“That’s like a match made in Heaven for you.”
I had two different friends tell me that same phrase after it was announced Moon Taxi would be opening for Michael Franti & Spearhead in Madison in the final week of September. Both of these artists are in the exclusive group of my top 5 favorite artists, finding themselves consistently on my playlists.
This was my 2nd Moon Taxi show, with the first coming last summer when they opened for Matisyahu in Milwaukee. This show was very similar in all aspects, including a great set. Before their show, I got a chance to interview 2 members of the band thanks to my cousin (whom I’ll be writing about soon) who is close with the band. Read the interview here.
Although the set was just a half hour, the musical quality far exceeded the quantity. Moon Taxi opened their set with “Running Wild,” a fresh track of their new album Mountains Beaches Cities. A stand-out moment in their set appeared in the “Morocco,” also off their latest album, with some trancey exploration, showing off their jamming capabilities. Their set closer featured a rocking “Cabaret” that featured keyboardist Wes Bailey’s exceptional keyboard wizardry.
Moon Taxi Setlist
Running Wild, All the Rage, Morocco, The New Black, River Water, Mercury, Cabaret
After a brief intermission, the main attraction took the stage. Having seen Franti 5 previous times, I was expecting the opening song to be a track off their latest album, as the norm for Franti shows. I was not wrong, as “I Don’t Wanna Go” opened the show, from All People. Franti didn’t wait long before jumping in the crowd. In the second song of the evening, “Stay Human,” Franti hopped off the stage and navigated through the general admission pit on the lower level, stopping along the way to give high fives and dance with fans. He found his way back to the stage for “Yell Fire!”, and before “The Sound of Sunshine,” he shared a story with how he wrote that album: in the hospital after suffering a ruptured appendix. The mood quickly elevated as what seemed like a hundred of over-sized yellow beach balls came from back stage and flooded the crowd, dancing through the air after bouncing off the hands of anyone able to touch one.
A surprise “Ganja Babe,” appeared in the middle of the set, apparently inspired by whatever Michael smelt in his journeys throughout the crowd. A feel-good moment occurred in “Gangsta Girl,” in which Michael brought several fans up from the crowd with him to join as dancers, with one fan truly seizing the moment as he ran back and forth on the stage, encouraging the crowd to do the wave. After the song ended, Michael jokingly offered him a contract to the join the band.
To close the set, Michael lead the crowd in a sing-along of “Happy Birthday” to one of his crew members before bringing up members of Moon Taxi to join for an upbeat and funky “Let It Go.” As expected, he encored with his biggest hits, “I’m Alive” and “Say Hey,” welcoming any children fans on the stage for the latter, but surprised me with a very well placed “Long Ride Home” between the two for an impressive sandwich.
Michael Franti Setlist
I Don’t Wanna Go, Stay Human@, Yell Fire!, The Sound of Sunshine#, 11:59@, Closer to You@, Ganja Babe, Life is Better With You@, Gangsta Girl^, Hey World (Don’t Give Up)&, Bomb the World&, All People@, Say Goodbye@, Hey Hey Hey@*, Let It Go+
E: I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like), Long Ride Home, Say Hey (I Love You)~
@ Michael singing in the crowd
# plethora of beach balls released into the crowd
^ random fans brought on stage to dance
& Michael on acoustic guitar with Minus on djembe drum
* Get Lucky (Daft Punk) verse
+ with members of Moon Taxi
~ kids brought on stage
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this band gets better every time I see them. A typical thing fans say about their favorite artists, but I’m not a typical fan of this band as this concert was RMC show #19 for me, and 8th of 2013. I’m very curious to know if there’s someone else out there that’s seen this band more than I have.
Roster McCabe is an “electrorock” jam band, hailing from Minneapolis, MN, consists of Alex Steele (vocals, keyboards), Michael Daum (guitar), Scott Mullenberg (bass) and Jeff Peterson (drums). It’s also worth noting you won’t find a band with better hair.
