Recently, I sat down with Assembly Of Dust and former Strangefolk front man Reid Genauer. On the verge of releasing their Kickstarter Campaign funded album Sun Shot, Assembly of Dust spent a couple of nights performing in Colorado. I talked with Reid about everything from whether or not jam is dying to his infatuation with GaGa.
Reid also peformed a solo acoustic version of “You Lay The Dust.”Thanks to Reid for taking the time and thanks to 4 Cs Recording Group for setting up the interview.
With the departure of Vince Herman to greener pastures in Oregon, the region has experienced a deficit in the random acts of music he would regularly bestow upon our community. He was a regular fixture in Ned, his former home, and down on The Front Range. It would be difficult not to find Vince Herman playing somewhere on any given weekend in Colorado. Now Vince is a commodity, so I made it point to head down to see Great American Taxi at the Aggie Theater. As fate would have it they were recording the entire run for an upcoming live album.
Up first were Bonnie And The Clydes, a six-piece country and rock outfit lead by Miss Bonnie Sims. They opened with “Dear Departed.”
Set 1: Dear Departed, My Love Will Keep, Lonely Love, Eye To Eye, Storm On Its Way, Rocky Mountain Town, Waltz For The Seasons, LA County, Man In Me, Darkside, Still House, Ophelia, Hold On Me
Relatively new to scene, Bonnie And The Clydes are an interesting addition to the already bountiful music of the Front Range. They are lead by firecracker Bonnie Sims, who belts it out as well as she plays a six string. She is flanked by a full band consisting of her husband Taylor Sims on electric guitar, Nancy Steinberger on fiddle, Michael Schenkleberg on bass, Chris Ramey on pedal steel, and Damon Smith on drums. Their renditions of Dylan’s “Man In Me” and The Band’s “Ophelia were spot on and really got the crowd moving. They had a rowdy tone that was a perfect fit for Great American Taxi.
Great American Taxi is the side project of Leftover Salmon front man Vince Herman. He has assembled an incredible lineup of musicians to fill out his group. In addition to Vince Taxi is Chad Staehly on keys, Jim Lewin on guitar, Brian Adams on bass, and Chris Sheldon on drums. They really seemed to have gelled since I saw them last summer. This show being part of the Snowball Tour it was the first time Vince has made it back since moving out of state. Honestly, it could have gone either way. They opened with their original “Standing All Alone.”
Set 1:Standing All Alone, Appalachian Soul, New Millennium Blues, Linning Track, Penny Arcade, Jack London, Twilight, Swamp Song, Going To Brownsville, Tough Job, Angel Dust, Poor House, Coming Home To You, Travlin’ Man, West L.A. Fadeaway, Little Liza Jane, Dirty Old Town, Instrumental, Reckless Habits, Cold Lonely Town, Great American Taxi, When I Die, Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow
Encore: Good Night To Boogie
For a Taxi fan this show has absolutely everything you could want in a live show. Their mix of bluegrass, Americana, and rock is so approachable it seems impossible not to have fun seeing them live. Songs like “Appalachian Soul” and “Poor House” address real issues in American society like the working conditions in the coal mining industry as well as the plight of the impoverished in this country. Great American Taxi really has evolved and it’s great to see them playing at this level. Their covers included everything from Leadbelly’s “Linning Track” to Ry Cooder’s “Going Down To Brownsville” to the Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway.” It really was a fun and musically eclectic night. They closed the set with their version of the Flatt & Scruggs classic “Aint Gonna Work Tomorrow.” Great American Taxi encored with “Good Night To Boogie.” With the departure of Vince to Portlandia it’s even more important for him to come back to the Front Range with memorable shows. That is exactly what Great American Taxi accomplished on their swing through the Aggie. With the live recording coming out, it will be awesome to get a greatest hits album from such a solid run
Assembly Of Dust is a rare but welcomed sight on the Front Range. They have been a regular of Summer Camp performing there twice as well as all the other moe.-hosted festivals. I would love to see them back on the lineup in the future. The brainchild of bandleader Reid Genauer, Assembly Of Dust is a more refined and focused project than the jam-centric Strangefolk (Reid’s first group.) The last time AOD made it to Denver it was part of a co-bill with Emmitt-Nershi Band at The Bluebird on 10/16/09. It has been over three years since their last visit and I was not going to miss their triumphant return. Their return coincided with the Broncos playoff bid against the Ravens. I was glued to the game all afternoon as both teams battled back and forth. Finally at the two-minute warning I hopped in my car to beat the after game traffic. When I arrived at the venue the game was in overtime and in the end the Broncos were defeated. There was a stench of disappointment on the streets of Denver that night. Not to mention that the temperature quickly dipped well into the single digits as the sun crept over the mountains.
Prior to the show a taper friend had arranged to record the entire concert with a multi-cam, 24-track recording. Reid offered to do an interview and he contacted me to help with the shoot. I got the opportunity to sit down with Reid and talk for about twenty minutes after their sound check. We talked about everything from his latest Kickstarter Campaign to his random admiration of Lady GaGa. Stay tuned for that content, which will be posted soon.
West Water Outlaws opened up the show with their brand of rowdy rock that seemed to start and end at 11. Another product of the ever evolving, always intriguing Boulder music scene, West Water Outlaws took the stage authoritatively. Reminiscent of a young Getty Lee lead singer and rhythm guitarist Blake “Whiskey” Rooker definitely commanded attention when belted out his prodigious vocals. It would appear that bands like The Congress are blazing the trail for a younger group of musicians who still value a solid rock sound.
Set 1: Looking Back, Meds, Credo, Dead Broke, Come On, Sledge Monster, Sun Also Rises, Things I Meant To Say, New Canoe
Blending bluesy riffs with searing vocals made for an entertaining display. I would say to keep an eye out for them, but given their energy, chances are they’ll find you at a venue soon. As the West Water Outlaws played, people slowly filtered into the cavernous Summit Music Hall from the cold. The room holds 1100 people and normally hosts metal and hardcore shows. I actually found the room to be pretty solid and would like to see more jam type shows booked here.
Assembly Of Dust took the stage around 10:20 PM. They immediately woke up the crowd with their anthem “Songs We Sing.”
Set 1: Songs We Sing, Weehawken Ferry, Westerly, Paul Henry, Arkansas Down, Burned Down, Elixir, Sun Shot, Spectacular
Set 2: Whistle Clock, Fountain, Lost & Amazed, Songbeard, 40 Reasons, Mama, Harrower
Encore: Bus Driver
Assembly Of Dust is a nonstop musical journey through all things acoustic, rocks, blues, and so much more. Reid’s stellar vocals anchor the group and allow for each of his incredibly talented band mates to really wail. “Weehawken Ferry” hit us with some rolling, rambling jamming featuring some searing guitar work from Adam Terrell who was on fire all night long. “Paul Henry” gave bassist John Lecesse a chance to rip it up nicely. Genauer lyrics are so expressive and conjure incredible images in the mind of his listeners. “Arkansas Down” falls into this category, as Reid took us all on a narrative journey. The elastic “Burned Down” became an all out dance party. Fans literally hugged the rail and flailed wildly in the side spaces. The room although large was probably only one third full, which meant the floor was full, but there was plenty of room to maneuver.
Newcomer to the band Jason Crosby, another multi-instrumentalists, spends most of his time on the keys, but can quickly bust out a fiddle for added musical textures. When Nate Wilson left the band in 2008 they didn’t immediately go out and hire another keyboardist. The members of Assembly Of Dust wanted something to happen more organically. So they toured as a four-piece until they met up with Jason Crosby and he fit the mold. And let me just say that he fits the mold exceptionally well. Next up AOD performed “Sun Shot” the title track to their upcoming Kickstarter funded album, before they closed the set with an awesome “Spectacular.”
Assembly of Dust opened up their second set with their Deadesque “Whistle Stop,” which was a nice way to ease into the second half of the show. Terrell’s guitar again soared on “Fountain,” before the audience was treated to the sublime lyrics of “Lost & Amazed.” “40 Reasons” again was a nice touch, but the beautiful “Mama” may have been the understated highlight of the show. They closed the second set with a rowdy take on “Harrower.” Assembly Of Dust encored with the too fun “Bus Driver.” This is exactly what you can expect from AOD every time; a solid show from mind-blowing musicians. Reid’s journey into adulthood has given him some compelling experiences, which he translates into his songwriting. He has a truly unique style that reeks of creativity. Assembly Of Dust may not be incredibly well known in Denver, but those that are in the know would never miss seeing Assembly Of Dust when they come to town. Find out why.
Inspiration takes many forms. What motivates one musician may tire and bore the next. While Lera Lynn and the Wood Brothers primary motivator surely is bringing heartfelt music to the masses, one thing they also share is a healthy obsession with whiskey. Whether the Lion’s Pride Rye helped whet the whistle of Ms. Lynn, or let’s Chris perform his interpretive dance moves any easier is for the audience to judge. However, a few things were laid on the line the day after Halloween when they played Chicago’s Lincoln Hall. Foremost, these performers formed for a 8 night tour in November a symbiotic relationship nary seen these days on a bill. They seemed to feed off the energy and genuine good nature which made what went down all that more special for those in attendance.
Lera Lynn set list: Happy Ever After, Comin’ Down,I’m Your Fool,Refrain,The Frey,Fly,You & Me Alone, Bobby, Baby, Standing on the Moon
Lera Lynn, the darling from Athens, GA can play her custom converted ’57 Kay acoustic like she sold a piece of her soul to a fiddle playing Beelzebub. Her slender frame hides a powerful voice that carried over the hushed crowd of four hundred respectful Chicagoan’s. There were no catcall’s, only appreciation for a throwback to a different era. One that is undoubtedly popular, but increasing removed from the radio scene which is a shame. June Carter, Patsy Cline, Lera Lynn? She is that talented and at the same time bashfully humble. She jested to the crowd what a treat it was to play with the Brothers Wood due to their unknowing grandeur and renown. Modest to a fault she sings about feelings larger than herself, but that have touched her profoundly in her short time on earth. The good one’s can pull a lyric from a simple chord much like a wizard in a Potter movie pulls a memory from the ear of a student at Hogwart’s.
Rocking back in forth in her high heeled boots and knee length dress she is comfortable engaging people and letting them see a glimpse. It could be the drinks ordered from her adoring fans sent stage side that loosens her lips, but she quickly finds a melody and like her journey to date elevates to echelons normally not expected to be heard from a potty mouthed bourbon drinking southerner. Yes, she curses like a sailor but where it could be thought crass on some for some reason it isn’t this night. The dichotomy in stage presence and song penmanship aside the women has a way about her and captures the ear and eye of all in the room as they gaze at a concoction of sassy sweet and sultry sounds. The name of her recent album “Have You Met Lera Lynn?” begs a worthy question. If not I suspect you will soon. Her cracked rear view mirror isn’t as omnipotent as Hootie’s, but her busted front windshield and tour with the Wood Brothers should make her a household name soon enough.
Wood Brothers set list: Sing About It, Up Above My Head, Atlas, Pay Attention, Twisted, Neon, Postcards From Hell, Spirit, Honey Jar, Fox On The Run, I Got Loaded, Mary Anna, One More Day, Glad, Down, Shoofly Pie. E: Luckiest Man, PYT (w/ Lera Lynn)
The Wood Brothers, Chris and Oliver, brought their soulful sibling harmonization as well as their shiutar player, Jano Rix, to the friendly confines of Lincoln Hall for the night. Although they now call New York and Atlanta their respective home these days their roots as well as instrumentation track back to growing up in Boulder. Bluesy folk goodness emanates from Chris’ upright bass as he tells the crowd that Chicago truly is his favorite town. There is Oliver jesting “there he goes”, but there’s an tone of honesty in his voice just like the music that makes even the most skeptical mind believe.
On “Postcards from Hell” lyrics tell of a bluesman who won’t flinch in the eye of temptation and plays his music for the necessities in life and sheer desire. The song epitomizes what I can only believe was a man the brothers came across in the travels and found in him a kindred spirit to which they could relate.
“You never heard a soul so pure and true
It’s flowin’ right out of his hands
He can sing sweet as a choir girl
Or he can sing a house on fire
I’ve seen him callin’ up the angels
And use a breeze for a telephone wire”
If the brothers are the personification of whiskey drinking angels then its the perfect juxtaposition to the openers “cursory” notes. Although you know its not as easy as it seems the chord progressions and time changes effortlessly synch perfectly like the brothers knew they were meant to travel the land spreading good music throughout.
If your faith is still undetermined then Oliver has some advice for you…give it “One More Day”. It’s during this ditty that he and Chris let loose during a solo portion and let the music take them as they take turns using their bass and guitar respectfully as dance partners. Chris straddles his upright as Oliver takes a solo and crouches down like the music is in his gut trying to get out and find a good home.
It’s clear that this is their congregation. During the encore they bring out a cover of ”Pretty Young Thing” performed aptly with the backing vocals of Lera Lynn complete with whiskey in tow. When these brothers were young they were prodigies in the company of mentors. Now that they are settling into life, but still young at heart, its apparent that like fine whiskey their music is getting better with age.
It’s been quite some time since the Leftover Salmon’s full band peformed at Summer Camp in 2004. I was there that year I and remember it being one of the highligts of that particular lineup. However Vince Herman has a long history with the fest taking on MC duties in 2006. He did everything from introducing bands, playing tweener sets on stage, and even playing an impromptu acoustic show in front of the barn with Chuck Garvey. He was also there with his side project Great Ameican Taxi and as an artist at large in 2007. So it would be an understatment to say that seeing them on 2012′s lineup would make me very happy. I’ve been touting the reemergence and reinvigoration of Leftover Salmon for months. It was obvious after seeing them on their River Run this summer that any sign of burning out or winding down was a distant memory for the members of LoS. I was again reminded of how far they’ve come at their show at The Ogden.
I headed down early to get a good spot for some shots and ended up hanging out on the rail for most of the show. Head For The Hills opened up the night with a string filled bang. Now Head For The Hills has never had the opportunity to play at Summer Camp but I honestly believe they would be an asset to any festival. Furthermore, I just want to start off by saying that Matt Lowen is the Bassnectar of bluegrass, holding down the rhythm with his thick licks and nasty bass bombs. He was most definitely driving the bus. Now I’ve had the pleasure of seeing H4TH a few times but when they arrived onstage adorned in their tracksuits and screaming out, “Turkey Sweat” to the rapidly growing crowd I knew we were in for a treat. They took this run seriously, which is evident in the tape from Kind Recordings.
You can listen to it on ARCHIVE, thanks to Corey for posting.
It is shows like this that just fill my heart with so much goodness it is simply impossible to wipe the smile from my face. As I was snapping pictures I found myself pausing just to soak up all the righteousness oozing out of the band in front of me. They have this indescribable mix of being both current and yet old-timey. Their contemporary take on the classic and ability to harmonize so well is what sets them apart from other bluegrass acts touring today. They opened with a beautiful One Foot In The Grave that showed everyone what is possible vocally with Head For The Hills. They performed massive version of My Angelie, which has to be my favorite jamming vehicle of theirs. Beautiful and musically perfect versions of Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill and Pink Floyd’s Fearless were highlights from their set as well. Joe Lessard’s fiddle was both powerful and subtle as he traded main vocal duties with Adam Kinghorn. They each took turns with hand-blurring solos as they ripped through their repertoire. By the end of the set my head was spinning from what I was witnessing. Mike Chappell on mandolin was the glued that held it all together as he at times held back and at other times literally made the earth move. They closed their set with Ray Charles’ Unchain My Heart, which took on a tone that was both unexpected and crispy. Once again Head For The Hills showed us why the are Colorado’s best bluegrass band two years running (as decided by the Westword) and why they are a not to miss show. This Thanksgiving I was thankful that they were on this run with Salmon.
It was time for the main event, which as a two set extravaganza from the one and only Poly Ethnic Cajun Slamgrass outfit from the mountains of Colorado, Leftover Salmon. They opened with a rowdy Carnival Time that just set the mood for what was about to go down. Here is the rest of the setlist from Kind Recordings.
SET I: Carnival Time, Gold Hill Line, Gonna Have A Party, Shenandoah Valley Breakdown, 44 Blues, The Highway Song, Danger Man*, She Caught The Kay*, RIP Michigan Mike, Down In The Hollow
SET II: All Night Ride, I’m Gonna Live High Till I Die, High On A Mountain Top, Almost Cut My Hair, Troubled Times> Ask The Fish, Last Days of Autumn, Jokester, Bill’s Boogie, Out In The Woods, Whipping Post> God Save The Queen
ENCORE: Nobody’s Fault But Mine**
*Silas Herman on mandolin
**Silas Herman on acoustic guitar, Joe Lessard on fiddle
Here is the Kind Recording from Corey on ARCHIVE.
I guess let me start by personally saying sorry to Jose Martinez. I’ve been giving him guff mainly because I felt he has had a few weak outings with the band in the last couple years, and when Wally Ingram sat in with the band for the River Run I honestly felt like they were making a transition. That being said he was on point the entire evening and really showed me what he is capable of with Salmon. So from me to you Jose nice work, keep it up sir. Going on I really do feel that Andy has just kicked this band into high gear. I don’t know that if in my twenty or so Salmon shows I’ve ever seen Vince and Drew so happy and obviously energized. They are always fun but there was something different this time, I kept catching Vince smiling as he watched Andy play and the energy between Drew and Vince was electric all night long. The Shenandoah Valley Breakdown showed some seriously fast picking and the 44 Blues lead by Bill McKay gave everyone a chance to catch their breath as we grooved away to his crunchy vocals. Vince likes to tell stories while he is performing; he is very much a bard in that way. He informed the crowd that since the band was now 21 and of age following last year’s 20th anniversary celebrations that they would be doing some extended touring and start work on a new album.
“See if we can get some more Salmon running around the country all over the place. Both in the water and on the highway.” –Vince Herman
Drew belted it out beautifully on Highway Song again demonstrating why he is so important to the Salmon sound. Few people give me chills when they sing live like Drew consistently does whenever I see him play. Vince’s son Silas came onstage for Danger Man and She Caught The Katy, which were huge highlights of the first set. After dedicating the show to Michigan Mike the previous night Vince took a moment to honor him and announced a show at The Stage Stop the next night. His hope was that the music would help the start to heal the community of Nederland after this tragic loss. They finished the first set with another Drew tune, Down In The Hollow.
They started the set teasing Louie Louie before ripping into All Night Ride. Again this shows their playfulness and happiness to be playing together in this band. Bill McKay again took vocals on David Crosby’s Almost Cut My Hair. Now I’ve seen them cover this track but this version just blasted off. A couple times it almost felt like they were teasing Whipping Post before it broke down into a reggae-infused Vince led pick off. The Troubled Times was stunning but things got weird during Ask The Fish. With the band taking on an ethereal Doors-esque jam, Vince gave us a soliloquy about how was face to face with a fish the was roughly the size of the room. The crowd became the amebas on the mouth of this giant fish asking them to act it out for him. Using a round glow stick that had been tossed onstage earlier as a prop to signify a bubble. It was a fun moment to say the least.
“How many of you feel more like you now than you did yesterday? That’s progress.” –Vince Herman
Bill’s Boogie was fun, but the highlight of the show was the set-closing Whipping Post into God Save The Queen. They encored with a huge Nobody’s Fault But Mine inviting Joe Lessard from H4TH and Silas back out for an extended picking session. This show again reaffirmed my belief that Leftover is back to their old self. After the loss of Mark Vann they had some growing pains and it took years for them to get back to this place. I can safely say that they are ready for the road ahead and I look forward to swimming upstream with them for years to come.
I am so grateful that Summer Camp’s venue is chock full of woods for your camping
pleasure. Besides the fact that the trees are beautiful, they provide excellent shade and you will never be “smoked” out of your tent from the blistering sun. This allows you to sleep in if you choose and on Sunday that is exactly what I chose to do. Upon rising I was about to be treated to learning a new trick. Before I tell you about the trick I know that it is not environmentally sound and probably not too good for your insides…but it was pretty freakin cool. My friends were making omelets and didn’t want to mess up a pan so they had freezer bags. They handed me a freezer bag with a couple of beaten eggs in it and told me to put some fixins in there like feta cheese, spinach and broccoli. I did and they sealed up the bag and placed it in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. When they were done they slid out the perfect omelet onto a plate and handed me a bottle of “Ass in Space” hot sauce. How awesome is that?!?! Ahhhh the things you learn at Summer Camp.
Shortly after the omelet extravaganza it started to get really windy. The clouds were
moving at crazy fast speeds and the sky was a strange shade of yellow. People started
cracking jokes like, “It looks like a scene from Twister 3: A Twister Hits a Festival” and “I don’t think we’re at Summer Camp anymore.” Shortly after that it started down pouring and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It gave me the opportunity to stare into space for about an hour and think about all that I have experienced. It is exactly what I wanted to do at that exact moment so thank you mother nature. After the storm had passed we made a mad dash for the bathrooms and saw how muddy everything had gotten. At first I thought wearing my gold lame’ rain boots would be a good idea, but it started to feel like I was walking through cement as my
boots were getting suction cupped to the ground.
I am extremely afraid of worms (like I seriously freak out when I see them even though
they are good for the earth and great for composting) so the thought of walking barefoot in mud terrifies me. After some convincing by some barefoot warriors I decided to try it and it was the best idea ever. It felt awesome and I couldn’t have gotten a better mud wrap for my feet at an expensive salon. I was ready to move and groove and squish and squash through the mud to some music.
It was one fabulous band after another! You know life is good when your hardest
decision is which amazing bands to see today. The Wood Brothers, Bela Fleck, The Avett Brothers, Bruce Hornsby, EOTO, moe., Bassnectar and more moe. were some of the bands I chose! While I was walking to Bela Fleck my friend Courtney said, “I hear Al singing sweet songs to me in my ear.” I thought she was a little cooky until I heard Rob’s sweet bass thump in my ear! What is going on? There was a secret moe. acoustic set happening in one of the tents is what was going on. What a sweet surprise! That is something Summer Camp is good at. Always giving us surprises at every corner and keeping us on our muddy toes.
I left my favorite music experience of the day until last. It was Huey Lewis and the
rUMors. If you don’t know who the rUMors are they are Umphrey’s McGee with a horn section. Can it get any better than that? I’m not sure. Maybe if all four members of Phish were playing and Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet all sat in together to play “You Make My Dreams Come True.” Getting to see Huey perform with my friends in Umphrey’s was a dream come true for me. Huey gave me everything I wanted and gave it to me over and over. I am a huge nerd and sang loudly the words to every song and often screamed, “I love you Huey!” Yup…I was that girl. If I wore panties I totally would have thrown them at him.
As you can tell I love Summer Camp. If I had to give one reason of why I love Summer
Camp and I had to tell you right now right here I would have to say that I love it because I didn’t see one worm the whole time. Ha!
Counselor In Training
I woke up on Friday totally ready for the actual festival to begin. Thursday was awesome but it was time for the heavy hitters. I headed to the barn to get cleaned up. One of the perks of total access was getting a shower every morning and believe me, this is a luxury I’m not used to in a festival setting. After getting ready I made my way backstage. It was time to give my intro for moe., and I was actually pretty nervous. I took a little time to compose myself and think about what I wanted to say. How do you introduce your heroes? Wandering around before the set I got the chance to chat with Jim for about 10 minutes. I had met him previously at the now defunct Green Room when he played a show with Willie Waldman. Amazingly he remembered our meeting and congratulated me on winning the camp counselor position. Around 12:30 moe. gathered at the stairs and followed me onto the stage.
In the second of my many surreal moments of Summer Camp 2011, I stood in front of a crowd of 15,000 or so people and let them know moe. was about to play a show. As soon as I said, “…would you please welcome moe.,” they tore into a massive Akimbo. Here is the rest of the setlist from Phantasy Tour .
SET I: Akimbo, Puebla, St. Augustine, Mexico, Blue Jeans Pizza, All Roads Lead To Home, Kyle’s Song> Kids
Encore: The Harder They Come*
*with Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee
You can download it on Archive. Thanks to Bean for the recording.
I wandered out onto the lawn triumphantly looking for Amy and my friends, but they were knee deep in the crowd. So I took the opportunity to take some wide shots before heading back to the pit for some closer photos. This set was literally a collection of some of my favorite songs. St. Augustine was tight and Mexico was huge and featured a playfulness that really set the mood for Summer Camp. The closer of Kyle’s Song into Kids was face melting and as the sun blasted through the clouds for moe.’s only day set, I knew I was home. Bayliss came out for a cover of Harder They Come to encore and signaled a passing of the torch for UM to take the reigns Friday Night.
From moe. I went to my CIT meeting and discussed the previous days coverage and touched base on what was left on the schedule for Friday. I took a few minutes afterward to interview Tom Mcelroy of the Sun Foundation and Primitive Arts Collective who told me about some of the primitive living skills and native art forms that they teach. They led workshops all weekend that varied from fire making to hide tanning. It was a very enlightening interview.
I made my way to the Sunshine stage for the Punch Brothers’ set. Now I have wanted to catch this band for quite some time, I have been a huge Noam Pikelny fan since his days with Leftover Salmon and Chris Thile is always a bucket of energy. However, it seems like every time I plan to see them in Denver I miss the boat. Well Summer Camp 2011 cured me of this longstanding issue. I headed down to the pits for some photos and caught a little video which you can see here.
The Punch Brothers have a level of authenticity rarely seen in bluegrass these days. They dress the part and as a string band they are a sight to behold. I was thoroughly impressed with their set and after I finished taking photos, I simply stood back and enjoyed it for a minute.
I went back to camp to gather my friends for Cornmeal. Cornmeal as I stated in my previous post has really grown with Summer Camp Music Festival. They definitely took their evening set seriously by just nailing down good tight bluegrassy goodness. I shot some photos and again went over by the bleachers with my friends and just enjoyed the show. The nice thing about the scheduling at Summer Camp is that they allow different fans to enjoy what they like without having to make too many tough decisions. For me Friday was a bluegrass day bookended by moe. and Umphrey’s with just a sprinkle of Dead provided by 7 Walkers. But many, many other fans opted for the raw electro-funk of Big Gigantic and the hip-hop of De La Soul. That’s what I appreciate about Summer Camp. Cornmeal kept fans very happy on Friday afternoon and afterwards I took a minute to grab some food and watch De La Soul for about 15 minutes. They absolutely energized the crowd and it was refreshing to hear them at Summer Camp.
We headed back to Sunshine for Yonder Mountain String Band, we walked up to the bleachers just as they started Out Of The Blue here is the setlist from PT.
SET I: Out Of The Blue> Looking Back Over My Shoulder, Another Day, Little Lover, Just Like Old Times, Complicated, All The Time, Strophe For An Unsung Albatross (Peanut Butter Cup), No Expectations> Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty
Encore: Crazy, Troubled Mind
Living in Colorado I usually get the pleasure of seeing these YMSB a couple times a year, I would say they played a pretty standard set except for the No Expectations>
Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty which was fairly earth-shattering. I caught the beginning of that amazing run here.
At the beginning you can hear Jeff Austin pointing out what everyone in attendance already knew, and that the Sunshine Stage had been the bluegrass stage all day and then dedicated the next song to the greatest bluegrass band ever Umphey’s McGee, “…they play the old way.” My apologies for the Don’t Tread on Me flag that makes its way into the frame around minute two, that happens from time to time when you are shooting wide. I did my best to shoot around it but it is what it is. The Whipping Post was just stellar. They came back to encore the set with Split Lip Rayfield’s Crazy and a nice Troubled Mind.
I hit Tea Leaf Green but only for a song or two before heading backstage for my first onstage set with Umprhey’s McGee. It took us a minute to find someone in the UM management to let us go up, and as we were standing there I heard the Jaws theme played before they opened with Prowler. Here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Prowler> 1348> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tape> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tap, Pay the Snucka> Bulls On Parade> Pay The Snucka, 2nd Self, Senor Mouse, Mulche’s Odyssey
Set II: Jazz Odyssey, Preamble> Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins, Rocker Part II, Day Nurse, Hourglass*, The Floor, National Anthem**
Encore: The Triple Wide> 1348
*First Time Played
**with Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) on Saxophone
You can download the audience recording on Archive.
Thanks to tonedeaf for the post.
A moment or so later someone found us and took us onto the stage. Now I know Umphrey’s is intense but being 8 feet away from Jake as he is shredding a solo is a little mind bending. Amy and I didn’t stop dancing for their 80+ minute first set. The Red Tape was just massive clocking in at over 20 minutes; this song features both sides of the Umph coin. It allows for Bayliss’s prog-rock run, some cheesy 80’sesque jams, as well as lots or room to shred. The sheer number of notes Jake hits in between verses would make any metal guitarist envious. The real highlight of the first set has to be the Pay the Snucka into Bulls On Parade into Pay the Snucka. I caught this in Aspen in February but to see it on stage ten feet away from the band was life affirming. They ended the set with a tight Mulche’s and we were whisked off of stage and just like that my first of three was over.
Of course we immediately crossed the road to see 7 Walkers at the Starshine Stage. George Porter Jr. couldn’t make the show so they enlisted the help of Tea Leaf Green’s Reed Mathis on bass. I was pretty impressed with the band Billy put together. Papa Mali is a solid guitarist with an incredibly unique voice; he has the rasp to belt out Dead tunes properly. Highlights from the set included a sweet Bird Song and a rendition of 7 Walkers which they took their name from. You can see my recording of it here.
The audio is a little over modulated as I was in the pit and couldn’t find an audience recording with which to sync. I would say that overall they were a lot of fun and a nice breather between UM sets.
Umphrey’s came back on for their second set ready to rage. They opened with a quick unassuming Jazz Odysssey almost like they were trying to lull the crowd into a false sense of calm. Then they played the eerie Preamble before snapping the audience awake with Tinkle’s. The Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins was just disgusting and the reason why I go to Umphrey’s McGee shows. The rest of their second set was all bonus as far as I was concerned. Additional highlights included a Day Nurse dance party, and Hourglass, which was debuted at Summer Camp. They invited Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic to play saxophone on the set ending National Anthem. They encored with a nice Triple Wide into 1348. I thought the UM sets from night one were very strong and they definitely took their headlining night at Summer Camp to a new level.
There was about a thirty minute break between the end of UM and the beginning of moe. in the Red Barn. We took the opportunity to sit at our camp and talk about the events of the day. Amy and I headed to the Barn past Greensky Bluegrass who was just getting started on the Campfire Stage.
moe. came out to play for 400 lucky souls with a sweet Dr. Graffenberg, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Dr. Graffenberg, Bullet, Letter Home*, Timmy Tucker, Downward Facing Dog, Big World> Ricky Marten> Time Ed> George
ENCORE: Spaz Medicine
You can download this set on Archive. Thanks to jessedscott for posting this recording.
