By Saturday Morning I was into my routine at Summer Camp 2011. I planned to rendezvous with my P-Town friends at Yoga around 10 AM This meant that I only got about five hours of rough sleep, which was intermittently, interrupted by the DJ at the next campsite. I will say that he played on tiny speakers so it was actually fairly enjoyable despite the fact that I kept waking up to it. I rose around 9 a.m. and let Amy sleep in while I got cleaned up at the Barn. I headed over to the Soulshine Tent around 10 a.m. and started taking some photos. There was actually a decent-sized crowd in attendance. The instructor talked about balance and structure with your body’s dance and movements. I tried to take that to heart for the rest of the weekend. I met up with Joe and Angie and headed to their RV to charge my Flip Camera.
Afterwards I made my way over to Ben and Erin’s Bus to copy off my cards and clear up some space. They graciously let me borrow their macbook so I could get that accomplished. Thanks guys. I hit up the press meeting around 12:30 and took the extra time to upload my content to Holly. It was only Saturday morning and I had already taken over 2000 photos and a ton of video.
I found out later in the day that Amy went and caught Gaelic Storm; she let me know they were a very interesting act. While doing research I learned that this is the same band that is featured in the Titantic steerage party scene. In addition to coving Paul Simon’s Cecilia they combined elements of traditional Irish/Celtic music with elements of rock, pop, and world I will definitely have to catch them next time they come to Colorado.
I ended up hanging out with the CITs for a few minutes before heading over to the Field Day activities going on at the 312 Vibe Tent. Red Team was definitely in attendance. I met up with my Purple brethren that included Chief, Will, and our captain Mike among others. I will say that purple was a small presence and I was not too happy about that. Obviously events were spread out through the day and some logistical issues caused some of the competitons to be rescheduled, but overall I was very impressed with this element of Summer Camp and how it was run. It was a fun distraction from the festival and a good way to get a little exercise. I arrived as they were getting set for Capture The Flag. They were a man short so I jumped in, I was tagged out in the first round but Purple won and moved onto the finals. We faced the Red Team but by trying to out maneuver and patiently wait for our spot we forced a sudden death. Will grabbed the flag and ran it over the line for the win. It was literally a millisecond before the Red player, but it was enough for the victory. I got set for tug-o-war next. I was the anchor but having lost a few pounds I guess I was not the giant stone that I once was. We were simply shredded by the Yellow team. It was a good time and with a record of 1-1 for the Field Day I made my way over to Euforquestra’s set.
Heis, Euforquestra’s manager and long time Summer Camp coordinator and I conspired to have me introduce the boys from Iowa for their 3rd time playing the festival. You can see that video here.
It was definitely cool but not nearly as intimidating as giving the intro for moe. the day prior. As the video points out I have a little biased towards Euforquestra having been in school at U of I while they were there as well. I was just lucky enough that the band decided to make a move to Colorado so I get to see them a ton and it’s always a great show. Within the last couple years they have revamped their rhythm section moving Grasso to drums and putting Ben Soltau on bass. It took them a second but they are playing so tight now it’s disgusting. They are a great foundation on which the rest of the band blends blues, reggae, funk, Afro-Cuban, and world music. They opened with a sick Cause A Reaction as soon as I finished my introduction. A massive version the Zalatel penned Free into their now classic ode to grandma’s cooking; Soup. Throw in a little Talking Heads and we have a pretty great set of music. Thanks Euforquesta.
I walked by Wiz Khalifa on my way to Slightly Stoopid. The kids seemed be having fun but I was looking for a different brand of hip-hop infused goodness. I have listened to a number of Stoopid recordings and just never really got it, well I have to say that SS is best ingested in a live setting. They have a serious ability to interact with the crowd and as the sun poked out for minute I got a chance to see them shine. It was a bouncy set with elements of punk, hip-hop, and straight rock. You can see a recording I did of Baby I Like It, here.
After Slightly Stoopid we walked towards Girl Talk and noticed a ton of people on stage and what looked like rolls of toilet paper spewing into the photo pit and onto the crowd. I headed to the camp and listened from there. We went back to the Moonshine Stage for Kdubalicious featuring Keller Williams.
Keller is a Summer Camp veteran if there ever was one. Having performed at 9 out of the 11 total, for me he will always be indelibly linked to this Midwest festival. This year was special in the sense that he was playing with his newly formed band Kdubalicions with Keller on bass, Jay Starling on keyboards, and Mark D on drums. I thought it was interesting to have Keller on bass which added an almost lounge-y feel so some of his classic songs. From the Feel Like a Stranger Kdubalicion played with Al to the Tell Me Something Good with Chuck Garvey, they began to feel more like a house band with rotating guitarists than their own entity. You can see the video I caught of Freeker into Golden Road into Freeker here.
I found the funky reggae-infused stylings of Kdubalicious to be exactly what my Saturday evening needed. I ended at the top of the hill between Keller and Umphrey’s watching for them to take the stage.
On the docket was a double-decker moe. and Umprhey’s sandwich that I was ready to take a big bite out of. Umphrey’s came out with Jazz Odyssey and given the fact that they kept going back into it throughout the entire weekend it almost felt like their theme song at Summer Camp 2011. That Jazz Odyssey really tied the room together did it not? … I digress. Here is the setlist from Phantasy Tour.
SET I: Jazz Odyssey> 40’s Theme, Conduit> Jimmy Stewart> Conduit, Divisions, Go To Hell, Puppet String*, JaJunk
SET II: Jazz Odyssey> Bridgeless> No Comment> Bridgeless, Forks*, Plunger> Glory> Hajimemashite> Plunger, Hurt Bird
ENCORE: Booth Love**, Live and Let Die***
*First Time Played (Original)
**with Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns
***First Time Played (Paul McCartney & Wings)
You can hear the audience recording from Archive.
Thanks to tonedeaf for the post.
The two sets Umprhey’s McGee played on Saturday night were high water marks for the weekend. The musicianship of these guys never ceases to amaze me. They are perhaps the most technically proficient jamband touring today. They can stop on a dime and pick it up and put it in the meter. Jake got gritty on 40’s Theme and a busted Conduit with Jimmy Stewart in the middle was my highlight of the first set. Divisions was just too big, clocking in at over twenty minutes and Bayliss’s prog was showing. It’s songs like Go To Hell when I feel that the Death Metal moniker for UM is appropriate. I mean sure it’s laced with delicate playing as well but that song gets scary. You can see what Kris Myers had to say about that question here.
I was just getting used to the Flip so it’s a little shaky but the questions are still good. Moving on.
So as not to confuse subjects I will stick to my UM review then get to moe. Second set on from UM on Saturday was just exceptional. Once again Jazz Odyssey reared its head to open but went for an extended journey through Bridgeless to Not Comment and back into Bridgeless again. Showing their musical dexterity in that run the No Comment was just plain sick. Forks was a new song and it was okay, I feel like this song needs some more road testing before it really will blow the crowd away. The Plunger bookended Glory into Hajimemashite was the peak of the show as far as I’m concerned. Hurt Bird closed the second set nicely.
They encored with an unbelievable Booth Love featuring Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns and the brass meshed with this song incredibly well. They rounded out their show with a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings’ Live And Let Die. This just was a giant punctuation mark to the night. I was totally happy with how UM handled their second night at Summer Camp. Well played gentlemen.
Rewinding to moe. The first set of on Saturday was my second of three onstage sets. So I got to watch from the side of the stage with the rest of the moe.ron elite. The boys came out and gently eased everyone in by opening with Wind It Up. I thought that was an appropriate opener, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: Wind It Up, Tubing The River Styx> The Pit, Understand, Smoke*, Sensory Deprivation Bank, Waiting For The Punchline> Haze
SET II: Crab Eyes**, Buster, Skrunk> Lazarus> McBain> Recreation Chemistry
You can download the audience recording on Archive.
Thanks to Bean again, for posting.
The Pit was huge with a solid extended jam to begin with, and Understand was pretty straight. You can watch it from the stage and synced up the audience recording here.
Smoke was a new song debuted at Summer Camp and I have to say I liked it quite a bit. It has a carnival-inspired springiness, but the juxtaposition of the referentially serious lyrics with the music is pretty powerful. Nice work Al. Sensory Deprivation was my highlight of set one mainly because of Rob’s funky bass. They finished up with Punchline into Haze, which pumped up the crowd before they exited.
For their second set all five members of moe. came back onstage to small music stands and stood at the front . I was baffled as to what was happening but when the first notes of Crab Eyes floated out over the crowd it was obvious that moe. was making a statement. I like to think it’s a little nod to the other electronic acts almost as if to say, “See we can play on computers too.” The most eye-opening aspect of this is that on the recording other than a few slower transitions the Crab Eyes is spot on. They went into a fantastic Buster that lasted almost 15 minutes. I love this song and every time I hear “Pig Can Fly” I smile. The Skrunk> Lazarus> McBain> Recreation Chemistry section is the reason I see moe. It was jaw-dropping; I caught the beginning of that run on video from the crowd, which you can watch here.
That Lazarus was sublime but the Rec Chem was absolutely enormous. moe. came back to encore with a crowd-rumbling Captain America. Great choice and I remember the two brahs behind me arguing whether the encore would be Plane Crash or Captain America. Brah number one was correct.
After catching moe. late night in the barn on Friday I was pretty sleepy so I handed off my pass to CIT Jeff Greenswag, who went in to see Big Gigantic and Lotus at the Red Barn. Keep on eye on his posts for some detailed electronic coverage. I watched a bit of Cornmeal on the Campfire Stage before heading back down the trail to my tent. I had one more day as the first ever Summer Camp Counselor and Sunday would prove to be a non-stop adventure. Stay tuned.
You can see all of my photos from Saturday at Summer Camp here.
This is Jeff Greenswag and I am honored to be your Summer Camp Counselor In Training. Over the next year, it’s gonna be my job to keep you all updated on what’s happening with artists from Summer Camp on tour (especially in Colorado), Summer Camp Field Day events taking place throughout the year and more. I’ve never really blogged before, so I figured I’d do this like I was just talking to you. If you have any suggestions, let me know. For this pre-festival post, I’ve been asked to tell you all a little about myself, my favorite bands at the fest, and what I’m looking forward to most.
So anyway, I’m 27 years old, I live in Denver and I grew up in suburban Chicago. I moved to Colorado after I got my Leisure Studies degree from the University of Illinois. Let’s just say college was fun and where I really had an opportunity to get into live music. I saw my first Umphrey’s McGee show at the Canopy club and after a few more of those I was hooked. I think I’ve seen them somewhere around 80 times, but I can’t be sure. Admittedly, they are my favorites and I will be biased towards them in terms of attention and likely amazement. So yeah, went out West, law school, couldn’t (wasn’t super motivated to) get a job as an attorney so now I got a bunch of jobs. I’m a pizza chef, a Captain Morgan Impersonator for liquor promotions, I pilot a 17 passenger bike that is a pub on wheels and goes on bar crawls, I put on concerts with a couple buddies and I am entering year 2 of launching a website for a very specific new “industry” in
Colorado…but that’s enough about me.
Like I mentioned before, Umphrey’s is my favorite. Obviously looking forward to seeing them. moe., WSP, and STS9 are likely to captivate most of the festival goers with their sets as well. I am especially looking forward to the Sound Tribe late night in the red barn. Beyond the usual suspects I am also looking forward to seeing Marcus Rezak throw down with Digital Tape Machine Thursday night. Yeah, I know Kris and Joel are in DTM, but Marcus is my boy and I got to give him a shout out. The New Mastersounds are always a treat and if you haven’t seen them, you should, probably the funkiest band at the festival. I keep looking at the lineup and I am just overwhelmed with how much good music there is…I could go on for a while and figure I’ll get into more depth with my daily blogs so just to let you know, some other bands I am really looking forward to see are Big Gigantic, Karl Denson’s TU, Papadosio, the Pimps of Joytime, Alex B’s new project Paper Diamond, Ella Riot, Truth and Salvage Co, The Twin Cats, and Savvy.
Of course we all come to Summer Camp for our love of music, but some of the things I enjoy about Summer Camp are the characters you meet. Perhaps you know Todd from Cicero…usually sporting a beautiful mustache. Last year I believe there was an Al Unser racing shirt to go along with it. Or maybe you’ve met Angelo and Stu around the campfire. They were telling me all about vinyl and how the first time they heard Purple Haze, he “was that needle in that groove on that record, man, ya know?” Or maybe you negotiated the price of a tree stump embedded along one of the paths through the forest.
Him: Tree stump for sale!
Me: How much you want for that stump, guy?
Him: Buddy, if you gotta ask, you can’t afford it…
Me: I gotta check book back at my site, let’s talk numbers
If you get talkin’ nonsense with someone, just go with it. It’s a lot of fun. And you know what, those are the things that I hope I really get to talk about through these blogs, if I’m lucky enough to experience stuff like that this year. We all have our favorite musicians and our favorite genres. For me to review shows and say what was good or bad, I think, would be inappropriate. I may mention some musical highlights, but for me, the real experience at the festival is the people you are with, those you meet along the way and sharing the music with them. I look forward to sharing some of the music with all of you.
Summer Camp Counselor In Training (CIT)