September 29th marked the 5th time I have been lucky enough to see Michael Franti and Spearhead in concert. And as always, he brought the love and energy that’s expected, and then some, to liven up the crowd. Unfortunately I was only able to catch a little more than half the show, as it was an early start time and I had to drive over 2.5 hours straight after class ended on Thursday to get there. He was the opening act for Train, but that didn’t take away from the quality of his show at all.
Fresh off the debut of his latest album, All People (which I wrote about here: http://summercampfestival.com/2013/08/03/album-review-michael-franti-spearhead-all-people-deluxe-edition/), many of the songs from the setlist were off tracks from the love-spreading album. Nearing the Grandstand entrance, Closer to You could be heard already from afar and the excitement settled in. Michael kept the crowd jumping throughout the rest of the set, as several times he went in and out of the crowd keeping the fans engaged and enthusiastic. In the midst of the Sound of Sunshine track “Hey Hey Hey” he snuck in a verse from Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” a pleasant surprise that excited the portion of the crowd that was only there for Train, the evening’s headliner. The next song actually featured Train’s saxophonist, “Let it Go,” with a nice little jam for him to lead which featured a tease from their hit song, Hey Soul Sister. Michael Franti and Spearhead then closed their show with his two most popular song, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) and Say Hey (I Love You). As per Michael’s tradition, he brought all the children in the front rows on stage to help him out for Say Hey, and gave one little girl the microphone to sing the lines, “Seems like everywhere I go, the more I see the less I know, but I know one thing, that I love you.” We love you too, Michael!
Latter part of the setlist:
Closer to You, Life is Better with You, All People, Hey Hey Hey@, Let It Go#$, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like), Say Hey (I Love You)%
@ with Get Lucky verse (Daft Punk)
# featuring Brian from Train on saxophone
$ Hey Soul Sister tease (Train)
% with children on stage and one girl singing a verse (with help from Michael)
After he finished, my girlfriend and I were able to sneak up to the front and snag a picture with him as he was greeting fans in the front row
We then ventured around the Minnesota State Fair grounds for a little bit, as neither of us were that committed to seeing Train, and it was our first time at this fair. We returned to the Grandstand to see about the last half hour of Train’s performance, which was an entertaining show. As we entered, Train, like Franti, had several kids up on stage and teased a little bit of Bob Marley’s Can be Loved in one of their songs. Everyone left the stage, and front man Patrick Monahan invited a girl on stage to help sing their latest single, “Bruises.” At the conclusion, they played a 2 minute medley mix of pop songs with a tease of dubstep as well. They then played their hit “Hey Soul Sister” that segued right into Macklemore’s “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us,” before closing the set with “Drive By.” For the encore, they performed their long time hit song “Drops of Jupiter,” and then surprised the crowd with a final cover of Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On.”
What’s better than seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest? Seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest for free. Each day, Summerfest offers admission promotions, such as a canned food drive in exchange for a free ticket. On Tuesday, July 2nd, there was no promotion. Simply, admission was free for everybody from 12-3. So without thinking twice, I of course went down to the grounds shortly after 12 to get in for free, and left right away with a re-entry wristband that is good until 7 pm. Perfect.
UM was headling the Big Backyard stage, which is my personal favorite stage at Summerfest. The opening act, Grace Weber & EMEFE, is definitely worth mentioning. I had never heard of them before, but I definitely remember them now! I was confused during the show because Grace Weber, who just sang, was only on stage for about half of the show. Turns out, Grace Weber & EMEFE are 2 different bands that collaborated just for the show. To be honest, I’m not even 100% sure how to pronounce EMEFE, but they know how to make me dance. They had about a dozen members – a horn section, drums, guitar, bass, keys – the whole 9 yards. And it’s probably worth noting every one of them had a mustache. I classify them as a funky jazz jam band. I’ve researched they are a small band from New York, so hopefully they gain enough support to tour through the Midwest again soon!
So, anyways, this band Umphrey’s McGee, brought the heat. I knew we were in for a treat when Joel told me earlier in the day via the Twitter (after I asked) that it’d be 1 extended set and an encore. A lot of my favorite UM shows are 1 setters (example: 10K ’07). Le Blitz as an opener was the perfect anticipation builder to lead into a great show. After Wife Soup, Bayliss dedicated the next song to “all the ladies who chose to spend their time with us instead of New Kids on the Block.” NKOTB was headlining the Marcus Amphitheater at the same time. So expecting to hear a poppy cover song, instead we get a gold classic heavy metal Guns n Roses cover of It’s So Easy. Lol. Well played, Umphrey’s. A few songs later, Joel introduces Kevin Sinclair to come out to join on saxophone, as they crush a Pay the Snucka into Let’s Dance by David Bowie. The lyrics were switched in Pay the Snucka to “Stasik, go have a baby, a baby, will make you tired as hell.” Small things like lyric changes are reasons I love this band so much. You never know what to expect; it’s always different and improving. Speaking of not knowing what to expect, dear lord what an encore!!! Seriously, Dear Lord. I have been in love with that song ever since I heard it at The Rave back in ’09. They had already melted my face with a raging Deeper > Tinkles, which I thought would have segued right into the ending of Snucka, but instead they snuck a blissful Dear Lord that myself and the rest of the crowd loved.
Before the encore, Joel announced the band would be returning to The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee for 3 nights of Halloween this year. Mark your calendars, people: 10/31/13-11/2/13.
Setlist (source: allthings.umphreys.com) :
1: Le Blitz > Plunger, Turn & Dub > Mail Package > Wife Soup, It’s So Easy (Guns n Roses), Robot World > Out of Order, Pay the Snucka@ > Let’s Dance@ (David Bowie), Bright Lights, Big City > Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd), 2×2 > No Comment > 2×2
E: Deeper > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Dear Lord > Pay the Snucka
@ Kevin Sinclair on saxophone
I have good news for all you Scampers in the southern Illinois and southern IN area that usually have to travel quite a bit in order to catch some of your favorite bands of Summer Camp. For myself, living in rural southern IL, I almost always have to travel nearly 4 hours
to Chicago if I want to catch my favorite bands. But now, we’re in luck!
I recently had the pleasure of attending an extremely energetic Kinetix show at Lamasco Bar & Grill in Evansville, IN. Located near the river boat casino (if you’re into that sort of thing), Lamasco has had several of our Summer Camp favorites, including Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Kinetix, & Strange Arrangement just in the last month. They also have hula hoop clinics during the week!!
It’s a small venue, not a bad seat in the house, and the music goes late into the night, just like I like it. The whole experience is extremely laid back with the band interacting with the crowd the whole show and chatting with anyone and everyone during the set breaks. We spoke to George (drums) for a while while he cooled off from their first set. I asked him how he he came to play drums and he begins by telling us he began his music career playing the violin. However as luck would have it, he chose to play percussion in his music session at camp and there sparked his passion. George then dedicated time throughout his entire life to it, and here he is today, a great addition to this talented band.
The bar gets its great vibe from it’s general manager Amy Word who looks like she’s having a better time than anyone. She was actually putting Kinetix up for the night before they were off early to play Martyr’s in Chicago (which I heard was an awesome show as well – making the JamBase main page). Amy was super nice and made sure to talk the patrons – and dance with them too! We’ll definitely be hitting up Lamasco in the future.
As for Kinetix, they had great energy as usual, and didn’t miss a beat even though they’ve been touring without Eric Blumfeld’s voice after he had surgery a bit ago (however, he was still rockin on the keyboard). We all look forward for a speedy recovery, you rock Eric and we wish you the best! They played mostly covers with a few originals tossed in for good measure. It was an amazing show overall. Here’s the set list they gave me after the show, but I know there is no way it’s complete. They look like they have a great time on stage and flow from cover to cover, teasing different songs all the way through. The showed kicked off strong and never slowed down.
1. I shot the Sheriff > Own Mind > Sun is Shinging
2. It’s never too late > Cramp Your Style > Grassy Knoll
3. Duck Sauce
4. Mo Luv > Another Day
5. Cocaine Blues
6. What’s on Your Mind? > Afraid to Fall
7. Crazy Train
8. People (start hoppin’)
Check out a little glimpse of the show: