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Counselor In Training
Cervantes Summer Celebration June 10th (Ape Tit feat. Members of the Big Motif)
For those of you who live in Colorado, you know how fun a place Cervantes can be. And when they decided to have their Summer Celebration party this year featuring a bunch of local bands, I was ready to go…plus I just moved 3 blocks from the venue, both awesome and dangerous. Anyway, The Summer Celebration party featured a bunch of local bands. The first band I saw was Big Wheel Electrosoul. Awesome live hip hop featuring my good friend Mr. Charles Parker Mertens on the bass. Normally I don’t get into the hip hop too much, but whenever there is a live backing band I’ll give it a chance. I was glad I did. Holding down great beats with socially conscious lyrics, Big Wheel Electrosoul is one not to miss.
The last band I saw, yes I’m skipping to the end because my personal highlight came mid-show, was Whiskey Tango. I guess you’d call the grass rock or something as they have a traditional bluegrass lineup with the addition of a synth and drummer with full kit. These guys rock and for sure know how to hold it down. Once again, I don’t normally get into the bluegrass but these guys were really good. I’ve seen them before and I’d see them again. With driving beats supporting a twangy vibe of excellent songwriting, this band will be doing their thing in Denver for years to come.
The highlight of the evening, however, was a band called Ape Tit. Yes, as in the breast of a gorilla. I thought it was a play on words of “appetite” but I was wrong. This band features a local Denver guitar player paired up with the drummer from the Big Motif. If you know the Big Motif or saw them at Summer Camp, you know these kids, and I mean kids, are super young. It’s always a treat to see the entertainment on stage have big black “X”s on their hands, always wondering, where is this kid gonna be in 10 years when he’s had an opportunity to be exposed to all the music scene has to offer? Some people don’t make it, but if this performance was any indication, the kids from the Big Motif have their heads on straight and will be around for a while. Ape Tit was great. Hip Hop and break beats with layers of delayed guitar put over it. All fine in it of itself, the show really took off when Big Motif’s bass player joined in and took the event to another level. If you get the chance to see Ape Tit in Denver, do it, if not, catch the Big Motif and see these young kids before they are a ticket to tough to get.
Counselor In Training
Sunday was the culmination of my Summer Camp experience. Not only was the lineup jam-packed, but it was also the day of my private campsite show as well as my interview with moe. So it started nicely with me heading over to the barn to get cleaned up. The clouds looked ominous at this point but I was optimistic. I was also wrong. I stopped by my P-Town friend’s RV for Sunday Brunch. I thought this was both clever and cute. I mean how perfect is that? So I took a little video of it, which you see here.
It was a nice gathering of friends and the protein helped me for the final push that was Sunday at Summer Camp. Angie made Amy a plate and I headed back to camp as the winds were beginning to pick up. I dropped off the food and went to our friend’s site to make sure they had everything buckled down. It was about this point that I made this video.
It was getting a little scary as the winds whipped through tarps and tents. Luckily, those of us who camped in the woods got some solid protection but us lowlanders were also the victims of some serious puddles. All in all it was a fast moving storm and after about 45 minutes it was completely over. Music resumed on the Camping Stage, but the two main stages were out of commission for at least another hour. That meant there would be some on-the-fly rescheduling. Fareed Haque & Math Games did not get to play due to a scheduling conflict and Cornmeal was bumped up to 2 PM on the Sunshine Stage. That meant that UM and Huey Lewis would be playing at 3:45 PM. It meant that I would miss Cornmeal’s final set because of my interview, but I would be able to catch the rUMors show.
Amy and I hunkered down for the rest of the storm and after a bit of rolling thunder it was over. The only real issue left after the storm was the mud. It had been an element all weekend but after we got pummeled certain areas of the concert fields became impassable. The steady plodding of people’s feet had done a lot to pound out the moisture in the ground over the last three days, but in one quick storm all that hippie footwork was undone. The Wood Brothers’ set was also canceled but they were already playing the Campfire Stage for late night so I was okay with this move as well.
