Manic Focus is a producer that mixes original tracks laced with pure soul. This artist brings a melody to EDM that results in a sound that is not full frontal, but rather a gradual progression of synths, beats, and sassy samples. His soundscapes take you on a stimulating journey by intertwining genres; reinventing everything from hip hop to the Beatles along the way.
Originally from Minnesota, this producer has been developing his craft since middle school. Over the last three years, Manic Focus has established himself in Chicago’s underground music scene by fine tuning his live show and consistently refining his electronic sound. His intelligent style of producing and mixing has gained him respect within the world of electronic dance music. While he is currently touring with Big Gigantic, this summer Manic Focus plans on taking over the festival circuit, Summer Camp included.
We got a chance to ask Manic Focus about his summer plans and it looks like he might be just as excited to kick of festy season as we are!
What’s your favorite Summer Camp memory?
My favorite Summer Camp Music Festival memory was having Felix Moreno of Future Rock jump on the last track of my 1st ever Summer Camp set. It was definitely a very memorable experience.
Besides playing Summer Camp, what other plans do you have this summer?
My current summer plans are to attend and play as many music festivals as possible!
Will you be releasing any new music before then?
I’m always working on new music, and am planning to release an EP of brand new material at the end of March. I’m having a release party/ show on March 21st at the Concord with support from my homies Wick-it The Instigator, Muzzy, and Inverse Universe.
What is your favorite summer time food and drink?
I really like pulled pork sandwiches, fried chicken, corn dogs, hot dogs, walking-tacos……too many to list! My favorite summer beverage is cold beer. The colder the better.
Summer Camp is thrilled to have you back in 2014!
Can’t wait to play Summer Camp this year! I hope you enjoy the recap video from my set last year
And now… your closing line up… for each night of Summer Camp Music Festival 2014… drum roll please… LIVE BANDS IN THE RED BARN!!!!
Every year Summer Camp picks the best of the best for their Late Night Shows in the Red Barn, sometimes even mixing and matching heavy hitters from different bands to form a super-group of sorts. But not this year… no, this year Summer Camp HQ decided to give us more of what we love! With many of the best acts on their line up taking over the Red Barn each night, the hardest part will be deciding which late night is right for you.
My purpose is to provide counsel in moments like these, so the following paragraphs will give you all the background you need in order to make the decision as to which ticketed Late Night Shows are right for you. Choose wisely or miss out…
Friday Late Night Show
Friday’s Late Night Show in the Red Barn will feature a gypsy sideshow better known as Beats Antique. True to their gypsy style, this group’s sound doesn’t really have a genre to call home. They are ethnic, earthy, yet electronic and very dance oriented. They put on a show as if it were a theatrical performance with belly dancing, costumes, and a consistent flow of chaotic energy being delivered to their audience.
Also on Friday’s Late Night bill is Summer Camp and Late Night veterans LOTUS! The news of their triumphant return to the Red Barn has put a smile on my face, and the fact that they get this coveted late night spot is beyond righteous. This band’s sophisticated style has earned them respect by everyone in our scene. They bridge the gap between jam and electronic music. There is something graceful about the way Lotus plays, like they are building a peaceful connection between their instruments and our ears. I have to be honest here, I never know the names of Lotus songs when I hear them live. All I know is they do something to my soul where I can’t help but fall in love with every note. This band has a way of taking me to the other side of Jupiter. After seeing them over a dozen times, I can promise you this: Lotus always delivers. I am going to go ahead and say this late night will probably be one of the best sets of the weekend. In fact, I’d bet a late night ticket on it!
I am pretty sure Camp Counselor Kyle agrees with me on this – thanks to him for creating the video above!
Saturday Late Night Show
Saturday is guaranteed to be one of the most stacked single days of music in the history of Summer Camp, which means that a lot of energy will have to be conserved in order to rage proper all the way into the wee hours of the morning. The Red Barn will once again be flipped upside down for a late night show that starts off with Gramatik. This is the only DJ on the late night line up, and he probably could headline the barn all on his own but he is actually co-headlining this stage with the funk machine better known as Lettuce!
Lettuce is dirty… and I mean that in the nastiest way possible. Who could forget how we danced our asses off as rain soaked into our souls during their day set at the Moonshine stage at last year? The waves of funk washed over the crowd as if we were bobbing in a sea of funky goodness.
This set was so funking good Lettuce decided to return in order to lay down the beats that make funk prosper. Us fans are attracted to their anything goes style and distinct flavor in the world of funk. This band produces a synergy between its members where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Lettuce is a super group through and through. When Pretty Lights decided he wanted to tour with a live band this past fall, these were some the musicians he tapped to be on the roster. Their late night set is guaranteed to sweat out a day’s worth of rage. So, Lettuce turnip the beet that Saturday night, shall we?
If you still need some convincing, Camp Counselor Nick Stock’s advice just might seal the deal:
“If you are going to see Lettuce I suggest you bring a shovel to pick your jaw up off the floor. This musical powerhouse is producing some of the best live funk happening today. If you enjoy getting slapped hard by the dirty funk find yourself in the crowd for Lettuce at Summer Camp this year…. wait it’s late night? Bring two shovels.”
Sunday Late Night Show
On Sunday night, our fest headliners, Umphrey’s McGee, will be downsizing their Summer Camp stage production to give every Umphreak more of what they signed up for. If you haven’t read my blog posts before, you may not be aware just how much I love this band. This year’s Summer Camp will mark my ten year anniversary with Umprhey’s McGee. Their love for their fans is unlike any other band and we just can’t seem to get enough. We are addicts and rawk is our drug of choice. So why not give us just one more hit to seal the deal and blast us off into Umph ecstasy?
If you are not an Umphreak you should probably skip this show. Summer Campers will get to see Umphrey’s throw down some of their best material during their headlining slots on Friday and Saturday nights. That should be plenty for any newbie trying to get a feel for what this band is all about. But if you are just as obsessed as I am with this band, good luck scoring a late night, and may the odds be ever in your favor…
Check out a fan shot video from Umphrey’s Summer Camp late night set in 2010:
Be prepared when tickets for these Late Night Shows n the Red Barn go on sale (dates should be announced soon), because they will sell out in seconds! I know firsthand how much this sucks (and getting shut out can make you bitter), but when you finally DO get your hands on that coveted late night ticket, it is all the sweeter!
If you really want the ultimate Summer Camp experience, you could always lock down a late night by purchasing a VIP Upgrade to the fest. Those tickets go on sale on Friday at 10:00 AM Central.
And don’t forget, the Late Night Shows in the Red Barn are just a portion of what Summer Camp offers after the sun goes down! Stay tuned for our thoughts on what’s always an incredible Thursday night in the Red Barn, as well as the nightly Late Night Campfire Jams, the never-ending party over in the Late Night Vibe Tent, as well as the always entertaining Late Night at the Soulshine Tent! I know i’m eagerly anticipating announcements for each of these too…
So the second round of artists has officially dropped and you couldn’t be more excited for for Summer Camp 2014, right?!?! While it may be a bit early to start packing, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on how you can start preparing TODAY! With less than 100 days left until Summer Camp, here are a few small steps you can take now that will save you a ton of stress (and cash) in the long run…
1) Secure a ticket!
Your ticket to Summer Camp Music Festival is probably going to be the most expensive part of the whole weekend and putting off buying one could end up costing you in the end. Ticket prices will only go up from here so the sooner you lock that down, the more cold hard cash you will have to spend on goodies at the fest!
Also, start thinking about what type of camping you plan on doing this year, whether it be RV, VIP or just plain old general admission. If cash flow is low, you can always sign up to volunteer or be a part of the Green Team. Both are excellent ways to get a free ticket and also become an integral part of your favorite festival.
2) Assemble your crew!
