Can you believe Summer Camp 2013 is ONLY 44 days away? What do you think of the lineup the crew put together this year? Pretty amazeballs if you ask me. The festival mainstays of moe. & Umphrey’s are again front and center holding down headlining spots. But they share some pretty rarified company! The Wood Brothers and The Wailers were late adds that pleased many a camper. The only thing left to figure out is where everyone will be slotted with other great acts like Trey, Thievery Corporation, STS9, Avett Brothers, and YMSB.
I caught Thievery’s NYE show out in Vail as the ball dropped and we rang in 2013 at Dobson Ice Arena. Their mix of house electronic beats along side a live band with amazing female and male vocalists has been heard around the DC area for years. I’m thinking that the late night set with ZEDS DEAD is going to easily rival last years by Pretty Lights. Be sure to get your tickets to the RED BARN late nights while you still can. If not don’t worry they’ll have another set placed strategically throughout the awesome weekend at Three Sisters Park.
What sort of collaborations will we see this year at Camp? Will Trey get down with moe.? Will Yonder and Cornmeal team up? These are the questions that get people excited, and with 44 DAYS to go…let your imagination run wild.
Speaking of who is bringing rage sticks or totems this year? Last year saw some pretty unique creations, and I for one am gonna be scouting for the famous “STOP & GET DOWN” sign along with a host of others. I may give out prizes so be on the lookout for me and when you do see me throw up your best “rage face” for the picture.
I’m really thankful that this year i’ll have time in addition to covering the festival to hang with my band pals Family Groove Company, Old Shoe, Henhouse Prowlers, Afternoon Moon, Chicago Farmer, The Giving Tree Band, The Ragbirds, and Zmick. Friends are what makes the festival experience that much more special and its been almost a year since I hung out with my fellow CIT friends and Camp Counselor from last year. That’s a year TOO long for sure.
Let’s see besides seeing Widespread Panic this weekend at UIC. I’m heading out west on tour with Old Shoe as they play a few Colorado dates at the end of April. If you are around Fort Collins (4/17), Steamboat Springs (4/18), Denver (4/19), or Nederland (4/20) make sure you look up where they are playing on that Facebook thing and get on down to check them out pre SC2013! I’ll even share a tasty local beverage with you (if you are of age of course). Until we meet again at Camp keep your eyes peeled for the schedule and when its released start planning your romp through Three Sisters cause a good time starts with a good plan!
Saturdays are always some of the biggest days at Summer Camp. Almost everyone has had time to get to the festival and is out ready to rage in full force. Saturday was HOT! The mercury hit around 95 degrees but the bands were even hotter. I took the heat with chicken hat on and got to see quite a few bands. Here is a little bit of a preview of my day.
Family Groove Company
Kids These Days
Brain Damaged Eggman
Sun Stereo recreating the Beatles
Like yesterday, I will give you a brief synopsis of what where some of my high points of the day.
The first band that blew me completely away was a band I first heard within the last six months. The band is called Kids These Days and they are out of Chicago. The band is made out of young rockers that are barely out of high school, but don’t let that fool you. They have more talent and soul than people twice their age. Kids these Days has a very original sound I would call a sweet blend of funk, blues, jazz, soul, and hip hop. All 7 members of the band owned the stage the moment they set foot out there bringing an energy level that could boil blood. One of the things that first drew me to the band was the absolutely stunning voice of Macie Stewart who also plays keys, but I also have love for the horn section made up of Nico Segal on trumpet and J.P. Floyd on trombone. The horns provide that jazzy icing on the cake that brings all the parts in sync. They also function as “hype men” pumping up the crown and having a good time on stage. I love rock and roll but my roots are in the blues which is why I love to see Liam Cunningham up there ripping on blues guitar. I hope to see much more of these guys in the future.
The next show will be on the top of many Scampers best of list for 2012. The Brain Damaged Eggmen were formed from Jake, Kris, and Brendan from Umphrey’s, and Marc and Aron from Disco Biscuits. The two groups seamlessly blended their styles to form what 2011 Camp Counselor Nick Stock called Disco McGee. The sound was a dancy blend of Disco Biscuits groove and gut-punching Umphrey’s rock. They played many of my favorite songs including Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.” I was lucky enough to witness Umphrey’s cover this song in Dekalb in 2007 and was excited to see it busted out again.
After the late night in the Red Barn I was wanting to keep the Beatles vibe rolling and also wanted to kick back and relax so I headed towards the Soulshine tent to see Sun Stereo recreating the Beatles. I have never seen these guys before and was glad to see that they are a home grown act hailing from Urbana, IL. They came out in full force complete with British accents that could fool a true Brit.
I also got to take some time between sets to check out the Field Day events and even participate in dodgeball. I regret to inform you that I am not very good at Dodgeball and got out almost immediately, but I had a lot of fun. If you have a competitive spirit the field day events are a great way to meet new people that you will be able to rage with at future festivals. It is also a great way to partake in the childlike fun of Summer Camp.
One more day left Scampers. It is going to be a great one, hold on to it while you can because you are going to miss it Monday. As always Rage Responsibly!
Hello everyone! Summer Camp 2013 is coming up quickly so I figured it was about time to share with everyone the interview I was able to do with Janis Wallin and Jordan Wilkow of Family Groove Company.
In the interview we discuss Family Groove Company growing with the festival over the last 9 years, their favorite collaborations with artists at Summer Camp, and why checking out the workshops at Summer Camp is so important.
I hope everyone enjoys this interview and is looking forward to attending Summer Camp Music Festival 2013 as much as I am.
Summer 2012 Festival season in review
So what has ChickenHeadFan been up to since last Summer Camp Music Festival? Well, I was doing my normal thing, going to shows, taking pictures and videos to share with all of you. As we all know Summer Camp Music Festival is ChickenHeadFan’s true home! There is nothing he loves more than the 4 days he spends over Memorial Day weekend with all of you at Camp. This summer I did some branching out and I was lucky enough to go to four other music festivals and each one had many unique things that make them special. I like to keep the Summer Camp Spirit flowing all summer long and I figured trying out some new festivals was a great way to keep that spirit going! In this blog I will give you some highlights of each festival.
Bonnaroo was a great time. It was my first time going so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The experience was a lot different than Summer Camp, but that can be expected as there are as many as 80,000+ people at Bonnaroo. We were lucky and accidentally found a back way in so we were in line for 2 hours instead of 6-8 so that was a positive right off the bat. We got in line around 2am and were not done setting up till 4am so that was an adventure. We had really great neighbors and even made good friends with one group and they are planning to visit in Chicago soon! It was a long walk over 1 mile to get to “Center-Roo,” where all the shows are, so you didn’t want to go back to camp very often. The food selection was amazing with vendors everywhere that were open all day and night. You could eat anything you wanted at anytime and you never had to walk far or wait long for food. We even bought some good ol’ Tennessee moonshine from one vendor! The bathrooms were also pretty awesome. I never once saw a port-a-john that was anywhere close to overflowing and they were always clean.
Musical Highlights: Radiohead, Phish, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Alice Cooper, Umphrey’s McGee. The first band we saw was Mariachi el Bronx. I had been looking forward to seeing them after learning about them a few months before. These punk rockers turned mariachi band (mariachi outfits included) put on a high energy show that was lot of fun. Radiohead and Phish were obvious highlights for me. It was my first time seeing Radiohead and what an epic show it was. They played all my favorite songs and their stage show with the video screens moving all over the stage was a cool touch. Rodrigo y Gabriella’s new record, Area 52, that they recorded with the band C.U.B.A. has been one of my favorite albums this summer. It was amazing to see them play such complex music so perfectly live. Alice Cooper was also awesome, but we were only able to catch the last half of his show. His stage show includes costumes, giant puppets, and a guillotine. I was excited to see more later in the summer when I was going to see him open for Iron Maiden. We caught a surprisingly fun set from Ludacris during the afternoon. The set struck memories of driving to school with my older brother when he played a montage of hits including my favorites “Ho” and “Southern Hospitality.” Umphrey’s also played the best set I have seen from them in 2012. They played from 2-6am with Big Gigantic taking over at set break for a half hour. They were only supposed to play till 4am but put on a full show instead. The set including a rocking version of “Thunderstruck” which was exactly what I needed to keep me going as the sun was rising.
Whippersnap Music Festival is one of the many smaller local festivals that happens in the northern Illinois region. Here you can check out a lot of the great bands you might hear at the Starshine, Camping, or Campfire Stages at Summer Camp. The festival was located in Lyran Park near Rockford, IL. The main stage was set on a hill so there was a “natural amphitheater” with a river as the backdrop. It was beautiful! As for food, my favorite Summer Camp vendor Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was on-site so I was happy. The bathrooms at the festival were clean as well which makes festival life so much easier. Camping was very relaxed. There was plenty of space and there was no rush to find a place to set up camp. It is always a problem at larger festivals and can make the first couple hours a mad dash to get your preferred spot.
Musical Highlights: Family Groove Company, SPREAD, Old Shoe, The Funky Meters, and Digital Tape Machine. I also was only able to attend the Festival for Saturday and Sunday so I missed some great music, but was still able to catch some of my favorites. Family Groove played an awesome set that included a Beck cover and featured Joe Day from Old Shoe on vocals. I also woke up early Saturday to see SPREAD, a Summer Camp Battle-of-the-Bands contest winner the last 3 years, play a rocking set that included a Ween Cover, and some of their staples like “Deep Plunge” and “Feel my Heat.” I also got to catch a late afternoon set from Old Shoe. This was sadly the first time I have been able to catch a full set from these guys, and I was truly blown away! I have seen them twice since then, once at the Abbey Pub and once at Shoe Fest and they never cease to please.
Shoe Fest is put on by Old Shoe, hence the name. This festival was held in Manteno, IL at Camp Shaw-wa-na-see. This is another beautiful setting for a small festival. There were many families and children present and you can bring your furry family members too, pets are just as welcome here as anyone! You could pretty much camp anywhere so there was plenty of space for everyone. They actually had real bathrooms which was nice, but sometimes were out or order with a lot of people using them. Foodwise there were options but since my favorite, Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was at the fest, I had to get my fix of delicious pizza and baked ravioli. They did have two local craft brewers on site which was awesome, but one other bonus was that you could bring your own alcohol anywhere at the festival including the stages, which helped keep the cost of going to a festival down.
Musical Highlights: Keller and the Keels, Ben Miller Band, Old Shoe, Jaik Willis. I missed Friday night because of my day job so, the Ben Miller Band was the first band to rock my world at Shoe Fest. They come from Joplin, MO and have a unique sound that blends bluegrass, blues, and mountain music with an occasional trombone thrown into the mix. Ben Miller provides acoustic guitar and vocals for the band, sometimes singing into a telephone converted into a microphone that gives his voice a distorted 50′s sound. Doug Dicharry plays drums, mandolin, electric washboard, trombone, and electric spoons. His strange mix of talents add to the spice that makes this band so unique. Scott Leeper plays a self-made washtub Bass for the band. This is no easy instrument requiring the player to provide the correct tension on the neck to play the right note, but Scott is an expert at it. The band played mix of covers that included “I wanna be Sedated” and “Helter Skeltar” and some originals like “Meth Mama” and “Get Right Church.” Keller and the Keels put on an amazing show. The talents of Larry and Jenny Keel compliment and add to the talents of one-man-band Keller Williams. They played a few Keller originals like “Goofballs” and “Crater in the Backyard” along with many of their bluegrass covers such as Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” Jaik Willis is the last person I caught at the festival before I left Sunday afternoon. This is sadly one of the first times I have been able to catch Jaik play, and it won’t be my last. This man is über talented. He not only is one of the best guitar players in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter, he has a voice of gold, and he beat boxes! He holds a special connection with the crowd and has the rare qualities that make up a great solo performer. Shoe Fest was a great time and it felt like home. I cannot wait to go back next year!
North Coast Music Festival is practically in my backyard. We probably walked less to get from my house to North Coast than when we walked from our camp to the shows at Bonnaroo. I had a great time at North Coast, but since it is not a camping festival it has a completely different vibe, and the lineup, consisting of mostly DJ’s and electronic groups, draws a younger and slightly different crowd than most festivals I go to. North Coast usually gets a couple big headliners and fills in the line-up with smaller acts. Although it can be a really great place to find a great smaller band, there are a lot of performers there that I’m just not interested in. The late night shows usually make up for the sometimes lackluster line-up.
Musical Higlights: EOTO, STS9, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Papadosio. The first show I saw was EOTO. I always enjoy seeing them because I can hardly believe two guys can make all those weird noises, and with real instruments too. I was able to catch Papadosio for my second time at one of the smaller stages. They put on a good show as always. STS9 is always a highlight anytime I see them, and between their headlining spot at the festival and their after party show at the House of Blues they played every song I wanted to hear including some of my favorites “Unquestionable Supremecy of Nature” “Evasive Maneuvers”, and “Inspire Stikes Back.” Unfortunately, due to restrictions put on the festival, STS9 got their sound cut when their last song went few seconds past the 10pm cutoff. The second day at the festival the weather was unpredictable and I had to miss out on Family Groove Company’s main stage performance because the festival had a no re-entry policy. I saw Strange Arrangement at one of the smaller stages at the festival where I saw some of the best shows. I was able to catch Atmostphere and Future Rock before the nights headliner and one of my favorites, Umphrey’s McGee. This was their second year headlining the festival after playing the inaugural North Coast Fest 2 years ago. I went to the STS9 after party at the House of Blues because STS9 only comes to Chicago so often so you have to see them when you can. Sunday I got a late start but I as able to see Digital Tape Machine and Big Boi from Outkast perform. Big Boi was a fun experience, and someone who I typically might not see, he played “Sorry Ms. Jackson” and “Hey Ya” , so it was a pretty good time. The real highlight of the night was seeing Umphrey’s play at the Congress Theater, which is the only major theater I have not seen them perform at in Chicago. The show was rocking, and included a cover of Toto’s “Rosanna” and teases of “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bulls on Parade.” North Coast Music Festival always ends up being a great time, but the after party shows always seem to be the best part for me.
So that is pretty much the story of my festival season this year. I had a great time but you know I was busy catching shows in between each music festival as well! What kind of shows you ask? Well to find out you will have to wait for my next blog post that will be Coming Soon!
Photo Credit – Andrew Feigl for both Bonnaroo photos
Photo credit – Adam Alexander for Chickenheadfan North Coast photo
On Friday June 22nd we arrived at the Universal River Assembly for the second half of Family Groove Company, and I’m glad we made it because they eased us into a great night of bumpin’ with their upbeat yet chill jams. The night was warm and pleasant, it was the my first trip to the Peoria Riverfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting. The venue is a picturesque park running alongside the river with a large and beautiful fountain spraying dashes of water high in the sky, greeting you as you come in the main entrance. The sun was still barely hanging in the western sky when we were getting in and we could hear Family Groove Company rockin’ it out as we passed the children playing in the fountain.
Once “inside” the atmosphere was nice and relaxed, with the perfect amount of people to space ratio. If you wanted to get up close to the stage, there was no shoving through crowds; or if on the other hand you wanted to hang back, there were plenty of chairs and picnic tables to sit on. DJ Solo made it difficult to stay put though as he brought us some fun and heavy tracks. Among some sweet originals, including a particularly unique song that borrowed a line from an insurance company commercial – of all places – he pumped it up with a sweet cover of my favorite Darude song “Sandstorm,” and got the crowd ready for the headliners.
EOTO is a band that I have seen many, many, many, times. It is amazing that despite these numerous encounters I do not get tired of their shows. The truth is, and I have said this before, that they manage to keep it fresh unlike any other band I’ve seen. With only two members, Jason Hann and Michael Travis, one would think it would be difficult for them to keep up with the current music scene; however they not only keep up, they sail past most acts that may even have bigger lights and performances, bringing forth a percussion-loaded jam unlike any other. Plastic petals lined the stage, flashing colors and images to EOTO’s dub-stepesque beats. It is hard to describe their sound, I would say that they are a jam-band-electronica-bass mix, but it doesn’t matter what “genre” you call your own I am willing to bet you will LOVE this duo. When they’re not jammin’ out as EOTO they’re playing in String Cheese…need I say more?
On behalf of the entire Summer Camp staff and crew, thank you for an amazing 12th year! The weather was perfect, the shows were epic, and all of your smiling faces truly made this year the best one yet!
Want to stay connected and ready for Summer Camp 2013?
1. Connect with us on Facebook. Share your photos, tag your friends, and tell us about your experience at the fest this year!
2. Check out our blog. Our Camp Counselor and CITs will be posting about their experiences at Summer Camp, and at other shows throughout the year with Summer Camp artists.
3. Don’t miss our upcoming shows with Summer Camp artists! In less than 1 month (June 22-23) we have the 6th annual Universal Rhythm Assembly returning to the Peoria Riverfront with EOTO, Bootsy Collins, Family Groove Company, Brainchild, DJ SOLO and more!
We also have Umphrey’s McGee on the Riverfront on 7/5 and moe. on 9/3!!
4. Subscribe to us on YouTube so you can see all of our awesome videos from the weekend as we get them up, follow us on Flickr to check out all of our photos, and follow us on Twitter to stay connected all year long!
5. Relive your experiences by watching all your favorite sets of music in the Summer Camp archives on iClips.net! These are being uploaded now and will be available in the next few days.
Can’t wait to see you all next year!
Your Summer Camp Director
Saturday was stupid hot musically and temperature wise. I now understand why adventurous campers stay in the woods during the day. It was a different world in the trees. One dub step dude was dragging a stone tied to a string and talking to it telling “Stoney” to “watch out” for those behind him. While some people were fried, most slabbed on the 100SPF sunblock so as not to look like Joan Rivers turkey neck by the end of the festival. After lathering myself up I headed out in search of something cool.
I thought Afternoon Moon could help in the coolness area so I headed over to check out their Camping Stage set. The fellas from Chicago delivered in front of their “Mooners” despite the heat. Jordan and his brother Joe promised their fans this was one not to miss and I have to say they threw down. I spent a few songs cooling off under the canopy of the woods before going to check out Family Groove Company, the coolest band since Miles Davis peed his pants over on the Moonshine Stage.
Jordan Wilkow of Family Groove Company told the crowd basking in the sun in front of Moonshine Stage to stay hydrated and held up a beer. Janis “Ice” Wallin and Adam Lewis in unisoned choreography spun their guitars. The family got slightly larger as the band added a horn section for certain songs in the set Set highlights included originals in “White Picket Fence” and “A Misdemeanor’s Worth” and the band covering Wilco’s “I’m the Man Who Love’s You” and Tower of Power’s “Squib Cakes.”
That song must have got my girlfriend Liz and I hungry so after scarfing down some tasty Minglewood Fired Pizza we doused the red pepper flake flames with a few 312 brews and headed to check out ALO. This was my first time checking these guys out and I have to say it was nice to lay back on the lawn and groove to them. Since the “crowd was in the right mind” as ALO lead guitarist explained they played a special song about “Monkeys” dedicated to Phil Lesh. Transitioning into a long fast funky chunky monkey jam the band played a variety of lively classic tunes. The band closed with “Maria” and reminded us that we had a lot of good music coming up.
Gigantic Underground Conspiracy are a combination of musicians from Disco Biscuits and Umphrey’s McGee. I spotted Camp Counselor Maria Iriart taking in one of her three on stage sets as they played Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” This was foreshadowing of what was to come later in the Red Barn set for Brain Damaged Eggmen.
Over at the Soulshine Tent a private little chat with Chuck Garvey from moe. was taking place with Rock the Earth. He brought with him drummer Vinny Amico who talked about a variety of socially conscientious issues they worked on with Dave Matthews. They also talked bout how moe. was actively involved with humanitarian efforts with the Red Cross as well as donating to environmental charities through working with the Rain Forest Network.
Chuck also answered a few questions on song writing and he said at times it could take years to craft one before it was ready to unearth. He explained while it was “fun to play Led Zeppelin it was also nice to write” even though he’s extremely critical of his songs. Chuck and Vinny played a song written on an airplane with an alternate acoustic version of “Summer Women.” Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee came up to answer a few questions as well. The tri-panel each told of their favorite places when not on the road. For most it was home. Chuck said Florida, Vinny the Adirondack Mountains, and Brendan his hometown of Chicago as he could have a zen moment having the city at his back looking out into the nothingness that was Lake Michigan. The best part of it all was that they closed it out with “Bell-Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton with Chuck on lead vocals and Brendan singing background vocals. Don’t judge a band by its name is something we all remember when it comes to moe. and Umphrey’s McGee.
Next we headed to the Camping Stage and checked out our good friends Old Shoe play their inaugural Summer Camp. “Welcome Home” opened the set and lead into “Let Yourself In” as the sun fell behind the horizon. Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” was sandwiched in between “Joe’s Song” and “Days Rain Night.” Playing mostly original work off the bands last album Let Yourself In and a forthcoming unnamed release the sunset backdrop of the newly renovated stage was just what we needed to properly kick off the evening. We hung around for Midwest Hype who went on right after Old Shoe, and though we’ve seen our friends from Laporte/Muncie area plenty around Chicago were hit with a wonderful surprise when the fellas paid tribute to Adam Yauch aka MCA the recently departed Beastie Boy and musical pioneer.
Laying down on the grass for some Umphrey’s McGee covering Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” around 10:30pm was the perfect way to celebrate a job well done by the Shoe gang. The light show was spectacular but Liz and I had Red Barn late night passes to see Brain Damaged Eggmen. So we split off from the group and decided to meet up later at Hot Buttered Rum playing at the Campfire Stage.
Brain Damaged Eggmen in the Red Barn was epic. It wasn’t too crowded though it got a bit toasty towards the end of it. Giant beach balls were fisted skyward as glow sticks and elaborate light displays enhanced the surreal atmosphere. I love both Pink Floyd and the Beatles and Brendan Bayliss thanked everyone for letting them entertain this side project.
Setlist: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Another Brick in the Wall, Baby, Your a Rich Man >Obscured by Clowns>Tomorrow Never Knows, Have A Cigar> Breathe> Comfortably Numb>I Am the Walrus>Dark Side of the Moon.
We caught up with the Shoe Family for Hot Buttered Rum and were able to take in everything from “Like the French” to covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Round and Round” and Beatles “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Sitting by the Campfire around 4am I decided for the sake of not having too bloody of a Sunday it was probably best to hit the hay.
After shaking off the night before with some wake and bacon and eggs my Friday opened with Keller Williams on the Moonshine Stage. Front row center I was able to finally witness the extraordinary one man band do his funky bass thang and was not disappointed. I’m not sure if Keller’s facial mannerisms signal anything to the other instruments onstage, but they amused the audience as they baked in the mid-afternoon sun.
Keller came out with a black bandana draped over his mouth and moved between his three guitars and a mixing board as he started looping his masterpiece. His set highlights included a throwback gem in “Freaker by the Speaker” and bass infused covers of Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and a baritone raspy version of Flight of the Concords “I Told You I was Freaky.” Keller is so tuned into the music he adapted to minor feedback issues in the monitor by simply moving it away from the speaker. Guess that’s what is to be expected considering he’s been working with the same sound guy for 15 years. For the last song special guest Al Schnier joined Keller onstage for Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”
Our crew stepped on over to Starshine to drop by and investigate the legendary Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio. Slinking along the VIP fence I cozied up to a patch of grass just in time to hear “Truckin” which was played beautifully as cloud cover brought a hazy calm over the crowd. “New Speedway Boogie” with Chris Robinson on vocals followed with a nice little harmonization to end the Grateful Dead classic.
The soulful southern Dead classic “Deep Elem Blues” followed with Bob on vocals and transitioned into Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” with Jackie Greene playing a mean mandolin. I left after “Uncle John’s Band” and headed towards the Campfire Stage which would be my home for the next three shows. I met up with my pals in Family Groove Company for the first course in The New Orleans Suspect. FGC went to school out in Los Angeles with one of their musicians who also plays in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and it was a nice appetizer funk fest near the Red Barn before the main course in Elephant Revival and Cornmeal later that evening.
I had missed the Thursday sets of Elephant Revival, the five piece folk ensemble out of Colorado, and was not going to let another chance pass me by as the buzz around this band has been high. After fiddling with the sound to get things just perfect they launched into a new tune opening with “Woodstock.” Wearing long white gloves and straddling a stomp box Bonnie Paine’s feathery lilting voice brought back memories of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. She wore a perma-smirk for nearly the entire set as she strummed her washboard to an celtic influenced sea shanty jig with Bridget Law starring on a few timely placed solos. Bridget plugged the bands release of a new song book before Sage Cook and Daniel Rodriguez provided background vocals and plucking prowess on banjo and guitar with Bonnie on lead for the water inspired “Drop.” The energy of the set was felt on a changing tempo “Old Oak River” which was played a cappella style and had a Johnny Cash type feel as the late night revelers swayed and clapped along. I’m very excited that this group is touring the summer festival circuit more extensively and will get a chance to see them again later this year at Shoe Fest.
Cornmeal’s first two sets for the pre-party I also missed out on due to schedule conflicts, but was Allie side for the annual acoustic Campfire Stage set. They brought out Elephant Revival for the first few songs. It was awesome to see Bridget and Allie smitten and smiling and showing their collective fiddle chops in addition to Wavy Dave and Sage keep the time on dueling banjos. Wavy Dave Burlingame once again had his annual Summer Camp birthday and joked around that he forgot his geritol…good thing a handle of Maker’s Mark was present to help him re-remember as he instructed “the cap be left off” to celebrate in fashion. Cornmeal brought out Giving Tree Band violinist Phil Zee for a few songs during the second half of their set. Allie and Phil chased each other taking turns on fiddle solo as Wavy and Kris kept everyone in high spirits with a menagerie of Cornmeal classics. A final special sit in occurred when Floodwood’s Jason Barady got on stage to play on mandolin. I sat there and was amazed as sandwiched between Kris and Wavy he furiously moved his fingers around the frets with ease.
Well i’m currently sitting in the Church listening to Umphrey’s McGee soundcheck for a special off the grid set for rockstar guests. I need to wrap things up so I can set up and experience my third crazy music filled day here at Summer Camp!
More pictures to come later on:
Thursday “pre-party” sets at Summer Camp Music Festival have always, in my opinion, produced some of my favorite sets of the entire festival. Last night was no disappointment. After we got camp situated we hit the shows almost right away.
The set that popped my Summer Camp cherry this year was Spread hailing from Carbondale, IL. They have been a staple at the festival the last three years after winning the Summer Camp battle of the bands competition. They came out in full force playing some of their originals like “Chocolatte Magna Cum Latte” and even busting out a song made famous by the Grateful Dead, “Corrina, Corrina.” The will be playing numerous festivals in the midwest this summer, and often play in both Carbondale and Chicago.
The next set I caught after a brief break at my campsite to re-hydrate was Family Groove Company. As always they brought the party. Let me just confess I LOVE Family Groove Company! I don’t think there is a band that exist that is more fun to watch than Family Groove. You can feel the energy that is flowing through the band not only by the music coming from them but by the smiles on their faces! They killed it as always playing many of their best numbers including a personal favorite of mine “Professionals Here.” The intensity level kicked it up to 11 when Allie Kral of Cornmeal stepped out to play a few including “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John. I also got to check out the show with fellow Family Groove fanatic and CIT Dave Weckstein. The set ended with one of Janis Wallin’s infamous stage jumps.
As I was leaving FGC I was drawn in to the 312 Vibe Tent once again by some of the funkiest bass I have heard in a while. Spare Parts was bringing the jazz-funk to Summer Camp, they are a band to I hate to say I am not that familiar with but see that changing now. I was blown away by there sound. I am from Chicago and will be seeing them there ASAP as they frequent the local live music bars.
Digital Tape Machine was the next to play. I am a huge Umphrey’sfan and I love their side projects as well. They are self described as video game music, and I think they are selling their selves short. Their music is video game inspired, but is so much more than the typical 8-bit electronica band you have heard.
Cornmeal took the stage after dark and played an amazing set. The love for bluegrass music is alive and well here at Summer Camp. Cornmeal has been a staple here for years and the fans love them. Everyone in the crowd was on their feet dancing the whole show.
On the way to the Red Barn we caught a song from Floodwood just as they were bringing up Allie Kral from Cornmeal. It seems like everyone wants to play with Allie! She always brings the extra energy to the show!
The Werks was the last band I saw last night in the Red Barn. I really enjoyed the music they were playing. Again, this is a band I am not the most familiar with but am soon to become a super fan. I also was able to meet another summer camper with a chicken obsession, only they had their chicken strapped to their totem.
What has also made my Summer Camp extra special so far is all the Love I am receiving from you guys! I wear the Chickenhat to meet new people and have fun. If you see me out at the festival come and say hi, take a picture, give me gifts, whatever you feel like. You all are amazing and I love ya’ll!
Happy Summer Camp!
We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a cell phone drive at the Cornmeal, Hot Buttered Rum and Family Groove Company show on 4/20 at the Vic Theater in Chicago. All of the cell phones will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois Area in Chicago to be recycled! The money that comes in turn from the recycled cell phones is used to purchase sporting equipment, uniforms, host tournaments and more for Special Olympics athletes and activities. This drive is part of Summer Camp Make a Difference and is also a Field Day event, so make sure you mention which team you’re supporting with each donation. Each cell phone donated will receive 1 raffle ticket for a chance to win 2 tickets to Summer Camp Music Festival and 2 tickets to the SOLD OUT UM BOWL III at the Park West in Chicago on 4/27. So start getting your old phones together and we’ll see you at the show! Get your tickets now! http://event.etix.com/ticket/online/frontDoor.jsp?performance_id=1605259&cobrand=jamusa
Also, Getting Closer tickets to Summer Camp expire at midnight on 4/20 (founder, Ian Goldberg’s birthday!!). So make sure you get your tickets now before the price increases!
Can’t wait to see you all soon!
Your Summer Camp Director