For many jamband fans, Keller Williams was like a gateway drug and over the years we have watched him solidify his place in the scene. These days Keller is throwing down with a full funky band that calls themselves More Than a Little after a classic Keller tune. Their recently collaborative release, conveniently titled Funk, is made up of ten live recordings that display exactly what this project is all about. The four piece band, along with some sassy female vocals, showcases a side of Keller that many fans have been waiting to hear.
The album Funk kicks off with a vocal bass line that gets everyone on Keller’s level. It is followed up by backup singers, keys, an actual bass and live drums that hit you upside the head right from the get go. The first tune of the album is a comical Flight of the Conchords cover, “I Told You I Was Freaky”. As the first track continues, shit gets weird, and you are taken into the crazy domain of freak funk. It serves as a warning to all that this album is going to be filthy nasty, so be prepared to get weird.
The second tune rolls out of the first with a jazzy jam thick with keys and drum breaks. The Keller classic “More Than a Little” is true to its title. This tune is the definition of what this project is all about. Keller leads the group as they slink from one verse to the next, eventually agreeing in unison: “Now that’s funky!”
Keller’s band taps into the roots of funk and the album captures the energy of their live performance perfectly. ”I Feel Love” starts with a disco tease of Madonna’s ”Vogue”. Keller then takes the lead, calling the shots as the soulful vocalists follow suit. The tune continues to hopscotch between disco and soul before it finally lands in an era of disco funk and settles in for a nice long jam.
Overall, the album’s cover songs prove Keller Williams has mastered the art of reinterpretation. He already has his own special way of putting a spin on things and the addition of the funk band brings this experience to a whole other level. A jazzy version of the Talking Heads’, ”Once in a Lifetime” includes reverb vocals that complement Keller’s beatnik delivery of the song’s lyrics. The album also contains a tribute to Rick Jame’s “Mary Jane”, a metaphorically iconic tune that is the funkiest of the funk. If you still need convincing, check out “West LA Fadeaway” as it was performed at Summer Camp Music Festival in 2013. Keller puts his own funky spin on this Dead tune and has a few special guests to help seal the deal….
Needless to say, the soulfulness of these performances shines through every track of Funk. Better yet, funky could be the most sustainable version of Keller to date!
As your CIT, I highly recommend checking out Funk. Then go see Keller Williams with More Than a Little perform live while you still have the chance! The most recent tour is being billed as “What the Funk” and Keller will be playing two sets of music at every show. The first set will be a solo one-man-band performance and the second set will be the full band experience with More Than a Little.
This year I ended my festival season with a bang by making the trek from MI all the way to Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA for the first ever Lockn’ Music Festival. What I found special about this particular event was the stacked line-up of epic jam mixed in with the idea of making the music never end in a seamless fashion. I was determined to not miss this one.
Luckily I got hooked up with a photo pass and had the time of my life shooting some of the most amazing artists all weekend long. In case you weren’t aware, Lockn’ featured three sets from both Furthur and The String Cheese Incident including special guest appearances and collaborations all weekend long. Widespread Panic, Warren Haynes, Trey Anastasio Band, Zac Brown, John Foggerty, The Black Crowes, and Tedeschi Trucks give you a good sense of what the festival entailed.
What made the festival so amazing for me was the fact that it was the first opportunity I have had to photograph many of these legendary artists. I was definitely one of the happiest souls in the photo pits all weekend long.
My favorite moment of the weekend was when Trey Anastasio came out and performed with Furthur for the first time ever. He helped finish out Casey Jones of Furthur’s rendition of Workingman’s Dead (the entire album) and played other favorites including Scarlet Begonias and Truckin’
I managed to snap some of the best pictures I’ve ever shot. Have a look and get a feel for what Lockn’ was like.
Your CIT Eric here, and I must say we had one very perfect day to officially begin the festival! I have been having a blast running all over capturing many great moments for all of you to check out. I had a great time catching a few bands including Keller William’s new project.
The sunset was beautiful and the moon came out to light everyone’s way late into the night!
I took many amazing photos of the day so check out my official Summercamp CIT Photo set!