Now is the time to let everyone know you are going to Summer Camp this year! The more friends you bring with you to Summer Camp, the more fun you will have. This is a fact. Over the years my crew has steadily grown to a whopping 30 people and it keeps getting bigger and better! Having a large crew is an easy way to lock down a ride to the fest, share expensive camping gear like canopies, and (most importantly) have the most epic dance parties with all your favorite people all weekend long. I recommend creating a group on Facebook to help connect with everyone and plan ahead for the fest.
3) Make a playlist!
Now that the first two rounds of artists has been announced, you have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the lineup. I love discovering new live acts and revisiting old favorites. Getting your feet wet before the fest will help you decide which sets you just have to catch, and which you can skip. This is extremely vital for conserving energy and getting to see as much music as possible. Spotify and YouTube playlists are a perfect outlet for this. You can even share these playlists with fellow Summer Campers or even subscribe to one of Summer Camp’s Spotify playlist!
4) Check your inventory!
Tents, canopies, sleeping bags, coolers and grills are all high ticket items when it comes to camping. Waiting until the last minute to locate these essentials and inspect their condition could end up costing you a lot more money that you anticipated. I will never forget when I was about to leave for Summer Camp a few years back and realized I didn’t have a sleeping bag. I had to stop at the store on my way to the fest and drop $50 on a new one, which was not intended to be used for that purpose…
5) Request off work!
Summer Camp is Memorial Day weekend and, let’s face it, everyone wants to be off on a holiday weekend. If you wait too long to put in that request, it may be too late. So do it today and don’t forget about the Thursday Pre-party!
I know these all seem pretty basic but addressing each of these items now will save you a lot of time and money as we get closer to Summer Camp 2014. Also, sorry for the excessive use of exclamation points… I’M JUST REALLY EXCITED ABOUT SUMMER CAMP 2014!!!!
I’m sure by now you have seen the initial line up for Summer Camp 2014 (which, by the way, features just a FRACTION of the over 75 bands that will play). For me, just knowing moe. and Umphrey’s will be there every year is enough, but let’s take a closer look at all of the other awesome artists that will be raging into Three Sisters Park this May!
I will never forget the first time I saw Bassnectar live. It was an experience for sure. The craziest part of seeing him that night; it was right after Furthur played. So after seeing Furthur’s epic performance, going into something like Bassnectar literally blew people away. I remember going into a Porta Potty right next to the stage and it was literally moving with the bass. I have seen Bassnectar (Lorin Ashton ) countless times since and I had a blast every single time.
Lorin’s stage energy is great and his production set up is always top notch. Bassnectar for me is one of those acts that are meant for a festival. Sure, he’s fun in a club setting, but raging with thousands of people at Summer Camp is going to be a night to remember.
Check out when Bassnectar killed it at Summer Camp in 2010:
Bassnectar fun fact: When starting out, Lorin’s stage name was DJ Lorin. He released his first album in 2001, and it wasn’t until 2002 that he founded his stage name, Bassnectar.
Trey Anastasio Band
If you were at Summer Camp 2013, I’m sure Trey Anastasio Band was on your wish list to return this year! I don’t like letting the weather ruin my fun, so I still (along mannnny others) got down to Trey on Sunday of Summer Camp 2013, and i’m sure he’ll pick up right where he left off this last year! I’m so extremely excited! For those that don’t know, Trey Anastasio is Phish’s lead guitarist and vocalist.
Trey Anastasio’s Band is made up of Russ Lawton on drums, Tony Markellis on bass, Cyro Baptista on percussion, Ray Paczkowski on keys, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and vocals, Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals, and of course, Trey Anastasio on guitar and vocals! One of my personal favorite songs is “Architect”. This team of amazing musicians is one not to be missed.
Trey Anastasio Band fun fact: Trey Anastasio Band first made their debut in 1998. What started off with only 3 members has grown into the wide range sounds of what TAB ( Trey Anastasio Band for short ) is today.
Primus is one of the most unique acts of any band I have seen. Part of that for me is the vocals and talent of bassist / vocalist Les Claypool. The rest of Primus is made up of guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander.
Although I have been listening to Primus for a long time, it wasn’t until 2010 that I had my first chance to catch them live. When the lights dimmed and the mysterious intro music started, I grinned a large smile and I knew I was in for a treat. What I actually saw throughout their whole set was something I have never seen before in a live act. Les Claypool is a very interactive vocalist. In between many of their songs, he goes on a hysterical banter with his interesting voice. Normally I can do without artists talking in between songs, but I actually embrace it! Many people that witnessed Primus at Summer Camp in 2012 claim it to be one of the most epic sets. Well, they are ready to party it back up at Summer Camp this year, and I for one am smiling ear to ear once again!
Check out Primus live when Bob Weir sat in from Summer Camp 2012:
Primus fun fact: Primus has a catchphrase, being “Primus sucks!”. When fans say this, it often confuses new listeners. In 2011, Les did say that he got tired of fans saying it.
Yonder Mountain String Band
YEEEEHAAAWWWW! Yonder Mountain String Band. YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND! Seriously, I NEVER get tired of seeing these guys live. They are what got me into bluegrass. It’s hard to explain to people that aren’t familiar with these guys, or bluegrass in general, how hard they rage live. Their foot stomping fun is comprised of Jeff Austin on mandolin and vocals, Ben Kaufmann on bass and vocals, Dave Johnston on banjo and vocals, and Adam Aijala on guitar and vocals. I’m not sure if it’s because of the lack of drums in the band (and I don’t say that in a negative way, I love it), but the way the audience dances at a Yonder show is awesome. It’s almost as if everyone dances as the drummer keeping the beat.
Seeing Yonder this past year at Summer Camp two times was a very cool. My favorite of the two was their barn set. If you were one of the lucky ones to see them perform in the barn Friday night, you know how special it was. Especially late night ( although seeing them around 6 PM with a full sun is awesome ). I can’t wait to see what the guys bring to the stage this year at Summer Camp.
Check out this video of Yonder late night in the Red Barn at Summer Camp 2013:
Yonder Mountain String Band fun fact: When Dave Johnston and Jeff Austin first met, Dave asked Jeff to join and sing in his band, The Bluegrassholes. It was then that Jeff revealed he had a mandolin, and Dave said bring it along; “just play it fast and loud!”
Lotus. LOTUS. LOTTTTUSSSS! I’m pretty sure that’s what muttered out of my mouth when I saw they were on this years line up. Lotus has and always will hold a special place in my heart. I have seen these guys so many times I have lost count, and I have never seen a bad set by them!
Lotus is made up of Mike Rempel on guitar, Jesse Miller on bass and sampler, Mike Greenfield on drums, Luke Miller on guitar and keyboards, and Chuck Morris on percussion.
I think what I love most about Lotus is the way that they build up their sets until your face is officially melted off. I’m not kidding either. When they get into their epic jams, I loose my mind. The whole audience is connected into the band, and the band into the audience and everyone is just feeding off each others energy. Not only are these guys amazing musicians, but if you ever get the chance to speak with these guys, they are very down to earth. For me personally, Lotus at Summer Camp is what’s on my mind. I will be seeing them perform multiple times in between then, but nothing is better then Lotus raging Summer Camp!
Check out this video of Lotus playing “Backlight Sunflare” at Summer Camp 2011:
Lotus fun fact: Jesse and Luke Miller are brothers. Also, Lotus has done many themed shows. On October 31, 2008 at the TLA in Philadelphia the show was billed as “Live Fast Die Young: the 27 Conspiracy”. Each of the 5 members dressed as a rock star who died at the age of 27 (Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Pigpen, and Jim Morrison) and the show featured covers by each of the respective bands.
Comprised of String Cheese Incidents Michael Travis and Jason Hann, these dudes know how to bring the energy! What really sets EOTO apart from other electronic artists is their music is created without prerecorded loops! It’s all improv, and all loops are created right then and there! Onstage, they use Abelton live as their primary software for looping. Every time I have seen EOTO has been a much different.. not in bad way! Their stage set up is called the Lotus Flower and utilized 3D mapping to project really cool art work on to the set up.
EOTO fun fact: EOTO originally started out as End Of Time Observatory, with the members often calling themselves EOTO. Many Japanese fans explained EOTO means “good sound” in Japanese, and the band decided to officially stick with the name EOTO instead.
Keller Williams is a “one man jam band” hailing from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Using loop recording, his live shows mimic a full four piece act on stage. If you close your eyes at one of his shows, you often forget there is only one guy up there making music. It takes a lot of talent to do what he does, and he does it very well at that!
Keller uniquely blends bluegrass, folk, rock, reggae, electronica, jazz, and funk all together into an epic dance party. Keller often plays Grateful Dead songs which is always a plus in my book! I was able to catch a couple songs when he played as Keller Williams with More Than a Little right before Umphrey’s on Friday Night this past Summer Camp. It was so good!
Keller Williams fun fact: Keller Williams never took any lessons. He is a self taught musician!
The funkiest group returns to Summer Camp! If you have seen them perform before, then I know how happy you are that they are returning on the line up! They were so amazing at Summer Camp this past year as they funkified the Moonshine stage! About half way into their set, it started raining pretty good, but it felt so right in that moment and time! Everyone got crazier and really started dancing around like wild animals!
Lettuce is made up of Eric Krasno on guitar, Adam Smirnoff on guitar, Neal Evans on keys, Adam Deitch on drums, Erick Coomes on bass, Sam Kininger on sax, Ryan Zoidis on sax, and Nigel Hall on vocals. All of these guys are so talented! They have all found success in other acts as well, all touring in different groups around the world when not playing with Lettuce. They are an act to NOT miss when Summer Camp arrives!
Lettuce fun fact: In the fall of 1994, the band reconvened as undergrads at Berklee and attempted to play at various Boston jazz clubs, walking in and asking the club owners and other musicians if they would “let us play”, giving birth to the name Lettuce.
Beats Antique is an American experimental world fusion and electronic music group. They were formed in California in 2007. I like to heavily emphasize the world fusion part… If you have seen them or at least even heard their music, you understand what I’m referring to. Their shows are so outrageously unique! Made up of David Satori, Zoe Jakes, and Tommy Cappel, Beats Antique is another act I recommend checking out! Their shows somehow remind me of a Cirque de soleil show. They feature belly dancing and many different characters/costumes dancing about.
Beats Antique fun fact:
Zoe Jakes began belly dancing in 2000, but is a lifelong dancer, having 10 years of jazz and ballet dance experience under her belt. Her belly dancing is a blend of traditional belly dance with tango, popping, and indian dance.
Hailing from Chicago, Future Rock combines elements of Electronica, Progressive House, and dance rock. The band consists of Felix Moreno on bass guitar and synthesizer, Mickey Kellerman on keyboards and synthesizers, and Darren Heitz on drums and synthesizer. Future Rock was so cool in the Red Barn this past year. They brought the heat in there!
Check out this video of Future Rock late night from the Red Barn at Summer Camp 2013:
Future Rock fun fact: They once performed as Aphex Rock, performing a full set of music by Aphex Twin.
Other Summer Camp 2014 Artists
The other acts announced in the first round are Bro Safari, Wick-it the Instigator, Family Groove Company, This Must Be the Band, The Floozies, Henhouse Prowlers, DJ SOLO, Manic Focus, The Delta Saints, IndigoSun, Robotic Pirate Monkey, DUGASMUSIC, Sun Stereo, The Black Cadillacs, Old Shoe, Chicago Farmer’s New Feat with Old Shoe, Positive Vibr8ions, Caroline Rose, Brainchild, and Bone Jugs N Harmony. And there are many more to come – over 75 bands on 7 stages!
All I can say is WOW! Summer Camp always finds a way to keep making adding fun to the party year after year! Get your tickets now! You don’t want to miss this!
If you happened to miss the official video announcing this first round of artits, make sure to check it out below: