^ 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
Therefore, last Sunday – tired from lack of sleep due to friends visiting for the holiday – both Derrick and I hit the road, driving over two hours to see Big G at the Canopy.
I had to be at work the next day – at 8am, so I was estimating I’d get about 4 hours sleep…did that in any way make me hesitate? No way. Nothing was going to let me miss this show.
The next day I was tired, cold, and had an aching, stiff neck. Was work on Monday painfully long and horrible? Yes. Was it torture? Yes. Was Big Gigantic worth it? F**K yes.
We entered the Canopy Club – one of our favorite venues- and Ana Sia was the DJ peering over her Mac. For me, it is always nice to see a female up on stage. She played some sweet beats – I especially liked her rendition of a forgotten high school favorite “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. She was focused the whole time – yet dancing the whole time as well. She definitely has talent – I am sure this is not the last time we will be seeing Ana Sia.
Ana finished up around 11. After a short break the place lit up and out walked Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken – or as otherwise known, Big Gigantic. This is a unique duo – based on sax and drums. A great mix. Throw in some bass and you got yourself a show worth driving 2 hours to see on a Sunday night.
Big Gigantic was stopping at Urbana as part of their Uprising Tour…ending with a New Year’s show in Chicago. The place was surprisingly jammed and even Gumby made it to the show. What really made this an especially fun concert was that they played many of my favorites – such as their Aloe Blacc “I need a dollar” remix and their Kanye West “Get em High” remix.
Some of the other great ones were “Sky HIgh,” “Lucid Dreams,” “Shine” (A Place Behind the Moon), and “Nocturnal” (Nocturnal). There were all kinds of fans, there was all kinds of energy and the whole place was just jumpin’. In case my pics aren’t doing it justice – I want to stress how great the light show was. They did a great job; it was original and perfectly synchronized.
One of the most amazing things about this band is that they are all about satisfying their fans – and one of the ways they do it is by giving us free music. That’s right – you can download their album “Nocturnal” for free on their website. So if you are not on the Big G party wagon then your missing out. Go to their site, download their music, come to a show and praise the ingenious drums-sax mix. If it’s just not going to happen in the near future, at least I can offer some consolation in telling you that they will be at Summer Camp next year. Yeah so if you didn’t get your tickets to SC yet – what are you waiting for?
I have been absolutely DYING to catch GUC since I heard they got together. Disco Biscuits + Big Gigantic + Conspirator + Underground Orchestra + RAQ = AMAZING!! They’ve only played two shows before this one and I wasn’t able to make either, so this was one of the shows I was just itching to watch. So much so that I request to be on stage for it.
GUC side stage – The lead up to this show had more buzz backstage than anything I’ve seen so far at the festival, the stage was literally bouncing to the bass. You could see the chemistry between the band members (who have known each other “forever”). An eye here, and a nod there, lead to jams that had the entire crowd bouncing around the entire time (which was quite the feat since the temperature was around 95 degrees during their set.) After a food break and an equipment check the guys were cool enough to spend 15 minutes with me “interviewing” them. I put “interview” in quotes because the group dynamic these guys have together doesn’t lead to many spots where you can ask a question. They really feed off of each other behind the scenes. It’s easy to see how that translates to their chemistry on stage. This group of friends really enjoys chilling and hanging with each other off stage, and it shows on stage.