Summer Camp just keeps getting better and better! Yesterday was truly unbelievable! To start my day off, I had the amazing opportunity of announcing Moe’s first set of the weekend. It was such an honor to do it, and it was such an adrenaline rush. Moe killed it of course, that goes without saying. The set was crowded with scampers pumped up for Moe, and they sure delivered!!
The food at Summer Camp is great! Walking around, every 10 feet you smell different foods while walking around the vendors. Some of my personal favorites are the tacos, they freaking delicious. The subs are also bomb. I personally had the buffalo chicken sub more then once, and every person that sees me eating it asks what it is. Yum yum yum! I love festival food!
A highlight set yesterday was STS9. It was AWESOME! I don’t use this word often, but the set was ” epic “. I was blown away, and it’s getting me pumped for round 2 tonight in the barn. However, the other music I saw was nothing short of amazing. Yonder Mountain both day time and late night sets were sick. The Yonder barn set was extremely intimate, and even at 3 am, everyone had nothing but smiles.
I was also able to go on stage for Umphrey’s first set and it was a real cool experience. Scampers were eager to rage Umph, and their set was glorious! The sun was shining and it was a perfect time for their first set. To me, Umphrey’s is one of those bands that never lets me down. I have never seen a bad set by them, and they are truly all stars in the scene.
Some other honorable mentions that I got to see were Zoogma, Keller Williams, Big Gigantic, and Papadosio.
There’s still so much awesome music coming our way this weekend. It’s only Saturday, and there’s no stopping the Summer Camp party!
Camp Counselor Kyle
Summer 2012 Festival season in review
So what has ChickenHeadFan been up to since last Summer Camp Music Festival? Well, I was doing my normal thing, going to shows, taking pictures and videos to share with all of you. As we all know Summer Camp Music Festival is ChickenHeadFan’s true home! There is nothing he loves more than the 4 days he spends over Memorial Day weekend with all of you at Camp. This summer I did some branching out and I was lucky enough to go to four other music festivals and each one had many unique things that make them special. I like to keep the Summer Camp Spirit flowing all summer long and I figured trying out some new festivals was a great way to keep that spirit going! In this blog I will give you some highlights of each festival.
Bonnaroo was a great time. It was my first time going so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The experience was a lot different than Summer Camp, but that can be expected as there are as many as 80,000+ people at Bonnaroo. We were lucky and accidentally found a back way in so we were in line for 2 hours instead of 6-8 so that was a positive right off the bat. We got in line around 2am and were not done setting up till 4am so that was an adventure. We had really great neighbors and even made good friends with one group and they are planning to visit in Chicago soon! It was a long walk over 1 mile to get to “Center-Roo,” where all the shows are, so you didn’t want to go back to camp very often. The food selection was amazing with vendors everywhere that were open all day and night. You could eat anything you wanted at anytime and you never had to walk far or wait long for food. We even bought some good ol’ Tennessee moonshine from one vendor! The bathrooms were also pretty awesome. I never once saw a port-a-john that was anywhere close to overflowing and they were always clean.
Musical Highlights: Radiohead, Phish, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Alice Cooper, Umphrey’s McGee. The first band we saw was Mariachi el Bronx. I had been looking forward to seeing them after learning about them a few months before. These punk rockers turned mariachi band (mariachi outfits included) put on a high energy show that was lot of fun. Radiohead and Phish were obvious highlights for me. It was my first time seeing Radiohead and what an epic show it was. They played all my favorite songs and their stage show with the video screens moving all over the stage was a cool touch. Rodrigo y Gabriella’s new record, Area 52, that they recorded with the band C.U.B.A. has been one of my favorite albums this summer. It was amazing to see them play such complex music so perfectly live. Alice Cooper was also awesome, but we were only able to catch the last half of his show. His stage show includes costumes, giant puppets, and a guillotine. I was excited to see more later in the summer when I was going to see him open for Iron Maiden. We caught a surprisingly fun set from Ludacris during the afternoon. The set struck memories of driving to school with my older brother when he played a montage of hits including my favorites “Ho” and “Southern Hospitality.” Umphrey’s also played the best set I have seen from them in 2012. They played from 2-6am with Big Gigantic taking over at set break for a half hour. They were only supposed to play till 4am but put on a full show instead. The set including a rocking version of “Thunderstruck” which was exactly what I needed to keep me going as the sun was rising.
