Avogadro’s Number is a tiny oasis of live music in the sometimes-overwhelming Fort Collins music scene. This venue has been a showcase for acoustic and folk music for a number of years. Off the beaten path of Old Town Avo’s as it’s affectionately called houses a bar, a stage, and a restaurant.
On a cool fall night in October, Avogadro’s opened its stage up to Summer Camp favorites Caravan Of Thieves. Hailing from Connecticut this band had been described as a unique blend of swing, jazz, and high intensity jamming. Fuzz Sangiovanni from Deep Banana Blackout fame along with his wife Carrie Sangiovanni form the foundation of the band with Ben Dean and Brian Anderson filling out the lineup of pickers.
Arriving early I caught the last half of the opening set by The Cantrells. They are a duo from a bygone era with a true gift for the art of performance. The majority of the small but dedicated audience seemed to be there in support of opener. The multi-instrumentalist Cantrells focused on their own style of acoustic swing following a more traditional approach than the headliner. They had a folksy way about them that made you feel like you were at a picnic with your extended family. The only cover they played that I was familiar with was a Leadbelly tune. Overall they were a gentle way to get the night started. They had a passion for swing and string music and seemed to fit the bill nicely.
The Caravan Of Thieves took the stage for their single set that went just over ninety minutes. They opened up with their original “I Don’t Wanna.”
Set 1: I Don’t Wanna, Shim Sham, Psycho Killer, Eat You, Wasting, Monster, F Got You, She’s Learning, Kiss, Dance
Encore: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band> I Get By, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, When I’m 64, Raise The Dead
A very nice set of music with an encore that featured several of the Sgt. Pepper’s tunes they worked out for Halloween. We were also treated to a couple selections including “I Don’t Wanna” and “Monster” off of their new album Funhouse as well. This band is truly mesmerizing in both their delivery and their energy. Fuzz will often swing his guitar to his back, pick up egg beaters, and begin slamming on all manner of plastic jug and metal cymbal. I’ve seen the man even begin banging on his fellow band mates instruments with any substitute for a drumstick he can find.
They managed to work in one of their favorite covers in the form of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” as well. They lead the small audience on a musical journey that involved some impeccable picking along with an array of makeshift percussion. Heading out to the bar throughout the night several people who were otherwise engaged in Broncos football would ask, “Who are these guys?” I can only assume that same question was asked by many who have passed by their stage at Summer Camp each year. Who are these guys? The reason is that their sound is wholly unique and quite intoxicating. They warned the crowd earlier about their Halloween extravaganza involving their homage to the Beatles, so it was no surprise that the encore gave us a taste of that forthcoming show. As they do with all of their covers, they incorporate their own instrumentation and styling making each song very different from the original. Their jangly strings treated the Beatles well.
The Caravan Of Thieves closed by coming down to the floor and inviting the crowd up to sing “Raise The Dead.” This intimate affair is exactly what Avo’s has become known for in Fort Collins. It’s a small retreat for music lovers and music makers alike. If you find yourself wandering the outskirts of Old Town and hear some quality picking, chances are you’ve found Avogadro’s Number.
Videos From The Show
Eliot Lipp has been on the top of my list of producers to always catch live ever since seeing him for the first time last year opening for Conspirator in Buffalo. It’s always an awesome feeling seeing someone for the first time and leaving jaw dropped. Since then I have seen him countless times, and each show has been its own unique experience. Eliot’s style is unlike any other, which makes him truly one of a kind.
Eliot’s smooth style has had venues across the world dancing their hearts our for over 8 years, and he’s bringing his unique beats to Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom opening for Pretty Lights on November 9th!
If you have never heard of Eliot Lipp, you are missing out! Check out this live clip:
I had the awesome opportunity to catch up with Eliot Lipp. Check out what he had to say!
Kyle – How did you start out producing?
Eliot - I gathered some hand-me-down gear from other producers, a sampler, a keyboard, drum machine etc…I pretty much taught myself how to make simple beats and then just kept progressing.
Kyle – I noticed you do a lot of stuff with your midi keyboard .. Do you improv at your shows?
Eliot - Yeah some songs have moments where I solo on the synth. I definitely don’t plan my sets out ahead of time, I like to play off the crowd’s energy so improv is important.
Kyle – You’re supporting Pretty Lights at the Aragon Theater in Chicago. What do you like best about playing larger venues?
Eliot - You get treated better at the bigger venues, sometimes it’s bad though because I’ll get spoiled after being on tour with PL or a bigger artist and then I go back to playing small clubs again and I’m like “where’s my spring water & organic kombucha”.
Kyle – How do you construct your set opening for someone such as Pretty Lights verse headlining your own show?
Eliot - I rehearse about 50 or so songs before I go out on tour so I have a large arsenal in the cue. Once I get on stage I start to decide what songs to begin with based on the vibe in the room and depending on the crowd’s response I’ll move the set in different directions.
Kyle – When did you sign with Pretty Lights music?
Eliot - A year & a half ago before Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake came out.
Kyle – You have a very unique sound. What are some of your biggest influences in your music?
Eliot – RJD2, The Alchemist, Mux Mool, Richie Hawtin, Daft Punk, Just Blaze, Jay Dilla, Flosstradamus, Kanye, Aphex Twin etc… I’ve been listening to lots of classical music this year too though, my favorite album lately is “The Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter”
Kyle – What is your favorite piece of equipment you use live?
Eliot - My Korg MS-20. It was the first analog synth I ever bought and it’s got an amazing tone.
Kyle – Do you often collaborate with other artists?
Eliot - Yes, I made a track with Wick-It last year, and me and Michal Menert made Gettin’ Money. And I have collabs with Mux Mool, Supervision and more coming up on my next album.
Kyle – You have been playing with a live band. What is your favorite part about that?
Eliot - Collaborating live, creating something completely unique at every show, improvising.
Kyle – How did the live band act come about?
Eliot - I met my drummer Cru Jones when he was playing in Michna’s live band a few years ago, and Nick Bockrath my guitarist has been on a bunch of bills with me in the past. I think stylistically the three of us really create a solid sonic palate.
Kyle – What is one of your all time favorite cities to play?
Eliot - Austin is probably #1, but I also love Minneapolis, Tacoma, San Francisco & Brooklyn.
Kyle – What are some activities you enjoy outside of the music world?
Eliot - I like Painting, and hiking, and eating.
Kyle – What’s your favorite food?
Eliot – Avacado!
Kyle – If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Eliot - It’d be fun to close down the golden gate bridge for a night and have a show there. Or maybe deep in the Olympic mountains, in the rainforest on a day that it doesn’t rain.
Kyle – Where do you see electronic music in 20 years?
Eliot – I think tablets, computers and midi controllers will be more fully realized as musical instruments. The “human” element in live compositions and performances will be much more advanced. I think what is now considered EDM will continue to evolve and fragment into new genres. The way we listen to music will evolve and we will become more accustomed the subtleties of sound texture. I think complex melodies will return to popular music and harmonies will replace the cheap sensation of giant sweeps and bass drops, songs will be guided more by their musicallity. Music is the universal language of raw human emotion, it’s how we understand each other culturally. Once a certain rhythm or melody has cultural relevance it can represent a new era & a new generation.
Kyle – What was your first gig like? Were you nervous?
Eliot - I was so nervous, it was in this warehouse on Chicago’s south side. I got physically sick because I was so freaked out.
Kyle – What’s your biggest advice for aspiring musicians?
Eliot - Be original, don’t lose your imagination.
If you are even on the fence about checking out the show on November 9th, or any Eliot Lipp show for that matter; do yourself a favor and go. You will not regret it! Check out other dates on Eliot Lipp’s current tour:
10/25 – The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
10/26 – New Earth Music Hall – Athens, GA
11/1 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
11/2 – Suwannee Hulaween – Live Oaks, FL
11/7 – Mojo’s – Columbia, MO
11/8 – 2720 Cheokee – St Louis, MO
11/9 – The Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
11/29 – 1015 Folsom – San Fransisco, CA
12/4 – Shaka’s – Virginia Beach, VA
12/5 – The Camel – Richmond, VA
12/7 – The Park Bar – Detroit, MI
12/12 – Samana Lounge – Vail, CO
12/13 – Three20south – Breckenridge, CO
12/14 – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO
12/26 – Whiskey Jacques – Ketchum, ID
Jennifer Hartswick discusses everything from TAB at Summer Camp to her latest album The Ocean Floor. She is a force to be reckoned with at the festival, taking part in multiple sets with a wide array of artists throughout the weekend. She dives into her first experience at Summer Camp as a patron not a performer and how that began her infatuation with this Midwest tradition. Take a look.
Did you know that Steve’s first experience with Strange Arrangement was at Summer Camp? After hearing their set and grabbing a summer sampler CD, he learned all the music on his own… when they were on a hunt for a new drummer, he was the man for the job!
Hear Steve & I chat about his experience joining Strange Arrangement, his take on the power of live music today, and what bands he wanted to catch last weekend. Don’t forget to catch guys in June at their Stranger Danger festival in Chicago.
Click here to listen: Steve Sinde of Strange Arrangement interview with CIT Abby Mager
Hello there fellow SCamper Dudes and Dudettes!
So the best weekend of the year has come and gone. I can’t believe it – it feels like it was a dream. I honestly am in disbelief of everything that has happened. I am SO happy that I decided to enter the Camp Counselor Contest, it was a last minute decision and I submitted the video on the last day at 8pm. From there we made the first 12, then we made the next round of 6. What many people don’t know is that I decided to make a second video for the following round in which I was going to do “tricks” as I jumped out of a tree. Well in making that second video I landed wrong after I jumped and suffered a concussion, four days of the worst migrains I’ve ever had, a bruised knee, a bruised jaw, a deep cut in my neck that wouldn’t stop bleeding for a day and a half and I chipped 3 teeth and lost half of one of my molars. Can anyone question whether I am dedicated to Summer Camp? The few weeks trying to win the contest was super stressful – I had everyone I possibly could spreading the word and voting…friends and family from as far as Argentina, Spain, Italy and Colombia. All the pain and hard work paid off though and we made top three and then finally won. It was amazing. The day they announced it, I had adrenaline constantly running through my blood and I couldn’t sleep; after coming to Summer Camp for 6 years I was going to experience my favorite festival in a way I could have only dreamed about.
I had so many things planned, so much I wanted to cover and see but the weekend seriously flew by and my aspirations were much larger than what was physically possible. However, I was able to get some awesome videos, catch some great sets, meet some amazing people, do really nice interviews, capture sweet pictures, and dance and hoop my heart out. Summer Camp is so big – there is so much going on that it is impossible to do it justice; for those of you who haven’t been – you will never know how amazing it is until you experience it for yourself.
I again want to thank the entire Summer Camp crew for creating the Camp Counselor Program. For die hard fans, it is the chance to live the festival through a completely unique understanding. As someone who goes year after year it was so special to get a glimpse of the world behind the stage. I will forever treasure these memories and will continue to attend Summer Camp every year, but now with a greater level of appreciation.
The highlights of the weekend are meeting moe. and announcing their first set, being side stage for moe., UM and Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, getting to see Wavy blow out his birthday candles, and getting a drum lesson from Vinnie. I tried to plan the best I could for the weekend, but there is just so much going on it’s impossible to plan for it all – so for the next year’s counselor I suggest you make a general schedule and stay organized. Being counselor is a great experience, but it is your duty to represent the festival and that is a huge undertaking – I knew that going into it and yet it was still even grander than I thought.
I am sad that Summer Camp 2012 is over; but I am already getting excited for Summer Camp 2013. From my first video entering the SC Counselor contest I claimed that Summer Camp is the best festival ever, and it is. The line up is amazing every year and the people who make it happen are all so awesome and nice. Thank you Summer Camp, thank you fellow SCampers, and anyone who is considering coming next year – it will be the best experience of your life.
Keep Striving for Peace, Love, and Unity Fellow SCampers,
Camp Counselor Maria
So yesterday was amazing! I was running around all day trying to catch all the awesome music but there is just too much and I had to miss out on some great sets. However, I did manage to see quite a few; and get some interviews!
Kinetix JAMMED hard; they were so energetic and pulled out some great covers, such as “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles, and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy. Marcus Rezak from Digital Tape Machine made an appearance and added some killer riffs to the performance. After the show the band was up for an interview and we asked them a few questions - watch the video. They were all really cool people and if you still haven’t checked out their music what are you waiting for?
After that interview I was able to catch the end of Cornmeal and they put on such a great show (as always). The way they play is so alive; it didn’t matter that the sun was mean, every single person was dancing their feet sore. Especially the CornStalkers; a wonderful group of dedicated fans. Afterwards I had a chance to sit down with Wavy Dave and ask him a few questions; check out that video too!
Primus brought they’re usual madness to the stage and had a great light show. Lotus followed suit and put on a great performance, also with some killer lights. They are serioulsy the masters of transitions…they flawlessly flow from one rythm to another and one song to another.and then bring it all together for one final groove down.
As I had mentioned before, Summer Camp isn’t just about the music but also about having fun with your friends and just enjoying the experience of being at camp. This weekend is our yearly reunion with all my friends from college and catching up and story telling at our campsite took us past the late nights, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to see Les Claypool and the Dead Kenny G’s or Haha the Moose, but based on the reviews I heard around - both put on great sets.
Can’t wait for tomorrow. As always, this weekend is going by way too fast.
I have been absolutely DYING to catch GUC since I heard they got together. Disco Biscuits + Big Gigantic + Conspirator + Underground Orchestra + RAQ = AMAZING!! They’ve only played two shows before this one and I wasn’t able to make either, so this was one of the shows I was just itching to watch. So much so that I request to be on stage for it.
GUC side stage – The lead up to this show had more buzz backstage than anything I’ve seen so far at the festival, the stage was literally bouncing to the bass. You could see the chemistry between the band members (who have known each other “forever”). An eye here, and a nod there, lead to jams that had the entire crowd bouncing around the entire time (which was quite the feat since the temperature was around 95 degrees during their set.) After a food break and an equipment check the guys were cool enough to spend 15 minutes with me “interviewing” them. I put “interview” in quotes because the group dynamic these guys have together doesn’t lead to many spots where you can ask a question. They really feed off of each other behind the scenes. It’s easy to see how that translates to their chemistry on stage. This group of friends really enjoys chilling and hanging with each other off stage, and it shows on stage.