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.
Check out Field Day’s third annual round of Sunrise Kickball with Umphrey’s McGee’s Ryan Stasik!
Summer Camp has had so many artist grace their stage over the years, that if you go to any show chancres are the majority of them have played Summer Camp. While the headliners Juno What have yet to play SCamp both Euforquetra and Bernie Worrell have made the trip. My jam-packed weekend of music began with Juno What?!’s headlining show at Cervantes with famed funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Much of what Worrell pioneered throughout his career with Parliament and to a lesser extent the Talking Heads is the basis for what bands like Juno What?! are doing today. So it made sense to toss them together in a live setting. Up first was Fort Collins based Euforquestra who continues to impress audiences up and down the Front Rage. Euforquestra continues to be one of my favorite shows to see live, they are a danceable journey into the abyss of world funk. Their sound is so undeniably eclectic and inviting I challenge anyone to see them and not have a good time. Here is their setlist from their hour and half onstage.
SET I: Backbone, Price Is Right, Hopscotch, Ogun, MOMO, Soup, Reggaemylitis, Road Funk, Hang Ups, 2007, Free> Pure> Excuse O> Free, What Cha Want
This set has it all including a sick version of Peter Tosh’s Reggaemylitis with Grundstad on vocals. Mike Tallman has to be one of the most underrated guitarists playing around Denver these days. He quite simply shreds with amazingly smooth finger work. The Free sandwich shows how tight they have become during their time inc Colorado, but the highlight of the show had to be their tribute to the late, great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Also known as MCA, his passing is a huge loss to the hiphop community. The Euforquestra boys thought it was appropriate to honor him with a cover of What Cha Want. They invited three MCs to the stage and busted out a compelling close to their set.
Juno What?! is an electro-funk outfit made up of Joey Porter and Steve Watkins on keys, and Dave Watts on drums. The lineup is unusual to say the least consisting of totally rhythmic instrumentation, however, the band is often joined by friends to help fill out their sound. On this particular evening those friends were many, most importantly famed funk innovator Bernie Worrell, as well as members of The Motet and Euforquestra. The night’s theme as an all out dance party continued strong when Juno What?! opened with their now classic Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get with Joey on the talk box. It just set the mood for the entire night as the kids on the floor started their two and a half-hour boogie marathon. They were soon joined by Bernie who fit into their sound like a well-worn glove. Watching Mr. Worrell at the keys is simply spellbinding. There is just something indescribable about seeing such a leading light in the world of funk performing right before your eyes. His weathered hands stroke the keys with amazing comfort. It’s like seeing an old married couple still experiencing love after many years of wedded bliss. Highlights included a rowdy We Want The Funk and a sick “Red Hot Momma.” Seeing Porter play with one of his heroes was the icing on the cake. It was a great night of fun for everyone in attendance. I hope we can all do it again some time.
Juno What?! graciously offers up their recordings for free download here. http://junowhat.net/multi-media/about/
With Leftover Salmon making it back to Summer Camp this year I thought it would be good to give their new album a listen. Here is my review. Eight years in the making Leftover Salmon’s Aquatic Hitchhiker finally hit record stores last week. A truly original work of art this album is everything Salmon with absolutely no filler. Comprised of road-tested tracks as well as some new tunes. The impetus for all of can only be the addition of Andy Thorn to the lineup. The last year has seen some changes in Camp Salmon. The departure of Bill McKay and the addition of Thorn have given the band a clearer focus on the “Poly-Ethnic Cajun Slamgrass,” that is their hallmark. The opening tune entitled “Gulf of Mexico” is sung by Drew Emmitt and is reminiscent of his earlier work like “Valley Of The Full Moon.” It refers to the oil spill in the Gulf and shows how Salmon continues to be concerned with bigger issues. Martinez’s drums hit hard like an abandoned alarm clock left to rattle away while Drew’s vocals just soar. Vince gets funky on the road song, “Keep Driving.” You can almost picture him looking out the window of a tour bus with a notepad in hand writing the words down. “Liza” is one of my favorites that has made it into their new rotation; it’s a fun shanty love song that makes crowds bounce. Musically the title track “Aquatic Hitchhiker” is perhaps the most profound on the album, lead by Thorn’s banjo shredding and Drew’s violin. For several years after the passing of Mark Vann and the exodus of Noam Pikelny LoS seemed to be searching for someone to fill the void. I can honestly say that they have found the plug in Andy Thorn. The banjo is so essential to their sound that it is imperative to have a finger-flying shredder at the helm. Andy is just that. “Bayou Town” as it’s name insinuates is a down home zydeco-flavored strum. Greg Garrison’s bass finally finds the spotlight on “Sing Up to the Moon,” with Vince on vocals. In “Light Behind the Rain” Thorn steps up the microphone, it’s a track that he used to perform with Grant Farm. His smooth delivery is the perfect juxtaposition to Vince’s rowdiness and Emmitt’s towering voice. Leftover kicks back into high gear with the extra optimistic “Stop All Your Worrying.” Martinez gets out the brushes to Great American Taxiesque “Walking Shoes.” The Americana that Herman has been focusing on for several years certainly made it into the mix with this song. “Kentucky Skies” is a Scruggs flavored romp into the Salmon’s more traditional sound. “Gone For Long” feels like the days last cigarette while the album closing “Here Comes The Night” gets jazzy and a little lounge.
The mix of Aquatic Hitchhiker is just stellar. Recorded in both Colorado and Portland, it has a solid flow, both in music and texture. I highly recommend grabbing a copy, sitting down with a cold beer, and letting the night come.
Hey Scampers, one week till Scamp time! Yesss!
I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to attend Summer Camp 2012 as your Counselor in Training. It truly is an honor and a dream come true. I’m going to tell ya a little bit about myself so you can get to know your CIT a little better, and then I’m going to tell you what I’m most excited for at SC.
Since 2005 I’ve been attending 1-2 music festivals each year, and they have more or less turned into my home away from home each summer. I always choose which festival I attend each summer based on who has the best lineup for my tastes. And this year it was a no brainer, Summer Camp 2012 all the way! (I must admit though that I do have a soft spot in my heart for Wakarusa and the Harvest festival with their spectacular scenery up on Mulberry Mountain. Just check out this breath taking aerial shot!) In St. Louis, I’m always attending shows. Especially the shows of Aaron Kamm and the One Drops (check them out!). One thing that’s great about my city is that there’s always free shows going on year round, which is a great way to get into and support local bands. I usually attend shows at small venues such as the Firebird, Broadway Oyster Bar, the Old Rock House, Lemmon’s, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Schlafly Tap Room, and the Schllafly Bottleworks. As for the larger shows, I usually go to the Pageant or Pop’s.
As for SC, I’m most excited to see some Gogol Bordello. I’ve seen these accordion playin-fiddlin’ strummin’-wine splashin’-gypsy punks several times, and their energy is enough to blow your face off! If you need a quick energy boost to get ya through the rest of Friday night, make sure you check out this band. (Just don’t forget to find me during their set and dance with me in the front!) I also can’t wait to see some Umphrey’s, I’ve been seeing these guys 2-3 times a year since 2005, and like everyone knows, every show is always different and better than the last! Now let’s just hope that we can all make it to every one of their 5 of their sets in 3 days at SC. And I can’t wait for some Primus, especially since I haven’t seen them since they put out their new album Green Naugahyde. It’ll be quite a set with some new tunes in rotation. Plus, you can never go wrong with the lovely bass playin’ of Les Claypool, side project or not, he always puts on a spectacular show. I also can’t wait to get on my dancin’ shoes and hit up some Rubblebucket! This will be a first for me, but just the sound of Kalmia Traver‘s sultry voice puts me in a romantic daze. I’m also excited for some Keller Williams, Galactic, The New Orleans Suspects, The Infamous Stringdusters, Gov’t Mule, Michael Franti, G. Love, Common, Jane’s Addiction, Wooten, Zoogma and many more!
Once I first found out that I made it to the top 6, the planning and packing began. Well, mostly because I had a horrible nightmare that I showed up to SC with only my tent and the clothes on my back. That was frightening. But anyway, my festival essentials include my eno hammock, lots clean under drawers, costumes, sunscreen, baby powder, apples, and my blow up mattress. I’m always lookin’ out for the Scamper, so I purchased some goodies to give away to my fellow Scampers such as hundreds of glowsticks (for glowstick wars), glow paint, and fuzzy pink moustaches. I am also apart of the Umphrey’s street team, so you can expect some sweet Umphrey’s goodies from me as well! As your CIT, of course I will give you a personal perspective of my SC experience through technology, but I’m all about you, the Scamper. I can’t wait to get to know you and make lifetime friends in the process. I’m going to be running around in costumes half of the weekend, so if you’re dressed in a costume too, I wanna meet ya and award you with a fuzzy pink moustache! And as promised, I will be bringin’ those apples! So if you’re a fan of the apple, be ready to catch one headed in your direction. Also, I’m coming to SC with my main squeeze Adam. If you watched my contest video, he was the dude that was trying to “rob” me. One of our favorite things to do together is swing dance, so you’ll probably see us bustin’ some swing moves during sets and especially at Gogol Bordello. I’ll also be hangin’ with my friend Joe (who I met some years ago through my best girl E-Flat) and his friends who are SC veterans.
I am excited and proud to say that this is going to be my first Summer Camp! And I can’t wait to spend it with you. So if you see me out and about, don’t be shy, come say “hi”! I’d love to chat it up with you or dance our booties off together to some tasty tunes. So let’s make it the best one yet! (Not only because my birthday is on Thursday of SC, but especially since I heard some crazy rumor that the world is supposed to end sometime late this year…it’s probably a buncha psssh, but let’s do it up anyway!)
Love, hugs, and thugs,
Hola fellow SCampers!!!
As we approach the weekend we have all been anxiously waiting for, I wanted to take a minute and give you guys a better idea of who I am and what I am going to bring to Summer Camp this year. First and foremost I want to introduce you to the people I am coming to SC with; two of the main people who you will see in my vblogs are dear, close friends of mine who actually introduced me to Summer Camp six years ago and have been there with me every year since, Derrick Lawless and Steve Bannister. Two super chill, awesome people who I met in college and am proud to say will be a part of my life for the rest of it. Come Summer Camp 2050 we will be there rockin’ it out like ever before. There are other friends of mine who are coming, Matt Weiler, Brian Buss, Christina Fountain, and Jake Kuykendall, (if you meet anyone of them, buy them a drink!) most of them are also friends from college who share the love for good music and good times.
One of the reasons that Summer Camp is the ULTIMATE most AMAZING festival is the line up. Every year I think to myself “man there’s no way this year’s line up is going to be as killer as last year’s” and every time I am proven wrong. I not only get to see the bands I already love and follow throughout the year; but there are always so many new bands that I fall in love with.
Some of this year the sets that I am looking forward to seeing for the first time are Gigantic Underground Conspiracy; an awesome compilation of artists from several bands who are sure to put on some jams you most certainly don’t want to miss. Tedeschi Trucks Band, I have always wanted to check them out and for some reason or another have never gotten the chance, with that kind of talent I know it’ll be an amazing show. Sun Stereo a sweet local Champaign-Urbana band with a distinct and fresh jazzy-rock feel, check them out in advance on facebook.
The bands that I have seen many a time before but cannot wait to check out are Lotus, went to their Halloween weekend show in Pittsburgh, PA this past year and it was out of this world good, if you haven’t checked them out – seriously it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Eoto is probably one of the bands I enjoy seeing live the most – they NEVER disappoint and manage to keep every show super fresh. Lastly can we say Talking Heads cover band? This Must be the Band is definitely one of those I gotta check out, can I put a request in? Let’s hear the Talking Heads song your band is named after =)
Alright so I have limited space and limited time and there are tons of bands I am dying to check out (like two bands not mentioned above who are among my all time favorite bands and who I get to see every year 3 days in a row ONLY at Summer Camp? that’s right…moe. and Umphrey’s), but I can’t talk about them all. So to let you know more about myself, I grew up on the Beatles, it led the way to harder rock and then jazz, such as Zeppelin and Dave Brubeck, and from there evolved further to include jam and electronic rock. I appreciate all artistry and talent, but I have a soft heart for drummers as I like to pretend I know how to jam on my used Evans drum set. I love Summer Camp for various reasons, but one of the main ones is that it was the first music festival of my life. Music has always had such an influential role in the essence of my being and there is no other festival that I feel as in touch with the tunes I love as SC. This is not your impersonal mob fest, you come to Summer Camp once and you feel like part of an extremely, extremely, large family forever.
On that note, for you first timers let me tell you some of the things I make sure to pack. For all you ladies, TP is a MUST. As glorious an experience as port-a-potties are, most of them run out of toilet paper and the best thing to do is be prepared, bring some and put a few squares (can you spare a square?) in your pocket. Next bring some trash bags, it is a privilege to use Three Sisters Park and we need to be responsible, have plenty of trash bags not just for garbage, but you never know what the weather could bring and you’d be surprised how dry one of those can keep you. Glow sticks are essential, not only do they add to the beautiful sea of lights at night on the main stage but they provide a great atmosphere for campsite hangouts. With all the great shows playing all the time, you are destined to catch some day shows and when the sun is strong some sun screen is essential! I have seen way too many people painfully red from neglecting to get their rub down, so SPF 50 it is! Finally, make sure to bring your crazy. This is a once in a lifetime experience to let go of everything that ties you down and let your true inner-self soar, so bring a happy spirit and leave your worries at home!
As your Summer Camp counselor I want you all to seek me out, let me make this your best Summer Camp yet. I want encompass the sweetness that is Summer Camp, and the only way I can do that is with your help. You fans are what keep SC alive and I want to show how we bridge the gap between the fans and the bands. Summer Camp is so much more that just music. It is about you living life; lets celebrate it.
I am going to promote some special Summer Camp spirit; my fellow moe.rons and I will be awarding fellow scampers that show special spirit throughout the festival. For example we will award the sweetest campsite, the person with the wildest outfit, the dude/dudette with the most innovative accessory or the neatest jam shout, and many many more; so let us join together and make this year the best Summer Camp EVER woop woop!!
SCampers for life!
Summer Camp Counselor Maria
It’s no secret that I dig what Keller Williams does. From his early loop filled days playing small clubs to his latter band based projects performing in front of massive festival crowds one thing remains true, Keller is fun. Summer Camp has always stood behind K-Dub, in fact he has performed in one incarnation or another every year at Summer Camp except two. It’s safe to say that he and the festival itself are pretty intertwined. His most recent endeavor is as a front man for the Travelin’ McCourys. His acoustic chops fit in nicely with the bluegrass powerhouse from Appalachia. Obviously he is not trying to replace Del McCoury, no on could do that, but is simply looking to play with a full string lineup. What better string band could he possible find other than the Travelin’ McCourys? There was no opening group, so Keller and the McCourys took the stage just before 10 PM. They started the night with an entertaining “Mullet Cut,” here if the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Mullet Cut, Gallivanting, The Graveyard Shift, The Hobo Song, Pepper, Road is Rocky, My Mine Never Closes, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, American Car, Corn Liquor, All In My Mind, Blame It On The Lonesome Wind, Ain’t About The Money, Sweet Mountain Soul
SET II: My Something Else, Freeker By The Speaker, Heads Will Turn, Friend Of The Devil, Loser, Evangelina, Kidney In A Cooler> Deep Elum Blues> Kidney In A Cooler, Forty Years To Life, Port-o-Potty, I’m A Man, Franklin’s Tower
ENCORE: My Grass Is Blue
Thanks to eman for posting the recording on Archive.
The first set was a mix of the traditional and the innovative. Some great versions of classics like The Old And In The Way’s “Hobo Song” and Earl Scruggs’ “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” However they got a little crazy on some covers like the Butthole Surfers’ “Pepper” and Mike Doughty’s “American Car.” It was certainly an interesting mix with Keller taking the vocal duties much of the time. They passed around solos nicely proving that the McCourys have truly learned from the best. Ronnie McCoury, was simply astonishing but the MVP may have been Jason Carter on fiddle. His playing cut through the whole crowd, giving a real flair and authenticity to the overall sound.
The second set seemed more freeform and centered around classic Keller. Freeker got everyone excited and ignited an all out dance party at the Aggie. I will say that while the show did not appear to be sold out there was definitely a good crowd in the room. We got a much-anticipated Dead interlude with “Friend Of The Devil” and “Loser.” However the real highlight of the show may have been the Kidney In A Cooler into Deep Elum Blues into Kidney In A Cooler. Port-o-Potty got everyone dancing again and the set closing Franklin’s Tower was a nice touch. They encored with a quick My Grass is Blue. The show was great, and it’s nice to see Keller really stretching out with his musical chops. He could easily have stuck with his classic shtick, but he wants to grow and expand his capability on stage. It is apparent that he is always evolving and looking for new ways to entertain. Check out Keller at this year’s Summer Camp, you won’t be disappointed.