Dancin’ In The Streets featured so many Summer Camp bands, that it might has well have been the Denver version of the festival. In actuality SCamp stalwarts Cornmeal, Greensky Bluegrass, as well as classic veterans like Jerry Garcia Band with Melvin Seals all played this fest on the Lawrence St. After three years in absentia, the Dancin’ In The Streets Music Festival made its triumphant return to Denver. It’s no secret that the high cost of putting on the inaugural festival as well as the low turnout cost Jay dearly. It was the impetus for him to letting go of Cervantes and the downsize to Sancho’s and Quixote’s. Over the past few years Quixote’s has become a hub of live music and is the home of the greatest patio in Denver. It is also the new home of the Dancin’ In The Streets.
The entire scope of the event is more doable and smart. Closing off the 2100 block of Lawrence Street with a nicely equipped stage and an Oskar Blues beer truck bookending the block was the perfect setup. Vendors and Live Painters dotted the sidewalks and both the main stage and patio stage of Quixote’s acted as auxiliary performance spaces for the event. Quite simply it all worked and the masses turned out on both days to show their support.
I arrived, as WhiteWater Ramble was finishing up their opening set on the 3rd. I have to say that after Adam Galblum departed from the band I was left with reservations. However the inclusion of Ben Blechman on fiddle certainly impressed me. As a band they’ve always had it in them to be a powerful bluegrass experience, but honestly they have failed to rise to the top over recent years. Their show at Dancin’ In The Streets showed they are ready for a new chapter and to start playing stellar performances across Colorado.
Up next was Grant Farm on the patio. Under the direction of Tyler Grant, Grant Farm has continued to wow audiences on the Front Range and beyond.
One Set: Green Grant, I Come From The Country, (Ain’t No) Nuthin’ Gonna Stop This Train, High Country Ladies, Engineer (w/Andy Griffith Theme), Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun, The Hippie Guitar, Green Thumb, The Times Have Changed, ?, Tell Me, Tell Me, My Old Engine, San Ber’dino
Gerry Gladu posted the show on Archive.
Their attention to songwriting and detail while playing are the reason why they continue to shine. One of the Highlights from their set included “(Ain’t No) Nothing Gonna Stop This Train,” which is more of an affirmation about the band than a song title. There was also a group whistling of the Andy Griffith Theme Song in honor of the actor’s death that was a nice moment for everyone involved.
There was some overlap with Grant Farm and Melvin Seals and Jerry Garcia Band, but around 6 PM I headed out to the main stage. Melvin Seals is a monster on the keys but during the beginning of his set he felt a little more subdued in the mix. Even during “Johnny Too Bad” he just seemed very light, however during “Sugaree” he exploded on the organ. Dave Hebert on guitar had incredibly accurate tone and was an absolute pleasure to watch play. I was also surprised to see Jimmy Tebeau on bass, I’ve know Jimmy since my freshman year of college as a member of Dead cover band The Schwag. He drives the bus, and it was a great chance to get reconnected with him. The show also featured a massive Deal that was enough to get the crowd dancing in the streets.
Next on the docket was California’s Poor Man’s Whiskey. Famous for covering Pink Floyd with their down home version of Dark Side of The Moon, their original music is a classic blend of rock and bluegrass. Musically they are incredibly talented and the vocals of Josh Brough are tinted with a warm vibrancy that is truly inviting. They were a great touch and I caught them for a while before heading back to the Main Stage for Greensky Bluegrass.
Greensky is one of the premiere young bluegrass acts out there. Along the lines of Head For The Hills, these boys from Michigan bring the heat with every performance. A classic string band lineup with all of the bases covered their inclusion in the festival was a big draw for the crowd, which had swelled to around 1600 people by this point. Their show was a bit laid back, but they busted out some great tunes to keep the audience engaged. “Bottle Dry” and “Broke Mountain Breakdown” were a ton of fun. They ended their set with a bluegrass version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
During Greensky’s set I headed into the patio for a bit to see Todd Shaeffer and Friends. The Friends included Railroad Earth’s Andrew Altman on bass and Great American Taxi’s Chris Sheldon on a banjo drum contraption. This was a folk-infused experience that seemed like a toned down version of RRE. Todd is an impeccable guitarist and gentle vocalist, however this show just seemed very low key. The talent on the stage would seem to lend itself to some serious picking, but what we got was a very chill encounter. They played beautifully, but at this point in the evening I was searching for more energy.
That energy came in the form of Big Wu on the main stage inside. The Big Wu was a band that I first saw in 2000 and noticed enormous potential in their playing. They fell off the map for several years but recently they have been coming back to Colorado and playing really well. Their most recent addition of Mark Joseph on guitar has seemed to reinvigorate this band of twenty plus years. This is the band that opened the first Bonnaroo, so to see them back onstage was a personal highlight for me. They opened with a version of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” that felt like an extension of their sound check and also entirely appropriate.
SET I: Could You Be Loved, House of Wu, Gimme A Raise, Oxygen> Midnight Rudy, Bloodhound, Save Our Ship> Time, Ophelia
Corey and Kind Recordings posted the show on Archive at http://www-tracey.archive.org/details/bigwu2012-07-03.mtx.kindrec
This was a classic Big Wu experience with awesome versions of classic tunes “Gimme A Raise” and “Midnight Rudy.” All in all it was great to see them back at it and really sounding tight.
I hopped outside for a bit to see Conspirator, which is a side project of The Disco Biscuits featuring Mark Brownstein and Aaron Magner. From the first notes of their performance to the end almost two hours later they didn’t stop. They are an electronic dance party powerhouse and it was an interesting catch at this diverse festival.
The late night event had arrived as the crowd moved indoors for Octopus Nebula and the main event, Cornmeal.
Cornmeal never fails to deliver in Colorado. They are incredibly fun and are ridiculous pickers. I was stoked that they were integrated in the lineup not once but twice. Their show on the patio was a solid demonstration of what they are capable of. They went all the way to just before 2 AM on the packed porch. They played a beautiful bluegrass set and it was a great way to close out day one of Dancin’ In The Streets.
I woke up slightly hung over and caught an early cab down to day two at Quixote’s. I arrived early as The Congress was getting the nascent crowd ready. It’s always difficult to be one of the first bands on the bill because only the hardcore will be in attendance. Being a huge fan of this rock outfit and Jonathan Meadows’ vocals, I knew I could miss it. These guys have paired down to a three-piece since the last time I saw them live. Highlights from the show included a rousing “Jonah Gideon” and a powerful “Keep Virginia.” It was an excellent start to my second day on Lawrence Street.
All of the early shows were on the Main Stage outside meaning there was some time allotted to change out equipment. It gave the fans plenty of instance to leisurely melt into the day. Greensky Bluegrass was up next, and their set was just better than the night before. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the energy, but Greensky brought the boil on day two. It was a fun and bouncy set that included an epic version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and a ridiculous “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” They really brought the crowd in as literally hundreds filtered in during their set. I was totally impressed with their daytime performance and they left me wanting more. They invited Jay Bianchi and Vince Herman up to do the chicken dance during their set. My surprise was two-fold given the fact that Vince wasn’t on the bill and I had never seen Jay dance on stage before. It really set the mood.
Next up was an extended version of Todd Sheaffer and Friends from what we saw the day before on the patio. Including both Allie Kral and Vince Herman in addition to Chris and Andrew. It didn’t suck. The show began with a duo between Todd and Allie on “Potter’s Field.” It was a stunning beginning to a string show. The rest of the band returned, and Vince drifted on and off the stage. Martin Sexton joined the group for a patriotic rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.” It had the same relaxed feel as the day prior, but musically there was a vibrancy that really pleased the crowd.
Grateful Dead Tribute band Shakedown Street took the indoor stage at Quixote’s around 7PM. Their delivery was solid and obviously totally in check with the Dancin’ In The Streets Festival. In fact they played the only rendition of the song from which the name of the event came from. Vince Herman sat in with them on the majority of their set including a wicked version of “Fire on The Mountain.”
I was drawn outside to the patio by the acoustic rumblings of Duck Pond who proved to be the surprise of the entire festival. These guys were full of life and added an energy that I had been searching for throughout the two-day show. They did a mash up of “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” with “Whiskey Before Breakfast” that was as silly as it was well executed.
Donavan Frankenreiter was on the main stage outside by this point so I headed out to catch a glimpse of his show. The nice thing about the fest was how close and maneuverable it all was. You could litteraly bounce from stage to stage with just a whim and grab a beer on the way. In that regard it was really well setup. Donavon was a Brushfire Records performer who along the lines of Jack Johnson hosts more singalong type shows. He had a rockier edge though and he was certainly enjoyable to see live. He was one of many firsts for me at Dancin’ In The Streets. That again was the nice thing about the festival, lots of great music I was wholly familiar with and few bands I had never seen live to keep me engaged.
I went back inside to catch the end of Duck Pond before venturing back into the street for Martin Sexton. He had a small but dedicated crowd assembled for his set. He had a certain animation about his playing that was half flow of consciousness half utter showmanship. He strummed his guitar briskly and softly playing a wide variety of songs.
Big Wu went on late around 8PM and I stayed to see them for a bit. They opened with “Shoot The Moon.”
SET I: Shoot The Moon, Texas Fireball, Tequila, The Hobo Song, Red Sky, U.S. Blues, Mean Spirits> Shantytown, Dixie Chicken, Southern Energy, The Star Spangled Banner> Rhode Island Red, Kangaroo
Corey posted the set on Archive.
I stayed through “Red Sky” and they sounded great, however with three days of String Cheese Incident looming at Red Rocks, I opted to call it an early night. Sadly I missed Cornmeal and JGB’s repeat performances, but from all reports they killed it.
Dancin’ In The Streets came off without a hitch and although the turnout was less on the 4th of July there were still plenty of people who made it down overall. Fans mingled with artists as they strolled about the grounds. The normally laid back vibe of Quixote’s seemed to permeate the entire show. I’m glad this festival has made its glorious return to Denver. The Bianchi’s deserve to have an event that showcases what they bring to scene. Dancin’ In The Streets did just that.
After witnessing an amazing set at Summer Camp from Banyan featuring Stephen Perkins and Willie Waldman, I was happy to see Mr. Waldman was on his way to Denver. This set was a bit different as it featured four incredible live painters performing with the band. This year Summer Camp invited several artists to paint at the festival and it really adds a bit of spice to the experience. In a way this show was much like a mini-fest in an evening.
The last time live painters Bukaty, Wisdom, Callerman, and Keener were together was as the Kanrocksas Music Festival. This time around they were painting a Free Jazz performance from Willie Waldman Project. WWP is a group that morphs on the regular taking on different members based on locale and availability. This time around the musicians consisted of Willie on trumpet, Brian Jordan on guitar, Cory Kertzie on drums, and Garrett Sayers on bass. A tight group to be sure, but the night also had its fair share of surprises.
I arrived early and met with the band for an interview. I wanted to dive into the collaboration between the live painters and the musicians. I have been seeing Wisdom paint with Waldman for ten years now and the most interesting element of his painting is his reliance on the performance rather than the final product on the canvas. He paints on an illuminated background and when he is done he takes a picture and wipes it away. The impermanence of his art is mind-boggling. Bukaty has a flowing, sometimes frenzied style, however as of late he has opted to really let the music dictate his work. Don Callerman, also known as the “House Painter” at Quixotes ranges from linear impressionism to more direct representational pieces. Laurie Keener does some incredible caricatures of the musicians and is well known for the way she depicts not only the performers but also their instruments.
So with the painters in “Quadraphonic Surround Sound” in place it was tine for the set to get underway. As they started there was only about thirty souls gathered on the newly renovated patio at Quixotes. I have to point out that the light turnout had to do with the fact that the show was poorly promoted. For the caliber of music and level of talent of artists painting it was most definitely a shame that not more people made it out. The lack of attendence did little to detract from the musical performance or the artists. I guess what I’m saying is that the music was absolutely top notch. Willie was not only the bandleader but also his soulful trumpet acted as the glue that tied the act together. Brian Jordan is simply stellar, working with a wide range of musical styles he pulled out all the stops on his guitar throughout the two set show. The dynamism between Sayers and Kertzie built over the course of the entire evening. Kertzie is a monster on the kit and working with someone as accomplished as Garrett really gave him the room to shine. The paint splattered on the canvases as the group flowed in and out of Latin, world, jazz, and rock soundscapes. There are no setlists really, as it is all improvised; however you can listen to the tape from Kind Recordings on Archive.
The second set saw more surprises including a sit-in from Cecil “Pnut” Daniels who stopped by after playing a Thursday set at the Highland Tap. Not only have Wednesdays with Garrett Sayers Trio become incredibly popular, but Thursdays are also hosting live music as well. He plays a Midi Horn that looks almost like a toy saxophone; however the music he created was anything but child’s play. I had heard of Daniels, but this was my first chance seeing him live and it was a great addition to the night’s performance. Another gentleman stepped up to the microphone for a version of “Big Boss Man,” which got the small crowd dancing on the patio. All in all it was a great night of music that made me wish more people had the pleasure of seeing. When Willie has a backing band that is made up of quality musicians he can really rip on the trumpet. I would go so far as to say that the band was as good as any group I’ve seen him with. It was a lot of fun, and I would love to see this exact lineup again and again.
I took on a full day of music last Sunday with Leftover Salmon’s Aquatic Hitchhiker Release in Denver and trip back to Mishawaka for The Wood Brothers supported by Paper Bird. This year Leftover Salmon is making their triumphant return to Summer Camp and last year’s fest was my first time enjoying the music of The Wood Brothers. Here is my write up of my experience.
Leftover Salmon on Santa Fe
Over five months in the making, Leftover Salmon threw a massive party in the streets of Denver in honor of the release of Aquatic Hitchhiker. Their first album in eight years is certainly reason to celebrate, and 9,000 or so of their closest friends made the trip down to the 700 block of South Santa Fe to do just that. The setup can only be described excellent. Taking up the entire road with a beer garden and food vendors set up in an adjacent parking lot. I got in early and headed to the photo pit. They opened with a truly appropriate “Ants In My Pants.” Here is the setlist.
SET I: Ants In My Pants, Gold Hill Line, Zombie Jamboree, Stop All Your Worrying, That Was Your Mother, Doin’ My Time, Gone For Long, Aquatic Hitchhiker, Liza, Gulf of Mexico, Kentucky Skies, This Is The Time, Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie
SET II: On The Other Side, Keep Driving, 420 Polka, Light Behind The Rain, Down In The Hollow, Sing Up To The Moon, Bayou Town, Breakin’ Thru, See The Mornin’ Sun, Walking Shoes, Get Me Outta This City, Pasta On The Mountain, Here Comes The Night, Euphoria
ENCORE: I Don’t Know You, River’s Rising
Thanks to Corey at Kind Recordings for posting the recording on Archive, you can listen to it HERE.
The show began with some seriously classic Salmon including “Gold Hill Line” and “Zombie Jamboree.” Through the course of the show they managed to break out the majority of the track list from Aquatic Hitchhiker. I would go so far as to say it was the perfect balance between old and new. They finally got into the tracks from the new album with “Stop All Your Worrying,” and let me tell you the fresh Salmon tastes delicious. They dedicated “That Was Your Mother,” to all the moms in the audience given the fact that it was Mother’s Day.
“I sure do love bluegrass…. Play some of that spacegrass.” – Vince Herman
The next stretch was all new tunes showcasing how hard they worked on the new CD and how far they’ve come in a short 22 years. They closed the first set with a pair of classics including “This Is The Time,” which felt like a true assertion and “Up On the Hill Where They Do The Boogie.” I can’t think of any other band right now that would put on a show like this for their fans free of charge. Phish is not bringing all their followers to Burlington for a show like this. Leftover Salmon absolutely busted their ass to make this happen. They did not do this not to sell albums, which were being sold at the discounted rate of ten bucks. They did it because they are truly happy with where they are right now and they wanted to give back to their base. Leftover Salmon has experienced so much over the past two decades and many other bands in the same position would have fallen by the wayside. However they persevere because of a promise to Mark Vann and also because they truly love performing live. Unfortunately I had to hit the road back to Mishawaka after the first set. However given their presentation during set one I look forward to a new era of Salmon. It is officially Leftover 2.0. It is obvious they are back in a big way and with this amazing performance on Santa Fe, they proved that now is the time.
The Wood Brothers with Paper Bird
The Wood Brother with Paper Bird at Mishawaka
After the nonstop roller coaster of a weekend, a nice quiet evening at the Mish to close out their opening weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I raced back up from Leftover Salmon in Denver and got there in time to catch Paper Bird. Made up of Sarah Anderson, sisters Guinevere Patterson, and Esme Patterson, with Caleb Summeril, Paul DeHaven, Macon Terry, and Mark Anderson. The three ladies front the band and have a playful banter they toss around between songs. Their acoustic style was both relaxed and delightful. Drifting into elements of indie and bluegrass Paper Bird was a truly unique experience. They played a nice set of music and were a good fit as a Front Range opener for The Wood Brothers.
During setbreak I got a chance to grab some food off the new menu. I have to say that this is just one more of the improvements I’ve seen at Mishawaka over the last two years. The cooking was excellent with some higher-level fare as well as some affordable choices.
The Wood Brothers are quickly becoming a favorite of mine to see live. Their down to earth style is so approachable and intriguing, it’s hard not to be quickly enamored with this group. Combining the talents of brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, at times it feels like you are sitting on the front porch of the Wood home listening to two siblings play for their friends and family.
SET I: Stealin’, When I Was Young, Lovin’ Arms, Mary Anna, Where My Baby Might Be, Stumbled In, Postcards From Hell, Spirit, Shoofly Pie, Angel Band, Liza Jane, Midnight Rider, Chocolate On My Tongue, Luckiest Man, Honey Jar, Glad,
The almost two hour set was a great demonstration of what The Wood Brothers are capable of. Their take on Americana and acoustic instrumentation gives me faith in the quality of new music. Highlights from their show included an awesome “Postcards From Hell” and a tight “Luckiest Man.” Chris Wood known for his intrepid jazz licks in Medeski Martin & Wood is transformed into a folk luminary. Oliver is a fine picker with a twang in his voice that lends a certain authenticity to their sound. After seeing their performance at Summer Camp last year I knew I would be happy to make it up the canyon for this show. The concert ended before 9:30 PM, which is usually the case for Sunday shows at Mishawaka.
St. Patty’s Day, the drinkingest day of the year was also night two of Galactic’s Paddy Gras run at The Ogden in Denver. Galactic made the trek to Summer Camp in 2007, and are on the bill this year as well. When I saw the recent announcement of their inclusion on the lineup I knew I had to cover them here.
I arrived early and witnessed smeared shamrocks on the faces of the bleary-eyed patrons which acted as the unofficial war paint for the evening, as the sea of green filled in for the sold out show. Shirts adorned with leprechauns, cartoon characters, and various shades of emerald were the informal jersey of the dance battle, which I was immediately confronted with upon entering.
DJ Logic was on stage spinning his brand of jazzy funk-infused house music while kids were break dancing on the floor. Logic is an interesting cat; he is known for sitting in with numerous bands from the Blues Traveler front man John Popper in the Popper Logic Project to Widespread Panic. He gained notoriety at the inaugural Bonnaroo by performing with over a dozen artists and filled the role of the DJ at large in a big way. Logic spun for close to an hour keeping fans happy as the show got underway.
Los Angeles-based band The Aggrolites performing their own brand of self-proclaimed “Dirty Reggae” was next on the bill. Elements of rock and soul find their way into the mix. They rely heavily on crowd reaction and develop an energy that is contagious. The few fans that were familiar with The Aggrolites congregated in the front as the band eased into their set. Jesse Wagner blasted out his vocals on the microphone as the audience joined in the vibe. Riff heavy songs shot out the PA like musical bullets. Having no familiarity with the band, I quickly found myself dancing and chanting along with the group. Normally The Aggrolites find themselves playing alongside bands like 311, Flogging Molly, and Social Distortion, but they were a great way to get the night started. They ended their set with a powerful cover of The Beatles “Come Together”.
After a quick stage change Galactic took their places and opened with a funky “Boban”, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Boban, Total Destruction To Your Mind, Heart of Steel, Break In The Road, Balkan Wedding, Manic Depression, Hey Na Na, Night People, Out In The Street, Bittersweet, Ha Di Ka, Shibuya, Funky Bird, Boe Money, From The Corner To The Block, Crazy Horse Mongoose, How Many More Times
ENCORE: Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Goin Down
The driving drums of Stanton Moore immediately took center stage and didn’t leave the spotlight for the rest of the evening. The man is a beast and he shows his prowess with ever hit of the snare. Rebirth Brass Band’s Corey Henry on trombone was a distinctly awesome addition to Galactic’s performance. The back and forth between Henry and Ben Ellman was thrilling. Corey Glover originally of Living Colour fame, took over vocal duties for the show. It was reminiscent of the Galactic days of yore that saw Theyrl Houseman DeClouet on the mic. The instrumental version of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” was a highlight to be certain. Glover came back to the stage to hit it hard for a run of tunes that made up the meat of the set. The staggering crowd was treated to some classic Galactic funk with “Shibuya” and “Funky Bird” before Moore soloed on the kit for “Boe Money”. They ended the show with a stellar “How Many More Times”. They encored with a sick “Ash Wednesday Sunrise” into “Goin Down”. Galactic brings the heat when they play. They are a funky force to be reckoned with and continue to perform with an energy that is impressive to say the least. They are truly worthy of their place at the top of New Orleans exports and I’m truly looking forward to seeing their set at Summer Camp this year.
I took some time to tim my experience of Umphrey’s in Colorado. Check out the link to Day 1 Here: RAGE
Just click RAGE above
For any of you fink fans out there, you are well aware of who George Porter Jr. is. For those of you who do not, let me tell you a little bit about a band called The Meters. They basically wrote the book on New Orleans funk and if you are unaware of their tunes I just feel bad for you.
Recently, George came through Denver with his good friend Joe Tatton of the New Mastersounds who happens to have a side project called Rodina with his wife and my buddies, some members of the Fox Street Allstars and Kinetix. Rodina is an awesome brand of music, spacey, trancey, dancey, and funky.
George put on a great show playing a bunch of tunes The Meters wrote but never recorded. The place was packed and everyone was sweatty. I managed to make my way up to the front for the end of the Rodina set when George sat in with them and played a tune everyone enjoyed. Check it out here:
To celebrate entering my 31st year on this planet we headed down to The Bluebird in Denver to catch Split Lip Rayfield. I had a solid crew consisting of Amy, my brother, and my best friend Ben. We grabbed a spot on the rail in the balcony as I roamed around taking photos. Split Lip Rayfield played Summer Camp in 2010 and in my oppinion are a not to be missed live experience. They are so unique and incredibly talented that watching them perform is simply jawdropping. Furthermore, I love the Bluebird; it is by far my favorite intimate venue in Denver. Good layout, awesome sightlines, amazing acoustics, and a great crew all combine to make any live show at The Bluebird a good one. Living in Fort Collins, I don’t get down as often as I would like, but it’s always a pleasure when I make it back.
Soon after we arrived Rayland Baxter Took the stage. Rayland was a mustachioed troubadour from Nashville. Odessa Rose accompanied him on violin and backing vocals for most of his set. Baxter demonstrated an incredible sonic range going from minimalist plucking to a full on audio assault. He was a storyteller and an acoustic bard. Rayland had an unusual knack for weaving songs out of observations, from his Mountain Song about living in the Rockies of Colorado to his interesting biopic entitled Willie’s Song. The highlight of his set was a tragic tinged tune called The Cold Easy Life of a Loner. It was a great albeit slower way to start the show.
The Magic Beans are anything but slow. Bringing a slew of their own fans with them, many in the crowd showed a level of enthusiasm rarely seen for a local act. Hailing from Nederland The Magic Beans have begun to build a loyal fanbase that is willing to catch them up and down the Front Range. A young band with a lot of potential they seem to be all over the map when it comes to their sound. Ranging from Phishy jam to a Disco Biscuits style dance party. At times they drifted into a distinctly Dead tone, which I found to be the best parts of their show. I will say this set of songs was very similar to their opening set for Elephant Revival I caught a few months back at The Aggie, but that’s understandable given their youth. The Magic Beans have enormous promise, and are already making waves in and around the Denver jam scene. Given the fact that they have had some solid opening slots and are finding their way into festival lineups including the upcoming Snowball and Phibstock. I see good things in their future as they continue to develop their style.
Split Lip Rayfield took the stage around 11 PM. This trio from Witchita, Kansas was a rapid fire kick in the junk. With machine-gun delivery and an urgent take on traditional bluegrass, their sound was simply infectious. Often classified as cowpunk and appropriately so, Split Lip Rayfield is a punch bowl of all things bluegrass. The only thing for certain was that this was not Del McCoury’s band. The Stitchgiver, a homemade one string bass cobbled together from a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis gas tank, is the beating heart of SLR. Watching Eaton whack away at that single string may have been their most entertaining aspect of the show. One thing that cannot be overlooked was just how much rhythm he produced with just one string.
The show was Redbull bluegrass, like slamming an espresso in a musical shot glass. The crowd was literally whooping and hollering as their show got underway. The main element that they borrowed from punk besides their shredding delivery was the two-minute structure of many of their songs. If you didn’t like one of the tunes, it was okay because it would be over soon. This was not my experience, I found myself truly locked into what was happening on stage. After I got my photos I headed back up to the balcony for the rest of the show. Split Lip Rayfield had a certain irreverence, with songs like A Little More Cocaine Please and I Used To Know Your Wife, it was obvious that while they were playing seriously they were not taking themselves too serious.
Additional highlights from the show included Movin’ To Virginia and Kiss of Death. They ended the show just after 12:30. I was 31 and happy that my first show of this rotation around the sun was Split Lip Rayfield. Having only caught the end of their set a couple years back at Red Rocks, it was great to see them playing for a dedicated group of fans in this awesome venue. I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to have their face melted by a banjo, a mandolin, and a one-string gas tank to head out and see Split Lip Rayfield next time they make it to town.
The long awaited two-night run of Game 7 was billed as the MusicMarauders Two Year Anniversary Celebration. Having been writing for MM for close to a year now, which has been a great experience overall, I was very excited to join in the festivities. Writing for MusicMaraudes was just one of my qualifications that helped land me the Camp Counselor position. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of coverage for both Summer Camp and MM.
I arrived early enough to catch a bit of Wisebird’s opening set. They were a foursome of wide brim hat wearing, bearded jammers who looked like they walked straight out of a Kerouac novel. Wisebird dabbled in bluesy song structures with a rockabilly twang. I would say the most striking thing about their playing was the distinct cleanliness of their sound. While not necessarily incredibly complex the music of Wisebird was tight and well thought out. They were an interesting juxtaposition for the night’s main event. I headed backstage with J-man for a quick interview with Magner before they took the stage around midnight.
This was the third outing of supergroup Game 7. A jam hybrid with Araon Magner of the Disco Biscuits, Michael Kang from String Cheese Incident, Particle’s rhythm section Darren Pujalet and Eric Gould, as well as Pete Wall from the Motet. Playing together for only the third time live this nascent collaboration showed incredible promise. All of the members save Pete Wall (who is a member of The Motet whom I wrote about in my prevoius post.) have played at Summer Camp in one band or another. As fans filtered in, many from STS9’s Fillmore show, shouts of Kang and Magner could be heard from the enthusiastic crowd. They opened with an original jam entitled Multiball 2. Here is the rest of their setlist.
SET I: Multiball 2, Chicago> Mike’s Outro, Run Like Hell, La Femme, Time To Pretend, Howl At The Moon, Skyscrapper> MIA Jam> Da Funk> Feeling Older, Mind Over Matter, Neck Romancer, Come Together
ENCORE: Multiball 1
(Taken from onstage setlist.)
Game 7 was a fusing of styles as diverse as the members who made up the group. With the often-subtle mannered Michael Kang playing bandleader he passed around the jam like a hot potato. Scantily clad Bisco chicks and a random girl dressed in a bear suit danced passionately as the band eased into their two-plus hour set. It would have been easy for them to be an untz-fueled monster given the Particle and Bisco backgrounds, but honestly they were a fluid organic musical experience with an electronic edge. Their version of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell was an inspired take with a trance-y bridge before they went right back into the tune to close. They performed a jam on MGMT’s Time To Pretend, which had been played the night previous. However given the fact that they are a newly assembled endeavor still working on original material it was to be expected. The show flowed quickly with covers from Air, Daft Punk, as well as a version of Disco Biscuits’ Neck Romancer.
The show was incredibly balanced and it really displayed the musical prowess of everyone involved. It’s collaborations like this that reaffirm my faith in the jam scene. Unlike other musical realms, the amazing talent of the members of this community allows them to play with anyone, anytime. On a Saturday night at Quixote’s we witnessed some serious musical ability. Most notable of which may have been Pete Wall who seemed to blast off about midset. He brought a new dynamic to his sound and was virtually evolving right before a captivated audience. Magner did what he does best all night killing it on the keys and adding his own sonic flair to the sound. Pujalet was a human metronome on the skins with Gould giving a pinpoint precision to his bass playing. They bookended the show with their Multiball 2 jam finishing around 2:30 AM. As the crowd spilled out in the streets I smiled to myself knowing that I got to see this sick lineup at the beginning. They have so much raw potential that I can only hope that they continue to find time to play together in the future. Happy Anniversary to MusicMarauders and I look forward to another amazing year of live music coverage.
What a way to start the New Years Run…Normally I see 1 band for 3 nights for New Years, but this one was gonna be different. Instead I’d be seeing 4 bands over 3 nights. One of those bands and one of those nights was one of the best New Year’s Eve that has ever taken place anywhere in the world, but more about that in a later post
What I am here to talk to you about to day is a certain Mr. Troy Andrews, or as you may know him, Trombone Shorty. I am not super familiar with the brass band jam scene, but all I know is Trombone Shorty is the BEST trombone player I have ever seen in my life. On Wednesday and Thursday December 28th and 29th Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue absolutely obliterated the Bluebird Theater in Denver.
I was lucky enough to know each of the 2 opening bands. The first night, Kinetix. The second night, the Fox Street Allstars. Wednesday night Kinetix was amazing, and to be honest, I was shocked. These guys were working with a new drummer and we all know that if the drums aren’t working, nothing is going to be working…to my surprise though, George, the new guy, not only learned the music perfectly (minus one hitch in the night…but hey, no one is perfect) but he CRUSHED IT!!! They sounded so good, they looked so good, one of the best Kinetix shows I can remember, and I’ve seen these guys about 150 times. Check out this sweet picture compliments of Kit Chalberg and Listen Up Denver, a great local music blog, check them out at www.listenupdenver.com
The second night was the Fox Street All Stars turn. Just another installation of a local band wreaking sonic havoc upon the souls of the unknowing…I know, that was little out there, but basically they played a heck of a show. Things are starting to come together for those guys…they are regular touring partners with the New Mastersounds, they continue to play great supporting slots at local venues, and they are about to get back in the studio to put another album together. Their new songs are awesome. Take it or Leave it is probably my favorite. It’s a super funky upbeat tune and the first lyrics are “I know you like to think your shit ain’t stinky, but it’s smellin’ pretty bad,” so you get the gist of what the tune is about. This show was phenomenal and their sound was a great fit for the Trombone Shorty crowd, so if you like him, check these dudes out. Here’s a couple more pictures, this time from Tim Dwenger at Listen Up…
Moving onto the star of both shows, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Man, they were amazing. I would love to see these guys get a set a Summer Camp this year. So much energy so many influences. Sure it’s a brass band but they are influenced by jazz, hip hop, and they even do some light yamming. Even if you aren’t into this genre, you need to see these guys perform. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Thanks again to Tim Dwenger at Listen Up for some great shots!
The date was Saturday, August 10th. The place was Fort Collins, CO. And the show was the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Dear lord. If anyone can show me a better husband and wife guitar duo, I’ll buy you a late night ticket to SCAMP 2012…While Tedeschi Trucks was not the only act to play that night, they were certainly the headliners of the Bohemian Nights Music Festival held for FREE by the city of Fort Collins, Colorado. What a beautiful thing. Probably the best slide guitar player in the world and its free. Just sayin, all other cities out there…
Anyway, I was there not only for Tedeschi Trucks, but also for my buddies, the Fox Street Allstars who had the opportunity to open for the big guns. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Fox Street before, but if I haven’t go check them out here: www.foxstreetallstars.com Rumor has it they’ll be touring this winter with another SCAMP artist that I can’t really talk about so if you see their name on a bill make sure you get a ticket. If you need any convincing I’m pretty sure Derek Trucks was on the side of the stage for the performance and I’m pretty sure I saw his mouth move in the shape of “Holy shit, these guys are good, we better bring the thunder…” I could easily be mistaken.
Whether or not I was, bringing the thunder is exactly what the Tedeschi Trucks Band did. I’m not sure, but I think there were 11 people on stage playing and it was awesome. Derek, as I mentioned, is probably the best slide guitar player in the world…so much control and such an interesting right hand technique…I hear he just kind of picked up the guitar at 5 and just knew how to play it…probably why he was touring with and opening for the Allman Brothers at age 14. If you don’t listen to Derek Trucks, check him out. His wife, Susan Tedeschi is no guitar slouch herself, mostly strumming and singing with the voice of an angel who loves to drink, she has the ability and often does rip great blues guitar solos. Together these two make some amazing music and I for one am super jealous of the musical opportunities that will no doubt be available to any and all of their children they may have or will have…but I digress. In addition to an amazing show, the technical side of it was super cool as well. With a great light rig, and the sun setting just before they took the stage, we were all treated to a wonderful visual display, I’ve included a pic…I especially liked the hanging LED strips…
The show was amazing; the horn players each had their time to shine, each back up vocalist got an opportunity to sing lead, a very democratic band if I’ve ever seen one. Most of the songs they played came off their new album, Revelator, which I’ve had stuck in my CD player for a few months straight now…If you ever get the chance to see Derek Trucks, even if you aren’t into his music, go see him play. In my opinion, it’s just phenomenal to watch anyone who is great at whatever it is they are doing, and as one of the greatest guitar players of our generation, I’d have to say Derek Trucks falls into that category.