If you were lucky enough to catch Big Gigantic on the Sunshine stage at Summer Camp this past year, you know the intense energy that this duo brings!
Big Gigantic (Dominic Lalli – Saxophone/Producer & Jeremy Salken – Drums) gained massive recognition after forming in 2008. With non stop touring across the country, Big Gigantic quickly gained a loyal fan base. They released their first album, Fire It Up, in 2009. They have since released three more albums.
I had the chance to catch Big Gigantic this past Monday on their Sky High tour as it came blasting into Buffalo! I have seen Big Gigantic countless times between club shows and catching them on the festival circuit. Each time is a unique experience. Their shows don’t only sound amazing, but are extremely visual. Their stage set up is top notch using a combination of LED lights and an extensive lighting rig.
Opening the show was Opiuo, a producer from New Zealand. That was the second time I saw Opiuo, and I was even more impressed then the first time. His combination of funk and bass create a pretty epic dance party. His on stage energy is enough alone to get you moving! Check him out at opiuo.com.
Big Gigantic set the standards high the moment they came out and it only kept getting better. The combination of Dominic’s sexy saxophone skills and Jeremy’s massive drum beats got the dance floor jumping around their whole two hour set. I always personally love when they play their ” I Need a Dollar ” remix. It gets me all pumped up! I left the show as always with a big smile on my face!
There is good new for you! Big Gigantic still has a handful of dates! If you have never seen them before, now is the time!
Upcoming Big Gigantic Tour Dates
- 10/24 – Syracuse, NY – F Shed at the Market
- 10/25 – Providence, RI – Lupo’s
- 10/26 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
- 10/27 – Las Vegas, NV – Life is Beautiful
- 10/30 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
- 10/31 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Outdoors
- 11/1 – Live Oak, FL – Suwannee Hulaween
- 11/2 – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
- 11/30 – London, UK – Electric Empire Escapade @ Electric Brixton
- December 16-20 Puerto Morelos, MEX – Mayan Holidaze
- December 30-31 – NYC, NY – Roseland Ballroom
Until next time….
The devastation caused by flooding in Colorado has effected many members of our Summer Camp community. Nearly 2,000 homes are unlivable and hundreds of families lost everything. Many are now forced to rebuild their lives and spirits with whatever wasn’t destroyed by waters that tore through their neighborhoods. Being washed out of your home is a mighty large pill to swallow but, in all reality, this type of natural disaster could happen to anyone, regardless of where you live.
Back in the day people used to donate their own time, money, and energy to support a cause. They would stand in the streets with signs and volunteer at shelters in order to change the world around them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. These days most people sit around and watch tragedies unfold on their TV sets, in the comforts of their own home. They might talk about it at school or work, commenting on how sad it must be, passionately saying, “Someone should do something about it.” Somewhere along the way our generation has lost the courage to stand up and do something about it themselves. They assume someone else or maybe even our government will take care of these tragic situations that happen around the world.
This is not the case within our Summer Camp community and this is what sets us apart from every other festival. Summer Camp is more than a festival, it is a family. I personally know at least 5 Summer Campers that have had their lives flipped upside down by this natural disaster and their accounts of the devastation are heart breaking.
Luckily, we are a community that supports each other in times of need. Across the board Summer Camp artists, Make-a-Difference nonprofits, and even individual Scampers are donating their money, time, and energy towards flood relief and rebuilding efforts.
Many Summer Camp artists and bands have stepped up in unique ways to help aid devastated Colorado communities.
One of our favorite late night acts, Lotus, was right in the thick of it when the flooding occurred. Their September 13th Red Rocks show had to be postponed due to the rain and lack of safe roadways to the venue. They immediately turned this upset around by hosting a benefit show that same evening at the Armoury in Denver in order to raise funds for the Red Cross. Lotus’s opening acts and Summer Camp Alumni, Minnesota and Break Science, also hosted a last minute fundraiser that raised over $5,000 for United Way’s Flood Relief Fund.