RMC opened the show with perhaps their most defining song, “Take a Breath.” TAB is a great song that really captures all the elements that RMC is about: Steele’s soaring vocals over a dance-infused melody blending together a perfect mix of rock with electronic, hence the “electrorock.” The set also included 2 new songs, an outstanding cover of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and an incredible sit-in from guitar virtuoso Mark Joseph during the encore. These guys are NOT to be missed next time they come through your town. Never disappoints and always a dance party!
Setlist: Take a Breath, Make My Move, Traveler, Nothing to Lose, Virtual Insanity@, Chasing#, In Our Hands, Trance 2#, Bad$, Only Truth, Stargazer, Tell Me Something Good%, Black Rose, Critical Speed
# new song
$ Michael Jackson cover
% Rufus & Chaka Khan cover
& Ginuwine cover
& with Mark Joseph on guitar, Michael Daum playing keyboard
Videos: Take a Breath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUxWba1niYI&feature=youtu.be
This will be my first post as one of your Camp Counselors! I am so excited to be here at the festival and blogging for SCamp. Every year, the week before the fest we find ourselves constantly checking that 10 day report of what kind of weather we will be seeing over the weekend. For some reason it always seems to change every 5 minutes. Before coming to the festival, my +1 sent me this hilarious weather report that I feel is quite accurately how my weekend will go!
I hope you all enjoy it. Here’s JR Johnivan with your weather!
The forecast is looking partially UMmy, with a heady chance of moe. lazers. Possible wailer storms coming in Friday, right around 4:20
which is going to give way to a Level 9 STS watch later on in the evening, eventually ending with some massive dubstep, where on-site reporter Jason Hann will be live in the VIP lounge.
Saturday you’d have to be a conspirator not to love this weather, so make sure to eat your bowl of cornmeal in the afternoon cuz it’s a (karl denson’s) tiny universe out there, or maybe you wanna go with a pizza with THE WERKS on it, before getting an UM, Moe, UM, Moe, and make sure to put them sunglasses on cuz late night Ragbirds will be BRIGHT!!
Then we’ll start off first thing Sunday afternoon with an extended UM watch, before checking out some TAJ MAHAL-like weather – believe me, you’re gonna wanna eat plenty of LETTUCE for this one, oh – did I forget to mention this is Ragbirds season? Hope you have your sunglasses on Sunday too, cuz there will be plenty of Ragbirds crossings out. Thats right about the time we’ll ROCK into the FUTURE , then, we’ll have a 4 hour commercial from our main sponsor, TAB (Cola) before ending the weekend with some moe.
and that is your weather report son!
Enjoy your festy SCampers!
Since I saw Rebelution at All Good in 2010 I had been itching to see them again. Unfortunately last year I was unable to catch their Summer Camp set but last night I finally got the opportunity to scratch and caught their show at Mr. Smalls Theater. As fortune would have it they stopped in Pittsburgh as part of their “Spring Greens Tour.”
Hot Rain kicked off the night. They are joining Rebelution for the tour. Hailing from Hawaii this upbeat reggae band stays true to their heritage and genre singing about love and beautiful women. They constantly interacted with the audience; uniting the souls which filled the venue in song. It was a fun way to start the show, check out their myspace page with free music here.
J Boog took to the stage next and kept the upbeat reggae jams flowing. Many people may not recognize him as the former B2K member that he is. He’s grown a bit since those days and so has his talent. J Boog maintains undertones of the R&B, hip hop background while bringing forth a new kind of sound.
Then Rebelution took to the stage, starting off their performance with one of my favorites: “Bright Side of Life” (check out the video!) Everyone started jumping and the whole place was jammin. The venue was the perfect size and so was the crowd. The vibes at the show were flowing peace and reggae love. It was spectacular. During the second half of the show they also played “Outta Control,” another personal favorite. Apparently a crowd favorite as well because the entire place beamed forth even greater energy for that song.