I thought the barn was a blast. I always feel a little conflicted inside knowing there are about 15,000 other people who would like to be in as well. I can honestly say I have listened from outside a number of times over the years But moe. made magic in that little sweat box and despite my misgivings I would never miss them in the Red Barn. The reggae-ified Letter Home was awesome and you can see it here.
Timmy Tucker was big and they didn’t stop for the second half of the set. I had a great time and really enjoyed the fact that I got to start and end my day with moe. We stayed until the beginning of Spaz, which was close to 4 a.m. before heading back to our tent. We slept hard and good. It was already an amazing experience and the next two days would continue to impress, humble, and excite me. Stay tuned for my Saturday and Sunday recaps coming soon.
You can see all of my Thurday Photos here.
As well as my Friday Photos here.
At five o’clock, the Summer Camp Counselors in Training met up with one another in the Chapel. Yes, there is a pretty little church on site at Three Sisters Park. *Try explaining to your friends that you needed to go to a church at the festival to meet up with camp counselors without them thinking you’re tripping. This chapel would literally become sanctuary for the counselors – we could charge our phones and cameras, use the indoor bathrooms, and interview rock stars (all this is off limits to you non-counselor types so maybe you should keep an eye out for next year’s contest!).
Anyway, it was awesome to finally meet all these folks. Nick Stock, who won the contest, is just a bubbling concoction of tie-dye majesty – a total rock star. Taraleigh Weathers was also an amazing soul to connect with, along with Joe Snacker-Albin and Natalie Fletcher – each bringing their own spice to this project. And Jeff Greenswag… well, let’s just say Jeff is the pirate of Summer Camp – a swashbuckling partygoer who I had wanted to meet since I split my side open laughing at his first contest submission: a parody of the Family Matters intro. These guys all rock so be sure to read and watch their highlights here.
So here’s my experience on the subject I’m sure you care the most about: music.
Ali Baba’s Tahini
After the meeting, the musical adventure began. Jeff and I made our way to see Ali Baba’s Tahini – a band I’ve been listening to since I fell into love with Umphrey’s McGee but had never seen live. These guys were fun and really got my blood pumping for the rest of the night. They’ve got this ska like sound and Jake shreds like a madman. I think Karl Engelmann made a ball buster at Brendan Bayliss about stealing Jake from the band – he said something funny.
Family Groove Company
Hot damn guys. Family Groove straight up killed it. One of my favorite sets of the weekend hands down. Just dirty, tight funk that had people groovin’ and movin’ from first note to last. This was my first time seeing Family Groove Company and I wasn’t sure what to expect but man, it was good. They raged a cover of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues and brought in the darkness with their sunset session. The bass lines and guitar solos coming from this gang particularly captivated me. By the end of the night, I had a pretty strong buzz going on (those 312′s just go down so smooth – a perfect festival session beer) and I ended up bumping into Adam Lewis in the VIP tent (yet another perk to getting a VIP pass next year folks!) and had a chance to shake his hand and thank him for making me smile from ear to ear throughout this set. Family Groove: If you’re reading this, please come out west – we’ll love you here.
Totally unscheduled. A couple friends pitched their tent stage-right of the Sunshine Stage and we’re just chilling out when I hear Bayliss’ voice. Bam – we’re up in a flash. Before I knew it, I was hit with a Partyin’ Peeps and it was all over.
I caught 30db last year in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall and also at Mayan Holidaze earlier this year. Jeff Austin and Brendan Bayliss come together for what can only be described as acoustic, feel good, messin’ around music (at least that’s how I’m going to describe it). Seeing them late night at the Campfire Stage was a treat and added to the fun of the whole event. I mean, this is total campfire music. The show was intimate and hilarious. Both those guys are seriously talented musicians with little to no seriousness in their personalities.
Whoa. Seriously Summer Campers, keep an eye out for these youngsters. Papadosio is getting big quick and after catching their late night set tonight, it’s no wonder why. These guys definitely bring a smooth and organic trance sound – clearly drawing on STS9 and Lotus as influences but also bringing a very unique and progressive sound to the scene. Inside the barn, they helped me warm up as it was starting to get awfully chilly outside.
Boombox is super fun. You like funk? You like soul? Sick of “dubstep” djs? Then Boombox is probably right up your alley. I made my way over to the 312 Vibe tent to catch the Boombox DJ set after Papadosio. I didn’t stay too long – just a few songs to get my groove on. I also caught their Friday set and these guys do a super fun cover of Shakedown Street – I wouldn’t even call it a cover: they make it theirs. It was getting close to 4 AM and I always try to keep in mind Brendan Bayliss’ words of wisdom: “Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.” With CIT duties ahead of me, I thought it best to head back to the tent and catch a few zzz’s before things really start moving. *
So now I’m in my tent, typing away as the sun struggles to break it’s way open.
Counselor in Training
For those of you who travel, I’m gonna be starting this Thursday blog with Wednesday. I think we finally got the car packed up and we got on the road around 7:30 mountain time. Coming to Chillicothe from Colorado, well, now that I think of it, coming to Chillicothe from anywhere is not the most scenic of drives. Vast flat expanses, smells of poop, it can get pretty boring. Fortunately Kelly mentioned the “Swift” game…anyone who spots and calls out a Swift truck on the interstates gets a point…ties are half points, like sacks in the NFL. For some reason though, driving through the night, listening to music, we were all a little too excited to sleep and talked through most of the drive. As we approached Chillicothe, the weather went from bad to ok to not so good again, and when we got there, we could see what the weather days before had done. It was gonna be a mudfest…get your boots on.
We arrived around 12:30 and got through the ticket line relatively quickly, I was at my site and set up by about 3. The next couple hours were spent reacquainting myself with the grounds, deciding which food vendors I’d frequent, meeting up with friends as I walked the campsites, and ultimately I met all the other Counselors in Training. What an amazing group of kids. We all come to this festival from different parts of the country and from different occupations; it was no surprise that we had different music tastes. If you are into more of the rock and electronic stuff those are the bands I was seeing and who I’ll mostly be talking about…Anyway, we were debriefed by the amazing Holly Brinkman. If you know her, you know how much she does for Summer Camp and the CIT program. Thanks Holly for making this possible. After getting somewhat of an understanding of what I was supposed to be doing over the weekend (I’ve never “covered” an event before) I set out to see my first show.
Ali Baba’s Tahini was awesome. It was great to see where Jake got his start…well, that’s not true, but to see that band that ended up becoming a big part of Umphrey’s sound was very cool. It was kind of a playful rockabilly vibe to it with a lot of good grooves setting up Jake for some nice guitar work. The guy on keys was slaying and could hang with Jake musically. Overall they were a real fun band who I would definitely go see again. I was lucky enough to walk in on a Got Your Milk (Right Here) which I found to be pretty much the same as Umph plays it. I went back to my site for a minute after that to check in on the rest of my people (wolfpack) who’d be trickling in over the next day and a half. The site was almost ready to go. About 6 of our 13 were there, 3 canopies for the living room/kitchen, about 15 chairs, rope lights (there’s power in the forest…you just gotta find it). I really feel like this was one of our best set ups yet. We didn’t bring so much it was a pain to set up, didn’t bring too much food. Just lots of “soda” and “juice”…
Anyway, we set out to see Brainchild but made a quick stop to see Family Groove Company. Now, I went to the University of Illinois from 02-06 and I remember seeing FGC a lot. Those guys continue to play great show after great show and the stage they were on and the attendance they received was evidence of their continued efforts to be one of the hardest working bands out there. Always upbeat with a great rock feel I love the way FGC jams. If you know ‘em, you know what I know, if you don’t, you should. Down at the campfire stage (where the fire was yet to start, I presume due to the wetness) Roy Ponce, his mustache and Brainchild were destroying. Those guys can really play. And If you are into a sound that changes on a dime with great tension and release build ups, then Brainchild is for you. After Brainchild it was on to a little bit of Cornmeal. Allie is so stunning and such an amazing fiddle player, that, despite my general lack of interest in bluegrass and related genres, I rarely miss Cornmeal play. And you know what, every time I see them I enjoy them a little more. This time was no exception. I love the way they can bring their whole band to this central place that is darker and heavier and then through their jam build it up and out to a twang explosion…like I said, this is my first attempt at blogging to if some of the things I say are weird, well, I don’t know what I’m doing.
By this time, we needed to go back to the site again for one more recharge, we met up with about 5 more of the wolfpack, we drank some more “juice” and “soda” (got to stay hydrated) and we set out for the rest of the night. We made it back to the campfire around 10:15 and saw about 30 minutes of the Pimps of Joytime. Now I have known about these guys for a few years now, maybe 4 or so, and they are awesome. If you like a kind of new school electro funk with a lot of soul then you should have been at this show. Pimps of Joytime are always a fun time and a dance party, which was great to warm up for what we were to experience next.
The first Red Barn “late night” it was only 11:00pm, was one of my favorite bands at the festival, Digital Tape Machine. What an awesome show. I interviewed Marcus Rezak, guitar player for DTM and he was saying that they tried to base a lot of their music on the video games of our youths. Well they did not accomplish that because I felt like I was in the video games of the future. These guys are super talented musicians, with Joel and Kris from UM they pull a lot of attention. But the beats are amazing, super danceable and usually up-tempo and every once in a while they will throw in a neo classical guitar riff or even complete breakdown that makes you remember there’s people up there and they are ROCKING. I hear DTM could be gearing up to tour some in the next year or so, so be on the look out.
After having my hair blown back in the barn I stepped outside for a couple hours of some of the best stage banter you will ever hear, and the music ain’t bad either. 30db is Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin’s project that came together at a time that was really difficult for both of them. But from this shared time they created some awesome songs. They play them together like two guys happy to be beyond that stage in their lives often sharing a lot of whiskey as well, only increasing the hilarity of their aforementioned stage banter. What a great way to wind down the first night of the festival. I had been up for about 42 hours at this point and decided to head back to the site to crash. Like any experienced festival goer I brought my landing gear; put my “ear plugs” on and slid gently into sleep. Goodnight Summer Camp.
Counselor In Training