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.
Just a week after I got to see Roster and Kyle Hollingsworth, coming into town is Strange Arrangement. These guys are from Chicago and have played Summer Camp before. They played an awesome show at Cervantes Other Side and they were even recording for a DVD…I managed to get a copy of one of the song on there…Check it out here: Strange Arrangement – Sweet Love
Unfortunately I couldn’t sit down with them, but I did get to ask them some questions over email, check out their answers below:
Jeff – Where are you from, individually and as a band?
Strange Arrangement – We are all from the South West suburbs of Chicago. Jim Conry is from Willow Springs, IL. Kevin Barry from Hinsdale, Joe Hettinga from La Grange, IL and Steve Sinde is from Burbank, IL.
J – Where did your band name come from, it’s usually a good story, no?
SA – Haha! We used to play together in High School and the name came from a very quirky friend Mitch Manz that thought the words just sounded hilarious. He also played Harmonica and percussion in the band and when we were trying to name the band all he kept saying was “No way!!!! Strange ArrANGEment!!! Plus, the name definitely fits the music. We reformed in 2007 and thought about a ton of different names but SA just stuck with us…
J – How long have you been playing together?
SA – Jim, Kevin and I (Joe) have been playing together since 1997. But went separate ways from 2000 until 2007 when SA was reformed in Chicago in 2007.
J – What festivals have you played before?
SA – We’ve played at The Big Up, Bear Creek, North Coast, Summer Camp, Hoxeyville, Rootwire, Shoe Fest and a lot of smaller regional festivals in IL, WI, IN, OH and MI.
J – What would you say your biggest show has been so far?
SA – Our biggest shows have been Bear Creek, Rootwire, Hoxeyville, Summer Camp and opening for Umphrey’s at the Canopy club and UM After show on the new years run last year at Kinetic in chicago. Also, the House of Blues in Chicago on the main stage.
J - I know it’s a rather vague question, but tell us a little about where you are at in your career as this band and what kinds of initiatives you are taking to continue moving forward…
SA – We are currently changing from a regional touring band into a national touring band. We recently have gone to Northeast, Southeast and Southwest markets and plan on returning to each of these regularly. We’ve recently expanded the production of our shows to include a light rig and will soon be releasing our live shows for download so wherever you are, you can get some Strange live!
J – Are you trying to get into Summer Camp? If so, what is that process like?
SA – Of course we want to play at Summer Camp! We love that festival! We keep playing heavily in the Midwest to keep spreading the gospel of Strange Arrangement
J - Anything you’d like to add to tell the fans of SC music festival?
SA – We are playing a Jam Productions show in Chicago at Park West on Friday Jan 27. It’s a CO-Bill with Strange Arrangement and Greensky Bluegrass and Chicago Farmer opening! Definitely not to be missed! Our website is the best place to keep up to date on new announcements and show listings. www.strangement.com Our winter tour will be at least 25 shows so stay tuned and hope to see you there!!
Also, don’t forget to like us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strange-Arrangement/164640530689
Cornmeal decided to make yet another pilgrimage to the great state of Colorado before 2011 wound its way down the drain of life. They were doing a two night run hitting The Aggie and The Fox before gearing up for their December run on the east coast. I got a chance to sit down with Wavy Dave and Chris Gangi from Cornmeal before the show. It was a great conversation about everything from their new release of Live In Chicago Volume 2 and their upcoming studio album to Summer Camp and New Year’s runs. It was an enlightening talk and we will be featuring some our conversation in video form as well as on our MusicMarauders Live podcast next month.
Magic Beans, who currently call Boulder their home, are an eclectic mix of all things jam. I listened to some of their tracks online before the show and I was struck by their prowess with acoustic songs. At the Aggie, it was immediately apparent that they were young. They had solid musicianship, but other than their Rocky Top opener, they seemed to stray away from the sound that had drawn me to them in the first place. I will say that their second song, Band Camp, was like a washing machine full of jam on the spin cycle. It was a fifteen-minute opus that showed the wide variety of their skills. They ended their set with some Bisco sounding playing that, given the fact that they were opening for Cornmeal, seemed a bit out of place. Given the fact of their age, I was impressed with their musicianship and I look forward to seeing them evolve as a group. With a little more focus, they could powerful force on the jam circuit.