It is astonishing to think this band is almost 10 years old – haven taken off from Cali roots to become the great band they are today. Part of what makes them so special is their political consciousness and their call to action. If you haven’t yet, listen to “Courage to Grow.” You will find yourself inspired with new feelings of hope and desire for fulfillment. The band consists of Eric Rachmany (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboard) Wesley Finley (drums), and Marley D Williams (bass). I was actually lucky enough to meet and spend some time with Marley after the show. He was extremely nice and super down to Earth (not to mention very attractive!)
Rebelution has tons of music available to listen to and even download for free on their myspace page. The band will be touring in the US throughout the month of May and is then heading over the Atlantic for a United Kingdom run with one stop in Portugal. They will be back in Cali and Oregon in August. If you can make it to a show – do not miss out! It only took one show to make me a giant fan and I know it will only take one for you as well.
For many, many, many, and yes, many years I have been dying to see one particular band that I had heard so much about. One band that has the reputation of being the ultimate jam band, with a massive following that they have accumulated since their beginnings in 1983. On Friday June 29, 2012 I was finally given the opportunity to experience the musical genius that is Phish.
From the second we arrived at the venue I could already tell that this was going to be a unique show. The crowd was in general, a little older and a little more reserved in a way – but definitely not in a bad way. These were the die hard fans that love the music and the band in a truly exceptional and loyal sense; they were there for no other reason.
Unlike most of the shows I normally attend, there were a total of four hula hoops (mine included) and not many other flashy toys…and the truth was that once the show started, it was easy to see why: the band is so captivating, and the energy between the band and the fans is so powerful, that it’s almost impossible to tear yourself away to look at or play with hoops.
I can’t imagine how much money went into their light show; it was amazing. The overall picture from the lawn at Klipsch Music Center was spectacular. On the big screens it was possible to get detailed views of the expressions on Trey Anastasio’s face as he sang his heart out. We could see Page McConnell’s fingers go crazy on the keyboard, Mike Gordon’s insane picking on the bass, and the Jon Fishman wailing on the drums. The whole band had such awesome chemistry and it was contagious – as there wasn’t a single song that you didn’t find yourself singing along to. “Possum” was by far the best example of everyone dancing and singing together as the song built up every time with the main chorus.
The first set was great, and from some of the fans I learned that it was a unique compilation of their music. That Friday was the first time since 1998 that they played the song “Sweet Jane.” Among my favorite tracks was “Limb by Limb,” where the harmonizing really made the song. I also liked the ominous and almost scary tone that chilled your bones as they played “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” I was ECSTATIC when they played “First Tube” during their encore – as that is one of my all time favorites. However to be completely honest, my favorite part of the concert was when they finished their first set with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” one of my favorite Beatles songs. It was by far the greatest live performance of that song I have ever seen or heard.
So, overall, I am so glad we trekked to Indianapolis for this most amazing of musical experiences. Phish not only lived up to all my expectations but surpassed them. If you are like me and have always “heard great things” but never had the chance to go, start turning wheels to make it happen. From the first song to their last, this show was a unique adventure – the music, lights and atmosphere was in itself a journey that filled you with emotion and made you wish it would never come to an end. This was my first Phish show, but I guarantee you it will most certainly not be my last.
There is something truly special about those small festivals that have local bands and small crowds. From the very moment we arrived at Beesonstock in Cisne, Southern Illinois, we already became friends with our neighbors to the right; and within a few more minutes became friends with our neighbors to the left. Both nights we arrived towards the late afternoon; enjoying the waning daylight and just slightly cooler weather.
Probably the most distinctive characteristic was the size of this festival, having only one small, wooden stage where all the bands played. I also have to say it was nice to be able to bring your own food and drinks; especially when the whole weekend, including camping cost $20! With a total attendance of 650, the venue was comfortable whether you stayed near the stage or took a break by your car as you played Cornhole, Hillbilly Golf or tried out twin hoops for the first time. Again, this environment just promotes a friendly, almost family-like camaraderie among the attendees.
Mostly local bands play this event, some with great promise. To be honest of the line up this year, I only knew of one band, The Smoke Rings, and they ended the first night with a great performance. It is refreshing to see a woman, Stephanie Smith, rock out the lead vocals. Though the entire band’s talent is evident, especially when they play their originals. The other band that really stuck out on Friday was the South Street Jam Band, especially when they covered one of my favorite bands Tool, with a great rendition of “Sober.”
I was expecting the number of people to increase tremendously on Saturday, but though the number of people did increase, it really wasn’t evident until later on in the night. Even then, it remained the perfect number that allowed everyone plenty of space to get their groove on. The different bands each brought their own sound, and it was a great mix, guaranteed to satisfy any musical palate. Downstate brought a fresh reggae sound to the event, while Cluster Pluck was more traditional blue grass and then SMASH! gave us an electronica, Soundtribe-like jam.
Overall it was a great time and a ton of fun. I feel like I am a culprit of seeking out those bigger festivals with all the big names; but that I shall be no longer! That special something that these small local festivals have is something I urge all of you to check out for yourselves. You will meet some cool people, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and definitely find some new bands to follow. Rock on Beesonstock, Rock on.
Within moments of being around Adam, I knew that his relationship with music was unique. It is more than unique, it is exceptional – he contains a musical vibe that emanates from his very being. This aura executes actuality by transforming itself into rhythms and melodies in the form of neurons firing in his brain. He doesn’t force himself to make music, but music forces itself upon him to be created. It compels itself into existence, needing to be expressed and heard. For those of us who assume the title of “fan” or “aspiring musician,” it is bittersweet to see the innate capacity with which Adam Lufkin produces brilliant music. His first professional endeavor was uniting four other talented musicians to form the band Kinetix. Now he is expanding his sound with his good friend and fellow Kinetix member, Josh Fairman. Josh and Adam have branched and created Laskin & Robinson. This new undertaking combines a powerful blend of various genres: pop, rock, rap, reggae, funk and hip hop. Their sound is such a perfect mosaic that the reverberations originating when this duo performs cannot be defined and restricted by any one particular category.
Their first single, “Falling Down,” has finally been released – a mere two years after coming to life in Adam’s mind as he wondered the aisles of a grocery store looking for some fried chicken to ease the lingering Wakarusa hangover. The melody crept from the deepest part of his brain – the innovative genius working beyond his control. He began hearing the words accompanying the sound “when you’re falling down…yeah, yeah, yeah.” He kept hearing it and singing it in his head during the entire venture home. Upon arrival he immediately sat on his throne and laid down the drums to what he had created. As soon as he was done Adam began free-styling verses. The image of a train derailing vividly leading him to the first one: “you can’t lose track of what you feel…you can’t lose track of what is real…you can’t lose track and let your train…roll out of control.” The music, the images and the verses kept flooding his consciousness and that night the first single of Laskin & Robinson came to be.
Now, equipped with the artistic contributions of bassist Josh Fairman, as Adam plays guitar and both work on production they are officially releasing their music as this pioneering duo. Having met Adam at the University of Denver, Josh not only slaps bass, he is also CEO and founder of his own production company – Laskin Productions. In 2011 he also co-founded Scanhope Sound, a production studio in Littleton, CO which provides all types of recording services. Josh has a light-hearted and amusing personal liveliness. Simply watching him play demonstrates his enthralling personality as he rocks hard and flails his wild hair. His capacity on the bass is beyond description. Combining his persona with the magic workings of his fingers he creates smooth and powerful renditions. Josh’s hip rhythms complete Adams melodies and give Laskin & Robinson that original sound. Their songs are energetic and funky with upbeat rhythms, light reggae undertones and fun lyrics. They make even the most sedentary soul want to get up and boogie.
However awesome the music, what truly makes the tracks exceptional is their message. Underlying the seemingly playful words are powerful themes. If you listen acutely to the songs, the words take on another meaning. From the title and the beat one might gather that “Ass Work” pertains to shaking your bootie.
Yet if you actually pay attention you will realize that it is about working hard and realizing that you are truly actualized when you put all your effort into your endeavors: “w – o – r – k every day, play hard, work hard, to my craft I’m a slave”…”come to me you will find yourself to be twice your worth…cuz I’m a show you how to make your ass work.” In addition to “Falling Down” and “Ass Work,” Adam and Josh have released another original, “Top Shelf,” which features Corey Henry from Galactic. After a Galactic show, Josh was riding with Corey in his car when he heard the track. He instantly recognized that he wanted to partake. The next day Corey joined Josh and Adam in the studio. Laskin & Robinson’s latest release is their interpretation of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” As a testament to their laid back and easy going dispositions, all of their music is available to listen to and download for free. You can follow the band and become an official fan on facebook. From their posts and pictures you can see for yourself that this is something that you want to be a part of. Life is short but sweet so make your ass work and become an active Laskin & Robinson enthusiast.
Therefore, last Sunday – tired from lack of sleep due to friends visiting for the holiday – both Derrick and I hit the road, driving over two hours to see Big G at the Canopy.
I had to be at work the next day – at 8am, so I was estimating I’d get about 4 hours sleep…did that in any way make me hesitate? No way. Nothing was going to let me miss this show.
The next day I was tired, cold, and had an aching, stiff neck. Was work on Monday painfully long and horrible? Yes. Was it torture? Yes. Was Big Gigantic worth it? F**K yes.
We entered the Canopy Club – one of our favorite venues- and Ana Sia was the DJ peering over her Mac. For me, it is always nice to see a female up on stage. She played some sweet beats – I especially liked her rendition of a forgotten high school favorite “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. She was focused the whole time – yet dancing the whole time as well. She definitely has talent – I am sure this is not the last time we will be seeing Ana Sia.
Ana finished up around 11. After a short break the place lit up and out walked Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken – or as otherwise known, Big Gigantic. This is a unique duo – based on sax and drums. A great mix. Throw in some bass and you got yourself a show worth driving 2 hours to see on a Sunday night.
Big Gigantic was stopping at Urbana as part of their Uprising Tour…ending with a New Year’s show in Chicago. The place was surprisingly jammed and even Gumby made it to the show. What really made this an especially fun concert was that they played many of my favorites – such as their Aloe Blacc “I need a dollar” remix and their Kanye West “Get em High” remix.
Some of the other great ones were “Sky HIgh,” “Lucid Dreams,” “Shine” (A Place Behind the Moon), and “Nocturnal” (Nocturnal). There were all kinds of fans, there was all kinds of energy and the whole place was just jumpin’. In case my pics aren’t doing it justice – I want to stress how great the light show was. They did a great job; it was original and perfectly synchronized.
One of the most amazing things about this band is that they are all about satisfying their fans – and one of the ways they do it is by giving us free music. That’s right – you can download their album “Nocturnal” for free on their website. So if you are not on the Big G party wagon then your missing out. Go to their site, download their music, come to a show and praise the ingenious drums-sax mix. If it’s just not going to happen in the near future, at least I can offer some consolation in telling you that they will be at Summer Camp next year. Yeah so if you didn’t get your tickets to SC yet – what are you waiting for?
I’ve been to festivals and seen the crowd swarming with colorful, intricately decorated comic book characters and childhood heroes, but Summer Camp really put the totem love on the map for me this year. As I grooved and moved my way through the masses, making my way from one show to the next, I stumbled upon one old friend after another- from tye-dye care bears and naked women made out of PBR (okay, that’s not an old childhood friend- really) to Pee-Wee Herman and Martians~ the Scamp crew representatives were in full force for Summer Camp 2012. Check out my totem spotting below: