This Must be the Band just came through Colorado and boy was it a treat. Don’t miss them at the Soulshine Tent, 1am Monday morning, the only way to bring this festival to a close. Click HERE to check out my video blog on them!
Preparing for another ritualistic venture to Three Sisters Park; I can’t keep myself from reminiscing about last year. The whole experience was crazy, everything about it – from deciding to enter and making the video to announcing moe.’s first set. Entering the Camp Counselor 2012 Contest wasn’t even my idea to begin with – my friend randomly suggested it and I thought to myself “why not?” In all honesty I NEVER expected to win when I sent in my original video. It didn’t help that I emailed it merely two hours before the deadline would turn any chances of it happening to zero.
Summer Camp had always been special to me for many reasons – Summer Camp was not only the first festival I ever went to, but it was also the one weekend of the year which I could spend with my old best friends from college. When I, rather incredulously, realized I made the first round of candidates the significance and meaning of the prize began to actualize. I realized that winning wasn’t just going to be sweet because of the prizes, but because I was going to have the opportunity to experience unique moments that are literally, and as David Byrne’s would say, “once in a lifetime.”
The competition was pretty fierce. I was up against some great people; they all were smart, interesting and suited for the role. Luckily I had some good friends on my team and we fought harder and harder on each round. By the time it came down to the final three I even had my family in South America voting and telling their friends to vote as well. When the announcement was made and I read on the Facebook post that I won, I had to re-read it several times. It was exciting – I was going to get to meet and announce moe., interview some great people, and sit side stage for some great shows; the anticipation began to grow.
Within a few weeks I was finally on the trip to Peoria to be the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor. As soon as we put that rockstar parking pass on the rearview mirror and parked right next to the VIP entrance, I knew that weekend was going to be epic. Out of the many years of attendance, last year was the first time I had someone drive up to the car in a golf cart and take us (and our bags) up to our campsite. For the first time out of the many years of attendance I walked up to the backstage entrance behind the moonshine stage and demonstrated my “I can go back here pass.” I was nervous and terrified because I was going to announce moe.’s first set in about half an hour. Then I see Rob sitting in a golf cart, chillin behind his black sunglasses and he can see I’m nervous and I tell him why. “Oh you’ll be fine, it’s easy.” I smiled and said “Yeah, coming from someone who has just a bit more experience…”
The entire weekend was a blur of hectic sweetness. I couldn’t believe that suddenly it was Sunday. In those four days I had gotten to watch moe., Gigantic Underground Conspiracy and Umphrey’s sidestage. I got to partake in Wavy Dave’s birthday festivities and watch his cake melt in the 100 degree weather. I sat and spoke to Vinnie who gave me some drums instruction. I had the opportunity to interview the members of Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, G. Love, Wavy Dave and Kinetix. Umphrey’s signed their names to a poster which now hangs on my wall. The best moments however, were those unscheduled interactions with the people that make the festival what it is –getting insights and wisdom from Vinnie and Rob, singing Happy Birthday to Wavy Dave, talking to Ian, Rex, Holly, Danny, Graham, Nick, the Counselors in Training and the regular festival attendees who posed for pictures and gave me their personal take on the event.
Being Camp Counselor also experienced the festival in completely new way; in my effort to capture the energy of the festival, I met more people, took more pictures, and saw more varied bands than any other year. Looking back on it all I wish I had done even more. There is no real way you can prepare for the experience however, and it all happens so fast there isn’t much time to stop and plan. I wish I could relive the entire experience with the experience of it under my belt, but I can’t. All I can do is sit and reminisce about the wonderful 2012 Summer Camp weekend and smile knowing that it all actually happened.
It could happen to you too…YOU could be one of the few people on this Earth who get to live Summer Camp in this exceptional way…but you will never know unless you try.
Congrats to Kyle Hess, Camp Counselor 2013!!
For the rest of you: Start thinking of your 2014 Camp Counselor Video!!
See you soon!!
Check out the video blog here:
I was also lucky enough to interview Todd Stoops. Check out the interview here:
Hola fellow SCampers!!!
As we approach the weekend we have all been anxiously waiting for, I wanted to take a minute and give you guys a better idea of who I am and what I am going to bring to Summer Camp this year. First and foremost I want to introduce you to the people I am coming to SC with; two of the main people who you will see in my vblogs are dear, close friends of mine who actually introduced me to Summer Camp six years ago and have been there with me every year since, Derrick Lawless and Steve Bannister. Two super chill, awesome people who I met in college and am proud to say will be a part of my life for the rest of it. Come Summer Camp 2050 we will be there rockin’ it out like ever before. There are other friends of mine who are coming, Matt Weiler, Brian Buss, Christina Fountain, and Jake Kuykendall, (if you meet anyone of them, buy them a drink!) most of them are also friends from college who share the love for good music and good times.
One of the reasons that Summer Camp is the ULTIMATE most AMAZING festival is the line up. Every year I think to myself “man there’s no way this year’s line up is going to be as killer as last year’s” and every time I am proven wrong. I not only get to see the bands I already love and follow throughout the year; but there are always so many new bands that I fall in love with.
Some of this year the sets that I am looking forward to seeing for the first time are Gigantic Underground Conspiracy; an awesome compilation of artists from several bands who are sure to put on some jams you most certainly don’t want to miss. Tedeschi Trucks Band, I have always wanted to check them out and for some reason or another have never gotten the chance, with that kind of talent I know it’ll be an amazing show. Sun Stereo a sweet local Champaign-Urbana band with a distinct and fresh jazzy-rock feel, check them out in advance on facebook.
The bands that I have seen many a time before but cannot wait to check out are Lotus, went to their Halloween weekend show in Pittsburgh, PA this past year and it was out of this world good, if you haven’t checked them out – seriously it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Eoto is probably one of the bands I enjoy seeing live the most – they NEVER disappoint and manage to keep every show super fresh. Lastly can we say Talking Heads cover band? This Must be the Band is definitely one of those I gotta check out, can I put a request in? Let’s hear the Talking Heads song your band is named after =)
Alright so I have limited space and limited time and there are tons of bands I am dying to check out (like two bands not mentioned above who are among my all time favorite bands and who I get to see every year 3 days in a row ONLY at Summer Camp? that’s right…moe. and Umphrey’s), but I can’t talk about them all. So to let you know more about myself, I grew up on the Beatles, it led the way to harder rock and then jazz, such as Zeppelin and Dave Brubeck, and from there evolved further to include jam and electronic rock. I appreciate all artistry and talent, but I have a soft heart for drummers as I like to pretend I know how to jam on my used Evans drum set. I love Summer Camp for various reasons, but one of the main ones is that it was the first music festival of my life. Music has always had such an influential role in the essence of my being and there is no other festival that I feel as in touch with the tunes I love as SC. This is not your impersonal mob fest, you come to Summer Camp once and you feel like part of an extremely, extremely, large family forever.
On that note, for you first timers let me tell you some of the things I make sure to pack. For all you ladies, TP is a MUST. As glorious an experience as port-a-potties are, most of them run out of toilet paper and the best thing to do is be prepared, bring some and put a few squares (can you spare a square?) in your pocket. Next bring some trash bags, it is a privilege to use Three Sisters Park and we need to be responsible, have plenty of trash bags not just for garbage, but you never know what the weather could bring and you’d be surprised how dry one of those can keep you. Glow sticks are essential, not only do they add to the beautiful sea of lights at night on the main stage but they provide a great atmosphere for campsite hangouts. With all the great shows playing all the time, you are destined to catch some day shows and when the sun is strong some sun screen is essential! I have seen way too many people painfully red from neglecting to get their rub down, so SPF 50 it is! Finally, make sure to bring your crazy. This is a once in a lifetime experience to let go of everything that ties you down and let your true inner-self soar, so bring a happy spirit and leave your worries at home!
As your Summer Camp counselor I want you all to seek me out, let me make this your best Summer Camp yet. I want encompass the sweetness that is Summer Camp, and the only way I can do that is with your help. You fans are what keep SC alive and I want to show how we bridge the gap between the fans and the bands. Summer Camp is so much more that just music. It is about you living life; lets celebrate it.