Cornmeal took the Aggie stage around 10:45 PM and jumped into a high-energy hoedown that was like watching a bluegrass volcano erupt before my eyes. Cornmeal always brings the heat in Colorado. Something about the altitude or the water out here just inspires them musically. They have become so well known out here as a band that always delivers live that they usually draw quite the crowd. A decent audience was in attendance for a Thursday night show in Fort Collins. They opted for one long set playing almost two and a half hours rather than breaking it up. Allie shredded the violin like a female bluegrass version of Hendrix. Wavy Davy showed some of his skills on the banjo and he nailed some back and fort between himself and Kris. Highlights from the show included a very nice Out Here On My Own and a Magic Stone Mountain that would get even the most jaded fan dancing in the aisle. As they were about to wrap up the set they surprised the crowd with a beautiful version of John Lennon’s Watching The Wheels.
They encored with a huge This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads and Townes Van Zandt’s White Freight Liner Blues. It was a great close to an amazing show from Cornmeal. They bring so much to their live shows by creating a palpable energy in any room they play, and upping the ante for any other jamgrass band touring today. They are a fearless group that, through their twelve plus years of playing together, have become so comfortable in that they are willing to take chances and push it to the limit. Their show at the Aggie was no exception and I will continue to look forward to their regular visits to Colorado.
Kyle Hollingsworth has a great relationship with Summer Camp. He came this year and along with Adam from Family Groove Company hosted a home brewing class on site. So it was interesting to have both on hand for this event. Having been to the first two Brew Fests hosted by Kyle Hollingsworth I knew I couldn’t miss the third in Chicago. Family Groove Company has played a total of 8 Summer Camps slowly working their way up the lineup.
This was the finale to Kyle’s Hop On Tour, which began at the pair of KHB shows out on the Front Range. It all benefitted Boulder based nonprofit Conscious Alliance. He had been giving out golden tickets in posters throughout the tour for an opportunity to share a beer with Kyle at setbreak. As well as hosting meet and greets at breweries around the country. This was a chance for everyone to get in on the fun. We arrived and took in the layout. It was a decent sized room and the fest featured twelve craft breweries including Stone, Magic Hat, and my old hometown microbrewer Bent River.
The afternoon also included a two set show by local jam powerhouse Family Groove Company. FGC started the first with their classic brand of Janis fueled funk. They have an interesting integration of both instrumental songs and Jordan Wilkow lead jazzy numbers. I was impressed with their musicianship all around. I had seen them several times back in my college days but due to the fact that they rarely make it out to Colorado now it has been a while since I’ve caught them live so I’m a little rusty on their solo setlist. I can tell you that they straight jammed and brought a power and dynamic that turned the heads of the boozy patrons and quickly transformed the room into an all out dance party.
Kyle came to the keys as Jordan stepped down. Taking the lead Kyle opened up his portion of the show with a Taxman jam. Kyle is pretty much always in a good mood at his beer fests and today was no exception. He busted out his now classic Song In The Key of Beer and segued nicely into a rocked out version of Way That It Goes. It was an interesting change up from not only the KHB version but also what SCI has been doing with this song on the Roots Run Deep tour. Additional highlights included a funky version of Let’s Go Outside and a set-closing take on Billy Preston’s Will It Go Round In Circles. Kyle bid adieu as he obviously had places to be.
At setbreak I wandered over to check out Conscious Alliance’s silent auction. They had a ton of awesome gear on hand including signed posters, a Summer Camp running jacket, and an autographed copy of moe.’s Smash Hits CD.
Family Groove Company came out for another set as the room slowly cleared with kids that had gotten warmly drunk on the high ABV beer selections. They closed their show with a funked out Subterranean Homesick Blues. It was truly a fun afternoon, which again reaffirmed my belief that this is a not to be missed event. Whenever they offer up a chance at a Kyle’s Brew Fest I just jump on it because they are always such a blast. I would suggest that if one comes to venue near you, go. As we headed home to get ready for one more night of String Cheese we were left with warm feelings and happy thoughts. Thanks for yet another great event Kyle and Family Groove Company.