STS9 has taken a different route by donating all proceeds from merchandise, along with live recording sales, to help raise over $10,000 for Colorado. Many other bands have been holding food and supply drives during their shows for those displaced due to evacuations. Some bands, like Yonder Mountain String Band, have chosen to donate 100% of proceeds from their Colorado shows towards rebuilding communities effected by the floods. Just by enjoying these shows, attendees will be contributing to flood relief efforts: a win/win situation for all involved.
Big Gigantic is hosting Flood Relief Benefit shows this weekend, Sept. 27th and 28th at the Fillmore in Denver and at Red Rocks Amphitheater, respectively. They will be donating a portion of ticket sales directly to Conscious Alliance’s Flood Relief Fund along with collecting supplies and food for those washed out. Big G will also be hosting a Big Gigantic Cleanup Day with details still to be determined. This act has really stepped up in a BIG way for their home state and Summer Camp favorite nonprofit, Conscious Alliance will be bringing the food and supplies collected to hundreds of Colorado families directly effected by the floods.
Now you may ask yourself, “What can I do?” and the truth is A LOT! I am a firm believer that grassroots efforts can truly make a difference and I know from first had experience that everyone has an ability to change the world in their own special way.
There are tons of opportunities where you can personally help Colorado. While donating money may be the easiest solution, you can also contribute by hosting fundraisers and supply drives. Setting up these types of events isn’t as difficult as you might think. You would be surprised how many businesses or even family members would be happy to support your cause if you just took the time to ask. Garage sales, party hosting, and benefit car washes are all easy ways to bring in money. Organizing a “split the pot” at your favorite bar or a bake sale at your school is easy as pie, literally.
You can also donate your time. Simply sending an email out to your friends and family with a link to a charity you believe it like Conscious Alliance can help raise more money than you might expect. Better yet, taking the time to roll up your sleeves to help clean up would make the world of difference to those who have to rebuild their lives and homes.
I personally wanted to do something to help a family I knew had lost everything in the Colorado floods. So I had the idea of holding some sort of raffle during my birthday party in Chicago last weekend. Since most of my friends and family would be there, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do some good in the midst of opening presents and blowing out candles. I got in touch with Umphrey’s McGee to see if they were interested in donating a couple of prizes for our raffle. While Umprhey’s had already announced they would be contributing a percentage of ticket sales to flood relief, they were more than happy to gift us some awesome merchandise for the raffle. With just a few t-shirts, a signed poster, and some DVDs, we were able to raise over $400 for a family who lost everything in Lyons, CO. This is an example of grass roots at its finest.
For those of you living in Denver, on October 14th Umphrey’s \UM/ Mondays will be hosting a fundraiser where they will be raffling off a variety of items for flood victims. This group of Umphrey’s fans have been getting together at their favorite Denver bars to listen to live Umphrey’s and drink some heady beers for over a year. They knew this weekly event was a perfect opportunity to get their community involved in flood relief. They are now accepting donations through their Facebook page or you can just show up to the fundraiser! Awesome prizes and an awesome time is guaranteed!
Visit Help Colorado NOW to donate directly to Colorado counties effect by the floods or come out to one of our many Summer Camp community events to support the cause. Or, better yet, host your own!
Let’s show Colorado just how much our Summer Camp family cares!
Gramatik just started his Age of Reason Fall Tour in Buffalo, NY on September 4 and it was glorious! He’s hitting up some major cities through November, so if he’s coming anywhere near you this Fall, MAKE SURE YOU SEE HIM! His lights and sound are so stellar. If you were lucky to catch him at Summer Camp this year, you know exactly what I’m saying!
