Spafford at Terrapin Crossroads, by Joshua Huver
Spafford (photo: Joshua Huver)

Spafford is a four-piece band from Prescott, AZ, that has been taking the jam band scene by storm. Last weekend, March 3 and 4, they closed out their North Bay debut at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.

What was originally supposed to be only one show at TXR on Saturday was met with a near instant sell-out. In response to popular fan demand, a second night was also added for Sunday. Last weekend's shows were Spafford's second and third headlining appearances in the Bay Area to date, following another sold-out show at the Independent last November.

Spafford at Terrapin Crossroads, by Joshua Huver

Onstage from left to right, Spafford consists of three founding members. Andrew "Red" Johnson on keyboards, Brian Moss on guitar, and Jordan Fairless on bass, all of whom trade lead vocals. The most recent addition to the crew, drummer Cameron LaForest, held down the edge of stage left.

If you navigate to the "About" section on Spafford's website, all the information they think you need to know about the band is perfectly summed up in two simple words. "We jam."

Although I missed out on the first night, I was excited for the second. Inspired by the popular jam-band motto never miss a Sunday show, I felt that would be the standout of the weekend. I was not disappointed! The entire show is available for streaming via YouTube, so you can check it out and decide for yourself!

Spafford at Terrapin Crossroads, by Joshua Huver

Spafford jumped into the first of two sets with three songs spanning the opening 25 minutes. "Eternity" wasted no time with a rhythm full of anticipation and a touch of release in the vocals, led by Fairless. They followed with takes on "The Remedy" and "Legend," two older songs that date back to 2012 and 2011, respectively.

The next 20 minutes featured the fan favorite tale of loss at an unnamed "Electric Taco Stand," one of the band's most frequently played songs. Halfway into an already extended section of back-and-forth improvisation, the band slowed down the tempo. Die-hard fans that traveled from around the country broke into tears as they segued into "Alternate Ending." The song maintained its slow, emotive build before peaking around the eight-minute mark and crashing back into "ETS." A transitional highlight of the first set was the industrial whammy pedal accents from Moss.

The first set closed with two new songs played live for the eighth and seventh times played, respectively. "Love Sick Melody" debuted less than six months ago, while the set closer, "Soil," was first played on New Year's Eve 2017.

Spafford at Terrapin Crossroads, by Joshua Huver

Spafford's final set at Terrapin opened with a 16-minute "All In," almost as an ode to leaving it all on the stage. The band was set to "Slip & Squander" for another 11 minutes before delivering on a major treat.

Halfway into the second set, Spafford cut the tempo and delivered one of the show's highlights with an out-of-this-world reimagining of Tears For Fears' hit "Mad World." The song was heavy on synthesizers and percussive beats, turning the Grate Room into a miniature North Bay rave. The set ended with two more standalone tunes, the soft piano ballad "Beautiful Day," led by Johnson, and the anthemic "Galisteo Way."

For the encore, the band busted out an older song that had not been played in over one year. "Double Time," which debuted in 2015, making its seventh overall setlist appearance.

Spafford is on their way to making a major impression everywhere they play. With the results they've managed recently in the Bay, I would expect to see a lot more of them very soon!