It’s been quite some time since the Leftover Salmon’s full band peformed at Summer Camp in 2004. I was there that year I and remember it being one of the highligts of that particular lineup. However Vince Herman has a long history with the fest taking on MC duties in 2006. He did everything from introducing bands, playing tweener sets on stage, and even playing an impromptu acoustic show in front of the barn with Chuck Garvey. He was also there with his side project Great Ameican Taxi and as an artist at large in 2007. So it would be an understatment to say that seeing them on 2012′s lineup would make me very happy. I’ve been touting the reemergence and reinvigoration of Leftover Salmon for months. It was obvious after seeing them on their River Run this summer that any sign of burning out or winding down was a distant memory for the members of LoS. I was again reminded of how far they’ve come at their show at The Ogden.
I headed down early to get a good spot for some shots and ended up hanging out on the rail for most of the show. Head For The Hills opened up the night with a string filled bang. Now Head For The Hills has never had the opportunity to play at Summer Camp but I honestly believe they would be an asset to any festival. Furthermore, I just want to start off by saying that Matt Lowen is the Bassnectar of bluegrass, holding down the rhythm with his thick licks and nasty bass bombs. He was most definitely driving the bus. Now I’ve had the pleasure of seeing H4TH a few times but when they arrived onstage adorned in their tracksuits and screaming out, “Turkey Sweat” to the rapidly growing crowd I knew we were in for a treat. They took this run seriously, which is evident in the tape from Kind Recordings.
You can listen to it on ARCHIVE, thanks to Corey for posting.
It is shows like this that just fill my heart with so much goodness it is simply impossible to wipe the smile from my face. As I was snapping pictures I found myself pausing just to soak up all the righteousness oozing out of the band in front of me. They have this indescribable mix of being both current and yet old-timey. Their contemporary take on the classic and ability to harmonize so well is what sets them apart from other bluegrass acts touring today. They opened with a beautiful One Foot In The Grave that showed everyone what is possible vocally with Head For The Hills. They performed massive version of My Angelie, which has to be my favorite jamming vehicle of theirs. Beautiful and musically perfect versions of Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill and Pink Floyd’s Fearless were highlights from their set as well. Joe Lessard’s fiddle was both powerful and subtle as he traded main vocal duties with Adam Kinghorn. They each took turns with hand-blurring solos as they ripped through their repertoire. By the end of the set my head was spinning from what I was witnessing. Mike Chappell on mandolin was the glued that held it all together as he at times held back and at other times literally made the earth move. They closed their set with Ray Charles’ Unchain My Heart, which took on a tone that was both unexpected and crispy. Once again Head For The Hills showed us why the are Colorado’s best bluegrass band two years running (as decided by the Westword) and why they are a not to miss show. This Thanksgiving I was thankful that they were on this run with Salmon.
It was time for the main event, which as a two set extravaganza from the one and only Poly Ethnic Cajun Slamgrass outfit from the mountains of Colorado, Leftover Salmon. They opened with a rowdy Carnival Time that just set the mood for what was about to go down. Here is the rest of the setlist from Kind Recordings.
SET I: Carnival Time, Gold Hill Line, Gonna Have A Party, Shenandoah Valley Breakdown, 44 Blues, The Highway Song, Danger Man*, She Caught The Kay*, RIP Michigan Mike, Down In The Hollow
SET II: All Night Ride, I’m Gonna Live High Till I Die, High On A Mountain Top, Almost Cut My Hair, Troubled Times> Ask The Fish, Last Days of Autumn, Jokester, Bill’s Boogie, Out In The Woods, Whipping Post> God Save The Queen
ENCORE: Nobody’s Fault But Mine**
*Silas Herman on mandolin
**Silas Herman on acoustic guitar, Joe Lessard on fiddle
Here is the Kind Recording from Corey on ARCHIVE.
I guess let me start by personally saying sorry to Jose Martinez. I’ve been giving him guff mainly because I felt he has had a few weak outings with the band in the last couple years, and when Wally Ingram sat in with the band for the River Run I honestly felt like they were making a transition. That being said he was on point the entire evening and really showed me what he is capable of with Salmon. So from me to you Jose nice work, keep it up sir. Going on I really do feel that Andy has just kicked this band into high gear. I don’t know that if in my twenty or so Salmon shows I’ve ever seen Vince and Drew so happy and obviously energized. They are always fun but there was something different this time, I kept catching Vince smiling as he watched Andy play and the energy between Drew and Vince was electric all night long. The Shenandoah Valley Breakdown showed some seriously fast picking and the 44 Blues lead by Bill McKay gave everyone a chance to catch their breath as we grooved away to his crunchy vocals. Vince likes to tell stories while he is performing; he is very much a bard in that way. He informed the crowd that since the band was now 21 and of age following last year’s 20th anniversary celebrations that they would be doing some extended touring and start work on a new album.
“See if we can get some more Salmon running around the country all over the place. Both in the water and on the highway.” –Vince Herman
Drew belted it out beautifully on Highway Song again demonstrating why he is so important to the Salmon sound. Few people give me chills when they sing live like Drew consistently does whenever I see him play. Vince’s son Silas came onstage for Danger Man and She Caught The Katy, which were huge highlights of the first set. After dedicating the show to Michigan Mike the previous night Vince took a moment to honor him and announced a show at The Stage Stop the next night. His hope was that the music would help the start to heal the community of Nederland after this tragic loss. They finished the first set with another Drew tune, Down In The Hollow.
They started the set teasing Louie Louie before ripping into All Night Ride. Again this shows their playfulness and happiness to be playing together in this band. Bill McKay again took vocals on David Crosby’s Almost Cut My Hair. Now I’ve seen them cover this track but this version just blasted off. A couple times it almost felt like they were teasing Whipping Post before it broke down into a reggae-infused Vince led pick off. The Troubled Times was stunning but things got weird during Ask The Fish. With the band taking on an ethereal Doors-esque jam, Vince gave us a soliloquy about how was face to face with a fish the was roughly the size of the room. The crowd became the amebas on the mouth of this giant fish asking them to act it out for him. Using a round glow stick that had been tossed onstage earlier as a prop to signify a bubble. It was a fun moment to say the least.
“How many of you feel more like you now than you did yesterday? That’s progress.” –Vince Herman
Bill’s Boogie was fun, but the highlight of the show was the set-closing Whipping Post into God Save The Queen. They encored with a huge Nobody’s Fault But Mine inviting Joe Lessard from H4TH and Silas back out for an extended picking session. This show again reaffirmed my belief that Leftover is back to their old self. After the loss of Mark Vann they had some growing pains and it took years for them to get back to this place. I can safely say that they are ready for the road ahead and I look forward to swimming upstream with them for years to come.
After a great night of music with the String Cheese Incident in Chicago we decided that we just hadn’t had enough. Mikey and I got dropped off at the House of Blues for Sexfist. Also known as the Henhouse Prowlers this group of bluegrass dynamos brought the heat to their SCI after show. The Henhouse Prowlers played Summer Camp in 2009 and this last year in 2011. I didn’t get a chance to see them, mainly because I was so busy with my duties as Camp Counselor. So this was a great opportunity to see this incredible group. As the snow began to fall we entered the nearly empty club. Luckily for us they hadn’t started yet. Within a few minutes of our arrival we watched as four gentlemen dressed in suits saunter out onto the stage.
They eased into the show demonstrating their prowess on the strings. Fast picking and solid harmonizing seem to be the hallmark of this band. As the room slowly filled up never reaching more than about fifty or so souls I felt lucky to be there and witnessing this great music. Heavily immersed in the old timey sounds, they also brought a freshness and zeal that made for a truly interesting experience.
Highlights from the show included a zipping version of Mr. Charlie that kicked off the dust on the show weary crowd. Additional highlights from the show included Old Home Place, Midnight Moonlight. A mix of classics, covers, and original picking tunes what we witnessed at The House of Blues. For their encore the band walked off the stage and played unplugged. They treated us to a sweet version of I’m Blue I’m Lonesome before calling it a night in the wee hours of the morning. This was my first time seeing this group and I was truly impressed with the entire package. From their attire to their pick of venue to their overall style, this show was the gem in the doughnut of my weekend in Chicago.
So, it was getting close to crunch time for Umphrey’s McGee’s Red Rocks and
Blue show. I had a request in with Summer Camp but it wasn’t until the Wednesday
before the show that they finally got approval for my photo pass. I was stoked. It
was the first time I had gotten photo access at the famed venue that I call my
summer home, The Edge.
So when the day finally arrived I grabbed a ride with my buddy Jeremy and
we hit the Lower South Lot around 3:30 p.m. I immediately met up with J-Man from
MusicMarauders and we took a minute to catch up. It was amazing how many
people recognized me as the Summer Camp Counselor. No less than 10 people
asking if I was the CC stopped me as I wandered around the Lot. It was kind of eye
opening in the sense that I realized how widely my work as the CC had spread my
image. J-Man and I walked back down to Will Call to get our credentials. Amy came down with some other friends so I headed to Upper South Lot to meet them before going inside.
We got in just as The New Mastersounds were starting their set. I quickly
made my way to the photo pit while the rest of my friends found a spot around row
15. The place was still fairly empty which meant there was plenty of room to move
around. I took photos for the first three songs as I was instructed was the protocol.
NMS riveted the audience early and blew away the crowd. Hailing all the way from
the United Kingdom they came to Red Rocks to play. I got a chance to chat with
bassist Pete Shand at setbreak who informed me they were used to playing 3 hour
shows with a half hour encore. This fact didn’t stop them from delivering the greasy
funk for just under an hour at Red Rocks. The New Mastersounds are an all-
instrumental funk based band. They stayed true to their nature by just playing a
jam-tastic set. I was very impressed with The Mastersounds at Red Rocks.
The Easy Star All Stars were up next with their mix of reggae and classic
covers. Overall it was a fun show with selections from Radiohead, the Beatles, and
Pink Floyd. Everyone has heard Dub Side of the Moon but to hear them play live
was actually a really interesting experience. I thought their originals were a nice
way to mix it up and they truly did energize the crowd. As they finished there was a
hiccup and before they could go into Time they were cut off.
No matter I was there for the main even and that was definitely Umphrey’s
McGee. They opened their set with a solid Jazz Odyssey. Here is the rest of the
setlist from PT.
SET I: Jazz Odyssey>, Bridgeless, Professor Wormbog, Puppet String, Hurt Bird
Bath, Deeper, Plunger, No Comment, Plunger
SET II: Nipple Trix, Divisions, Forks, Sledgehammer, Red Tape, Jimmy Stewart,
Red Tape, Day Nurse, Hajimemashite
ENCORE: Release, Bridgeless
The set was one of peaks and valleys, at times making the audience really work a
bit. I felt there was a bit of a disconnect with the crowd. A possibility is some level
of disappointment with attendance. At this point there was only about 4500 people
in the 9000-seat venue. Either way there was some real highlights from the show.
The open was solid coming out very strong. I was down in the pit for the first fifteen
minutes of the set and got a chance to snap some solid pictures. As I learned at
Summer Camp being that close to the powerful playing of Umphrey’s can be intense Surrounded by a cavalry of professional photogs I focused on getting my photos so I could enjoy the rest of the show. Plunger to close the first set was awesome and typical of UM’s back and forth song setlist writing.
The second set was definitely better and focused on the sublime jamming
Umphrey’s McGee is known for. Jake Cinniger was the VIP of the evening with his
pinpoint accurate guitar work. His progressive licks and ability to segue on a dime
was definitely a highpoint of the show. UM’s cover of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer was a surprise and a nice way to jump off the path for a minute. The Red Tape, Jimmy Stewart sandwich saw the most interesting playing of Red Rocks and Blue. Hajimenmashite was a solid close to the show before UM disappeared from the stage.
Umphrey’s came back for their encore with a beautiful rendition of Eddie
Vedder’s Release and closed the show with their previously unfinished Bridgeless.
All in all I thought it was a good show with a few rocky points. I hope that the lack of
attendance is not a reason to deter this event from happening next year. A full show
from Umphrey’s at Red Rocks is always something I will look forward to.
A big thanks to Summer Camp for getting my pass and giving another unforgettable
Video From Red Rocks
The New Mastersounds
Summer Camp Counselor
It’s been a little over two weeks since I got back home from Summer Camp
and I’m still buzzing from the experience. Everything about the Summer Camp
Counselor position from being selected by the people all the way to my private
Cornmoe. show was truly mind-blowing. Even now, I have a hard putting the entire festival into words. Having been to literally hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals in my 30 years on this planet, I have never lived through something like what I experienced at Summer Camp 2011. Never have I been so warmly received at a festival. From the moment Arlan put on my wristband and gave my backstage pass until the very end, it was like one long hug. I’m being a little warm and fuzzy now, but in retrospect, that’s exactly how I felt the entire time.
The four days of the festival were a blur of activity. I can tell any future Camp
Counselors, be prepared to do the work. If you do it correctly you will be left with an incredibly gratifying feeling. There were some hard decisions, but the nice thing about being Camp Counselor was that I got to handpick what I wanted to cover. At times it felt like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel of festivals; if you would like to see Bruce Hornsby turn to page 36. Other times I took the opportunity to decompress and enjoy the company of my friends. Those times were short in comparison though. From the time I got to Chillecothe until Monday morning, I was constantly on the move. And honestly, that’s how I am at every festival I attend. It’s all about consuming as much music as possible, and seeing all my favorites in one place.
For me, one of the highlights of being Camp Counselor was having total
access. I was able to float in and out of the various venues with relative ease. In fact, I could pretty much come and go any way I pleased. The security folks knew Amy and I by about the second day, so after that, it was clear sailing. For me, it wasn’t about being a fanboy backstage either. Sure I got to talk to Kris Myers, Ryan Stasik, all the members of moe., Jimmy Herring, and Kyle Hollingsworth but it was very casual. I tried not to bother them too much because I recognized that with access comes responsibility. The backstage area is a refuge for the artists and I never wanted to take advantage of my awesome situation.
Another huge highlight was being onstage for moe., Widespread Panic, and
Umphrey’s McGee. Being so close to your heroes as they do what you love is an amazing thing. In fact, the one set onstage with UM may have turned Amy into a legitimate Umphreak. Watching moe. play from the side of the Moonshine stage was just epic. This was perhaps the most powerful part of my prize package. I could not fathom the intensity of being so close as the music was created right before our eyes.
And finally, the icing on the cake for the Summer Camp Counselor position
was all of the wonderful people I met. On Thursday, a few people saw me and either asked if was the Camp Counselor or congratulated me on winning. After I introduced moe. on Friday it was like I was a rock star wondering through the
crowd. People were stopping me, taking pictures, and just talking about their
experience at Summer Camp. I found this aspect to be both wonderful and
enlightening. Summer Camp, as I originally stated in my video, is a melting pot. I met people from all over the country who were all there for a single purpose, the music. Whether they were there to see Bassnectar or moe. or any of the many bands on the side stages this was the unifying factor. We were a community that almost tripled the population of Chillecothe for a weekend. It was great meeting so many of you wonderful people at Summer Camp.
And there you have it. As the first ever Summer Camp Counselor I worked
hard to document and contribute to this amazing community. I tried to be proper with the access that was bestowed up me, and I tried to meet as many people as possible. My time at the festival went by like a flash but it is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Before I finish I would like to take one last opportunity to thank my crew; Amy, Sean, Cristi, Anna, and Pete for being my shelter from the action as well as Jay, Ian, Holly, Arlan, and moe. for making dreams come true. Keep an eye on the blog and on the Summer Camp Music Festival website in the coming months as my job did not end the Monday after the fest. I will continue to cover some of the many great musicians and bands that have graced the stages of Summer Camp out here in Colorado. I look forward to contributing some great content over the next year until we meet again at Summer Camp 2012.
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.