If you’ve gone to Summer Camp (or any festival) before, you know there’s probably the person that’s a little too organized with the planning…. nice to meet you, that’s me. But this year, I didn’t send out my usual spreadsheet of packing reminders and to-do’s to our campsite – which is all boys – and it was both missed and requested! So, from your friendly over-organized CIT, here’s my comprehensive go-to packing list. I didn’t include food, since everyone does that a little differently… plus we have fantastic food vendors, and you should support them. Hope it helps you out!
For the Campsite
- Lawn chairs
- Camping stove
- Sleeping bags
- Flag Pole
- Car A/C Charger
- Cell phone charger
- Condoms (better safe than sorry)
- Rain Jacket or Poncho or Garbage Bag
- Empty water bottle (to fill @ filling stations)
xoxo, CIT Abby
Can you believe it’s almost here?! Getting ready for next weekend, let’s chat about a band you must see…
Maps & Atlases is based out of Chicago, and I had the opportunity to catch them this New Year’s Eve at Schubas in Lakeview. It was a blast. They even covered Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and the place went nuts.
While being admittedly terrible at classifying music, I’d put them at folksy rock with a retro-vibe (seems legit, right?). Their latest album Beware and Be Grateful is a fantastic trip through soulful tunes mixed with upbeat dance grooves. Start with the song “Fever” and watch this beautiful video:
Maps & Atlases play Friday @ 7:00pm on the Campfire Stage. See you there!
Partial Setlist from 12/31/12 @ Schubas (It was News Years. For obvious reasons, I forgot to keep track after about 11pm : )
Old and Gray
- Remote & Dark Years
- Solid Ground
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Summer Camp is so close I can practically smell it. The lovely mixture of fresh air, food on the grill, and the ripe natural musk of thousands of hippies. Athough it has almost been a year since Summer Camp 2012 I have been busy seeing lots of Summer Camp artist all over Chicago. In my last blog I wrote about the festivals I went to in 2012, well this is the rest of the story, the non-festival shows I attended in 2012.
- Phish – 2 Nights at Alpine Valley
- Iron Maiden with Alice Cooper
- Easy Star Allstars
- Keller Williams
- Old Crow Medicine Show
- 7 Walkers
- David Byrne and St. Vincent
- Family Groove Company
- All Eyes West
- Still Alive
- Old Shoe
- Full Court Press at the Abbey pub (featuring many Summer Camp artists)
- Psycles – with guest Kris Myers
- Helping Phriendly Orchestra
- Yip – Yip
- The Hue
- Umphrey’s McGee Halloween in Milwaukee
- Punch Brothers
- Jaik Willis
- Hen House Prowlers
- Chicago Jazz Orchestra (playing the music of Frank Zappa)
- Terry Bozzio Drum Clinic
- The Motet
- UmBowl IV
- The Grey Boy Allstars
In 2012 had the opportunity to see a lot of musicians that I have been waiting years to see from the legendary David Byrne, frontman of the Talking Heads, to European Drum and Bass virtuoso Squarepusher. It was definitely a year of branching out as well seeing Iron Maiden perform live for the first time. I had the pleasure of being completely blown away by the talents of the Punch Brothers when I went to their show on a whim. Also got a photo pass for the first time to shoot pictures of Old Crow Medicine Show. I was most recently able to attend the epic UMBowl IV. Needless to say it was an epic year for me. I will detail some of my favorite shows below. Remember to check out my Videos and Pictures from all the shows I went to.
David Byrne and St. Vincent
I am a huge fan of David Byrne, I love practically everything he does, his music, photography, art installations, his writing too. In my opinion he is a true genius. To be able to see David Byrne and St. Vincent play their new album “Love This Giant” was a real treat. They played the album in it’s entirety as well as a few T-Heads and David Byrne solo songs. The stage show consisted of an empty stage, David Byrne, St Vincent, and their band, a mixture of brass instruments, prancing around stage in an awkwardly beautiful manner.
I was introduced to Squarepusher a few years ago by a friend and have been dying to see him play since. Born as Tom Jenkinson, Squarepusher is from the U.K. and doesn’t make it to the U.S. much so when I heard he was touring in Chicago I bought tickets as soon as I could. He is an extremely talented electronic musician specializing in Drum and Bass, but his real specialty is when he plays solo electric bass. His music is heavily influenced by jazz and would be appreciated by the biggest haters of electronic music.
Iron Maiden / Alice Cooper
All I can really say is wow! Iron Maiden will take you on one hell of a ride. The stage was a set that looked a stone alter dedicated to the the devil. The back drops kept changing through the show depicted their famous mascot “Eddie” in various demonic states. And the great Bruce Dickinson ran, climbed, and jumped all over the stage in true rock-n-roll fashion. It was great to see these legends play at the top of their game. Alice Cooper opened up the show. I saw him earlier in the year at Bonnaroo and was just as pleased to see him again. His show consist of costume changes, a giant spider, a Frankenstein monster, and even a mock guillotine execution. Alice Cooper is shock rock at its finest and is still rocking hard when most artist have put touring on hold.
I was introduced to the Punch Brothers a few weeks before I went to their show with my friend who had an extra ticket. These talented guys remind me of a younger, hipper version of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. They are all masters of their instruments and can pull of jazzy bluegrass versions of Radiohead’s “Ok Computer,” They played most of the tracks from their two albums including “Movement and Location,” “You Are,” and “Patchwork Girlfriend.” I was particularly blown away when the mandolin player, Chris Thile, came out after the encore and played a piece of classical music without any amplification. After seeing the Punch Brothers live I have not been able to take them off my iPod.
Old Crow Medicine Show
My Mom introduced me to Old Crow and they quickly became a favorite of mine. I have even learned their song “Wagon Wheel” on Ukulele! I was lucky enough to get a photo badge when I went to this show so I was able to get some really good pictures, you can check them out here These boys really know how to throw down. They played their hits like “Wagon Wheel,” “Levi,” and “Methamphetamine.” Everyone in the theater was really feeling it and having a good time especially when they played the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land.”
This years UMBowl was as epic as ever. It was my second UMBowl, I also attended the UMBowl II. For those who don’t know this is Umphrey’s most fan inclusive show of the year. It is a place for the most hardcore Umph fans to do what they always dream of and call the shots at the show. During the first quarter the band took a second look at previous “jimmy stewart” improvisations that gained the most votes from fans. The second quarter setlist was created by attendees voting from a list of songs and/or band configurations. Highlights included Metallica’s “Orion,” “Cantina Band” from Star Wars and my personal favorite a medley containing most of the final songs on the Beatles “Abbey Road” album. Something that I can only compare to seeing most of Umphrey’s members play it last year as the Brain Damaged Eggman, at a Summer Camp Late Night Red Barn set. The third quarter was a S2 art event, where attendees texted in themes for the band to improvise off of. The best part of this quarter was when one of my buddies themes “Tribal Drum Jam” was put up for the band to jam on. The fourth and final quarter is a “Choose your own adventure” where 3 or 4 song choices are put up on a screen for attendees to choose from so the setlist is made in realtime. The UMBowl is always a good time and never ceases to remind me why I keep coming back to Umphrey’s McGee shows.
Well that is pretty much everything I have seen since Summer Camp 2012. It has been a great year but I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces at camp this year!
Saturdays are always some of the biggest days at Summer Camp. Almost everyone has had time to get to the festival and is out ready to rage in full force. Saturday was HOT! The mercury hit around 95 degrees but the bands were even hotter. I took the heat with chicken hat on and got to see quite a few bands. Here is a little bit of a preview of my day.
Family Groove Company
Kids These Days
Brain Damaged Eggman
Sun Stereo recreating the Beatles
Like yesterday, I will give you a brief synopsis of what where some of my high points of the day.
The first band that blew me completely away was a band I first heard within the last six months. The band is called Kids These Days and they are out of Chicago. The band is made out of young rockers that are barely out of high school, but don’t let that fool you. They have more talent and soul than people twice their age. Kids these Days has a very original sound I would call a sweet blend of funk, blues, jazz, soul, and hip hop. All 7 members of the band owned the stage the moment they set foot out there bringing an energy level that could boil blood. One of the things that first drew me to the band was the absolutely stunning voice of Macie Stewart who also plays keys, but I also have love for the horn section made up of Nico Segal on trumpet and J.P. Floyd on trombone. The horns provide that jazzy icing on the cake that brings all the parts in sync. They also function as “hype men” pumping up the crown and having a good time on stage. I love rock and roll but my roots are in the blues which is why I love to see Liam Cunningham up there ripping on blues guitar. I hope to see much more of these guys in the future.
The next show will be on the top of many Scampers best of list for 2012. The Brain Damaged Eggmen were formed from Jake, Kris, and Brendan from Umphrey’s, and Marc and Aron from Disco Biscuits. The two groups seamlessly blended their styles to form what 2011 Camp Counselor Nick Stock called Disco McGee. The sound was a dancy blend of Disco Biscuits groove and gut-punching Umphrey’s rock. They played many of my favorite songs including Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.” I was lucky enough to witness Umphrey’s cover this song in Dekalb in 2007 and was excited to see it busted out again.
After the late night in the Red Barn I was wanting to keep the Beatles vibe rolling and also wanted to kick back and relax so I headed towards the Soulshine tent to see Sun Stereo recreating the Beatles. I have never seen these guys before and was glad to see that they are a home grown act hailing from Urbana, IL. They came out in full force complete with British accents that could fool a true Brit.
I also got to take some time between sets to check out the Field Day events and even participate in dodgeball. I regret to inform you that I am not very good at Dodgeball and got out almost immediately, but I had a lot of fun. If you have a competitive spirit the field day events are a great way to meet new people that you will be able to rage with at future festivals. It is also a great way to partake in the childlike fun of Summer Camp.
One more day left Scampers. It is going to be a great one, hold on to it while you can because you are going to miss it Monday. As always Rage Responsibly!
Hello everyone! Summer Camp 2013 is coming up quickly so I figured it was about time to share with everyone the interview I was able to do with Janis Wallin and Jordan Wilkow of Family Groove Company.
In the interview we discuss Family Groove Company growing with the festival over the last 9 years, their favorite collaborations with artists at Summer Camp, and why checking out the workshops at Summer Camp is so important.
I hope everyone enjoys this interview and is looking forward to attending Summer Camp Music Festival 2013 as much as I am.
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.
It was appropriate given it was Father’s Day this past Sunday that Bruce Hornsby was playing Park West. After all he’s a father of two and one of the guiding patriarchal figures of modern classical piano. The intimate venue located a stones throw from Lake Michigan created the perfect environment for he and the Noisemakers to collectively strut their stuff along side special guest Van Ghost whose been opening during this leg of the tour. Van Ghost, who hail from Chicago boasts a lively horn section with Jennifer Hartswick (vocals, trumpet) being featured prominently on most songs. “Simplify”, a new song, was a synch based ballad with a nicely positioned guitar solo to which the talented Trey Anastasio Band female vocalist enhanced a wonderfully composed piece. Van Ghost plays North Coast Music Festival later this summer.
SETLIST: Great Divide, Stander on the Mountain, Circus on the Moon, This Too Shall Pass, Across the River, The Good Life*, Prairie Dog Town*, Jack Of Diamonds* > Valley Road*, Pete and Manny > Scarlet Begonias, Mandolin Rain > That Would Be Something, (Time Machine Sounds) > The Way It Is, Tango King, Big Rock Candy Mountain Run > Candy Mountain Run. Encore: Swan Song
* denotes on dulcimer.
Bruce started the evening with a quiet melodic freestyle piece that burst into “Great Divide” with the pianist trading solo’s with drummer Sonny Emory. Effortlessly in between songs Hornsby mused to the crowd about the Captain Beefheart tour days of keyboardist JT Thomas, as well as stories of songs he penned about his son’s youth. He is quite the weaver of words these days. He’ll scat warming up his vocal chords stretching to stand and admire a crowd that spans generations. In addition to touring life with the Noisemaker’s he’s involved with a number of projects including writing music for an upcoming Spike Lee movie Red Hook Summer, writing a theatrical soundtrack for a performance called Sick Bastard, and playing with old Grateful Dead friend Bob Weir at the All Good Music Festival. Bruce appears at ease on stage and like any good storyteller from those days takes the scenic route in explaining himself and giving the fans a unique listening experience. Reminiscing about the Grammy he won with Branford Marsalis for “Barcelona Mona” he jokes about how he won by default due to the powers that be “not wanting Kenny G to win.” He took turns on piano, dulcimer, and accordion at many points sitting just a nose away from the audience. He has mentioned he prefers venues with 1000-3000 seats as oppose to larger arenas on account the acoustics can be heard by all listeners instead of sound being lost to those in the back. Performance is paramount to Hornsby and though he is relaxed during his performance does not discount him being one of the best at performing razor sharp musicianship and playing to those present. He responds to fans in the audience with the coolness of a stand up comedian fielding a heckler. He spins one fans shout into every fans moment in a way some cannot achieve.
Well folks, we did it. And as a Summer Camp veteran, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was possibly the best Summer Camp yet! Here are the top 10 things I loved about this year….
1. Nobody’s set got rained out this year. Whew!
2. The collective screams of approval when Umprey’s McGee started playing Tom Sawyer.
3. Moe. and Umphrey’s light shows. Duh. I mean, you can be stone cold sober looking at those things and still be in a total trance.
4. The look of joy on some guy’s face when I told him he could have my extra Saturday late-night wristband for free.
5. The dude taking a dump in a bucket right underneath the Moonshine stage arch. (Hey, I didn’t say these were pleasant memories, but that will surely not be forgotten!)
6. A dog named Akimbo. I have no idea what his owner’s name was, but I ran into Akimbo easily 6 times this festival and he always was having fun!
7. Water guns. Everywhere, all the time, all shapes and sizes.
8. Sunrise kickball with Ryan Stasik.
9. Warren Haynes sit-in with G. Love & Bob Weir sit-in with Primus. Absolutely fantastic.
10. When I got back into Chicago, I saw 3 separate groups of Scampers within 5 blocks of my house. That’s the thing about Summer Camp – you take it home with you.
Until next year, loves.
Sunday was the one of the BEST days of my life. On Friday I heard that I might be able to interview Yonder Mountain String Band and I hoping that it wouldn’t fall through. I got up early on Sunday a little before 10 am, which was hard considering I was at the Soulshine tent seeing Sun Stereo Recreate the Beatles just 6 hours earlier. I went to write my blog from Saturday and prepare for my potential interview with Yonder. After writing my blog I went back to camp for a quick “shower” with a little soap, water, and paper towels. I spent the next hour waiting for my interview. I was nervous that it might not happen, and equally nervous that it actually might happen.
Around 2:00 pm 2011 Summer Camp Counselor Nick Stock, and I set out for the Moonshine stage where Yonder was set to play in a couple hours. Nick was doing me a huge favor and was taking video of the interview. We got there 10 minutes early and milled around backstage for a few minutes. I have spent many shows wondering what backstage looked like and now I was there! I was in complete shock. I could hardly wait to see who in the band I would be interviewing. After another minute or two Nick and I spotted Jeff Austin and Ben Kaufmen the mandolin and bass player from Yonder Mountain String Band.
We went in to a trailer to do the interview and I was getting nervous. As soon as we started I realized all my fears were unfounded. Jeff and Ben are two of the nicest people ever. They made the interview fun and easy. They shared some of their weirdest moments at a show, and talked about how Summer Camp has been good to them. I felt so honored to meet them, it was a dream come true. This was a great experience but my day was not over yet.
I got back to the press area to to offload and was surprised to see Jordan and Janis from Family Groove Company there. I was offered to do an interview with them and I jumped at the opportunity so we made plans to meet up at the Everyone Orchestra Show. I couldn’t believe I was gonna get to interview another one of my favorite bands.
I ran to the main stage so I could catch a little bit of Yonder Mountains’ set before I did my interview with FGC. It was great! I could hardly contain myself knowing that only minutes before I had talk with these guys in person. I took off for the Everyone Orchestra Show and my interview with Janis and Jordan. While seaching for Janis in the Red Barn I got to enjoy some of the show and was impressed at the wonderful music coming from this band made up of many artists from the festival. I then met up with Janis and Jordan and did their interview. They had both participated in workshops this year so we talked about that and about growing with Summer Camp Festival as they have performed at almost every Summer Camp.
My day had been great already, and I had hardly seen any shows because I had been so busy, but now was the time to make up for that. These are the shows that I was able to catch on Sunday.
My favorite show of the day was from Galactic. They got the crowd going and got them involved. We were all singing and waving our hands, just having a good time listening to them perform. These guys hail from New Orleans and got their start playing at Mardi Gras, so they know how to party. There were several guest performers throughout the night and at one point there were 10 people on stage jamming and having a good time.
I had to check out the most controversial band this year at Summer Camp, Janes Addiction. A favorite of Summer Camp Creator Ian Goldberg the announcement was big news and a dream come true for Ian. Unfortunately some fans of the festival did not seem to be happy about the addition. Other than their hits, I do not know much Janes Addiction, but I am always excited to see a new band. I hope the “haters” were as impressed as I was with Janes Addiction’s performance Sunday night. Dave Navarro is a great guitar player and the stage set-up and lights were pretty cool as well. Perry Ferrell was the highlight for me though. He is a great frontman, a little crazy, but great. He talked about his sexual escapades with well-endowed dolphins, how glow sticks remind him of his terrible step mother who would take is temperatur rectally, and threatened to choke someone who was throwing things at him. He was very entertaining and the music was great too, I am certainly glad to add Janes Addiction to the list of bands I have seen.
We finished out the festival with a final set of Moe and headed back to our campsite with the intention to see This Must Be the Band, but after the big day I had, I did not have the energy to leave. It was a great day and I needed to sleep so I could wake up and perform the worst task at Summer Camp, taking down camp and leaving.
Cody Diekhoff talks about his experience at Summer Camp Music Festival.
Click DUB STOP to listen.