Whippersnap Music Festival is one of the many smaller local festivals that happens in the northern Illinois region. Here you can check out a lot of the great bands you might hear at the Starshine, Camping, or Campfire Stages at Summer Camp. The festival was located in Lyran Park near Rockford, IL. The main stage was set on a hill so there was a “natural amphitheater” with a river as the backdrop. It was beautiful! As for food, my favorite Summer Camp vendor Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was on-site so I was happy. The bathrooms at the festival were clean as well which makes festival life so much easier. Camping was very relaxed. There was plenty of space and there was no rush to find a place to set up camp. It is always a problem at larger festivals and can make the first couple hours a mad dash to get your preferred spot.
Musical Highlights: Family Groove Company, SPREAD, Old Shoe, The Funky Meters, and Digital Tape Machine. I also was only able to attend the Festival for Saturday and Sunday so I missed some great music, but was still able to catch some of my favorites. Family Groove played an awesome set that included a Beck cover and featured Joe Day from Old Shoe on vocals. I also woke up early Saturday to see SPREAD, a Summer Camp Battle-of-the-Bands contest winner the last 3 years, play a rocking set that included a Ween Cover, and some of their staples like “Deep Plunge” and “Feel my Heat.” I also got to catch a late afternoon set from Old Shoe. This was sadly the first time I have been able to catch a full set from these guys, and I was truly blown away! I have seen them twice since then, once at the Abbey Pub and once at Shoe Fest and they never cease to please.
Shoe Fest is put on by Old Shoe, hence the name. This festival was held in Manteno, IL at Camp Shaw-wa-na-see. This is another beautiful setting for a small festival. There were many families and children present and you can bring your furry family members too, pets are just as welcome here as anyone! You could pretty much camp anywhere so there was plenty of space for everyone. They actually had real bathrooms which was nice, but sometimes were out or order with a lot of people using them. Foodwise there were options but since my favorite, Minglewood Brick Oven Pizza was at the fest, I had to get my fix of delicious pizza and baked ravioli. They did have two local craft brewers on site which was awesome, but one other bonus was that you could bring your own alcohol anywhere at the festival including the stages, which helped keep the cost of going to a festival down.
Musical Highlights: Keller and the Keels, Ben Miller Band, Old Shoe, Jaik Willis. I missed Friday night because of my day job so, the Ben Miller Band was the first band to rock my world at Shoe Fest. They come from Joplin, MO and have a unique sound that blends bluegrass, blues, and mountain music with an occasional trombone thrown into the mix. Ben Miller provides acoustic guitar and vocals for the band, sometimes singing into a telephone converted into a microphone that gives his voice a distorted 50′s sound. Doug Dicharry plays drums, mandolin, electric washboard, trombone, and electric spoons. His strange mix of talents add to the spice that makes this band so unique. Scott Leeper plays a self-made washtub Bass for the band. This is no easy instrument requiring the player to provide the correct tension on the neck to play the right note, but Scott is an expert at it. The band played mix of covers that included “I wanna be Sedated” and “Helter Skeltar” and some originals like “Meth Mama” and “Get Right Church.” Keller and the Keels put on an amazing show. The talents of Larry and Jenny Keel compliment and add to the talents of one-man-band Keller Williams. They played a few Keller originals like “Goofballs” and “Crater in the Backyard” along with many of their bluegrass covers such as Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” Jaik Willis is the last person I caught at the festival before I left Sunday afternoon. This is sadly one of the first times I have been able to catch Jaik play, and it won’t be my last. This man is über talented. He not only is one of the best guitar players in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter, he has a voice of gold, and he beat boxes! He holds a special connection with the crowd and has the rare qualities that make up a great solo performer. Shoe Fest was a great time and it felt like home. I cannot wait to go back next year!
North Coast Music Festival is practically in my backyard. We probably walked less to get from my house to North Coast than when we walked from our camp to the shows at Bonnaroo. I had a great time at North Coast, but since it is not a camping festival it has a completely different vibe, and the lineup, consisting of mostly DJ’s and electronic groups, draws a younger and slightly different crowd than most festivals I go to. North Coast usually gets a couple big headliners and fills in the line-up with smaller acts. Although it can be a really great place to find a great smaller band, there are a lot of performers there that I’m just not interested in. The late night shows usually make up for the sometimes lackluster line-up.