I went to my interview with moe. Rob had a last minute emergency he had to deal with so I sat down Al, Chuck, Jim, and Vinnie. In another surreal moment I got to talk to my heroes for about 20 minutes. We talked about a wide range of subjects including everything from how Summer Camp came to be to the new album. For the record there will be a new release out next year and no it will not be a double album. We also got a chance to talk about the role social media played in their recent Electric Lemoe.nade Show. The issue Al had was the fact that fans think it’s funny to vote for songs like We Got The Party and they are the ones that actually have to take the time to learn, like a Miley Cyrus song. Obviously the Internet can be ruthless sometimes. I finished up my interview as we heard Bela Feck and The Flecktones take the stage.
Bela Fleck is the epitome of musical prowess. He has been nominated in more categories than any other musician in the history of the Grammys. If that doesn’t give you an idea of his range, I don’t know what would. The set was tight, but I only got to catch about half. Since Coffin’s departure to Dave Matthews Band, they have been playing with original Flecktone Howard Levy on keyboards and harmonica. After an 18-year absence he began playing with them last year. This was my first chance to catch the original lineup and I have to say they played like butter. They were smooth and Victor Wooten drove the bus as Future Man punched out the drums on his SynthAxe. The highlight of the set for me was Sinister Minister, the sweet jazz drifted out over the crowd as I made my way over to the Soulshine tent for moe.’s acoustic set brought to us by HeadCount.
The acoustic moe. show really got the day going proper. The Soulshine tent felt like the cultural center of Summer Camp. It was located adjacent to the Make A Difference area and featured everything from open mic jams to headlining acts. It was a place for Yoga, Raffles, Workshops, and some amazing music. Unfortunately with so much going on all weekend I only got to take part in few of the events, moe.’s acoustic set was one show that I could not miss. The boys took the stage and opened with That Country Tune, here is the rest of the setlist from Phantasy Tour.
SET I: That Country Tune, Blue Eyed Son, Can’t Seem To Find, Okayalright, Tambourine, It, New York City
The audience recording is on Archive. Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
This set was a lot of fun. I snuck backstage and got a few shots from behind the band before finding Amy exactly where I expected her, dead center in the mud rocking out to moe. I had tried to text her for the last 10 or 15 minutes before the show with no response. She was walking by when she heard the barker shouting about a moe. show in the Soulshine Tent. She of course stayed for what was about to ensue. Blue Eyed Son displayed some excellent vocals as well as picking from the band. Before Can’t Seem To Find you can hear Rob asking about the Mega Man totem that can be seen in just about every picture from Summer Camp. The fan blasted back, “Where you from, you don’t know Mega Man?” To which Rob replyed, “I went outside and played sports… and had girlfriends.” The crowd got a kick out of it, and actually I happened to be filming at this point so you can see most of it in my video.
I love the banter moe. comes up with onstage and as of late I have been missing it. I was happy they got a little more playful during this set. The acoustic Okayalright was sublime. It’s been one of my favorites as of late and it just rocks the face, and seeing an acoustic version in the Soulshine was my highlight of the show. They busted out a nice Tambourine before blasting off with It. Some of these songs rarely get the acoustic treatment so I found this to be one of my highlights of the weekend. I mean there couldn’t have been more than a few hundred people in attendance because as I stated earlier, with so much going on, the tent shows are often overlooked. They closed the set with a fulfilling New York City.
And with that I hurried back to the Sunshine Stage for some Umprhey’s McGee. They actually opened for their much-anticipated alter egos the rUMors, with Huey Lewis by playing a couple originals. I got into the pit for the first song and actually got some great shots. UM opened with All in Time followed by a new song, Room To Breath before inviting Mr. Lewis onto the stage. Here is the full setlist from http://www.umphreys.com:
SET I: All in Time, Room To Breath (*), Don’t Fight It (**^$), Up on Cripple Creek (^^), Heart and Soul (^^), The Weight (^), Women Wine & Song (^), Respect Yourself (^$), Workin’ For A Livin’ (&&^), She Caught The Katy (^^), Partyin’ Peeps (^), I Want A New Drug (^)
* first time played, original
** first time played, Wilson Pickett
^ with Huey Lewis on vocals and harmonica and Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret horns
^^ with Huey Lewis
$ with Gale Gardner and Linda Greenwood on vocals
& first time played, The Staples Singers
&& first time played, Huey Lewis
You can listen to the show on Archive. Thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
Room To Breath was like a meaty fight song, with melodic guitar interlacing from Jake and I enjoyed it very much. The rUMors got it started with a Wilson Pickett cover of Don’t Fight It with Gardner and Greenwood on backing vocals. It was like the band transformed from the Umphrey’s we know and love to a an 80’s powerhouse right before our eyes.
