What up my fellow SCampers… can anyone say “WOWSERS”?! What a lineup we have already, I still can’t even wrap my entire head around the amount of fantastic live music that is in store for us this year!
What I am about to show you now might make your head pop off so might want to sit down. We have EVEN MORE greatness in store for the SCampers who decide to roll VIP – if you haven’t partied in the VIP lounge before, you are really missing out!!!!
Without further ado I present to you my favorites from the 2014 VIP Lounge performance lineup:
If you haven’t noticed Keller has been one of the most booked Summer Camp artists since the beginning. His performances have always been evolving including playing various styles and instruments. Sometimes he plays as a one man band, sometimes he plays with a house band and always brings something new and creative to the table. Here is a clip from his 2013 VIP lounge performance covering Bass Head by Bassnectar:
Victor has also been a staple for many years at the festival. He is one of my favorite musicians period. His skills on the bass guitar are legendary. Last year I think he performed with around ten different acts over the weekend. Here is a clip of Victor playing with members of Family Groove Company, Brainchild, and Roosevelt Collier in the VIP Lounge last year.
Floodwood is a progressive string band featuring the combined talents of Woodenspoon’s Jason Barady, Nick Piccininni, and Zachary Fleitz, plus moe.’s Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico. I have yet to witness this amazing talent and I will definitely be in the V.I.P. lounge when this happens!
Mike Dillon Band
First time I saw Mike Dillon perform I think my head popped off. He is one of the best vibraphonists in the world. His trumpeter Carly Meyers is no joke either! Here is him playing with Jim Loughlin of moe. last year.
New to Summer Camp but not new to American Reggae music at all. This band originally formed in 1998 in northern California and has produced over 10 studio albums to date. I am one very excited SCamper to be getting down VIP style to these guys!
Also playing in the VIP lounge throughout the weekend will be Cherub, Break Science, The Floozies, Cosby Sweater, Sun Stereo, and Wyllys.
VIP tickets can be purchased here. I can’t wait to be back in Chillicothe!!
All Summer Camp VIP Upgrades include exclusive access to the ever-exciting VIP Lounge, where you can kick back and hang with band members and enjoy special VIP Lounge Sets open exclusively to our VIP Patrons!
Summer Camp 2014 VIP Lounge Sets will feature Keller Williams, Victor Wooten, Floodwood (featuring AL Schnier & Vinnie Amico), Cherub, Break Science, Mike Dillon Band, The Floozies, Cosby Sweater, Groundation, and Sun Stereo!
The VIP Lounge will also including our EPIC SUMMER CAMP 2014 CLOSING PARTY hosted by WYLLYS!
VIP Upgrades for Summer Camp 2014 are ON SALE NOW.
Alex did a great job running down some of the big additions in Summer Camp’s Second Round of 2014 Artist Announcements earlier on the blog. As usual the Summer Camp bill is really stacked giving fans a wide array of musical choices, and he broke down the big names that have everyone buzzing.
And while the 2nd round was certainly full of big names, I’d like to focus on a few of the bands that you might have overlooked at first glance.
Obviously the addition of Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico’s Americana explosion Floodwood is great news. Fresh off their inaugural tour of Colorado, this will be Floodwood’s third year at Summer Camp. They also played two top-notch shows in the VIP tent in both 2012 and 2013. If you like moe and acoustic music find yourself at Floodwood whenever possible.
Head For The Hills
I’m personally excited to see my hometown heroes Head For The Hills on the lineup. This has been a long time coming and in my opinion they are one of the best string bands touring today. They have an attention to song craft that harkens back to a nostalgic time. Their strong musical story telling is matched by their powerful harmonizing. Head For The Hills is sure to please any bluegrass fan.
In the last year I’ve had the pleasure of seeing jam standout Twiddle twice. They recently toured extensively with The Werks who will again be returning to Summer Camp. Twidde renews faith in the jam scene with each performance. They are rekindling my love affair with jam and quite frankly, they do it well.
The Devil Makes Three
In 2012 made their initial performance at Summer Camp. Unfortunately their bassist Lucia Turino had suffered an injury to her arm and was unable to play with the band. The fill in was fine, but I look forward to seeing the full group playing at Summer Camp they year. They are in the vein of cowpunk, but they focus on a ragtime delivery with heavy lyrics. They are some slap you in the face bluegrass.
UV Hippo or Ultraviolet Hippopotamus as they are officially known too is relatively fresh to the Summer Camp scene. This will be their third year on the lineup and the Michigan progressive improvisational outfit. They too are part of a young crop of new bands that are focusing on bringing the glory of jam back to the masses. Like Twiddle and The Werks, UV Hippo is carrying a torch that was set aflame with the likes of Phish and Blues Traveler.
Mike Dillon is a mad scientist of the xylophone. He is a percussion king and truly an awe-inspiring performer. For those that aren’t familiar Mike Dillon is a member of Critter Buggin’, Garage A Tois, and Les Claypool’s Fancy Band and has played with everyone from Ani DeFranco to Galactic. This is the second time the Mike Dillon Band has played at Summer Camp, but this group has been touring relentlessly since the release of their debut album Urn in 2012. The energetic and spunky Carly Meyers on trombone is definitely one to watch.
And last but certainly not least Greensky Bluegrass will be making their triumphant return to Scamp. They first performed at Three Sister’s Park in 2009 and this will be their fourth year at the festival. Greensky is an incredible bluegrass experience that knows their craft and delivers night after night. This summer they did a three day run that included their first performance at Red Rocks, a stop Camp Euforia in Lone Tree, Iowa, and they finished the weekend with a show at Forecastle in Kentucky. That’s some serious touring and some serious dedication to spreading their music far and wide. For real string fans Greensky is definitely a favorite.
Well there you have it – a quick rundown of my top 8 possibly overlooked, but most likely widely celebrated, additions to the Summer Camp lineup. With a hundred bands (give or take a few) seven stages, multiple musical workshops, and the random private outbursts of song, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Check out the full lineup here! VIP Ticket info and Late Night Shows (including details on the rumored umVIP packages) will be announced on Wednesday!
And don’t forget to buy your Summer Camp 3 Day Passes now before the prices goes up!
After an incredible start to their Colorado run in Fort Collins, Floodwood spent a few nights taking in the beauty of the mountains. They rendezvoused with east coast buddies Assembly Of Dust for a two-night stand at Cervantes. This is like a dream show for me. AOD is a rare visitor to this state on top of the fact that this was Floodwood’s first trip here as well.
This show was billed as brought to you by Jambase, ListenUp Denver, Marquee Magazine not to mention the 11th anniversary of Cervantes. Sisters Of Soul, Ultraviolet Hippo, Atomga, and Tori Pater’s Big Bad Band filled out the lineup over on the Other Side. The Great Guys featuring members of The Congress, Yamn and The Whales took the opening slot on the main stage. All that being said it was also the same weekend that Railroad Earth booked two nights at the Fillmore just up Colfax. The RRE fan base directly intersects with the Floodwood and AOD audiences, in fact many of my friends opted to do a night of each.
Night One: Assembly of Dust and Floodwood with The Great Guys 1.17.14
We arrived, as The Great Guys were finishing up their set. Scott Lane stood tall shredding the guitar as fellow member of The Congress Chris Speasmaker matched him at the keys. They wrapped and Floodwood quickly took the stage. They opened up with their instrumental “Whiskey After Breakfast” into their homage to the natural beauty of Upstate New York, “North Country Winds.”
Set 1: Whiskey After Breakfast> North Country Winds, Anyone But Me, Holy Sacred, Chillicothe Clouds, Revolving Door, Long Way To Virginia, Stoney Creek, 9 lb Hammer*, Instrumental Jam*, Roll On, Stomp It, I Know You Rider, Follow You Into The Dark, In The Graveyard, Jazzy Jam, Cumberland Blues
*w/ Chris Pandolfi
This was a co-bill show with Floodwood drawing the opening spot for the first night. The boys from New York State treated us to ninety minutes of unadulterated acoustic bliss. The combination of their hard hitting originals “Holy Sacred” and Nick’s Summer Camp inspired “Chillicothe Clouds” was a big high point from a great set of music. Their moe.-esque “Revolving Door” gave way to their more traditional sounding “Long Way To Virginia.” Floodwood invited Infamous Stringduster Chris Pandolfi up to add his picking skills to the mix. This was the first of many unexpected treats from this band over the weekend. He sat in on the classic “9 lb Hammer” as well as an extended instrumental jam. Floodwood kicked it into high gear with “Roll On” and “Stomp It” before giving fans a bluegrass rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “I Know You Rider.” “Follow You Into The Dark” was a deep, Al sung romp about conquering fear with love. The band gave us “In The Gravelyard” before going into a jazz-infused instrumental tune. They closed their set with another Dead tune, “Cumberland Blues.” This was just a really fun set of music with bassist Zach holding it down along with Vinnie absolutely sticking it in the pocket. Al is always a focal point but the back and forth between Nick and Jason is not to be overlooked. This set was a great, but it only did a little to foreshadow the epic-ness that would be their headlining set on night two.
Assembly Of Dust is such a rare treat in Denver. They just don’t tour too far beyond their home base in the Northeast. However, the last two years we’ve been lucky to get the band out for a night or two so maybe we are seeing a new trend. Formed by ex-Strangefolk front man Reid Genauer AOD is an Americana band that plays with an emphasis on rock and roll. You could call them Heavy Folk… ehem. After a Kickstarter funded release of their latest album Sun Shot last year they seem to be open to playing around more. Since their initial formation they have had some turnover on percussion and keys but the core three of Reid Genauer, Adam Terrell on lead guitar and John Leccese on bass has always been same since their inception. Their show at Cervantes was everything that fans have come to expect from this underrated group. They opened with a sublime “Samuel Aging.”
Set 1: Samuel Aging, Bootlegger’s Advice, Weehawkin Ferry, Zero To The Skin, Man With A Plan, Tavern Walker*, Deal*, Sun Shot, Lost and Amazed, Truck Farm, All That I Am Now, Whistle Clock, Bus Driver, Roads
Encore: 40 Reasons, Harrower
*w/ Al Schnier
Reid has an innate understanding of song craft as well as striking the right balance for ebb and flow. Peaks and Valleys are his specialty and the set got off to a rocking start a forceful “Bootlegger’s Advice.” By this point the room was full with the upstairs being closed off. I’ve seen this done at other venues but not at Cervantes. It kept the kids on the floor and made sense given attendance. The dual ticket for the night also allowed people to float back and forth between shows at The Other Side. So at any given time half of the audience could be next door. That being said the majority of fans were there for Floodwood and AOD. Finally the herd seemed fully assembled by “Weehawkin Ferry.” The band brought it down a little with the bouncy “Zero To The Skin.” AOD pulled out a classic with, “Man With A Plan” before they invited Al to sit in. The funk gospel sound of “Tavern Walker” exploded into a huge psychedelic jam with Terrell, Crosby, and Schnier all trading licks. They transitioned into a crowd-pleasing version of the Grateful Dead’s “Deal.” Apparently it was that kind of a Friday night. Next we were given the delicately bluesy title track to Sun Shot before they went into the equally arresting “Lost and Amazed.”
After a rowdy “Truck Farm” AOD performed what has become their anthem, “All That I Am Now.” I had been chatting with an older gentleman who told me this was the first Assembly of Dust song he ever heard and he fell in love. I could see that. Another long jam came with “Whistle Clock” which eventually gave way to sentimental “Bus Driver ” that featured Crosby’s violin. They closed their almost two hour set of music with a punchy “Roads.” They came back with a two-song encore “40 Reasons” into an incredible “Harrower.” It was a great night of music in 5 Points. My hope is that the lighter turnout caused by the other show doesn’t’ sour the bands on performing in Colorado. It’s bound to happen in a place so saturated with live music opportunities. Not to mention that this is the time of year that winter and spring tours are in full swing. That being said it was a pair of top-notch performances from two bands who are a rarity in this state. Both Floodwood and Assembly Of Dust brought the heat. On night two they would trade places and things would get a little strange.
Night 1 Gallery
Floodwood and Assembly Of Dust with The Great Guys 1.19.14
Night two was a literal flip of the coin with Floodwood taking the headlining spot and Assembly Of Dust supporting at Cervantes. Again we arrived as The Great Guys were wrapping up this time sans Chris Speasmaker. They were a rocking, rowdy group that seemed an odd amalgamation of all the bands that they were comprised of. I ducked next door to catch a bit of Ultraviolet Hippo and met up with J-Man and Carly from MM. We chatted briefly as the Michigan progressive rockers melted a little face with their fiery brand of jam. During set break back over at Cervantes we got chance to do a little video with Floodwood for all the Summer Campers. I’d like to give a big thanks to Zach, the crew the band that made it a quick and easy shoot. After a drink AOD was taking the stage. The room was about equally as packed as the night before. They opened with an incredible “Valhalla.”
Set 1: Valhalla, Edges, Harrower, Vaulted Sky, Rachel, Elixir, Cluttered, Growin’, Love Junky, Arkansas Down, Honey Creeper, Second Song, Sinner, Speculator*
*w/ Al Schnier
Reid’s powerful vocals floated over the crowd as the night was flicked into second gear. The brooding “Edges” came next with its deliberate and straightforward progression. “Harrower” was nice but “Vaulted Sky” went big. Crosby pulled out his violin for the hoedown that was “Rachel.” “Cluttered” was a simple rock tune off Sun Shot, but “Love Junkie” was a funky highlight. Adam Terrell has to be one of the most underrated guitarists in all of jamdom. His intricate picking along with his intense attention to detail combine to give him a leg up on most players. The bubbly track “Arkansas Down” is just another example of how strong Reid is as a songwriter. “Honey Creeper” was dark and raucous, but “Second Song” was all tenderness. They gave us a tight “Sinner” before they invited Al Schnier out for the set closing “Speculator.” Al and the boys joined in an embrace and took a bow before they all wandered backstage. Assembly Of Dust continues to be a high water mark in the world of Americana, Folk, and Rock. Their knack for crafting infectious tunes, with intricate and substantial lyrics keeps me coming back. If given the chance, go see this band you’ll thank me later.
Finally, it was time for the main event. Floodwood took the stage for what would be an epic three-hour throw down with several unexpected twists and turns. Jason led the charge on “Spend Some Time.”
Set 1: Spend Some Time, Red Hill Road, Somewhere In Kansas, Spoon Kicks, Promised Land, Friend Of The Devil, Magnolia Row, You And Me, 315, Blue Eyed Son, I’d Fall For You, St. Regis, Hello Woman, Everything Here, Jambalaya On The Bayou*, Waiting In Vain*, Molly & Tenbrooks*^, Rocky Top*^, Working On A Building*^, Me And My Old Banjo*^
Encore: The Hobo Song
*w/ Briget Law
^w/ Tim Carbone and Andy Goessling
This set was an absolute barnburner for all those lucky enough to be in attendance. Railroad Earth had a sold out show at the Fillmore on Saturday, so it obviously hurt ticket sales a bit. Nonetheless Floodwood delivered one of the best shows I’ve seen in quite some time. “Red Hill Road” demonstrated the bands bluegrass skills. The Al penned “Somewhere in Kansas” about a road trip to Colorado after a TransAmericans show at the Iowa State Fair invigorated the crowd. (Ironically I was as that show.) They proceeded to bust out the old TransAmericans track, “Promised Land.” We were all treated to another Grateful Dead tune, this time “Friend Of The Devil.” I like a band that’s not afraid to toss in a little Dead. The beautiful “Magnolia Row” is a bluegrass variation of the intro to moe.’s “Tambourine.” They performed the playful sounding “You And Me” before their homage to their hometown area code “315.” Floodwood pulled Al’s “Blue Eyed Son” which has been in the rotation more on the road with moe. We got the Nick sung “I’d Fall For You which was a nice treat.
This is about the time where things began to get crazy. Suddenly Al is welcoming the lovely and talented Bridget Law from Elephant Revival to the stage. Law and Schnier got the chance to play together last summer at the Everyone Orchestra show that preceded Phish Dick’s. They went into Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Jambalaya On The Bayou.” Law and Piccininni battled back and forth on the fiddle before they went into Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain.” Suddenly Al hands his guitar to Nick and races off the stage. The band continues with their bluegrass reggae stylings as a sound guy appears. It’s obvious some shit is going down. Al reemerges from the darkness as they finish the tune. Keep in mind is was already around 2 AM at this point. Al proceeds to welcome Tim Carbone and Andy Goessling from Railroad Earth to the stage. That’s right we had a full-blown clusterpluck on our hands. And this was not the type of cluster pluck where 15 pickers stand around waiting for a solo. No, this was a pluck with laser beam focus and amazing stringed prowess.
After some tuning and hand shaking they went into the traditional “Molly & Tenbrooks.” They blasted off into “Rocky Top” as the dwindled audience boogied. I looked to my tired wife and said, “You know I’d go, but… “ And she simply nodded in agreement. “Working On A Building” featured a three-fiddle standoff as Carbone, Law, and Piccininni fired up their bows. Law retreated and let Carbone and Goessling finish up with “Old Banjo.” A solo Floodwood encored with “The Hobo Song.” Honestly I may be missing a song or two in there, as the setlist kind of went out the window when you have so many welcomed guests. Needless to say the late night sit-ins were a lot fun and proof again of why Floodwood needs to keep coming to Colorado. They obviously have a lot of friends out here, Al is volunteer Ski Patrol in his home state, and Colorado loves bluegrass… I could go on. This was a spectacular night of music and a really unbelievable combination of bands to play in this great state. Happy 11th Anniversary Cervantes, let’s hope we have at least 11 more.
Night 2 Gallery
I have personally been harassing Floodwood’s management for the better part of the last two years to get them to come out to Colorado. Given Al’s predilection for skiing it’s kind of a no brainer. Ever since first seeing them at Summer Camp I have been smitten with their sound. Floodwood’s brand of punchy acoustic music anchored by two members of jam powerhouse moe is the perfect fit for any music fan. So finally it was announced that Floodwood would be embarking on their inaugural tour of Colorful Colorado. Their schedule included a short run into the mountains before two nights with Assembly Of Dust in Denver. Their first stop was a Tuesday night in Fort Collins. The evening began with local acoustic favorites, Gipsy Moon from Nederland.
Gipsy Moon is an utterly fun experience. Their music imparts an impression of a romanticized nomadic existence framed by the kind of strings that you would hear around a roaring campfire. Silas Herman son of famed bandleader Vince Herman takes the silent lead. He is quiet on stage by he simply shreds on the mandolin. Live Painter turned live musician; Mackenzie Page is another focal point from this young but impressive group. Their set lasted about an hour before they disappeared into the darkness behind the stage.
Al came out and gave us all a warm welcome before informing us that this was in fact Floodwood’s first time performing in the state. They opened with a tight but twangy original “In The Gravel Yard.”
Set 1: In The Gravel Yard, Revolving Door, You And Me, Spoon Kicks, I Know You Rider, Mother, Long Way To Virginia, Caught, Blue Eyed Son, Waiting In Vain, North Country Winds, 315, Nine Pound Hammer, Spend Some Time, Somewhere In Kansas, Chillicothe Clouds, Holy Sacred, Stomp It, Roll On, Waiting For The Punchline
Encore: Old Banjo, Cumberland Blues
Given the fact that it was a Tuesday and turnout was decent but only approaching half capacity, Floodwood opted to play one long set of music. This included several tracks off their new album including “North Country Winds” and a sublimely rowdy “Stomp It.”
“Every time I come to Colorado I can’t help but wonder why the fuck I don’t live here.” – Al
However the big news of the night was the release of their new live album This Is Live, which was available for purchase for the first time. Traditional bluegrass renditions of “Long Way To Virginia” and Merle Travis’s “9lb Hammer” took on a fresh feel while maintaining their nostalgic roots. We were treated to Al’s tribute to his autistic child “Blue Eyed Son,” which has become a regular on moe set lists as of late. Covers like Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” and The Grateful Dead’s “I Know You Rider” were sprinkled in throughout the set for good measure. Nick Piccininni absolutely tore up his original instrumental “Chillicothe Clouds” which was a tune he wrote about his first experience at Summer Camp Music Festival.
“Pretty good for a Tuesday Night, pretty good for any night really.” – Nick
The audience was definitely comprised of a lot of moe fans that spent time yelling out silliness like, ‘Play Rebubula.’ Overall, the crowd was pretty attentive and definitely appreciated of the music. They closed with an amazing acoustic version of “Waiting For The Punchline.”
Floodwood returned for a two-song encore. First up was the bouncy “Old Banjo” followed by a bluegrass interpretation of the Grateful Dead’s “Cumberland Blues.” According to the setlist the last song was an audible. This was just a top-notch night of music from two of my new favorite bands. Gipsy Moon is definitely worth catching live whenever possible. Floodwood is an acoustic barnstormer that can’t help but impress music fans across this great country. I for one am thrilled that they finally made it out to Colorado. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of a new tradition for Floodwood.
In this post-Kickstarter era the individual music fan has a new ability to directly support their favorite musicians. Many bands have taken advantage of this new crowd-sourcing technique that allows them to produce new music as well as facilitate additional concerts. Floodwood is utilizing Kickstarter to reach out to fans for a new album and a touring van. Floodwood features Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico from moe., but they should not be categorized as a side project. They are simply put, an amazing bluegrass experience. They really got a chance to debut at Summer Camp a few years back and I’ve been listening to them ever since. Jason Barady, Nick Piccininni and Zacary Fleitz round out this lineup of real talent.
Musically and stylistically Floodwood is pushing the boundaries while still maintaining a reverence for traditional bluegrass. Their songwriting is top notch. I am incredibly curious to see how they will develop the sequences of tracks on the album and what they will do to further the instrumentation of the individual songs. So much time and energy is put into working on a studio album. Kickstarter has become a real and viable tool to actually make new music happen. In essence a supporter is basically preordering the new album. However most campaigns offer high end off the wall rewards for large pledges. For instance if you donate ten grand Floodwood will make arrangements for a VIP weekend ski trip with the entire band. The van is important as well as I would like to see Floodwood branch out from primarily playing in the Northeast. It’s time to share Floodwood with the world.
Their campaign ends on September 4th so if you have a few bucks or are able to share this link on your various social media sites that is greatly appreciated.
Here is a video of Floodwood at Summer Camp 2013
After a brilliantly beautiful day a Summer Camp we woke up to overcast skies and a light drizzle. That sporadic rain would continue on and off throughout the day culminating with an absolute downpour during Umphrey’s first set. We’ll get to that. I began the day by stopping by the partner-hooping workshop put on by the Masquerade Tribe. This is just one of the many things happening all weekend long. From yoga to music and educational clinics so much is happening. In the nooks and crannies of this festival hides some the most amazing opportunities and experiences. Another such event is Field Day.
Field Day is an all out color war on the grounds of Three Sisters Park. Members of the Purple, Blue, Yellow, and Red team compete in a variety of activities including a Spelling Bee, Tug-O-War, Dodge Ball, a Photo Scavenger Hunt, and a Pizza Eating Contest. It’s a chance to blow off some steam and share some camaraderie with fellow scampers. Field day is competitive to say the least, but it’s all in good fun. This year the Red Team was victorious by one point with the rest of the teams tied in second place. Their name will again grace the Summer Camp Cup and their flag will fly high over the festival.
The bass workshop began in the Church around 12:30 PM featuring Victor Wooten and Reed Mathis. They began with a back and forth jam before answering questions from the attendees. These workshops often take the form dictated by their audience. It’s really a chance to pick the brains of some tremendous artists in a way that both musicians and fans can truly appreciate.
The rain continued to sprinkle so I sought shelter with Floodwood in the VIP Lounge. Last year’s unannounced set in there was a highlight for me, so honestly I wouldn’t have missed it. Floodwood is marketed as a moe. side project, however they are actually an Americana powerhouse in their own right. The band features Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier and truly these guys deserve their own headlining nationwide tour. This was the first of three sets Floodwood performed on Saturday at Summer Camp including a late night show at the Campfire Stage that went until around 5 AM. The most intriguing member is violinist Nick Piccininni who is pretty much self-taught and cleanly rips it up. They opened with “Stomp It,” which as its name would insinuate was a rowdy call to action for the crowd who was just beginning to dry out. They also played a wonderfully Appalachian tinged tune entitled “North Country Wind.” They are one of my favorite new bands and I’m just waiting for them to come west of the Mississippi to my home state Colorado. They played for about an hour in the VIP, which with utter flawlessness.
On the Camping Stage was Chicago’s own Henhouse Prowlers, who have been spreading their variety of string music far and wide. The rain continued on and as this superb quartet played to the rain soaked crowd. The Henhouse Prowlers have toured relentlessly over the past few years and despite some lineup changes they have maintained their high level of performances. They are another not-so hidden gem at Summer Camp; making a strong impression on anyone who catches them live. If you are a fan of real bluegrass I would recommend checking these guys out.
Tea Leaf Green was getting started on the Starshine Stage. I have to give credit to the festival organizers for persevering through the weather and making sure that the music continued. The drizzle is enough to wreak havoc on monitors and the PA, but they pushed ahead skillfully. In fact right after they dialed in the sound, Reed Mathis exclaimed that it had finally stopped raining. The overcast sky loomed, but for the moment the clouds had ceased leaking. They opened with “Germinatin’ Seed.”
Set 1: Germinatin’ Seed, Someday, Penny Saved, Mr. E. and The Cosmic Receptacle, Space Hero pt. 4 (Letters Home), Don’t Go, Space Hero pt. 2, One Reason
Tea Leaf Green is one of the most underrated bands in the scene today. They continue to tour across the country and put on stellar shows, but despite their efforts they seem to only to make a minor splash. They sounded incredibly tight. Reed has now been with TLG for a couple of years and he finally sounds in synch with the rest of the band. They are dialed in and firing on all cylinders. They have a deep understanding of groove-oriented jam and they are worth catching whenever possible. I was able to take a few pictures and catch the beginning of their set however just across the road something very special was happening and I had to ramble.
At Sunshine it was Cornmeal performing their last show with fiddler Allie Kral. It was bittersweet to say the least, and I know she will be sorely missed. She is moving on with her life after touring with Cornmeal for over a decade. The band did little to convey the gravity of the situation other than a distinct heaviness in the air. Fans seemed entranced with the music slurping up each note like a desert flower after a rare storm. Newcomers Scott Tipping and Drew Littell added vibrancy to their sound, but they mostly toed the line during this set. “River Gap” was a definite peak and seemed to reference Allie’s years on the road with Cornmeal. Before their last song band mate Chris Gangi gave a heartfelt goodbye.
“We’ve fought like sisters, but we played music like brothers…”
They closed with another appropriate road song “Hillbilly Ride.” There was many teary eyes in the crowd as Allie made her final bow with a band she has become synonymous with for the last ten years. I wish her the best.
After Cornmeal I raced back to the VIP Lounge to catch Victor Wooten and Friends. Before the set even started Victor addressed the band saying, “We have nothing to prove to each other,” before telling they crowd they were just going to have a jam session. What followed was a musical journey that focused on the funky side. The band consisted of Victor, Jordan Wilkow, Janis Wallin, Roosevelt Collier, Roy Ponce, and more. They just played, passing around solos and generally shared in the musical dance. Victor referred to Janis more than once as the, “Mistress of Groove.” They were impressive and yet another reason why VIP was worth the money this year.
Karl Denson took the same stage after a quick changeover. Few bands have the ability to break out the dirty funk like Mr. Denson and his Tiny Universe. Incorporating tight jazz riffs to fill out their sound, this group is something to behold. A Greyboy Allstars alumnus, Karl Denson leads his own group comprised of powerfully funky musicians. Utilizing elements of afrobeat and rock as well, KDTU is another fully capable band that really pleases the crowd. They played for just over an hour to a packed field.
On my way back to camp I checked out a bit of Thievery Corporation on Moonshine. There is so much going on in their live performance that it is almost difficult to break it all down. Formed by the DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton they have an assemblage of incredible musicians that add an organic flavor to their electronic edge. It’s safe to say there is almost a softness to their sound, which is why I wandered over like a moth to a flame. They integrate elements of Middle Eastern, Indian, acid jazz, reggae, dub, and Brazilian into one substantial melting pot of sound. They are high energy without being abrasive to the ears. I really enjoyed catching part of their set at the festival.
Finally it was time for the moe. and Umphrey’s leap frog extravaganza that has been a tradition on Saturdays at Summer Camp for a number of years now. Let’s begin with the Umphs. They launched off with a colossal “Depth Charge” into “Hurt Bird Bath.”
Set 1: Depth Charge > Hurt Bird Bath, The Linear > Yoga Pants > Rocker Part II, Booth Love1, I Got Love1, Andy’s Last Beer1, Wizard Burial Ground
Set 2: Wappy Sprayberry > Ocean Billy, Utopian Fir1 2 > Debra, Der Bluten Kat > Final Word > Der Bluten Kat
1w/ Mad Dog & His Filthy Little Secret horns
2It’s About That Time jam
“How you doing out there?… Round 2” – Bayliss
Umphrey’s McGee is perhaps the most technical and progressive band in jam today. They are also the last “jam” band. Their live performances are a sensory overload. Jefferson Waful operating the light board paints incredible mosaics of radiance that really boggle the mind. Their output of music over two sets was close to three hours total with lots of twists and turns. They brought out Mad Dog & His Filthy Little Horns for “Booth Love,” “I Got Love,” and “Andy’s Last Beer.” Michael “Mad Dog” Mavridoglou has a history with Umphrey’s having played on their album Local Band Does Ok, and appearing with them onstage numerous times with his full horn section. They sounded incredible and prior to “I Got Love,” Bayliss commented on the fact that they have never played this particular song with a horn section before. It turned out nicely with The Fitly Little Horns accenting the flow well. They closed the first set with a crunchy “Wizard Burial Ground.”
Their second set was equally full of classics and beefy rage rock. They started with a fourteen-minute “Wappy Sprayberry” before segueing into an even bigger “Ocean Billy.” This two-song section saw some of the most extended jamming of the entire weekend. Umphrey’s McGee is so polished that it’s nice to see them actually play for a little while. No band in the scene is tighter so when they go with the flow it can be very impressive. They brought back Mad Dog and His Filthy Little Horns for “Utopian Fir.” However the highlight of the show was their version of Beck’s “Debrah” with Bayliss on vocals. Taking an almost Prince-esque approach, this cover was a lot of fun for the entire crowd. Umphrey’s closed with a very nice “Der Bluten” sandwich. They brought the horns back again for their “Bridgeless” encore. UM just sounds so good, they keep adding to their repertoire and always tightening up. They are vying to become the top band in jam with each show.
moe. played an equally sick concert on Saturday as well. They know that fans travel from across the country to see them throw down a Summer Camp, which is one of three festivals they host throughout the year. They made a statement by opening up with “Bullet” into “Rise.”
Set 1: Bullet> Rise, Blond Hair Blue Eyes*, Crab Eyes, The Faker> Hector’s Pillow> Plane Crash**
Set 2: Rain Shine, Silver Sun> Happy Hour Hero, MacBain> George, Spine Of A Dog> Buster> McBain
Encore: In The Kitchen***
“Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes” is a new song written by Rob about his daughter. Summer Camp has historically been a place for the band to try out new tunes and this one was very sweet. “The Faker” is a favorite of mine and it was executed wonderfully. moe. just does not disappoint at Summer Camp, they have a mission and that mission is to rock. Their set ending “Plane Crash” was one of the most incredible versions I’ve seen them play. They invited Allie out for the violin intro that is featured on Tin Cans and Car Tires. It was absolutely overwhelming and another reminder of how versatile Allie is as a musician.
Their second set on Saturday was just as uncompromising as the first. Although the “Rainshine” opener felt a little strained while “Silver Sun” seemed optimistic given the weather we had already experienced. Of course the band was just playing with their set lists, showing us a little bit of tongue-in-cheek amusement on their part. “Happy Hour Hero” was a nice breather, but what followed was some of the best moe. of the weekend. The massive “McBain” bookend jam featured a sick “Spine Of A Dog” with a “Buster” thrown in for good measure. In refrence to the previous night’s antics with Umphrey’s they performed “In The Kitchen.” It felt a little more drum heavy and had a different flow than the original, but it was a perfect way to end the show.
We called it a night after moe. With one more day of Summer Camp looming on the horizon it was time to rest up and get ready. Sunday is famously jam packed with music for all of the people that opt in for single day tickets and this Sunday would be no different. Well… in retrospect, it would be a little different.
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!