There is nothing like the budding beauty of Chicago in the Spring and no more amazing of a place than Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs. Just round the corner from the home plate entrance to the renowned Wrigley Field is the go-to joint for Cubby fans year-round, aptly named the Cubby Bear. What better way to kick off the 2013 Scamp season with a lil’ pre-fest shindig than with a pre-jam with two members from one of Summer Camp’s headlining jam legends.
Ohhhh mama, that’s right! Jake Cinniger and Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee are planning on tearing down the Cubsters house May 9th to make sure you Scampers have your game face on for 2013! And they won’t be alone in laying down the shiz and amping the Chi-town scene for what’s to come. They’ll have a little help from one of Chicago’s own, Zmick, a four piece prog rock band whose sound is dubbed ‘dungeon funk’! If you haven’t allowed your ears the hypnotic pleasure of taking in the multi-layered bass-laden grooves of these boys, then do yourself a favor– DO IT NOW!! (If you love UM, you’ll dig Zmick and I say this as a hardcore prog. rock bass head)
Just a little jammage to get us all toasty before the big party! Rock Balls!
I was more pumped for this show than I’ve been for a long time. It’s been several years since I last saw Terrapin Flyer and it takes me back to the college days when I first started really expanding my musical boundaries at places like the now closed Kinetic Playground. And what could enhance this grateful dead experience more than adding Mark Karan of Ratdog and Melvin Seals of the Jerry Garcia Band!
Another reason to be excited was the venue. I fondly remember Martyr’s for being home to a weekly cornmeal show while I was in college and was excited to be seeing one of my favorite members Wavy Dave!
I showed up to the sold out show about half way through the first set and the crowd was going absolutely nuts. Everyone dancing and singing, smiles on every face , and it was easy to see why! The sounds of the grateful dead filled the room as Mark Karan and Melvin Seals showed off everything they had learned and cultivated while touring with Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia.
The most memorable part of the show to me was Melvin Seals. The ease with which he seems to play the keys is unbelievable. Unbelievable music comes from what seems to be little to no effort. It literally looks like his arms and hands aren’t even moving sometimes! Unreal. The man is truly stands out in the show and adds a layer to the Dead’s music that could only have come from playing with Jerry for 15 years.
The members comprising Terrapin Flyer at this show were:
Wavy Dave Burlingame – Bass
Mark Karan – Lead Guitar
Melvin Seals – Hammond B3
JP Nowak – Drums
Doug Hagman – Rhythm Guitar
Set 1 –> Harder They Come, TLEO, Big River, Brother John, Waiting For A Miracle, Good Morning Lil Schoolgirl#, Dear Prudence#, Breadbox (# Kris Nowak on guitar)
Set 2 –> Shakedown@ > Thats What Love Will Make You Do@, Drove Ol Dixie Down, Highway 61, Tore Up, Lucky Ole Sun, Lovelight, OMSN (@ Janis Wallin on bass and Jim Farmer on drums)
E –> Sugaree
Inspiration takes many forms. What motivates one musician may tire and bore the next. While Lera Lynn and the Wood Brothers primary motivator surely is bringing heartfelt music to the masses, one thing they also share is a healthy obsession with whiskey. Whether the Lion’s Pride Rye helped whet the whistle of Ms. Lynn, or let’s Chris perform his interpretive dance moves any easier is for the audience to judge. However, a few things were laid on the line the day after Halloween when they played Chicago’s Lincoln Hall. Foremost, these performers formed for a 8 night tour in November a symbiotic relationship nary seen these days on a bill. They seemed to feed off the energy and genuine good nature which made what went down all that more special for those in attendance.
Lera Lynn set list: Happy Ever After, Comin’ Down,I’m Your Fool,Refrain,The Frey,Fly,You & Me Alone, Bobby, Baby, Standing on the Moon
Lera Lynn, the darling from Athens, GA can play her custom converted ’57 Kay acoustic like she sold a piece of her soul to a fiddle playing Beelzebub. Her slender frame hides a powerful voice that carried over the hushed crowd of four hundred respectful Chicagoan’s. There were no catcall’s, only appreciation for a throwback to a different era. One that is undoubtedly popular, but increasing removed from the radio scene which is a shame. June Carter, Patsy Cline, Lera Lynn? She is that talented and at the same time bashfully humble. She jested to the crowd what a treat it was to play with the Brothers Wood due to their unknowing grandeur and renown. Modest to a fault she sings about feelings larger than herself, but that have touched her profoundly in her short time on earth. The good one’s can pull a lyric from a simple chord much like a wizard in a Potter movie pulls a memory from the ear of a student at Hogwart’s.
Rocking back in forth in her high heeled boots and knee length dress she is comfortable engaging people and letting them see a glimpse. It could be the drinks ordered from her adoring fans sent stage side that loosens her lips, but she quickly finds a melody and like her journey to date elevates to echelons normally not expected to be heard from a potty mouthed bourbon drinking southerner. Yes, she curses like a sailor but where it could be thought crass on some for some reason it isn’t this night. The dichotomy in stage presence and song penmanship aside the women has a way about her and captures the ear and eye of all in the room as they gaze at a concoction of sassy sweet and sultry sounds. The name of her recent album “Have You Met Lera Lynn?” begs a worthy question. If not I suspect you will soon. Her cracked rear view mirror isn’t as omnipotent as Hootie’s, but her busted front windshield and tour with the Wood Brothers should make her a household name soon enough.
Wood Brothers set list: Sing About It, Up Above My Head, Atlas, Pay Attention, Twisted, Neon, Postcards From Hell, Spirit, Honey Jar, Fox On The Run, I Got Loaded, Mary Anna, One More Day, Glad, Down, Shoofly Pie. E: Luckiest Man, PYT (w/ Lera Lynn)
The Wood Brothers, Chris and Oliver, brought their soulful sibling harmonization as well as their shiutar player, Jano Rix, to the friendly confines of Lincoln Hall for the night. Although they now call New York and Atlanta their respective home these days their roots as well as instrumentation track back to growing up in Boulder. Bluesy folk goodness emanates from Chris’ upright bass as he tells the crowd that Chicago truly is his favorite town. There is Oliver jesting “there he goes”, but there’s an tone of honesty in his voice just like the music that makes even the most skeptical mind believe.
On “Postcards from Hell” lyrics tell of a bluesman who won’t flinch in the eye of temptation and plays his music for the necessities in life and sheer desire. The song epitomizes what I can only believe was a man the brothers came across in the travels and found in him a kindred spirit to which they could relate.
“You never heard a soul so pure and true
It’s flowin’ right out of his hands
He can sing sweet as a choir girl
Or he can sing a house on fire
I’ve seen him callin’ up the angels
And use a breeze for a telephone wire”
If the brothers are the personification of whiskey drinking angels then its the perfect juxtaposition to the openers “cursory” notes. Although you know its not as easy as it seems the chord progressions and time changes effortlessly synch perfectly like the brothers knew they were meant to travel the land spreading good music throughout.
If your faith is still undetermined then Oliver has some advice for you…give it “One More Day”. It’s during this ditty that he and Chris let loose during a solo portion and let the music take them as they take turns using their bass and guitar respectfully as dance partners. Chris straddles his upright as Oliver takes a solo and crouches down like the music is in his gut trying to get out and find a good home.
It’s clear that this is their congregation. During the encore they bring out a cover of ”Pretty Young Thing” performed aptly with the backing vocals of Lera Lynn complete with whiskey in tow. When these brothers were young they were prodigies in the company of mentors. Now that they are settling into life, but still young at heart, its apparent that like fine whiskey their music is getting better with age.
Okay, okay…so you missed the last few shows because you were tired and hungover from a long night of Apples to Apples and PBRs or you just couldn’t wrangle up the $100 and a few days off work to get your booty on the dance floor. We can’t make ‘em all that’s for sure. Luckily, rock gods and Summer Camp veterans Umphrey’s McGee has you covered. Always on the forefront of keeping you in tune (even when your snuggled up on the couch with a bag of Fritos and a cold one), Umphyrey’s McGee is known for their technological prowess in the music scene. From live-streaming to their infamous UmBowls where attendees can text in their favorite song to the band and hear it live mashed up into one of their progressive funk jams– these boys don’t skip a beat and keep their fans on their toes and in the game at all times.
So, if you couldn’t make it out to the Congress Theater in Chicago– no worries. Starting in just 10 short minutes, Umphrey’s McGee will be live-streaming the entire show complete with behind-the-scenes snapshots and interviews. So, click open a new tab, grab those pork rind and pour a glass of Chardonnay because this Sunday is about to melt your face! Couch tour starts NOW!
This past Saturday, the boys of Gomez (hailing from the UK) made a stop in Chicago during the US leg of their tour. In case you missed them at Summer Camp in 2009, Gomez is a five-piece British act consisting of Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), Olly Peacock (drums), and Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica). Fun fact: Gomez records most of their music in Chicago.
Now, for non-Chicagoans, this will take a bit of explaining as they were headliners at the annual “Garden Walk” (yes, really).
Here are the basics of the garden walk: All day in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, people open their doors to their homes so you can walk around and see the gardens. It’s adorable. For those who don’t care that much about gardens (myself included) you simply go to the 3 blocks that are roped off for music, food, and booze. It’s a good old-fashioned Chicago street festival, and you get to see pretty amazing bands for 10 bucks.
Gomez went on right at 8pm sharp, and after seeing over 15 Gomez sets in my day, I’m not exaggerating when I say the setlist was the best I’d ever seen. Why? Well, Gomez is hopping on the user-submitted setlist train, and has been letting the fans pick the music all summer long. You can hop on their website before the show, pick 5 songs you want to see played, and submit. It looks like this:
To all those in Chicago who went on and submitted… great job. We were treated to songs I haven’t heard live in years – or ever – packed one after another in a set that truly showed the range of what these guys can do. It was pretty clear who the Gomez fans were in the audience… being a street fest, it was a mix of about 1000 people ranging in age and knowledge or interest in the band. But as the night picked up and the rare songs kept playing, there was a very clear set of 400-ish people that were are sharing the same amazing experience. A particularly heavy round-up of songs off Five Men in a Hut and Split the Difference proved that Chi-town has a strong tie to Gomez and their deep collection of amazing music.
Check ‘em out, Scampers. You have 2 more chances – Buffalo, NY tonight and Indy tomorrow, before they hop back across the pond and we wait for next year.