“I went to Summer Camp as a kid but it was nothing like this.” –Huey Lewis
They went into The Band’s classic Up On Cripple Creek, where Lewis seemed a little rough before getting into his groove. Heart and Soul got the crowd moving and honestly, it was the Huey tunes with UM as a backing band that gave me chills. Hearing Bayliss take over on vocals was amazing. Not to mention the raw power behind the chords played by the rUMors was just incredible. As they went into The Weight, I had to make a quick run over to the 312 Vibe Tent to check in on the home brewer’s workshop put on by Kyle Hollingsworth from SCI and Adam Lewis of Family Groove Company. I took some pictures of the tasting before grabbing Adamfor a quick recap of the workshop. You can see that interview here.
I thanked Adam for his insight on brewing before racing back to the rUMors set just in time to catch Respect Yourself. It broke my heart to leave, but as the Summer Camp Counselor, it was my duty to see and take part in as much as I could. Huey Lewis, always the showman, never left the spotlight for the entire set. Workin’ For A Livin’, another Lewis classic woke everyone up and the Taj Mahal blues standard, She Caught The Katy, was a very nice addition to an already stellar setlist. I also have to point out that Lewis’ harmonica work was just solid all day long. Lewis got a chance to jam on an Umphrey’s original with Partyin’ Peeps. They ended this history-making set with the much anticipated I Want A New Drug. I was very happy with how this all turned out. And a big thanks to Huey Lewis for taking a chance, it was well worth it.
I ran over to the Red Barn as Everyone Orchestra was finishing up their soundcheck. In the interim I got a chance to talk to a few people who participated in the Make A Difference Challenge at Summer Camp.
Make A Difference was a series of tasks that attendees of the festival could take part in to earn their ticket to this private show. This incarnation of EO included Kyle Hollingsworth, Al Schnier, Natalie Cressman, Jans Ingber, Brian Jordan, Randal Moore, John Stanton, Abigail Stauffer, Chris Wood, and Erin Zindle and orchestrated as always by Matt Butler, which meant that we would be witnessing a serious jam session from a mind-blowing lineup. The jamming was sick, if you have never seen Everyone Orchestra, they are lead by a conductor who feeds them words, phrases, audience suggestions, and feelings to create a live musical collaboration. It’s awesome to watch and a great way to reward the proactive festival goers who took the time to clean up and recycle. I think this experiment was a rousing success and I hope to see other festivals taking notes from Summer Camp. By giving just a little incentive, people really became involved and that was what Make A Difference was all about.
I stayed at EO until just before 6:00 PM when I said goodbye to the great jam and headed back to my site. No one was around but I met up with CIT Jeff Greenswag on the trail and we ventured off to see Bruce Hornsby together. I tried to spend a little bit of time with all the CITs so this was my chance hang with Jeff for a set. My only real familiarity with Bruce Hornsby comes from his short stint with the Grateful Dead and some of his popular work. I know he is a truly accomplished pianist, but what I didn’t realize is how much fun he has playing live. He took us on a journey through blues, jazz and rock before bringing Bela Fleck and Jimmy Herring on stage for a cover of Huey Lewis’ Jacob’s Ladder. Hornsby picked up the accordion for this song and regaled the crowd with this powerful composition. I was headed back to get ready for moe., but couldn’t resist the opportunity to film this one from the back of the bus. This video is a little shaky mainly because of the zoom (also keep an eye out for a spot about midway through when I was almost run over by a wook) but hey, the sound is good.
