Seconds On End brings the jams to Lake Tahoe |

Seconds On End brings the jams to Lake Tahoe

The self-described “pilgrims of stoke” are coming to Tahoe, intent on tearing up the slopes and jamming on the bandstand.

Seconds On End, a five-piece group from San Francisco, makes its Tahoe debut Friday at Bar of America in Truckee and Saturday at the Tahoe Underground on Kingsbury Grade in Stateline.

The band brings its sound in a variety of ways but with an obvious influence from Phish.

Three singers with distinctive styles, Seconds On End revels in its improvisation. While a traditional improv will have one instrumentalist taking off, all five have the opportunity with this band – and it usually works, says guitarist Peter Sawer.

“We leave spaces where we can crack it open and go anywhere,” he said. “Everybody simultaneously (in the vein of John) Coltrane, the Dead and Phish. It’s the difference between skiing a certain run or in the trees where you don’t know what will do on each turn. That’s my approach to music.”

Sawer started the band five years ago, but it really took off in 2004 when drummer Jae Hendrickson came aboard. When Hendrickson – who has a music degree from San Diego State – plays, Sawer said his guitar playing improves 300 percent.

Sawer and Nick Peters are the guitarists and primary songwriters. Typically, whoever wrote the song will play rhythm.

Another singer, Carrie Alder, brings female energy and an oboe to the sound. Alder played the wind instrument, which sounds like a clarinet, with the Boston Youth Symphony.

Brian Vandemark plays bass and joined Hendrickson with a band called the Open Space Project for a gig last year at the Divided Sky.

“They have a very familiar and reminiscent sound, but also feels new to me,” said band manager Matt Goldberg, who met Sawer when he was the guitar teacher’s student. “They rotate through the vocalists and change momentum. They are upbeat, then chill out for a while. It’s very sustainable and never seems to get boring.”

Vandemark and Peters’ top influence was Phish, while for Sawer it was the Band, the Allman Brothers and the Dead. Seconds On End follows in the footsteps of those groups, plus – maybe – The Beatles, with a variety of vocalists.

Sawyer said Peters sings with a Jack Johnson style, Alder a classical Carole King and himself like Mark Knopfler and David Gilmore.

He said DJs bring the most popular genre of music in San Francisco nowadays. Sadly, 30 years later, disco again has reared its ugly head.

“This is the hardest music market in American to make it as a jam band,” he said. “I think it was easier for Blue Turtle Seduction up there. It’s taken five years of serious work to get were we are today. It’s fun to go places like South Lake Tahoe and Santa Cruz, where the people are stoked to see a band that rips. It’s good to get out of the city and be reminded of why we’re her and what we are doing this for.”

Seconds On End

Where: Tahoe Underground, 270 Kingsbury Grade

When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9

Cover: $5

Phone: (775) 588-2333

Genre: jam; for samples, go to

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