Musical Higlights: EOTO, STS9, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Papadosio. The first show I saw was EOTO. I always enjoy seeing them because I can hardly believe two guys can make all those weird noises, and with real instruments too. I was able to catch Papadosio for my second time at one of the smaller stages. They put on a good show as always. STS9 is always a highlight anytime I see them, and between their headlining spot at the festival and their after party show at the House of Blues they played every song I wanted to hear including some of my favorites “Unquestionable Supremecy of Nature” “Evasive Maneuvers”, and “Inspire Stikes Back.” Unfortunately, due to restrictions put on the festival, STS9 got their sound cut when their last song went few seconds past the 10pm cutoff. The second day at the festival the weather was unpredictable and I had to miss out on Family Groove Company’s main stage performance because the festival had a no re-entry policy. I saw Strange Arrangement at one of the smaller stages at the festival where I saw some of the best shows. I was able to catch Atmostphere and Future Rock before the nights headliner and one of my favorites, Umphrey’s McGee. This was their second year headlining the festival after playing the inaugural North Coast Fest 2 years ago. I went to the STS9 after party at the House of Blues because STS9 only comes to Chicago so often so you have to see them when you can. Sunday I got a late start but I as able to see Digital Tape Machine and Big Boi from Outkast perform. Big Boi was a fun experience, and someone who I typically might not see, he played “Sorry Ms. Jackson” and “Hey Ya” , so it was a pretty good time. The real highlight of the night was seeing Umphrey’s play at the Congress Theater, which is the only major theater I have not seen them perform at in Chicago. The show was rocking, and included a cover of Toto’s “Rosanna” and teases of “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bulls on Parade.” North Coast Music Festival always ends up being a great time, but the after party shows always seem to be the best part for me.
So that is pretty much the story of my festival season this year. I had a great time but you know I was busy catching shows in between each music festival as well! What kind of shows you ask? Well to find out you will have to wait for my next blog post that will be Coming Soon!
Photo Credit – Andrew Feigl for both Bonnaroo photos
Photo credit – Adam Alexander for Chickenheadfan North Coast photo
One story I have is from last year when they gave us the raffle tickets to give away. I made people do some ridiculous things for those tickets. I asked one guy bring to me 30 cigarette butts for one another girl that was camped close by I asked her to clean all the trash off the ground around her camp for a ticket. She did and brought back WAY more trash than I expected. I also gave away a winning ticket! The girl I gave it to even came back and found me to thank me and let me know how grateful she was. Also I some how always find amazing interesting things in the trash when I do my sorting shift. The first year I volunteered I found $19 and some Summer Camp shirts! And last year I found some moe. CDs and posters! I kindly gave away one of the CD and posters to this guy I was working with (cant remember his name).
Overall I have had some AMAZING experiences volunteering and I plan on doing it again this year because its just so much fun. Thank you for giving all the people who cant really afford to go a chance to be there and have so much fun at the greatest music festival around! O! And thank you for the Everyone Orchestra! That was the highlight of my first year at Summer Camp! I do plan on coming back as a volunteer again this year in full force. I have been extra green lately and I’m looking forward to giving back to the people and keeping Summer Camp clean so we can do it again next year. I don’t have many pictures of me while I was working. But I do have one picture of me in a “photo booth”. It was right next to me while I was working and the guy running it kept giving me free things because he liked what I was doing for the festival. Once again thank you SO much for giving me and other people like me the chance to go and experience Summer Camp. It is a truly magical place filled with joy and excitement. And last year KELLER WILLIAMS came up to me and told me I was doing a good job! That completely blew my mind!
But once again thank you very much. I have had amazing experiences and made some life long friends at Summer Camp and I hope I can do it all again this year. I’m planning on putting down my deposit as soon as I get my next paycheck.
Thank you! From your friend and loyal volunteer
p.s. virtual hugs!
