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.
Denver Music Scene, God I Love You
So I want to tell you all about 3 very different shows that I got a chance to see recently and just beg Summer Camp to put all these peeps on the bill for next year. First up is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Good lord. Now I don’t know if you have ever seen Grace, but that is exactly what she is made of. Amazingly beautiful and classy, Grace has an energy about her that makes you go, woah…Now, if you have ever heard Grace Potter you already know this…her talent and voice surpass even her beauty. It is really amazing. She has so much power inside her that she can unleash on the crowd any time she wants. Please Summer Camp Staff…if there is anyway to get Grace on the bill, DO IT!!! Give her a night set and let her throw down!
Ok, enough of that, sorry, I just get really worked up when I start talking about Grace Potter. Anyway, show number 2, some good friends and local heroes, Yamn, an amazing band from Denver, has played Summer Camp before. These guys are really starting to make some moves professionally in terms of the quality of venue they play, the number of people they draw, and more. The first time I heard these guys play I was like, did Umphrey’s and Sound Tribe have a baby? Here is some clips from their New Years show up in Breckenridge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GB2xZvmpR4 I know if you see these guys, and they tour with UV Hippo some times, that you will not be disappointed. They have a wonderful lighting director named Pauly who like Jefferson Waful is learning to paint the music with his lights and bring another element to the show. I got to catch a great rendition of I Am the Walrus at the show I went to. Seeing a band like this come up is really cool. To meet their fans who support them like no other. One of their biggest fans and my good friend Mackenzie Moore runs CAM Showear, clothes for shows…Yamn is the kind of band that brings people like her out of the wood work. Check out her show clothes here: http://www.facebook.com/cam.showear. As I get more and more into music, it is the local scene and the first fans of bands that really intrigue me. I think it is easy to see why people are big fans of big bands. But to “know” so early in a band’s career that they are the band for you, latching on and supporting them as friends and as musicians, it is a special community to be a part of. If you have a band like that in your neck of the woods, tell Summer Camp about them cuz all these kids deserve a shot.
Finally, just last week, I got to see Mr. Eric Johnson. If you don’t know who this guys is, you should. Perhaps you know his most famous song, Cliffs of Dover…I didn’t but I did know this guy had chops. With just a 3 piece he made so much music. I saw some chord shapes on the guitar I have never seen before. I think I have a new guitar hero though. His stylings were really tasteful. Beautiful chords, amazing solos…I got a bit of an Umph vibe off him and I would not be surprised at all if it turns out Jake was down with Eric Johnson.
Anyway, just wanted to let you all know about a couple shows I had seen. I’m heading out to see Styx and Yes tonight at Red Rocks, and August should be a good month for music too. Until next time…