The LoHi Festival is a musical street fair tucked into the Lower Highlands of Denver Colorado. Stretching a full city block in front of the Highland Tap and Burger this event is truly a gem in Denver’s summer concert schedule. Featuring two stages, a wide array of food vendors, and a nice selection of beer, Several of the bands including Euforquestra and Kyle Hollingsworth have performed at Summer Camp Music Festival, making for a great mix of music. LoHi has everything a concertgoer could want. The day began early under a beautiful blue sky with Garrett Sayers Trio. Unfortunately due to traffic and a late start I was unable to make his set, which began just after noon. However we did make it in plenty of time to see world jam connoisseurs Euforquestra open up the Spring 44 stage.
Euforquestra recently suffered a blow when their drummer Craig Babineau hyper extended his shoulder just before their last jaunt out on the road. While he is healing Jet Edison’s Alex Johnson has been filling in quite well on the kit. Scott Mast continues to blossom on percussion as Euforquestra also invites various guests to sit in on the second saxophone spot left vacant by new father Ryan Jeter. This time The Motet’s Matt Pitts again took the space helping to fill out their already full sound. Their set consisted of some fun covers and some of their best originals. Beck’s “Nicotine and Gravy” was a real crowd pleaser, but it was “Road Funk” and “Price Is Right” that really demonstrated the legitimacy of this band.
They closed with a sick version of “Taxman.” Euforquestra is currently embarked on a Kickstarter campaign to fund their upcoming album produced by Kyle Hollingsworth. You can help out at the link below and every little bit helps.
Springdale Quartet was up next on the HTB Stage. Each set began as the previous finished so that no one missed a note of music. This primarily instrumental jazz quartet continues to amaze every time they perform. They are a tight musical formation that has the ability to detonate in a way that is jaw dropping. Their set at LoHi was a non-stop forty-five minutes that left fans wanting more. “Drop That Stick” was an explosive jam featuring some stellar drum work from Greg Russell. They entertained with an instrumental version of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.” We were told that this version would be included on their upcoming album produced by Alan Evans. Springdale was joined by virtuoso Pete Wall on saxophone for the end of their set. They closed with their original “Charlie Jean.”
Toubab Krewe is a band that defies categorization on many levels. Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, this quintet unifies West African roots music with pure rock and roll. I have wanted to see them for quite some time, but this was my first chance. It was a beautiful set that demonstrated some of the most incredible music being performed live today. After a quick intro by Matt Butler they opened with “Marietou.”
Set 1: Marietou, Maliba, Area Code and Konkoba, Kaira, John Hardy, Cluck Old Hen, Lamine’s, Water Ritual
Blending both time-honored African music as well as riff-heavy rock Toubab Krewe’s set was hypnotic. The highlight was a fifteen-minute traditional version of “Kaira.” They closed by asking for rain by inviting all those present to drink water. It was truly a great musical experience.
Blake’s Tiger Party followed on the Tap Stage. This is a collective of musicians that specializes in funky goodness. The lineup included Pete Wall, Joey Porter, and Ryan Burnett. The Highland Tap and Burger has become a place for bands to develop and grow within the confines of a residency. Tiger Party seems to be the next band that will incubate in this environment and grow into a fully developed project. Their set at LoHi was eye opening to say the least. Matt Butler came to the stage and orchestrated another funk fueled jam. Finally they invited a female vocalist up to end their set. Tiger Party is a versatile and interesting group and I look forward to seeing them reach great heights in the Denver music scene.
The New Mastersounds were given just over ninety minutes to demonstrate their incredible brand of funky UK jazz. They opened with “Soulshine.”
Set 1: Soulshine, Dusty Groove, The Road to Fuji Rock, Yo Moma, Fast Man, Summercamp, You Mess Me UP, Take What You Need, Carrot Juice, Hole In The Bag, San Frantico, Eazin Down, Pure
The New Mastersounds were a huge draw for LoHi and an amazing addition to the lineup. Their musical output lead by guitarist Eddie Roberts is impeccable. Simon Allen engaged the audience clad in a pair of Speedos as he snapped away on the drums. The set was too much fun as the light grew golden around the buildings that framed the festival.
Poor Man’s Whiskey went on just before 7 PM with special guest Allie Kral. Allie’s departure from Cornmeal has already had quite the effect on the jam and bluegrass community. She will persevere as is obvious by her set with Poor Man’s Whiskey. Busting out tunes like “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and their original “Humboldt Hoedown.” Allie’s fiery violin was an impressive addition to the classic tone of Poor Man’s Whiskey. Their set was the longest on the HTB stage and a great close to that side of LoHi.
Finally it was time for the main event. Kyle Hollingsworth Band was given a two-hour set on the main stage. Just prior to their start Matt Butler came out and gave the microphone to two young lovers. A man proposed to his girlfriend on the stage and she luckily said yes. Following the very public proposal Kyle came out with his group consisting of Garrett Sayers, Dave Watts, and Dan Schwindt. Kyle has one the most enjoyable String Cheese side projects currently touring. The exact flair that he adds to SCI is distilled into this multi-talented band. This particular show also included Michael Kang sitting in for the extended set. They began with “Racer X.”
This was just a great musical display from KHB. After a song or two Michael Kang came out and remained for the rest of the night on the Spring 44 stage. “Can’t Wait Another Day,” Kyle’s tribute to his daughter was a great early addition. However the “Way That It Goes’ into “Slipnot” into “Boogie On Reggae Woman” was the true highlight. Matt Butler joined them for an orchestrated jam. They closed with Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.” As the moon rose over the massive crowd it was clear that LoHi Music Festival was another incredibly successful occasion in Denver. With just over ten hours of continuous live music LoHi proved to be just about all we could handle. Even with a huge late night show looming we decided to call it a night. LoHi Music Festival is quickly becoming a tradition not to be missed in Denver. I look forward to watching it grow and expand as time goes on.
Sunday was EASILY the best day of music for me. Also, it was easily the worst day of weather. No way I was gonna let that affect my mood, though, and for many Scampers, it was the same.
I was able to catch Umphrey’s day time show, and they just continue to get better every time I see them, as now this was the 15th show for me. Highlights include a beautiful version of Dear Lord, one of my all time favorites and a rarity, with a sit-in from Luther Dickinson. They closed the set with a rockin’ Miss Tinkle’s Overture. Check out my video of it (right here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0M7GMT3F74&feature=youtu.be
Hands down, the show by The Everyone Orchestra was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Wow. I was just blown away. On stage was Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee on keys, Vinnie Amico, Jim Loughlin, and Al Schnier of moe. on drums, percussion, and guitar, respectively, Victor Wooten on bass, Allie Kral of Cornmeal on violin, Roosevelt Collier on steel guitar, and Alex Steele of Roste McCabe on vocals. There was also another girl on trombone who was just stunningly good, but I am not sure who her name was unfortunately. Of course, it was orchestrated by Matt Butler. For those unfamiliar with The Everyone Orchestra, it is all improv and the jams are literally conducted by Butler as he is leading the artists with the tempos and grooves. Their final jam had some “Love Love Love” lyrics bouncing around that got the crowd going crazy inside the intimate Red Barn.
Finally, there was Trey. Words can’t even begin to describe the musical journey he takes me on every time I see him perform. He came out on stage, did a nice little awkward and goofy half-bow to the crowd, picked up Ocelot (the name of his guitar) and got right into First Tube, a classic song that gets me rocking every time. He didn’t let up from there in his first set got better and better with each song. Unfortunately it was raining for most of the first set, so I didn’t get many pictures or videos, but it let up enough for me to catch the end of “Money, Love, & Change.” Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUBGexwkKU&feature=youtu.be
His second set was cut short due to the nasty flash flood, which to be honest, came as a sort of relief to me. I found myself at such a predicament because a gust of wind, or Trey’s peak in one of his jams, snapped my umbrella in half. Once that happened I just got SOAKED. I mean soaked. And muddy. But I mean, it’s Trey! During the jam of Push on til The Day, the final song he ended up playing, a small child arose on the shoulders of someone in the front row, and he just danced danced and danced away for all to notice. The crowd cheered him on as he had all the spins and moves, mostly with his arms, and even Trey went up and gave him a high five after the song ended. It reminded me of when Alpine Valley last summer, in which Trey pulled up a bunch of phans on stage during their encore song of Meatstick, showing despite the level of stardom he has reached, he still has the heart and joy of music to share it with others and acknowledge great moments when it happens. By the way, I was one of those guys doing the Meatstick dance on stage. Here’s the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIFwpRxFLA
Well, Summer Camp, it was GREAT. Although the rainstorm cut the night a little young, I had a hell of a time and am already counting down the days til next year.
So rain is not ideal for any festival. This year the mud and rain put a bit of a damper on the Summer Camp vibe but the good news is that the music never stopped. We all just put on our ponchos and rain boots and showed up to the sets we were looking forward to the most this weekend. On Saturday, I was able to get to Cornmeal, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Mike Dillon Band, Twin Cats, Umphrey’s, and STS9.
One more day of music to go and tons more to see. I promise I won’t let this rain get in the way of covering as much of this amazing festival as I possible can!
Year after year moe. and Umphrey’s McGee have anchored Summer Camp’s schedule, but the addition of Trey Band has made this year’s lineup one of the most scene oriented to date, not to mention Yonder, Keller, STS9, plus Medeski, Martin, and Wood. The only other bands that could possibly fall into this topnotch jamband echelon would be Cheese or Bisco, so the good people at Summer Camp HQ decided that EOTO and Conspirator would have to fill that void. I have seen all these acts multiple times, most of them at Summer Camp, and they are the reason I fell in love with the scene so many years ago.
In case you are living under a rock, Cornmeal’s Saturday show will be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend. Their fiddler, Allie Kral, has announced that this will be her last show as a member of Cornmeal. This band has been a staple at Summer Camp for almost a decade and many Scampers, like myself, have completely fallen in love Allie over the years. Even though this is not the last we will hear from Cornmeal or Allie, for that matter, this set is bound to be a tear jerker for many a fan.
This lineup contains at least a dozen other bands that make me dance, but in all honesty, I return to Summer Camp every year because I’m an Umphreak. Summer Camp provides 6 sets of Umph, a handful of side projects, plus sit-ins that make Memorial Day Weekend UMforgettable. My first Umphrey’s show was at Summer Camp in 2004, so I guess it is only perfect that I will be celebrating my 75th Umph show at Summer Camp 2013. I’m predicting a few new songs, maybe a new cover, and a ridiculous light rig that will bring facemelt to a whole other level. Prepare to get your minds blown people!
Now for my Sunday variety pack…..
Both electronic and jamband fans will enjoy the way DJnoDJ fuses these two genres by layering their talents in order to duplicate our most beloved tracks. If I still have enough fuel left in my tank early Monday morning, this is where you will find me.Needless to say, I can’t wait to experience Summer Camp as a CIT! I guess it’s my job to remind my fellow campers to be safe, stay hydrated, and see as much music as possible because this year’s lineup is INSANE! With that being said, hollar at your CIT if you see me around! I love making new friends, especially at Summer Camp!