Grahame Lesh and Midnight North Hit D.C. on Their First East Coast Tour

Review by Katie Handlon


Listen to Midnight North’s entire set

Listen to Quimby Mountain Band’s entire set


Midnight North recently wrapped up their first east coast tour, stopping by Gypsy Sally’s in D.C. on June 16 to promote their new album, Scarlet Skies, bringing their family-band vibe to our nation’s capital. The June, “Not For Nothing Tour,” ran nine days with stops at venues between New York and southern Virginia. New Jersey-based jam-rock quintet, Quimby Mountain Band joined Midnight North as support.


Midnight North comprises Grahame Lesh (guitar/vocals), Elliot Peck (guitar/vocals/keyboard), Alex Jordan (guitar/vocals/keyboard), Conner O’Sullivan (bass/vocals) and Eric Saar (drums). Their vocal harmonies and ability to switch musical styles between genres is impressive for a band formed two short years ago. They blend alt-country/ Americana with rock for sound that appeals to the jam band crowd, singer/songwriter and country audiences, alike.




Quimby Mountain Band also reaches a broad fan base, mixing funk, blues, southern rock, reggae and soul, or as band members like to say, “We are all over the place.” QMB’s young, energetic members include Bob Noble (bass), Harry Noble (guitar), Matt Schmidt (guitar), Jesse Bardwell (vocals and mandolin) and Matt DiPaolo (drums). They have opened for famed artists such as Railroad Earth, 7 Walkers, Dark Star Orchestra, Cabinet, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Keller Williams.


Quimby Mountain Band began the evening with covers of The Band’s, “Up On Cripple Creek,” and, “The Weight,” bringing Grahame and Elliot onstage to join on vocal harmonies along with Alex on keyboard.  Elliot’s soulful bluegrass-twang tinged voice stands out as a sweet melodic overlay against tightly knit, three-part harmonies.


Midnight North began their set with a bluesy cut from, Scarlet Skies, called, “Phoenix Motel,” which highlights Elliot’s expressive voice. They followed it up with the second track from the new album called, “Lucky One,” which is a jam/country blend bringing Grahame forefront to take lead vocals over well-crafted harmonies and waves of genre-bending melody lines.


Midnight North performed mostly original pieces from the new album and their recently released EP, Stayin’ Single, Drinkin’ Doubles, but also picked classic covers; Changing arrangements to give them a unique sound and highlight the band’s talents. Elliot took lead vocals on Sam Cooke’s classic, “Bring It On Home.” Her soulful, pitch-perfect voice paid homage to Cooke’s simple, honest musical style. Their covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Mr. Charlie,” and “Bertha,” brought concertgoers to the dance floor.  The Beatles, “I Feel Fine,” was re-arranged into a slow groove with dashes of funk.


Midnight North guitarist/vocalist, Grahame Lesh, son of Grateful Dead bassist, Phil Lesh, has gotten a lot of attention because of his legendary surname, but Grahame is carving out his own unique niche in the annals of music history. He and Midnight North have stepped outside of the comfort zone of their weekly gig at Terrapin Crossroads (Lesh family owned music venue) in their home base of San Rafael, California this month. While Grahame’s voice and appearance are reminiscent of his famous father, he certainly holds his own as a skilled singer/guitarist with a spirited stage presence.


Set list from Gypsy Sally’s 6/16

Phoenix Motel – EP on vocals
Lucky One – GL on vocals
Shady Grove (traditional) – AJ vocals
When I Go Away (Levon Helm cover) – GL/EP on vocals
Cactus Tree – EP on vocals
Turn Around – GL/EP on vocals
Mr. Charlie (Grateful Dead cover) – EP on vocals
Roamin’ – All on vocals
The Stranger – GL/EP on vocals
Bring It On Home (Sam Cooke cover) – EP on vocals
I Feel Fine (The Beatles cover) – AJ on vocals
Bertha (Grateful Dead cover) – GL on vocals
Miss M – EP on vocals

Encore: Stayin’ Single, Drinkin’ Doubles – EP on vocals