I am going to promote some special Summer Camp spirit; my fellow moe.rons and I will be awarding fellow scampers that show special spirit throughout the festival. For example we will award the sweetest campsite, the person with the wildest outfit, the dude/dudette with the most innovative accessory or the neatest jam shout, and many many more; so let us join together and make this year the best Summer Camp EVER woop woop!!
SCampers for life!
Summer Camp Counselor Maria
For the past few years Summer Camp has fostered an amazing opportunity for local bands. It’s a chance to perform at the festival, called the On The Road tour. It’s like the minor league of Summer Camp literally feeding the fest with fresh talent. It’s a prospect for bands who could get overlooked to make a name for themselves and reach a wider audience at a national event. As Summer Camp continues to grow and cultivate a vibrant musical community they continue to be on the lookout for new bands that could be the next headliner. Last year Trichome took the honor and got to play with moe. bassist Rob Derhak at Summer Camp. Local bands perform in cities across the country and are voted on by concert attendees. The band with the most votes at the end of the night gets a set at Summer Camp. When the On The Road tour wound its way through Fort Collins, I headed down to Hodi’s to catch the show and cast my vote.
On the bill were Sun Squabi, Trichome, and The Magic Beans. Up first was Boulder electro-fusion group Sun Squabi. They were a mixture of organic playing and pre-produced electronic tracks, very much in the same vein as bands like Signal Path. They combined the electronic and the rock seamlessly, but I would say that their instrumentation fell into a minimalist realm at times relying heavily on their Macintosh computers to fill out their sound. Given their youth I was impressed with their passion and ability to mix, but the combination of their opening slot with the lack of early arrivers doomed them from the start.
Next up was the aforementioned Summer Camp alums Trichome. Brining a full horn section as well a large group of local followers, they set themselves up for a good show. They opened with a funky Hands Up, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Hands Up, Down and Dirty, 1999, Sway, Strawberry
Trichome blends elements of funk, rock, jazz, and electronic as they whip their crowd into a frenzy of fun. Having seen them several times since Summer Camp last year, one thing I can say for sure is that they bring the energy every time they play. They tossed in a special version Prince’s 1999 that really set off their performance. They would have to wait until The Magic Beans finished to find out if they had done enough to win the slot at Summer Camp.
The Magic Beans hailing from Nederland, Colorado have been exciting crowds up and down the Front Range for the past couple years. I’ve had the enjoyment of seeing them several times. My main criticism of them is that at times they have failed to play to the crowd. However, everything was fair game tonight considering this was their opportunity to showcase their style of music. The Beans did their best to rally the troops bringing a bus up from Boulder full of fans. This show was by far their best outing I’ve seen. They focused on jamming and playing in sync and showed the crowd that they were in it to win it. Here is their setlist.
SET I: Jam> Zumbai> Lazer Lady, Mountain Sky*> Space Cadet**> Zumbai
**I Got Your Number Jam
The show basically became two long extended jams with them returning to Zumbai to close. I was very impressed and would say they left it all out on the stage and put forth a solid performance to win the spot.
In the end it was announced that Trichome pulled the win for the second year in a row and once again claimed a their place at Summer Camp Music Festival. The On The Road tour is just one more great thing Summer Camp does to spread the love and give nascent bands an opportunity. And I for one fully support it.
For those of you who don’t know, the foundation of any good music event is the street team. If you are on one, you understand what I mean. If it wasn’t for the people on the street, spreading the word, how would anyone find out about that concert? Now imagine putting together a festival…how many concerts are there? There’s got to be at least 50. And since that’s 50 times the size of one show, well we need 50 times the street team. So I implore you Summer Campers, get your street team act together. Go out to your community and tell them about summer camp.
Recently, I made a video for the Umphrey’s show that came through Denver. Check it out here and put something together of your own for Summer Camp.
We are so excited to welcome the following artists to the 2012 Summer Camp Music Festival!
Michael Franti and Spearhead
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Dirty Dozen Brass Band (35th Anniversary Tour)
Wick-It The Instigator
The Divide (formerly the Great Divide)
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Red Wanting Blue
And guess what Campers? We’re not done! Stay tuned for a few more artist announcements coming soon! In the mean time, make sure you pick up your Getting Closer tickets before they’re gone!
Apply to be the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor!
We are currently accepting applications for our 2012 Summer Camp Counselor position. If you think you’re a perfect fit for the Camp Counselor position, and you are ready to have a once in a lifetime Summer Camp experience, here’s how to apply:
2. Email a written resume outlining your experience and qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 30th, 2012. Please include in your email a link to a video cover letter that addresses why you want to be this year’s Camp Counselor and what you can bring to the table (submissions without videos will not be counted). Keep in mind; this is not your typical job, so your resume can include ANYTHING that helps to prove you’re the right fit. Festivals you’re attending, tours you’ve been on…the more creative you are, the better!
2. We will review the applicants, and select the top candidates. The selected candidates will then be asked to put together a separate 2-3 minute video for fans to: introduce themselves, discuss why they are perfect for this position, and tell fans what they plan to offer the Summer Camp community as a whole with this new power and role. These videos will be posted on YouTube and put together in a playlist on the Summer Camp channel.
3. Each week, 2 of the candidates will go head to head and the winner will move on to the next round. Once the top 3 names have been selected, they will be added to our “ballot” and emailed out to fans to vote on. The candidate with the most votes will be named the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor!
So if you are fun, oozing with personality and charisma, and think you have what it takes, submit your application now. ALL APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY MARCH 30, 2012!! For any questions about the position, please email email@example.com.
Volunteer and go to Summer Camp for free!
We are still accepting volunteers to help out at the 2012 Summer Camp Music Festival. Volunteers play a vital role in the success of our event, and it would not be possible without them! For more information on how to apply, click here.
ONLY 68 days until Camp!
Your Summer Camp Director
To celebrate entering my 31st year on this planet we headed down to The Bluebird in Denver to catch Split Lip Rayfield. I had a solid crew consisting of Amy, my brother, and my best friend Ben. We grabbed a spot on the rail in the balcony as I roamed around taking photos. Split Lip Rayfield played Summer Camp in 2010 and in my oppinion are a not to be missed live experience. They are so unique and incredibly talented that watching them perform is simply jawdropping. Furthermore, I love the Bluebird; it is by far my favorite intimate venue in Denver. Good layout, awesome sightlines, amazing acoustics, and a great crew all combine to make any live show at The Bluebird a good one. Living in Fort Collins, I don’t get down as often as I would like, but it’s always a pleasure when I make it back.
Soon after we arrived Rayland Baxter Took the stage. Rayland was a mustachioed troubadour from Nashville. Odessa Rose accompanied him on violin and backing vocals for most of his set. Baxter demonstrated an incredible sonic range going from minimalist plucking to a full on audio assault. He was a storyteller and an acoustic bard. Rayland had an unusual knack for weaving songs out of observations, from his Mountain Song about living in the Rockies of Colorado to his interesting biopic entitled Willie’s Song. The highlight of his set was a tragic tinged tune called The Cold Easy Life of a Loner. It was a great albeit slower way to start the show.
The Magic Beans are anything but slow. Bringing a slew of their own fans with them, many in the crowd showed a level of enthusiasm rarely seen for a local act. Hailing from Nederland The Magic Beans have begun to build a loyal fanbase that is willing to catch them up and down the Front Range. A young band with a lot of potential they seem to be all over the map when it comes to their sound. Ranging from Phishy jam to a Disco Biscuits style dance party. At times they drifted into a distinctly Dead tone, which I found to be the best parts of their show. I will say this set of songs was very similar to their opening set for Elephant Revival I caught a few months back at The Aggie, but that’s understandable given their youth. The Magic Beans have enormous promise, and are already making waves in and around the Denver jam scene. Given the fact that they have had some solid opening slots and are finding their way into festival lineups including the upcoming Snowball and Phibstock. I see good things in their future as they continue to develop their style.
Split Lip Rayfield took the stage around 11 PM. This trio from Witchita, Kansas was a rapid fire kick in the junk. With machine-gun delivery and an urgent take on traditional bluegrass, their sound was simply infectious. Often classified as cowpunk and appropriately so, Split Lip Rayfield is a punch bowl of all things bluegrass. The only thing for certain was that this was not Del McCoury’s band. The Stitchgiver, a homemade one string bass cobbled together from a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis gas tank, is the beating heart of SLR. Watching Eaton whack away at that single string may have been their most entertaining aspect of the show. One thing that cannot be overlooked was just how much rhythm he produced with just one string.
The show was Redbull bluegrass, like slamming an espresso in a musical shot glass. The crowd was literally whooping and hollering as their show got underway. The main element that they borrowed from punk besides their shredding delivery was the two-minute structure of many of their songs. If you didn’t like one of the tunes, it was okay because it would be over soon. This was not my experience, I found myself truly locked into what was happening on stage. After I got my photos I headed back up to the balcony for the rest of the show. Split Lip Rayfield had a certain irreverence, with songs like A Little More Cocaine Please and I Used To Know Your Wife, it was obvious that while they were playing seriously they were not taking themselves too serious.
Additional highlights from the show included Movin’ To Virginia and Kiss of Death. They ended the show just after 12:30. I was 31 and happy that my first show of this rotation around the sun was Split Lip Rayfield. Having only caught the end of their set a couple years back at Red Rocks, it was great to see them playing for a dedicated group of fans in this awesome venue. I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to have their face melted by a banjo, a mandolin, and a one-string gas tank to head out and see Split Lip Rayfield next time they make it to town.
The Motet rang in 2012 with a funk-fueled extravaganza supported by Euforquestra at the Aggie in Fort Collins. Euforquestra is a multi-year alumni of Summer Camp, but surprisingly Colorado jam stalwart The Motet has never made the trek. We headed down to the show around 9 PM. The crowd was already gathering as Euforquestra took the stage soon after our arrival. They opened up with their now classic Cause A Reaction; here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Cause A Reaction, Road Funk, Feels Good, Melody Truck, Free >Excuse O, Berrington / Brown Medley, Fool In The Rain> Soup> Fool In The Rain, Life During Wartime, Feel Together
Their set was a high-octane journey through funk, afrobeat, reggae, and jam. There was a palpable buzz around the music as the show began. People were ready to say goodbye to 2011 in a big way with one last hurrah. Lasting around an hour and half the opening set took on a headliner feel. The temperature of the room rose as the people packed in tightly. In fact by the end of the set it was practically impossible to move around comfortably. The highlight of their set was their Fool In The Rain Sandwich with Soup taking the place of the beef. As the setlist indicated Life During Wartime was to be the close, but Euforquestra threw a cherry on the sundae with Feel Together. I was very happy with their set and by the end it was obvious they had made many new fans with this performance.
After a short equipment change The Motet took to the stage with members of Euforquestra around 11:30 PM. Opting for one long set this two-hour plus journey through electro funk and jam was the perfect way to ring in the New Year. They opened the show with Fela Kuti’s Expensive Shit. Here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Expensive Shit, Afrodisco Beat> NYE Countdown, I’ve Got That Boogie Fever, Power> Push> Power, Back In Love, Nemesis> Shakara, Shake Your Booty, Only So Much Oil, Roforofo Fight
ENCORE: Drop It In The Slot, Gas Money
The show might as well have been billed as Motequestra because that’s just what we witnessed. With the various members of Euforquestra bouncing on and off the stage The Motet were rarely playing alone. At times the horn section swelled to five members giving a full brass sound to many of the jams throughout the evening. These bands compliment each other so well mainly because they are both immersed in afrobeat and funk but Euforquestra has enough world flair to juxtapose nicely to The Motet’s electro edge. The New Year’s Countdown came quickly and I raced back from the front fearing I wouldn’t find Amy in time. Luckily she was waiting on the stairs for me and we got to take the leap into 2012 together. After the rowdiness of the countdown the show broke down into an all out dance-off. Arms flailed in the air as everyone shuffled for space on the floor. The Nemesis into Shakara was the highlight of the show and again demonstrated how deeply The Motet is interested in delivering the funk in a big way. The driving rhythm of Nemesis melted into the spacey afrobeat of Fela Kuti’s Shakara.
They ended their set as they began with yet another Fela Kuti tune. Roforofo Fight is another track that The Motet have pretty much adopted it as their own track and it was a great way to close the show. They encored with the one two punch of Drop It In The Slot and Gas Money. The pounding afrobeat and funky rhythms that permeated this show are the reason I see both of these bands. When they team up it makes for an incredible experience, and I was happy to welcome 2012 with them. Happy New Year everybody, I’m looking forward to another year of amazing live experiences and another year at Summer Camp.
Although Railroad Earth has only graced the Summer Camp bill in 2010 they are still part of the family. They have a dedicated fanbase and are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the scene. For the second time in two years, I headed down to the Ogden to catch Railroad Earth for a night of their New Year’s run. Last year I saw them with Great American Taxi on NYE. This year I headed down on the 30th mainly because the show included a sit-in with Kyle Hollingsworth, another Summer Camp alumni. Including my trip to Chicago, this would be the fifth time in a month seeing Kyle live. Amy picked me up from work and we headed out to a nice sushi dinner before heading over to the box office. We hit up Pete’s Monkey Bar to catch a bit of the Phish live stream from MSG before walking back to The Ogden to see the opening act.
Railroad Earth came onto the stage around 9:30 PM. Kyle’s keys were set up but he waited a few numbers before making his way to his rig. They opened with a funky Walk Beside Me, led by Andrew Altman on electric bass. Here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: Walk Beside Me, Lordy, Lordy, Bread and Water, Little Bit O’ Me, Stillwater Getaway, The Hunting Song, Mourning Flies, Said What You Mean, Long Way To Go
SET II: Old Man and the Land, Head> Will it Go Round in Circles, Bringin’ My Baby Back Home, The Forecast> The Man Who Invented Sin> Mighty River> Like a Buddha, Elko
Encore: I’ve Just Seen a Face, Bird in a House
Note: Kyle joined on The Hunting Song and stayed for the remainder of the show.
The audience recording is available on ARCHIVE, thanks to Gerry Gladu for posting.
The first stet ebbed and flowed as far as the energy level was concerned. The 16 and up age limit made for an interesting mix in the crowd. From screaming x-handed noobs to old deadheads, the fanbase was as diverse as the music performed. The rolling and tumbling Lordy, Lordy got everyone’s juices flowing. The Bread and Water succeeded keeping the vibe at a fever pitch before the Little Bit O’ Me deflated the room a bit. Musically, Railroad Earth sounded as tight as I’ve seen them, but without the urgency of their opening set at Red Rocks this summer. They meandered into the show with a confidence and comfort often reserved for night two of three-night runs. Carbone played the fiddle beautifully on Stillwater Getaway, jumping back and forth between an almost symphonic presentation and an outright hoedown. Kyle Hollingsworth took his place at the keys on The Hunting Song. Kyle added the ragtime feel of an old-timey saloon. Inherently there are certain gaps in RRE’s sound; them being a Newgrass band, Kyle’s keys filled them in nicely. It was great to see Andrew Altman really stepping it up on bass. He alternated between electric and standup and really seemed to be finding his footing in the band. I was also truly impressed with Sheaffer’s vocals, which went from clean and crisp to almost Dylanesque as in Said What You Mean. They closed the set with a raucous sing-along on Long Way To Go.
The second set overall had a much more consistent flow and vibe. Railroad eased into set two with a bouncy and scenic Old Man and the Land before ripping into a massive 18 minute Head. The jamming showed some serious tightness and ability from all of the members including Kyle. Everyone was ready to lock in and take the ride. They ripped into a Kyle-led version of Billy Preston’s Will It Go Round in Circles. The haunting melody of The Forecast segued into the instrumental The Man Who Invented Sin. The Mighty River went quickly before RRE exploded into a powerful Like A Buddha. Againg clocking in at over 18 minutes this was by far the highlight of the entire show. They closed the second set with an equally strong Elko. It was like the band just turned on the turbo boosters on the last four songs of the show.
They encored with a quick I’ve Just Seen a Face and fun Bird in a House. The crowd left happy and energized from this stellar show. While the first set came on slower, the second set, particularly the end, more than made up for it. As we exited into the cold night of Denver we were stoked on the whole experience. Railroad Earth has a habit of performing remarkably. They have such a strong fanbase and have continued to play exceptional shows out on the Front Range, that I see nothing but good things for them. I was happy to catch a night of RRE’s New Year’s run and would recommend that everyone do the same. However, it was time to head home because I opted to see The Motet and Euforquestra for New Year’s Eve in Fort Collins. That would prove to be another solid choice.