mistake it for just another typical place that serves good drinks, but in American Beauty’s case you would be wrong. What makes American Beauty so special is what happens just beyond the bar where live music is playing and by the looks of their full calendar they have a bent to jam bands.
On Saturday, January 14th I got to experience a special night at American Beauty as I witnessed dead cover band Gratefully Yours take the audience and myself on a journey. Gratefully Yours sets themselves apart by playing your dream setlist through fan requests where you might be able to hear that one dead tune you always wanted to experience live.
I spoke with Alex Mazur (keyboards/vocals/band leader) and a few other band members before the show, and gained a great appreciation for him before he even hit a key. Alex is not a novice or stranger to the scene. He has been performing Grateful Dead music since 1991 with a variety of great musicians. In the years since he has been playing dead songs he said “I’ve never gotten tired of the music. I’ve grown tired of a lot of things, but not the music.” When I asked him why this music he simply responded, “it is deep lyrically, and Robert Hunter is a major 20th century poet.” As a fan, I couldn’t agree more.
After our conversation the band hit the stage and quickly found their groove opening with an apropos “One More Saturday Night” that made me wish I would have been a child of the 70’s. Gratefully Yours barely let up throughout the night. Mazur told me before the show started they were more interested in covering the spirit and aesthetic of the Dead than trying to sound like Bobby and Jerry. Each member impressed me in their own way, but on this night the drums and percussion section really shined. It felt like they were a driving force that pushed the band the entire night to play harder and louder.
Mazur mentioned to me that he felt like his purpose was to get people to move and dance. Gratefully Yours definitely fulfilled their calling at American Beauty as the crowd moved all night long. In a music scene where dead cover bands are showing up all over (which I think is a wonderful thing), Gratefully Yours does shine. They have honed their craft and should be paid attention to. If they visit your town, go see them. This may be your chance to hear “What’s Become of The Baby” live!
One More Saturday Night
The Music Never Stopped
To Lay Me Down
Turn on Your Lovelight
Man Smart Woman Smarter
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?