Shea Presents: Vapors of Morphine

Shea Presents: Vapors of Morphine

Friday, October 4, 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm
#GETTOTHESHEA on Friday 10/4 when Vapors of Morphine comes to bring their signature brand of “low rock” to our hallowed hall! Tix are on sale now!

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Shea Presents:

Vapors of Morphine

WHEN: Friday, October 4th 2024 at 8pm

WHERE: Shea Theater Arts Center, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA

TICKETS: $20 in advance/ $26 at the door

Accessibility Notice: Our theater and first-floor gender-neutral restroom are wheelchair accessible. There will be alcohol on-site for this event.


The ’90s band Morphine pioneered a new type of music — “Low Rock” — featuring the unusual yet seductive lineup of baritone sax, 2-string slide bass and drums. Morphine burned bright and fast but was snuffed out before its time when leader Mark Sandman passed away in 1999. From its ashes have risen Vapors of Morphine.Vapors of Morphine honors the progressive legacy of its predecessor. Original Morphine members Dana Colley (baritone sax) & Jerome Deupree (drums) formed Vapors of Morphine with transplanted New Orleans’ blues guitarist – vocalist, Jeremy Lyons.

In 2019, upon Jerome’s departure, Boston area drummer Tom Arey (Peter Wolf, J. Geill’s Band, Ghosts of Jupiter) joined the band. They continue to seduce audiences with dreamy soundscapes, applying inventive arrangements to the unique instrumentation of electric baritone saxophone (evocative of Jimi Hendrix’ guitar), the Sandman-style 2string slide bass or electric guitar and mad jazz-rock drums. Morphine songs are complemented by psychedelic renditions of West African tunes, originals and obscure covers by the likes of Brian Eno, Dock Boggs, and Latin Playboys, all of which and more are featured on their latest release entitled “A New Low.” Vapors of Morphine leave audiences from Boston to Brazil, New Orleans to the Netherlands wanting more.

The band was officially formed in 2009 to perform a tribute to Mark Sandman in Palestrina, Italy, where Morphine’s singer, composer and 2string bassist died of a heart attack on the very same stage, ten years earlier. Since then the group has released two CDs: one under their original name “The Ever Expanding Elastic Waste Band,” and now the definitive “A New Low,” which is being enthusiastically discovered by fans worldwide. VoM plays selective shows at home and abroad, including recent bookings in Kansas City, Chicago, New Orleans and Lafayette, LA; Houston and Austin, TX; San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR, Portland, ME, New York City, Brooklyn, NY; Boston and Cambridge, MA. Festivals have included Utopia Fest (Utopia, TX, 2016), Mês Da Cultura Independente (São Paulo, Brazil, 2014), The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (USA, 2012); Virada Cultural Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012), New Orleans’ Voodoo Experience (USA, 2011); and Maquinaria Festival in Santiago, Chile (2011). VoM have appeared at Film Festivals across the US and Europe, all in tandem with screenings of two documentary films, Cure for Pain: the Mark Sandman Story and the more recent Morphine “Journey of Dreams.” (VoM contributed original music to the latter film).

All three surviving members of Morphine — Dana, Jerome and succeeding drummer Billy Conway — met blues guitarist Jeremy Lyons in September 2005 after he was washed up on Massachusetts’ shore from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A personal and musical friendship began. (Besides offering equipment and studio time, Dana got Jeremy a house-painting job.) After informal collaborations prompted Dana to invite Lyons to the gig in Italy, the guitarist had a 2-string slide bass like Sandman’s built and began learning much of the Morphine cannon. Meanwhile they continued to develop a trance-blues style and a knack for reinterpreting a disparate variety of artists’ songs, sometimes with the baritone sax taking the role of the bass, and Jeremy on either guitar or electric bouzouki. Jerome Deupree was the band’s primary drummer, though Billy Conway (who now resides in Montana) has joined the group for some big shows and – along with Boston drummer Jeff Allison – filled in sometime for Deupree during an 18 month health-related absence. (Now that Jerome has retired from the band, Tom Arey is the primary drummer.)

Morphine’s Film Noir-tinged sound was inspired by the Beats, by dime store crime novels, and by the Blues. Jeremy’s background help anchor the new band in the bedrock of the old. The bandmates’ interest in experimental and exotic musics (of West Africa and beyond) reflect a restlessness that ensures that this group will always be more than a simple tribute band. Their tendency to segue between songs with dreamy, ethereal improvisations is a sonic tribute to the mythology of Morphine, which was not in fact named for the narcotic, but rather for Morpheus, a winged Greek God of Dreams (tapping into the Sandman mystique of European folklore, much like Sandman’s previous group with Dana and others “Hypnosonics,” named for Morpheus’ relative Hypnos, the personification of sleep). VoM has had some hiccups along the way; they were unable to agree on a band name early on, beginning by alternating between “Members of Morphine & Jeremy Lyons” and the “Elastic Waste [sic] Band,” which morphed into “The Ever Expanding Elastic Waste Band”… until early in 2014 when someone asked Jeremy if he didn’t “play with the… um… the ‘vapors’ of Morphine?” And there was the name. Vapors of Morphine is currently finishing a new record, to be released in the fall of 2019. They are accepting bookings across the world.

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The Shea provides performance space for a variety of attractions designed to appeal to the widest range of tastes. Musical offerings include folk, pop, rock, swing, jazz, country and traditional. Theatrical productions encompass musical comedy, drama, comedy, and political satire. In addition, audiences can take advantage of magic shows, children's shows and silent film revivals.

The Shea, with the help of a wonderful corps of volunteers, has been attracting a growing audience and as a result is bringing people into Turners Falls from an ever larger geographical area. This growth has put the Shea on a firmer financial footing, providing the basis for expectations of an even more exciting future for this vital community asset.


All ages

$20 adv/$26 day of show


Special Thanks to Our Sponsors and Underwriters

Australis AquacultureArtisan Beverage CooperativeBenjamin CompanyBerkshire Brewing CompanyCohn and Company Real Estate AgencyCommunity CreditCommon CapitalCommunity Foundation of Western MassachusettsConnecticut River InternistsDean's BeansEasthampton Savings BankFirstLight GDF SueznaGill TavernGoff MediaGreat Falls HarvestGreen River FestivalGreenfield Community CollegeGreenfield Cooperative BankGreenfield Savings BankLootMassachusetts Cultural CouncilMontague WebWorksNortheast SolarPeople's PintRainmaker ConsultingThe RendezvousSolar Store of GreenfieldStobierski and ConnorTold VideoTrue North TransitTurn It Up

Special thanks to the Mass Cultural Council for their vital support this year in the form of a Cultural Sector Recovery Grant for Organizations, as well as a Festivals & Projects Grant. We'd also like to thank the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts for their support in the form of a Flexible Funding grant. We couldn't do this work without you!