What do you get when you combine members of some of the city's best bands with bearded eccentrics, space choir singing and ukuleles? No, not a miniature version of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, though that would be kind of cool. The answer is the Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra.
The first time I laid eyes on Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder was 20 years ago at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, a venue around the same size as the Fox Theater. I had traveled with my college friends from Columbia to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour and Pearl Jam, a then unknown Seattle band was billed as the opener.
The ukulele has been making a comeback, and the Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra is doing its part. Swap your lei for some tie-dye as Dave Spangler and Thom Pallozola give the songs of the Grateful Dead (and more) a plucky acoustic spin.
What do the Grateful Dead and Don Ho have in common? Not much, with the exception of the Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra. This army of St. Louis pickers put down their guitars and picked up their ukes for some surprisingly groovy renditions of Grateful Dead songs in the KDHX studios.