Check out a recap from the first night as well as the tour dates below:
And just like that, we’re on to the last day of Summer Camp. Last night consisted of another marathon of music and good times while trekking through all the mud throughout the grounds. I saw Victor Wooten, a humbling experience, in the VIP lounge jamming with some special guests. After some dancing at Thievery Corporation, I went to check out both sets of one of my long time favorite bands, Umphrey’s McGee. A rainy first set did nothing to stop the crowd of Umphreaks dancing and raging along on the Sunshine stage. The second set featured one of my all time favorite concert moments: during the buildup of their Der Bluten Kat jam, some fans started blasting off fireworks. The band quickly got on cue and coordinated their jam, and of course Jeff Waful synchronized the lights to create a mesmerizing moment that seemed to last hours. One of the great things I’ve witnessed about Umphrey’s is their uncanny ability to just pull you in, capture your attention and consume you completely in their flow of the jam, and leave you stunned and jaw dropped. Face melting at its finest.
After Umphrey’s I was able to catch most of the second set of moe on the Moonshine stage. During this set I decided the Moonshine is most definitely the coolest stage of the three big ones here at Scamp. The slope incline of the lawn combined with the surrounding trees and hanging canopies create an intimate feeling that connects the crowd more with the band. I’m not all too familiar with many moe. songs at this point, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every moment of the show. For the encore, as a tribute to Umphrey’s covering their Rebubula Friday night, moe. did their own take on UM’s classic tune In the Kitchen. The crowd, as did I, quickly recognized the song and loved the recognition of the co-headliners’ presence of each other. I must admit the end of the song got pretty sloppy with the ending and lyrics, but still another great moment in Summer Camp history.
Thievery Corporation at the Moonshine ^
I also made it to the premiere show of Big Grizmatik, a combination of Big Gigantic, Griz, and Gramatik all playing together in the Red Barn. The intimacy of the Red Barn is great because 1) the band realllly feeds off the crowd’s energy, and 2) it was refreshingly warm in there! Big Grizmatik played a little bit over an hour, with a few Big G songs mixed in with other DJ remixes for a constant dance frenzy.
Video: Big Grizmatik – Fantastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqnXPapmbck&feature=youtu.be
Looking forward to the last day now here today! Gonna for sure check out Umphrey’s final set, and I heard that guy from Phish is also playing tonight, so I’m sure I’ll see his show
Stay warm and stay dry, Summer Camp!
Here we go! On the way to Summer Camp. I’ve been looking forward to this day for many years now. The past three or four years, I have been streaming Summer Camp through iClips. The excitement still hasn’t settled in that I’m finally gonna get to experience my first music festival. It’s still very surreal. Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect. The only music festival that I have gone to is Milwaukee’s Summerfest (which is considered to be the world’s largest music festival, being over 11 days) but it is not a camping festival. In 2004, when I was 12, I saw Umphrey’s McGee for the first time at Summerfest (which got cut short due to weather) and I instantly fell in love with them!
I’m most excited to see Trey because I’ve seen Phish many times, because he might actually be a jedi, and also because I have never had the opportunity to see Trey as a solo act. I’m also very excited to see Big Gigantic and Medicine for the People! Medicine gives off such a unifying love vibe that is so easy to love. My adoration for both of these bands poses a major conflict and challenge because their set times overlap. Therefore, I plan on starting with Medicine for the People then heading over to Big Gigantic when they start. There are also quite a few other overlapping conflicts that I have yet to work out. So I guess the solution is just to go with the flow and see where the night takes me! Bring it on Summer Camp!
Summer Camp just keeps getting better and better! Yesterday was truly unbelievable! To start my day off, I had the amazing opportunity of announcing Moe’s first set of the weekend. It was such an honor to do it, and it was such an adrenaline rush. Moe killed it of course, that goes without saying. The set was crowded with scampers pumped up for Moe, and they sure delivered!!
The food at Summer Camp is great! Walking around, every 10 feet you smell different foods while walking around the vendors. Some of my personal favorites are the tacos, they freaking delicious. The subs are also bomb. I personally had the buffalo chicken sub more then once, and every person that sees me eating it asks what it is. Yum yum yum! I love festival food!
A highlight set yesterday was STS9. It was AWESOME! I don’t use this word often, but the set was ” epic “. I was blown away, and it’s getting me pumped for round 2 tonight in the barn. However, the other music I saw was nothing short of amazing. Yonder Mountain both day time and late night sets were sick. The Yonder barn set was extremely intimate, and even at 3 am, everyone had nothing but smiles.
I was also able to go on stage for Umphrey’s first set and it was a real cool experience. Scampers were eager to rage Umph, and their set was glorious! The sun was shining and it was a perfect time for their first set. To me, Umphrey’s is one of those bands that never lets me down. I have never seen a bad set by them, and they are truly all stars in the scene.
Some other honorable mentions that I got to see were Zoogma, Keller Williams, Big Gigantic, and Papadosio.
There’s still so much awesome music coming our way this weekend. It’s only Saturday, and there’s no stopping the Summer Camp party!
Camp Counselor Kyle
^ Roster McCabe
So we’re just getting started here at Summer Camp and it’s already been better than I ever could have imagined. The process of checking in and setting up my tent took a few hours, with several trips back and forth between the car and campsite. Upon finishing all the preparation and organizing came with a huge sense of not just relief of being ready to start venturing through the festival, but also a feeling of triumph; I finally made it!
I was able to catch one of my favorite bands last night, Roster McCabe, at the Camping Stage. Including last night I’ve now seen them 13 times, all of which over the past 3 years. It’s been an amazing journey to witness how they’ve progressed and developed their sound over the years as they have evolved their music with the fusion of new trends of electrorock. They played a few new songs which I’ve never heard before, which is always a treat, and then blew the crowd away with a dance frenzy cover of Daft Punk’s new single, “Get Lucky.” They’ll be playing here at Scamp quite a few more times and I’m stoked to see them again, and I highly recommend them to anyone else.
After Roster McCabe finished up I was able to catch most of Digital Tape Machine’s set at the Starshine stage. I knew that Joel and Kris of Umphrey’s are in the band which was the compelling reason for me to check them out, and I definitely picked up on some of the UM influence in their sound, although they were far more electronic.
There’s quite a bit going on the grounds here today, and I’m ready to go take on the day. I’m looking forward to checking out the “Activities with Umphrey’s McGee” at the VIP tent today, not really sure what that entails, but any opportunity to meet one of my favorite bands, I will take. After that, I plan to check out moe. for a little bit before I partake in the Golden Ticket event for Umphrey’s merchandise, and then stage hop around the grounds between Medeski, Martin & Wood, Keller Williams, Papadosio, Yonder Mountain, Umphrey’s, EOTO, Roster McCabe, STS9, Medicine for the People, and Big Gigantic! So many bands and so little time! There’s supposed to be a super moon tonight during the Medicine for the People set, so great times are destined for this night as well as the rest of the weekend!
Whoa! Thursday truly was a pre-party rager. Getting into Summer Camp was very smooth and everyone was clearly ready to party since the moment their cars entered the grounds. There was a nice mist flowing in when I first arrived in line, and it felt super refreshing and actually got me really pumped up! Every time the sun started peaking, everyone in line started getting rowdy.
My crew set up camp really fast in an awesome spot in the woods, and I was eager to go see some music with some awesome friends! I was able to catch a glimpse of Cosby Sweater on the Campfire stage and they killed it. My main goal Thursday night was to see Cornmeal since it would be my last time to see Allie play on stage and they killed it! Looking around, everyone in the whole crowd was dancing away with nothing but smiles. I was very happy that I was able to see them as that line up one last time. Right when Cornmeal ended, I wondered into the Vibe Tent and caught Positive Vibra8tions, and they killed it. I love being able to catch artists I have never heard of before, and even more so when they kill it!
Digital Tape Machine was up next and they are another act I have been waiting to see for a long time and they truly were awesome. Their set kept evolving and by the end it kept me wanting more. They really got the crowd pumped up for the weekend to come! This is the reason I love music festivals, and especially Summer Camp! You just keep going back and forth between awesome music and the stages are just minutes walk.
I went into the Red Barn at 11 to check it out in there and it was for sure a party. Minnesota killed it! He really had everyone going crazy in there, it was a rager. I love UV Hippo and was so pumped to catch them. The first time I saw them, I was hooked. They really kill it in the festival scene, and was so pumped to see them rage the Vibe Tent.
It was time for bed after that. It was an awesome first day of Summer Camp and I’m so excited for the awesome music to come. Friday is going to be a blast, announcing Moe and the awesome music to come. I’m really looking forward to Yonder, STS9, and Big Gigantic to name a few.
2013 Summer Camp Counselor
Well hello fellow campers,
For the past couple of weeks now, I have been counting down the days to this. It’s finally here. Soon, whether young or old, veterans to rookies, or just a hometown kid looking for something to do, you’ll definitely find it here! The 13th annual Summer Camp Music Festival has finally arrived and its about to be one hell of a time! Since this is my first official blog, I want to take a second to thank everyone that helped get me here. Joe Connors, big ups to you for recording everything and taking the time out of your day to do so! Brittany Noonen, thank you for continuing to push me through it even when I felt like I didn’t have a chance to make it! Judy Geick (Mom), a round of applause is in order for you for raising me from the boy that I was into the man I’ve become. Michael Michels (Dad), thank you for never giving up on me, and never letting me do less than what I’m capable of. Fred Geick (Step Dad), thank you for always taking me in as if I was your own. You taught me a lot about who I am and really helped shape me into the person I am today. Also, a shoutout to everyone that voted for me to help make this possible! Hometown kid representing scamp? WHAAAAT!!? The first time that I ever had the pleasure to go to this lovely festival was 7 long years ago.
From the moment that I arrived and stepped foot on to the patches of sand and dirt, I had no idea what to expect. I saw things I had never seen before. Things that others rarely see. A rare spectacle called compassion for a stranger. People everywhere were so generous and thoughtful, kind and caring. Someone who I had never met before that shares the same passion that you have, attitude you carry, and spirit you live. Walking into Three Sisters Park 7 years ago changed my aspect on humanity. It gave me hope that maybe one day everyone would feel this magical, overwhelming power that you have once you enter the festival and leave with it for the rest of your life.
I’m super excited to be writing these blogs for everyone this year so you too can enjoy some of my events with me. Should I go and see Moe or Big Gigantic; Moonshine, or Sunshine; do I want Lays BBQ chips that haven’t been opened or do I stick to what I know and dive into the ant infested French Onion Sunchips because honestly I hate BBQ chips and they really suck! I don’t like making life decisions like this. Thankfully I won’t be alone on my decision making and journey into freedom this year. With me will be my lovely girlfriend of which will be her 3rd year at the festival. My best friend Jon and his super rad girlfriend Katie will also be partaking in the festivities this year. His cousin Fisher and brother Adam will be there. All of whom are virgins to scamp. Other cool cats with us will be Timber and her boyfriend Nick. Pope and his girlfriend Steph and many many more. I cant wait to meet all of you this year and take tons or pictures and write more boring things for you to read and spit on! So until then… HAPPY CAMPING EVERYONE!!!
Summer 2012 Festival season in review
So what has ChickenHeadFan been up to since last Summer Camp Music Festival? Well, I was doing my normal thing, going to shows, taking pictures and videos to share with all of you. As we all know Summer Camp Music Festival is ChickenHeadFan’s true home! There is nothing he loves more than the 4 days he spends over Memorial Day weekend with all of you at Camp. This summer I did some branching out and I was lucky enough to go to four other music festivals and each one had many unique things that make them special. I like to keep the Summer Camp Spirit flowing all summer long and I figured trying out some new festivals was a great way to keep that spirit going! In this blog I will give you some highlights of each festival.
Bonnaroo was a great time. It was my first time going so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The experience was a lot different than Summer Camp, but that can be expected as there are as many as 80,000+ people at Bonnaroo. We were lucky and accidentally found a back way in so we were in line for 2 hours instead of 6-8 so that was a positive right off the bat. We got in line around 2am and were not done setting up till 4am so that was an adventure. We had really great neighbors and even made good friends with one group and they are planning to visit in Chicago soon! It was a long walk over 1 mile to get to “Center-Roo,” where all the shows are, so you didn’t want to go back to camp very often. The food selection was amazing with vendors everywhere that were open all day and night. You could eat anything you wanted at anytime and you never had to walk far or wait long for food. We even bought some good ol’ Tennessee moonshine from one vendor! The bathrooms were also pretty awesome. I never once saw a port-a-john that was anywhere close to overflowing and they were always clean.
Musical Highlights: Radiohead, Phish, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Alice Cooper, Umphrey’s McGee. The first band we saw was Mariachi el Bronx. I had been looking forward to seeing them after learning about them a few months before. These punk rockers turned mariachi band (mariachi outfits included) put on a high energy show that was lot of fun. Radiohead and Phish were obvious highlights for me. It was my first time seeing Radiohead and what an epic show it was. They played all my favorite songs and their stage show with the video screens moving all over the stage was a cool touch. Rodrigo y Gabriella’s new record, Area 52, that they recorded with the band C.U.B.A. has been one of my favorite albums this summer. It was amazing to see them play such complex music so perfectly live. Alice Cooper was also awesome, but we were only able to catch the last half of his show. His stage show includes costumes, giant puppets, and a guillotine. I was excited to see more later in the summer when I was going to see him open for Iron Maiden. We caught a surprisingly fun set from Ludacris during the afternoon. The set struck memories of driving to school with my older brother when he played a montage of hits including my favorites “Ho” and “Southern Hospitality.” Umphrey’s also played the best set I have seen from them in 2012. They played from 2-6am with Big Gigantic taking over at set break for a half hour. They were only supposed to play till 4am but put on a full show instead. The set including a rocking version of “Thunderstruck” which was exactly what I needed to keep me going as the sun was rising.
Whippersnap Music Festival is one of the many smaller local festivals that happens in the northern Illinois region. Here you can check out a lot of the great bands you might hear at the Starshine, Camping, or Campfire Stages at Summer Camp. The festival was located in Lyran Park near Rockford, IL. The main stage was set on a hill so there was a “natural amphitheater” with a river as the backdrop. It was beautiful! As for food, my favorite Summer Camp vendor Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was on-site so I was happy. The bathrooms at the festival were clean as well which makes festival life so much easier. Camping was very relaxed. There was plenty of space and there was no rush to find a place to set up camp. It is always a problem at larger festivals and can make the first couple hours a mad dash to get your preferred spot.
Musical Highlights: Family Groove Company, SPREAD, Old Shoe, The Funky Meters, and Digital Tape Machine. I also was only able to attend the Festival for Saturday and Sunday so I missed some great music, but was still able to catch some of my favorites. Family Groove played an awesome set that included a Beck cover and featured Joe Day from Old Shoe on vocals. I also woke up early Saturday to see SPREAD, a Summer Camp Battle-of-the-Bands contest winner the last 3 years, play a rocking set that included a Ween Cover, and some of their staples like “Deep Plunge” and “Feel my Heat.” I also got to catch a late afternoon set from Old Shoe. This was sadly the first time I have been able to catch a full set from these guys, and I was truly blown away! I have seen them twice since then, once at the Abbey Pub and once at Shoe Fest and they never cease to please.
Shoe Fest is put on by Old Shoe, hence the name. This festival was held in Manteno, IL at Camp Shaw-wa-na-see. This is another beautiful setting for a small festival. There were many families and children present and you can bring your furry family members too, pets are just as welcome here as anyone! You could pretty much camp anywhere so there was plenty of space for everyone. They actually had real bathrooms which was nice, but sometimes were out or order with a lot of people using them. Foodwise there were options but since my favorite, Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was at the fest, I had to get my fix of delicious pizza and baked ravioli. They did have two local craft brewers on site which was awesome, but one other bonus was that you could bring your own alcohol anywhere at the festival including the stages, which helped keep the cost of going to a festival down.
Musical Highlights: Keller and the Keels, Ben Miller Band, Old Shoe, Jaik Willis. I missed Friday night because of my day job so, the Ben Miller Band was the first band to rock my world at Shoe Fest. They come from Joplin, MO and have a unique sound that blends bluegrass, blues, and mountain music with an occasional trombone thrown into the mix. Ben Miller provides acoustic guitar and vocals for the band, sometimes singing into a telephone converted into a microphone that gives his voice a distorted 50′s sound. Doug Dicharry plays drums, mandolin, electric washboard, trombone, and electric spoons. His strange mix of talents add to the spice that makes this band so unique. Scott Leeper plays a self-made washtub Bass for the band. This is no easy instrument requiring the player to provide the correct tension on the neck to play the right note, but Scott is an expert at it. The band played mix of covers that included “I wanna be Sedated” and “Helter Skeltar” and some originals like “Meth Mama” and “Get Right Church.” Keller and the Keels put on an amazing show. The talents of Larry and Jenny Keel compliment and add to the talents of one-man-band Keller Williams. They played a few Keller originals like “Goofballs” and “Crater in the Backyard” along with many of their bluegrass covers such as Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” Jaik Willis is the last person I caught at the festival before I left Sunday afternoon. This is sadly one of the first times I have been able to catch Jaik play, and it won’t be my last. This man is über talented. He not only is one of the best guitar players in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter, he has a voice of gold, and he beat boxes! He holds a special connection with the crowd and has the rare qualities that make up a great solo performer. Shoe Fest was a great time and it felt like home. I cannot wait to go back next year!
North Coast Music Festival is practically in my backyard. We probably walked less to get from my house to North Coast than when we walked from our camp to the shows at Bonnaroo. I had a great time at North Coast, but since it is not a camping festival it has a completely different vibe, and the lineup, consisting of mostly DJ’s and electronic groups, draws a younger and slightly different crowd than most festivals I go to. North Coast usually gets a couple big headliners and fills in the line-up with smaller acts. Although it can be a really great place to find a great smaller band, there are a lot of performers there that I’m just not interested in. The late night shows usually make up for the sometimes lackluster line-up.
Musical Higlights: EOTO, STS9, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Papadosio. The first show I saw was EOTO. I always enjoy seeing them because I can hardly believe two guys can make all those weird noises, and with real instruments too. I was able to catch Papadosio for my second time at one of the smaller stages. They put on a good show as always. STS9 is always a highlight anytime I see them, and between their headlining spot at the festival and their after party show at the House of Blues they played every song I wanted to hear including some of my favorites “Unquestionable Supremecy of Nature” “Evasive Maneuvers”, and “Inspire Stikes Back.” Unfortunately, due to restrictions put on the festival, STS9 got their sound cut when their last song went few seconds past the 10pm cutoff. The second day at the festival the weather was unpredictable and I had to miss out on Family Groove Company’s main stage performance because the festival had a no re-entry policy. I saw Strange Arrangement at one of the smaller stages at the festival where I saw some of the best shows. I was able to catch Atmostphere and Future Rock before the nights headliner and one of my favorites, Umphrey’s McGee. This was their second year headlining the festival after playing the inaugural North Coast Fest 2 years ago. I went to the STS9 after party at the House of Blues because STS9 only comes to Chicago so often so you have to see them when you can. Sunday I got a late start but I as able to see Digital Tape Machine and Big Boi from Outkast perform. Big Boi was a fun experience, and someone who I typically might not see, he played “Sorry Ms. Jackson” and “Hey Ya” , so it was a pretty good time. The real highlight of the night was seeing Umphrey’s play at the Congress Theater, which is the only major theater I have not seen them perform at in Chicago. The show was rocking, and included a cover of Toto’s “Rosanna” and teases of “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bulls on Parade.” North Coast Music Festival always ends up being a great time, but the after party shows always seem to be the best part for me.
So that is pretty much the story of my festival season this year. I had a great time but you know I was busy catching shows in between each music festival as well! What kind of shows you ask? Well to find out you will have to wait for my next blog post that will be Coming Soon!
Photo Credit – Andrew Feigl for both Bonnaroo photos
Photo credit – Adam Alexander for Chickenheadfan North Coast photo