I made my way back to camp where I met up with Amy. I told her it was time for some moe. and she hopped out of the tent ready to rock. We headed over to The Moonshine stage where we found the rest of our crew by the soundboard. We were pretty much in the same spot all weekend, which made it easy to reconnect in the massive crowd. I told Amy I would meet her in a few songs and headed down to the pit as moe. opened with a rocking Deep This Time, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: Deep This Time, Y.O.Y, Down Boy, Happy Hour Hero*, Rain Shine**, Farmer Ben, Moth
SET II: Plane Crash, Shoot First***, Silver Sun, Seat Of My Pants, Billy Goat
*w/ Kyle Hollingsworth on key
**First Time Played – Original – Al Song
***w/ Bela Fleck on Banjo
You can download the audience recording on Archive. Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
Y.O.Y was one the first moe. songs I ever heard and it still holds a special place in my heart. It was a solid version that saw some very nice percussion work from both Jim and Vinnie. Rob busted out a nice Down Boy before they invited String Cheese’s Kyle Hollingsworth on stage for Happy Hour Hero. This was incredibly appropriate considering Kyle had just released Hoopla a festival pale ale at Summer Camp. It was a mild but hoppy concoction that he collaborated on with Boulder Beer. I have to say it is a tasty beverage and a festival is the proper place for its consumption. Check out my video of Kyle with moe. here.
Rain Shine (or is it Rainshine?) was my favorite moe. song debut of the weekend. It was a very fitting song considering the topsy-turvy weather we had on Sunday and I do believe it could be a huge vehicle for the dark jam. I might add that during this set the sun was shinning brightly. Farmer Ben was what was up. I love it when Jim grabs the mic and plays the part of front man, but this version was special. It included teases from Chalkdust Torture as well as the Grateful Dead.
As moe. went into Moth I hightailed it back to my site to set up a couple chairs and drop some glow sticks so the crew could find my site for the private show. Afterwards, as I raced over to Widespread Panic, I stopped to chat with the Concious Alliance guys for a few. You can see our conversation here.
WSP was the last of my onstage sets, but when I arrived, no one quite knew who to talk to and the stage was on lockdown. They opened with a rowdy North. Here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: North Proving Ground, Party At Your Mama’s House, Wondering, Heroes, Angels on High, Tall Boy, Driving Song, Saint Ex, Goin’ Out West, Drums, Porch Song, Driving Song, Airplane, Protein Drink, Sewing Machine
I was just sort of relaxing backstage enjoying the music when I noticed Heis walking up with Kyle Hollingsworth. I headed over and had a nice chat with Kyle about his Brew Fest last year and about Hoopla. When we finished talking I watched him approach a couple of hula-hoopers by the fence and ask to borrow a one of theirtoys. That’s when I caught this video.
It was the little moments like this that I witnessed that were really the icing on the cake of the Summer Camp Counselor position. Holly soon found me and took me up to a spot about 8 feet from Jimmy Herring where two chairs had been set for our arrival. I was onstage for Tall Boy through Drums and this may have been the best chunk of the set. It was pretty awesome to watch Schools and JB communicating onstage while Jimmy just wailed away. I did grab a video of the first part of Driving Song, which you can see here.
I headed down during Drums mainly because I didn’t want to be alone up there and I had seen a great part of the show from a truly unique vantage. I was ready to mingle. Plus, I was getting antsy for my show. I enjoyed the rest of the set and hung out with my old pal BC. As they finished up I met Holly at the back gate and took a seat on the golf cart. We were waiting for WSP to sign my poster, (another part of my prize package.) Well, as I sat there Jimmy Herring comes walking over to the bus and takes a long look at me, “John, John, how the hell you doing? Geez it’s been two or three years, how the hell you doing?” With that Jimmy came bounding around the barricade and entrapped me in a massive bear hug. He began rambling on about how good I looked and how happy he was to see me. The joke was that Jimmy thought I was John Popper. Well, I let him go on for about 30 seconds before I cut him off, “ Jimmy I’m really too big of a fan to let you go on, I’m not really John Popper, but now you have to take a picture with me so I can tell this story for the rest of my life.” Jimmy obliged before making a quick exit to the bus.
It was getting to be crunch time so we left the poster in the hands of WSP management and drove over to the Camping Stage to meet up with the Kris, JP, and Allie from Cornmeal. Ben Slayter (my Director of Photography) met us and we all piled on the cart and drove through the crowd down to the VIP gate.
I had texted or told about 10 or 15 of my close friends at Summer Camp that this shindig was about to go down. I also told the moe. Phantasy Tour crew which made up the bulk of the crowd that was assembled as we pulled up. I took my seat and Ben got his camera ready. Amy and my friends smiled as I made my way in and I was just happy to be surrounded by so many good people. Honestly, there couldn’t have been more than 60 people in attendance. I had contacted Jesse Scott to tape the show, but he had an unforeseen issue with his deck so I am very thankful Ben was there with his video camera. (I was told I could not film my own set which is why I don’t have anything posted yet.) Stay tuned for the footage.
So all five members of moe. along with Allie and Kris from Cornmeal gave me a private show. It was just unbelievable.
PRIVATE SET: Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, The Weight
ENCORE: Speedy Golf Cart Exit
It was a huge highlight of my festival. Allie was close enough that Amy could feel the breeze from her bow. moe. was just a few feet away as they picked out the songs. I mean even now I’m still buzzing from the experience. After the first song Al looked at me and said, “We do have to get to work soon.” I assured them their time was greatly valued and I appreciated every second of it. At one point some kids charged through the crowd in front of Cornmoe., probably in a hurry to catch moe.’s final set. Everyone just sort of chuckled to themselves and the music continued. The Weight became a sing-along and with that, they all hopped in their respective golf carts, the crowd parted, and they disappeared down the path. We all just sat there for a second in the post glow smiling about what we had witnessed.
Amy, my friends, and I got our gear together and headed back to the Moonshine Stage for moe.’s last set of the festival. I told my friends they were going to open with Plane Crash, because it was time, before I made my way down to the front. It was my last opportunity to get photos so I hit the pit quickly then wandered backstage where I finally met the elusive Jay Goldberg. I thanked him and Arlan for an amazing experience and headed back to my group. As I was heading back, moe. invited Bela Fleck onstage for Shoot First. I loved the twang Bela’s banjo added to moe.’s mix. Silver Sun built slowly but exploded into a dueling guitar jam reminiscent of an AC/DC show before coming back to planet Earth. The SOMP was face melting and the set-closing Billy Goat was full of funky goodness. Now for those that don’t know, I edited my Summer Camp Counselor Video Resume with Rebubula
as the sound bed, which they chose to encore the last set of the festival with. I couldn’t help but feel that this was one final nod to me from my favorite band. It was the perfect exclamation point to my once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thanks guys.
Afterwards, Amy and I drug our chairs over to the Campfire Stage to end our weekend with the Wood Brothers. It was a euphoric end to my weekend as the first ever Summer Camp Counselor. I felt magnanimous and righteously good. I had literally met and talked to hundreds of campers. I had filmed a ton of great music and events. I had taken over 4,000 photos. My job was complete.
The next morning we tore down our camp and filmed my final standup, which can be seen here.
It was time to head home… until next year Summer Camp. Thank You.
You can see my Sunday pictures here.
Friday ended up being a very late night – I mean any night that has bluegrass ‘til 3 am is probably gonna be a late night for me. Anyway, it took some work to get off the mattress and into the world that is Summer Camp. So after eating something a few friends and I headed out to see my hometown heroes, Rebirth Brass Band. And like always, I enjoyed the hell out of it. They are truly marching band virtuosos who have created and improvised blend of funk, jazz, and marching tunes that’ll make your ass move. I’ve seen Rebirth quite a few times and they never cease to impress me, if you make it down to New Orleans you should swing on by the Maple Leaf Bar, they play there once a week. So basically, I love Rebirth. And even with that deep love of rebirth I really wanted to catch the end of Family Groove Company and get over to field day.
One of the most ridiculously funny and disgusting moments of my life happened soon after I arrived. I checked in as a pie eating competitor. In high school I had won a few eating competitions and I thought that this was something that I could definitely help the red team, “RED TEAM RAGE!” win. I was desperately wrong. The pies were not really cooked and so the mix of cold pie filling with uncooked dough was barely palatable. It was so gross. And while my friend Matt screamed encouraging words, such as “Dive your whole face into it, you fat-ass,” it was not a competition I could win. It was awful. But I would do it again for the Red!
Now that afternoon passed by with a fun set by Wiz Khalifa, not my favorite thing, but it was fun. And then we went to Girl Talk. Now I’m not a huge fan of electronic music, but I have a confession. I have a terrible guilty pleasure – pop music. I love it. And I think a lot of us do – we hear the beats from “My Pony” by Ginuwine, and you just can’t help it. And then Kelly Clarkson blows up the scene. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but Girl Talk is surely a member of the boogey patrol, and throws one hell of a fine party.
That evening we caught both sets of moe. which were just amazing. They played Recreational Chemistry and just set the place on fire. One of the really fun moments we had was during setbreak. We were restless but didn’t really want to have to move our chairs and bags, so we stayed. And we began to play four square. My friend Allie made the borders out of trash on the ground and we began an epic game of four square. Strangers became friends as people pummeled the ball into corners hoping for their chance of glory. While it was unorganized, confusing, and I’m sure at times annoying – God, I love four square. During the second set of moe., I kissed everyone I knew, and a lot of people I didn’t.
And that kissing continued right on through Big Gigantic and Cornmeal. I love the campfire stage. It’s just a magical place at night. I’m so happy it’s at the bottom of the hill and that the fire’s off to the side now. It’s just the best place to end the night. Dance in the barn ‘til you can’t move anymore and then come boogey to some homey bluegrass til the wee hours of the morn. It was awesome.
Counselor In Training
You must sleep in the forest, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Every year that I have gone to Summer Camp I’ve somehow managed to have a camping spot in the woods (mostly I have awesome friends). Anyway if you sleep in the forest there is abundant shade and it stays cool and you can sleep in as late as you need to, and that is just what I did.
I made my home in an Insta-Clip that my friends brought with them. It was where we stored our food as well as where I slept. So I woke up to eggs being cooked right next to me. This was perfect. I move slowly in the morning (let’s be honest, I always move pretty slow) and so I didn’t make it out of the campsite until moe.’s first set. And they played my favorite song, St. Augustine. God, I love that song, just makes me feel good about the world.
After moe. my peoples and I went to the 312 tent to participate in field day and get our red bandanas. One of our teammates had made shirts and so I think me and my friends bought about 20 of them and stayed together throughout most of the day. So if you heard people screaming “Red Team Rage!” Well, that was our fault. And we would unapologetically do it again. Overall Field Day was a success and was a good time. There are a lot of kinks to be worked out, but it was fun as hell, especially if you’re rolling with a really competitive group of people who love yelling.
We made it to De La Soul that afternoon and I can now say that I’m really not a big fan of hip-hop, I keep trying though. There was a lot of energy and we had a good time – I think I just don’t like hip-hop much, so sue me. Anyway, my buddy Max had a Pee-Wee Herman doll on a stick and it made quite the impression on the De La Soul crew, Red Team had raged once again.
We then ate some CeVapCiCi, which you should have also done. They made
beef-lamb-pork sausages, put it in a pita, covered it onions and you added a red-pepper eggplant sauce. It was seriously amazing. And the people were kick-ass as well. So here’s to you CeVapCiCi Man, I love you.
We caught Yonder, and 7 Walkers, which were both amazing, but the show that blew me away was Greensky Bluegrass – they were awesome. I’d never really listened to them before, despite having been to festivals where they had played and they really just rocked the house, or amphitheatre, or hill by the barn… whatever. And you know what, they also got down with Pee-Wee, making Pee-Wee on a stick the word of the day. And they shared with us some of their wisdom, “The first year you come to Summer Camp, you’re like an owl pellet. And the second year you’re like a chipmunk, some of you out there are like badgers…” Thank you Greensky Bluegrass – this badger is going to bed.
Counselor In Training
So for future reference, maybe only for myself, don’t get there at 3 am on Thursday morning during a rainstorm and expect everything to go perfectly. The rain kind of sucked and getting stuck in the mud didn’t make for a really happy crew, but we got three hours of sleep in the car and then our Summer Camp journey really began.
I came with a big crew, about eight cars deep and only a few of us were V.I.P. Let me tell you, if you can be V.I.P., do it. While the line didn’t open ‘til noon, it was a much shorter line. Once through the line my friends and I ran into the forest trying to find a good spot for all of our friends. Even getting up the tents and easy-ups we had really gave me a sense that we were settled. While we all had to make a couple more trips to our vehicles to get settled, ultimately we were there. We had our spot, and the raging could begin. Well really we were all really tired from getting there so early and carrying everything in, so instead the napping could begin. We all tried to get a little rest and then, for serious, the raging could begin.
The first show we caught was the Ragbirds and let me tell you, it was awesome. The Ragbirds, led by the delightful Erin Zindle can always put on a show. It took a little while for the sound to get tweaked, but other than that the music was great. It seemed like everyone at that show was boogeyin’ during Shake Shake Shake, Senora.
After the Ragbirds we headed back on “home” and grilled up some dogs. We then headed over to Family Groove Company and we continued to boogey as they closed with Every Time You Shake It. After that we just waited around for Cornmeal to come on stage. And they played a hell of an opening set. The crowd seemed ready to dance and dance they did. While it was a crowded show it was a wonderful opening to Summer Camp, I felt I was finally there as I heard Cornmeal play “Edge of the World.” And y’know after that I went to bed. I know, I know, it’s early and there was so much
more to do, but I’m old and there was three more days to rage. And rage we did.
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
Ahhh yes, the day was new, the mud was wet and no one was dragging ass. After a little R and R last night and a surprise visit from the fairies I knew I was ready to go. You see this was a good day for muah. I found out today that I was getting the chance to interview Ryan Stasik from Umphre’ys Mcgee. Yes this
made my day and woke me right up. I couldn’t get my mind off of anything else, until I remembered the amazing set up that day. Moe, De La Soul, Greensky Blugrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Cornmeal, Tea Leaf Green, Umphreys Mcgee, and the list went on and on and on and on it was a bit overwhelming to be honest. How in the hell was I going to make it to all the shows I wanted to see and be satisfied? I managed just like everyone else did. I mozzied from show to show enjoying Moe.s first set to kick of the fest, Yonder playing “No Expectations” one of my favorite songs, De La Soul taking Pee Wee Herman on a stick on stage, Umphrey’s playing one of their new songs “Hour Glass” for us, it was things like that that tricked my trigger and that’s when I realized I was going to be up all night.
It’s an art staying up all night, it takes a lot and if you got it, you got it, if you know what I mean. After carrying a man who had a seizure out of the Umphrey’s crowd, I hit up the VIP bar with my copilot for the night Cherry. We hit up Team Bayside High in the Vibes tent after strolling the land and making many a friends and grooved there for a bit before making our way to the Campfire stage catching the last bit of Greensky Bluegrass. That was fun, I got to make Pee Wee on a stick dance and ran into another CIT Joe. That made for an interesting night. You see I personally think everyone needs to meet Joe, he is great to say the least. He is spunky as all hell, funny and a great slap the bag partner haha. So after the show Cherry and I followed Joe back to his campsite for late night festivities. We slapped that bag until it was gone bsed for a while. The pictures turned out amazing by the way hahaha oh where they funny.
Back to basics, looking at the time I realized that it was getting to that point of the night where we turn in…..NOT. In reality I looked at the time and realized heck yeah I am going to make it to kickball with Stasik this year . Last year I was awoken by the fun of kickball but could not get my butt out of bed to play, but this year I was ready to go. What a turn out, there was a good crew of people there and we were all pumped for 5 AM kickball. This year they came prepared, they had more than one kickball so it couldn’t get stolen unlike last year when someone ran off with the ball and ruined the game for everyone which is pretty lame but no no no not this year. Stasik threw the first ball and the game was on. Awaiting my turn to kick I got hungry and got some amazing cheese fries from one of the vendors close by, pretty happy they were still serving. I sat my happy butt down and inhaled those things as I watched the game, felt good. So many balls went out of bounds, some people missed the kick, it was a pretty good game. In the end Stasiks team won, YEAH BUDDY!!!! I giggled my sleepy butt back to camp, had myself a morning drink and went to bed wondering what tomorrow would bring.
Counselor in Training