For many, Friday the 13th is a day to stay indoors and avoid contact with ladders and cats shrouded in black fur. For the people of Fort Collins and the Front Range it was a day of celebration that marked the return of live music to the much-loved Mishawaka. The High Park Fire shut down this landmark for a month while fans waited with baited breath to see if she would survive the flames. The outpouring of support and positive thoughts was simply stunning. My heart literally ached as I was constantly checking for updates. There was a lot of misinformation floating around, but the true story was that it was a multi-departmental effort between the U.S. Forest Service, and firefighters from around the country that literally battled the blaze back and “Saved The Mish.” Stay tuned for a video from MusicMarauders detailing the story in full.
Taking the shuttle up gave fans their first glimpse of the devastation of the fire. Literally entire mountainsides were stripped bare of trees and left with a black streak. More than one foundation where a house had been could be seen on the drive up 14. It was a humbling, mind-numbing journey up the Poudre. We arrived early as many patrons did, eager to support Mishawaka and grab a bite to eat before Keller Williams took the stage. Keller went above and beyond by offering up downloads from the show for $10 with all of the money going to support victims of the many fires in Colorado. You can purchase the download and pitch in at LiveDownloads.
Dani and Roger also took the time to announce the Grateful Fund, which will benefit local firefighters for whom they will be collecting money for all summer long. The obvious coming together of the community was palpable all evening long.
Playing just about ever Summer Camp, there is no artist other than perhaps moe. and Upmhrey’s that embody the festival more than Mr. Williams. Keller took the stage a little after 8 PM and opened with his rendition of “Rockumal” into “Fire On The Mountain.”
SET I: Rockumal> Fire On The Mountain> Great Balls of Fire> Winds of Fire> Fire And Rain> Fire, Freeker By The Speaker, Wicked, Love Handles, Back On The Bus, One Hit Wonder, Song Number 2, Positive, Bumper Sticker, More Than A Little
SET II: Mental> Brunette> lnstra, Sam Hall> Bounty Hunter, Tubeless, Party In The Poudre, You Are What You Eat, Plus, Juggler, Eyes Of The World, Best Feeling
ENCORE: Celebrate Your Youth
He played a number of fire-themed tunes including “Great Balls of Fire” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” before telling the crowd, “That’s all the fire songs I know.” He welcomed the gathering to the show with an extended “Freeker By The Speaker” that seemed to stretch on and on. Keller sounded good, this guy is always fun and he continues to play straight from the heart. His ‘flow of consciousness’ style is something that can really only be accomplished by a one-man band. He surprised the audience with his acoustic version of Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” I love how plugged into popular culture Keller is sometimes, seeing him perform “Price Tag” with The McCourys is an example of this. It’s a funny experience to see K-dub’s spin on these types of tracks, which is usually much better than the original. The rest of set saw some more classics including “Love Handles” and a set-closing “More Than A Little” that featured Keller doing the Carlton onstage. It was great start to the night and we still had a set to go. Amy and I found ourselves over-tipping the staff and just generally having a great night in the Poudre.
He opened up the second set with a “Mental” into “Brunette” into “Instra” before a ripping take on Johnny Cash’s “Sam Hall.” He quickly segued into a stellar “Bounty Hunter.” This song contained a “Midnight Rider” tease, which was nice. “Bounty Hunter” just doesn’t get played enough live so it was satisfying to see it at Mishawaka. The second set in general seemed more jam-oriented with some extended flourishes on the guitar by the man himself. The crowd was locked in and just really seemed happy to be back at this very special place. I was grinning throughout the night taking time to look at the stage and the scorched hill across the street. It stood as a reminder of how close we all came to loosing this amazing locale, which has stood for the better part of a century. Keller broke out a very appropriate “Eyes of The World,” because for a few short weeks the Mishawaka was just that. The world was watching to make sure that this place survived. When you think about how many memories have been fostered there, how many weddings have been celebrated, how many musical masterpieces have been created it’s no wonder that people poured out their hearts and positive vibes for The Mishawaka in their time of true danger. He closed the set with a solid “Best Feeling” and encored the show with “Celebrate Your Youth.”
And now that The Mish is safe and sound it’s time for us to come together and help all those affected. Grab the show download linked above and stay tuned to the Mishawaka Facebook page for details on how to contribute to the Grateful Fund.
I started off my day with some yoga in the Soulshine tent at 10am with yoga instructor Tammy. She’s a fantastic lady! It was really packed, but luckily everyone was able to fit under the tent.
Once I was rejuvenated, I went back to camp and got ready for the day. I ended up back at the Soulshine tent to peek at the Umphrey’s McGee Golden Ticket event and picked up my Umphrey’s Street Team flyers and goodies. Then I hit up some Keller Williams at the Moonshine stage in the heat of the day. It’s always fantastic to see his smiling face and I was ecstatic to hear him play one of my favorite tunes Freaker by the Speaker.
After catching a break in the shade from the brutal sun, the clouds thankfully rolled in giving everyone a much needed break from the sun. Then I caught some Kinetix at the Campfire stage. Everyone in the crowd was dancin’ their booties off. They even played a cover of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne. Then I headed over to the Moonshine stage early to get a good spot for one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello. I’ve seen this band several times, and I’ve never seen a crowd for one of their shows with as much energy as my fellow Scampers had. It was simply amazing, every single person wasn shakin’ their hips or stompin’ their feet. Some of the songs that they played were Immigrant Punk, Pala Tute, Immigraniada, Wonders Lust King, Not a Crime, and When Universes Collide.
Once Gogol was done, I hung around and got a front row spot for Primus. I’ve seen Primus and Les Claypool over 6 times, so it’s refreshing to see Les, especially when he comes out with his infamous pig mask on. About halfway through the set, I was in total shock when Eugene Hutz, Sergey Ryabtsev, and Yuri Lemeshev from Gogol Bordello came on stage and played a song with Primus! It was simply amazing and a dream come true. A few songs later, Primus even had Bob Weir come out! Things like this would of course only happen at Summer Camp!
Then I stopped back at camp to put on my Attack of the Killer Tomatoes costume and checked out Les Claypool and the Dead Kenny G’s at late night. They were fantastic! I think I filled my Les Claypool void for the weekend.
Love, hugs, and thugs,
On Friday at Summer Camp Music Festival things really begin to pick up. For me the day started off writing my blog from Thursday and going to the press area to upload all my photos. One of the coolest thins about being a CIT is that you get a peek at the inner workings of a music festival, and you get to see just how much hard work is put into making Summer Camp run smoothly year after year. Friday I had a busy day checking out music and spent little time at our campsite. My crew and I were able to catch:
Les Claypool and the Dead Kenny G’s
Indigo Sun at Grassroots tent late night
I want to go over some of the high points in the day for me musically. First Keller Played an amazing set including “Tweaker by the Speaker” and “Doobie in my Pocket.” Things got kicked up a notch when Al Schnier of Moe came out and played guitar on “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf. The feel good sound of Keller is the perfect music for a mid afternoon set at Summer Camp.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band played a great show at the Campfire Stage between Umphrey’s sets. Anyone who was lucky enough to catch them would not disagree that the tuxedo sporting band has been the sharpest looking band at the festival so far. The band’s name coms from the legendary New Orleans venue, Preservation Hall. Anyone who likes New Orleans Jazz will love this band.
My favorite set at the festival has so far has been Primus. They busted out some of my favorites off their new album like “Moron TV” and “Eyes of the Squirrel.” What made the set so memorable was when Bob Weir came out to perform “The Other One” by the Grateful Dead. This jam lasted for 10+ minutes and was full of energy and passion. Any time you can see a member of the Dead perform you know you are in for a treat.
Lotus was another highlight. Their performance last year in the Red Barn was one of my favorite at the festival. This year I feel the headliner spot on the Sunshine stage was well deserved. They did not disappoint playing songs like “It’s All so Clear to Me” and “Greet the Mind.” We stayed in the back for this set and chilled. There was a lot of space, and I felt like dancing so I got my groove on and enjoyed the show.
We are camped in section B like we always do. This is my favorite spot to camp because you get the Camping Stage right there to provide you with good music all day long. I am really digging the new location and size of the camping stage this year. It was always one of the smallest venues on the festival grounds even though it has consistently provided some of the best up-and-coming bands on the festival scene. It is the perfect place to stop by if you are always on the prowl for new music.
Besides music I have been lucky enough to catch up with several friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I also am meeting new people every time I wander off from my friends, and it made me realize that at Summer Camp you are never alone cause we are all a big family. It was also cool to talk to Adam Alexander, a great photographer covering Summer Camp again this year. I owe him one because he is the one who took the photo of my in my chicken hat last year that was used as the camp caption challenge contest, and all my profile photos. Check out his photos, he rocks.
Make sure you check out my photos from the festival on the Summer Camp Flikr page
Follow @chickenheadfan on Twitter to stay updated on where I am at the fest.
After shaking off the night before with some wake and bacon and eggs my Friday opened with Keller Williams on the Moonshine Stage. Front row center I was able to finally witness the extraordinary one man band do his funky bass thang and was not disappointed. I’m not sure if Keller’s facial mannerisms signal anything to the other instruments onstage, but they amused the audience as they baked in the mid-afternoon sun.
Keller came out with a black bandana draped over his mouth and moved between his three guitars and a mixing board as he started looping his masterpiece. His set highlights included a throwback gem in “Freaker by the Speaker” and bass infused covers of Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and a baritone raspy version of Flight of the Concords “I Told You I was Freaky.” Keller is so tuned into the music he adapted to minor feedback issues in the monitor by simply moving it away from the speaker. Guess that’s what is to be expected considering he’s been working with the same sound guy for 15 years. For the last song special guest Al Schnier joined Keller onstage for Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”
Our crew stepped on over to Starshine to drop by and investigate the legendary Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio. Slinking along the VIP fence I cozied up to a patch of grass just in time to hear “Truckin” which was played beautifully as cloud cover brought a hazy calm over the crowd. “New Speedway Boogie” with Chris Robinson on vocals followed with a nice little harmonization to end the Grateful Dead classic.
The soulful southern Dead classic “Deep Elem Blues” followed with Bob on vocals and transitioned into Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” with Jackie Greene playing a mean mandolin. I left after “Uncle John’s Band” and headed towards the Campfire Stage which would be my home for the next three shows. I met up with my pals in Family Groove Company for the first course in The New Orleans Suspect. FGC went to school out in Los Angeles with one of their musicians who also plays in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and it was a nice appetizer funk fest near the Red Barn before the main course in Elephant Revival and Cornmeal later that evening.
I had missed the Thursday sets of Elephant Revival, the five piece folk ensemble out of Colorado, and was not going to let another chance pass me by as the buzz around this band has been high. After fiddling with the sound to get things just perfect they launched into a new tune opening with “Woodstock.” Wearing long white gloves and straddling a stomp box Bonnie Paine’s feathery lilting voice brought back memories of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. She wore a perma-smirk for nearly the entire set as she strummed her washboard to an celtic influenced sea shanty jig with Bridget Law starring on a few timely placed solos. Bridget plugged the bands release of a new song book before Sage Cook and Daniel Rodriguez provided background vocals and plucking prowess on banjo and guitar with Bonnie on lead for the water inspired “Drop.” The energy of the set was felt on a changing tempo “Old Oak River” which was played a cappella style and had a Johnny Cash type feel as the late night revelers swayed and clapped along. I’m very excited that this group is touring the summer festival circuit more extensively and will get a chance to see them again later this year at Shoe Fest.
Cornmeal’s first two sets for the pre-party I also missed out on due to schedule conflicts, but was Allie side for the annual acoustic Campfire Stage set. They brought out Elephant Revival for the first few songs. It was awesome to see Bridget and Allie smitten and smiling and showing their collective fiddle chops in addition to Wavy Dave and Sage keep the time on dueling banjos. Wavy Dave Burlingame once again had his annual Summer Camp birthday and joked around that he forgot his geritol…good thing a handle of Maker’s Mark was present to help him re-remember as he instructed “the cap be left off” to celebrate in fashion. Cornmeal brought out Giving Tree Band violinist Phil Zee for a few songs during the second half of their set. Allie and Phil chased each other taking turns on fiddle solo as Wavy and Kris kept everyone in high spirits with a menagerie of Cornmeal classics. A final special sit in occurred when Floodwood’s Jason Barady got on stage to play on mandolin. I sat there and was amazed as sandwiched between Kris and Wavy he furiously moved his fingers around the frets with ease.
Well i’m currently sitting in the Church listening to Umphrey’s McGee soundcheck for a special off the grid set for rockstar guests. I need to wrap things up so I can set up and experience my third crazy music filled day here at Summer Camp!
More pictures to come later on: