Recently I got the opportunity to meet with a person who is an integral part of the music industry that often goes unnoticed. Dr. Charlie Kautz, DC., is a chiropractor who specializes in treating musicians before their performances. Dr. Charlie and I sat down and discussed his services.
Me: Dr. Charlie, your website states that you provide specialized treatment protocols for professional touring musicians. Can you elaborate?
CK: Hey thanks, Alex! I’m a licensed chiropractor and my business, “Epic Performance Integrative Chiropractic”, to put it simply, provides a service to musicians to decrease pain and increase function to allow them to focus on what is important while they perform – the music. Along with chiropractic adjustments, I utilize a soft tissue technique called Active Release Technique and the application of kinesiology sports tape in my typical treatments.
Me: What is Active Release Technique?
CK: Active Release is a technique designed to treat repetitive stress injury and there is a unique protocol for each muscle in the body. I identify the muscle that needs to be treated, based on the type of musician I am working on, and use my unique treatment protocols to improve range of motion, increase muscle memory speed and decrease pain.
Me: As a chiropractor, what happened to inspire you to focus specifically on musicians?
CK: I’ve always been a big fan of music and it’s been a huge part of my life. During chiropractic school, I had a “light bulb moment.” While everyone wanted to be a “sports chiropractor”, I spent time trying to figure out how I could be different. By becoming a “music chiropractor”, I could incorporate what I love with my professional aspirations by treating a group of people that I feel need chiropractic more than anyone. Between the repetitive stress they put on their muscles and joints everyday and traveling and experiencing the rigors of touring, every musician can really benefit from what we have to offer. My friend, Wes Bailey, is really the first musician I started doing regular work on. If you haven’t heard of his band, Moon Taxi, you need to jump on the bandwagon ASAP.Me: This sounds like a relatively new field of work. Have you come across other chiropractors that specialize with musicians, or would you say you’re starting a new trend?
CK: I’m a member of the Chiropractic Performing Arts Network (CPAN). It’s a national organization of chiropractors who share a common vision of providing natural healthcare to performance artists by enhancing performance, increasing vitality, and increasing overall body awareness. I would be surprised if there were many other chiropractors out there with the drive and motivation that I have to study musicians and their ailments, especially one who is also certified in several soft tissue techniques. It’s really a niche I feel I’ve discovered. It’s a great time working with and treating the talented people that I admire and then seeing the looks on their faces after a treatment and getting to watch them perform on stage.
Me: What does your typical work week look like? Are you more in the office or traveling to work with bands?
CK: I work Monday through Thursday at Chiropractic and Wellness on Pewaukee Lake in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Any time bands are playing in the Milwaukee or Madison area, I will go to the venues and work with them. On weekends I do a lot of traveling between seminars and working on bands out of state. So, pretty much I am a really busy guy (laughs).
Me: So you’ve just been doing this for a few years now. What bands have you worked with? What has been the best experience so far?
CK: I’ve gotten my hands on a countless amount of musicians already but I’m somewhat limited to what I can say. I’ve received testimonials from members of Umphrey’s McGee, Moon Taxi, Roster McCabe, The Motet, Steez, Indigo Sun, and Undercover Organism, just to name a few. You can read their testimonials on my website. It was a lot of fun to be able to work Umphrey’s McGee recently during their Halloween run at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. They’re a great group of guys and even more talented than I ever imagined before getting to meet and talk music with them. I also recently had the opportunity to provide my services to John Densmore, legendary drummer of The Doors. That was a really cool experience for me. I discovered that at the height of their touring career, the band would have a chiropractor come to the venue at least twice a week to treat them before they played. Mr. Densmore explained that chiropractic has been a vital tool he has utilized throughout his career to help with all of the aches and pains associated with being a musician. That was great for me to hear and offered a sense of validity to the mission of my business and what I can offer.Me: What aspirations do you have for Epic Performance Integrative Chiropractic going forward?
CK: I’d really like to expand my services to music festivals and connect with event organizers and promoters. I’ve been able to connect and work 1-on-1 with the bands really well so far, but one of my goals is to totally redefine artist hospitality at the big summer music festivals by taking the pre-show massage to a whole new level. While a massage feels great, it doesn’t address the underlying structural problems often associated with pain symptoms and dysfunction. I’d also like to establish some sort of “residency” with the bigger venues in the states that I’m licensed in, like I’ve done with some of the venues in the Milwaukee and Madison areas. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me at Summer Camp (laughs).
“That’s like a match made in Heaven for you.”
I had two different friends tell me that same phrase after it was announced Moon Taxi would be opening for Michael Franti & Spearhead in Madison in the final week of September. Both of these artists are in the exclusive group of my top 5 favorite artists, finding themselves consistently on my playlists.
This was my 2nd Moon Taxi show, with the first coming last summer when they opened for Matisyahu in Milwaukee. This show was very similar in all aspects, including a great set. Before their show, I got a chance to interview 2 members of the band thanks to my cousin (whom I’ll be writing about soon) who is close with the band. Read the interview here.
Although the set was just a half hour, the musical quality far exceeded the quantity. Moon Taxi opened their set with “Running Wild,” a fresh track of their new album Mountains Beaches Cities. A stand-out moment in their set appeared in the “Morocco,” also off their latest album, with some trancey exploration, showing off their jamming capabilities. Their set closer featured a rocking “Cabaret” that featured keyboardist Wes Bailey’s exceptional keyboard wizardry.
Moon Taxi Setlist
Running Wild, All the Rage, Morocco, The New Black, River Water, Mercury, Cabaret
After a brief intermission, the main attraction took the stage. Having seen Franti 5 previous times, I was expecting the opening song to be a track off their latest album, as the norm for Franti shows. I was not wrong, as “I Don’t Wanna Go” opened the show, from All People. Franti didn’t wait long before jumping in the crowd. In the second song of the evening, “Stay Human,” Franti hopped off the stage and navigated through the general admission pit on the lower level, stopping along the way to give high fives and dance with fans. He found his way back to the stage for “Yell Fire!”, and before “The Sound of Sunshine,” he shared a story with how he wrote that album: in the hospital after suffering a ruptured appendix. The mood quickly elevated as what seemed like a hundred of over-sized yellow beach balls came from back stage and flooded the crowd, dancing through the air after bouncing off the hands of anyone able to touch one.
A surprise “Ganja Babe,” appeared in the middle of the set, apparently inspired by whatever Michael smelt in his journeys throughout the crowd. A feel-good moment occurred in “Gangsta Girl,” in which Michael brought several fans up from the crowd with him to join as dancers, with one fan truly seizing the moment as he ran back and forth on the stage, encouraging the crowd to do the wave. After the song ended, Michael jokingly offered him a contract to the join the band.
To close the set, Michael lead the crowd in a sing-along of “Happy Birthday” to one of his crew members before bringing up members of Moon Taxi to join for an upbeat and funky “Let It Go.” As expected, he encored with his biggest hits, “I’m Alive” and “Say Hey,” welcoming any children fans on the stage for the latter, but surprised me with a very well placed “Long Ride Home” between the two for an impressive sandwich.
Michael Franti Setlist
I Don’t Wanna Go, Stay Human@, Yell Fire!, The Sound of Sunshine#, 11:59@, Closer to You@, Ganja Babe, Life is Better With You@, Gangsta Girl^, Hey World (Don’t Give Up)&, Bomb the World&, All People@, Say Goodbye@, Hey Hey Hey@*, Let It Go+
E: I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like), Long Ride Home, Say Hey (I Love You)~
@ Michael singing in the crowd
# plethora of beach balls released into the crowd
^ random fans brought on stage to dance
& Michael on acoustic guitar with Minus on djembe drum
* Get Lucky (Daft Punk) verse
+ with members of Moon Taxi
~ kids brought on stage
Moon Taxi consists of Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar), Tommy Putnam (bass), Spencer Thomson (guitar), Wes Bailey, (keyboard), and Tyler Ritter (drums). Before their show in Madison on September 25th, I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with Wes and Tyler for an interview. The interview was recorded and I was able to transcribe it to here.
Me: Thanks guys, for doing this. Wes Bailey and Tyler Ritter, keyboardist and drummer (respectively) of Moon Taxi. You guys formed at Belmont in ’06, is that right?
Me: First album was Live Ride?
WB: First album was Melodica. That was our first studio album, and then we waited a few years until 2009, with Live Ride, then we waited a long time, til 2012, then we released Cabaret, and we followed that up a year later with Mountains Beaches Cities.
Me: So, how would you describe how your sound has developed and changed with your first two albums, and then moving forward with your most recent 2 albums in the past year?
WB: Well, I think back then, we didn’t really focus at all on making a studio record. It was solely relying on the live setting. And then one thing lead to the next, a few bad tours lead us to the next logical option which was making a great record. We worked for about 2 years demoing and recording Cabaret, and learned a lot through that process, and we were able to record our last record fairly efficiently.
TR: The demoing process was really one of the main things that changed how we write songs. We went from writing in a room all together, like Wes was saying, for a live setting, to sitting in Spencer’s apartment on a computer and starting from scratch, making all these songs. Some got scratched and some ended up making it on the record, and just starting a good skeleton of a song and piecing it all together.
Me: When you formed at Belmont, were you doing it just to do it or were there always aspirations of becoming a nationally touring act?
TR: There were always aspirations for bigger things. You gotta realize, too, Moon Taxi existed before Wes and I were even in the band. There was a different drummer, but it’s always been Trevor, Tommy, and Spencer, and they had Moon Taxi, and the drummer left and I came on, and Wes came on about 6 months later. And, I think, I can speak for Wes too on this, we both realized going into it that it was something serious. That it wasn’t just, “Oh, let’s play some bar gigs and make a little bit of money.” We were in it for the long haul from the get-go.
Me: Correct me if I’m wrong, but, you all studied some form of music at Belmont?
WB: Actually, no. Tyler, Spencer, and Tommy studied music. I studied music business. I did private music lessons also but I was music business. And Trevor was a management / philosophy double major.
Me: So pretty much, with all that, you had a cohesive understanding of how to get a successful band going.
TR / WB: Yeah. Definitely.
Me: With your album, Cabaret, Matisyahu has a verse on the song Square Circles. How did that relationship start up and come together?
WB: At the time we had 2 managers. 1 worked with a company called Artist Organization and Matisyahu was a part of that management group. And his subordinate was our day manager, and is now Matisyahu’s full manager. So we had that connection. We actually recorded his verse in Square Circle’s at Hangout Music Festival. On the tour bus. He literally walked off stage on came right on the tour bus after his set and we knocked it out in about 30 minutes.
Me: Very cool! So also with that you guys have toured with him. I’m curious how you approach a show coming in where you’re an opening act for someone like Matisyahu, or tonight, Michael Franti, versus when you’re out with a headliner spot at a festival like Hangout, or you had a big crowd at Forecastle, or even you’re own headlining show like Live on the Green. Does it vary?
WB: We take it all very seriously, we do our best, we bring as much energy as we can into each show, not depending on how long the set is or how big the crowd is. You know, you’re hanging out with us 15 minutes before the show, we’re not like in a huddle or anything (laughs). We’ve done it so many times we know what to expect and we’re pretty comfortable with it right now.
Me: Okay. So do you try to think of different set lists?
TR: These kind of shows, we have only 30 minutes, so we cater our time slot to what we think the crowd might be like. Honestly, with Michael Franti it’s different than what we might do with Matisyahu. We’re not playing as much darker, minor material as we might do with Matis. We’re still playing songs we feel are powerful and you know, we’re gonna draw people to our records.
Me: The song, Beaches, on your new album, has a more electronic intro. That sound wasn’t featured much on Cabaret or Live Ride. Is that more of an evolution, going with the trends of today?
WB: That one was cool because we had started that, as like Tyler was saying, as a demo, those drums that are on the album are the demo drums. And we jammed on it live and realized we like the demo drums, and we also loved Tyler really pouring the form and space into the latter half of the song. So it’s both, very electronic intro to Tyler just doing his thing.
Me: One more question. I got a chance to listen to your New Years Eve show, and you have a very cool, unique, of now what seems a tradition you guys do: a medley of the top hits of the year, about 7 or 8 minutes or so. What inspired that idea? Was it an original concept?
TR: That was your idea (to Wes).
WB: Well, yeah. I think it was 2008. We’ve been doing it a long time. 5th one coming up. We should probably start on (laughter). Cause they take a while to put it together. There’s a lot of work that goes into that. The origin, in 2008, in that year, Kids by MGMT was the big song, and it was a Gaga song…
TR: Poker face.
WB: Poker face! And I realized those two had the same chords, so I thought let’s try to mesh these together. And then, oh we wanna play this song too, so it’s like let’s just play a little bit of everything. So, Spencer and I started to demo it like we demo our records. Write down the ideas, foundations, got together and piece it together as a band pretty quickly.
Me: It’s very cool. I heard that and thought this is something special.
WB: Yeah, it’s cool, lot of work, but it’s something we look forward to for the new years show.
TR: Wes and Spencer demo the whole medley in this track, and they do a really great job picking out all the big hits from across the board. From a really Top 40 vantage. But sometimes we even throw in some really obscure songs. Like I think the first one had a Mastodon song in it.
WB: We pick songs that we like, and a few that we absolutely hate. One thing we always try to do is cap it off with a big kind of joke hit of the year, kind of like the “Hide your kids hide your wife” (laughs).
TR: Call me, maybe.
WB: Gangnam style too. Always the really goofy songs. But we always try to end it on the really weird note. And it’s always the last song of the first set, and then we come back for the ball drop. So yeah it’s a fun tradition.
Square Circles feat. Matisyahu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCJNZQpRLjE
2012 Medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=231suYG0jNs
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this band gets better every time I see them. A typical thing fans say about their favorite artists, but I’m not a typical fan of this band as this concert was RMC show #19 for me, and 8th of 2013. I’m very curious to know if there’s someone else out there that’s seen this band more than I have.
Roster McCabe is an “electrorock” jam band, hailing from Minneapolis, MN, consists of Alex Steele (vocals, keyboards), Michael Daum (guitar), Scott Mullenberg (bass) and Jeff Peterson (drums). It’s also worth noting you won’t find a band with better hair.
RMC opened the show with perhaps their most defining song, “Take a Breath.” TAB is a great song that really captures all the elements that RMC is about: Steele’s soaring vocals over a dance-infused melody blending together a perfect mix of rock with electronic, hence the “electrorock.” The set also included 2 new songs, an outstanding cover of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and an incredible sit-in from guitar virtuoso Mark Joseph during the encore. These guys are NOT to be missed next time they come through your town. Never disappoints and always a dance party!
Setlist: Take a Breath, Make My Move, Traveler, Nothing to Lose, Virtual Insanity@, Chasing#, In Our Hands, Trance 2#, Bad$, Only Truth, Stargazer, Tell Me Something Good%, Black Rose, Critical Speed
# new song
$ Michael Jackson cover
% Rufus & Chaka Khan cover
& Ginuwine cover
& with Mark Joseph on guitar, Michael Daum playing keyboard
Videos: Take a Breath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUxWba1niYI&feature=youtu.be
This weekend now marks the 2nd annual Downtown Sound Music Festival, held right in the heart of downtown of historic La Crosse, Wisconsin. With last year’s inaugural event being a success, this year has been improved with more live acts at several different venues in downtown La Crosse, including shutting down Pearl Street for a stage right on the block! This is a great event supporting several local musicians and some great headlining acts, including past Summer Camp artist Roster McCabe!
Friday night, Aug 30: John Gorka at The Pump House, Chastity Brown at The Root Note, Eric Sommer at The Bodega
Saturday night, Aug 31 on the Pearl Street Block Stage:
2-3: Click Track
3:30-4:30 Black River Revue
5-6 Fayme Rochelle & the Waxwings
6:30-8 Natty Nation
8:30-10 Roster McCabe
At the Cavalier Theater: Gary Louris Trio
Saturday Late Night: Roster McCabe at the Popcorn Tavern, Fayme Rochelle & the Waxwings at The Bodega, Black River Revue at The Root Note
Sunday, Sept 1 on the Pearl Street Block Stage:
3:30-4:30 Mike Munson
5-6 General B and the Wiz
6:30-8 Bigtree Bonsai
Sunday late night: Bigtree Bonsai at The Popcorn Tavern, General B and the Wiz at The Root Note, Derek Ramnarace at The Bodega
Check out the page here! http://www.downtownsoundmusicfest.com
Like it on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/DowntownSoundMusicFest
September 29th marked the 5th time I have been lucky enough to see Michael Franti and Spearhead in concert. And as always, he brought the love and energy that’s expected, and then some, to liven up the crowd. Unfortunately I was only able to catch a little more than half the show, as it was an early start time and I had to drive over 2.5 hours straight after class ended on Thursday to get there. He was the opening act for Train, but that didn’t take away from the quality of his show at all.
Fresh off the debut of his latest album, All People (which I wrote about here: http://summercampfestival.com/2013/08/03/album-review-michael-franti-spearhead-all-people-deluxe-edition/), many of the songs from the setlist were off tracks from the love-spreading album. Nearing the Grandstand entrance, Closer to You could be heard already from afar and the excitement settled in. Michael kept the crowd jumping throughout the rest of the set, as several times he went in and out of the crowd keeping the fans engaged and enthusiastic. In the midst of the Sound of Sunshine track “Hey Hey Hey” he snuck in a verse from Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” a pleasant surprise that excited the portion of the crowd that was only there for Train, the evening’s headliner. The next song actually featured Train’s saxophonist, “Let it Go,” with a nice little jam for him to lead which featured a tease from their hit song, Hey Soul Sister. Michael Franti and Spearhead then closed their show with his two most popular song, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) and Say Hey (I Love You). As per Michael’s tradition, he brought all the children in the front rows on stage to help him out for Say Hey, and gave one little girl the microphone to sing the lines, “Seems like everywhere I go, the more I see the less I know, but I know one thing, that I love you.” We love you too, Michael!
Latter part of the setlist:
Closer to You, Life is Better with You, All People, Hey Hey Hey@, Let It Go#$, I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like), Say Hey (I Love You)%
@ with Get Lucky verse (Daft Punk)
# featuring Brian from Train on saxophone
$ Hey Soul Sister tease (Train)
% with children on stage and one girl singing a verse (with help from Michael)
After he finished, my girlfriend and I were able to sneak up to the front and snag a picture with him as he was greeting fans in the front row
We then ventured around the Minnesota State Fair grounds for a little bit, as neither of us were that committed to seeing Train, and it was our first time at this fair. We returned to the Grandstand to see about the last half hour of Train’s performance, which was an entertaining show. As we entered, Train, like Franti, had several kids up on stage and teased a little bit of Bob Marley’s Can be Loved in one of their songs. Everyone left the stage, and front man Patrick Monahan invited a girl on stage to help sing their latest single, “Bruises.” At the conclusion, they played a 2 minute medley mix of pop songs with a tease of dubstep as well. They then played their hit “Hey Soul Sister” that segued right into Macklemore’s “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us,” before closing the set with “Drive By.” For the encore, they performed their long time hit song “Drops of Jupiter,” and then surprised the crowd with a final cover of Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On.”
^ South Gate Entrance
Thursday, July 4th.
A great day for America. A great day for Summer. A great day for music. Dark Star Orchestra, the well-known Grateful Dead cover band notorious for covering exact shows, was slated to headline the Harley- Davidson Roadhouse stage for 2 sets on this fine Thursday night. I saw Phil Lesh and Friends at Summerfest a few years back (coincidentally, also on July 4th), and last summer a small bar band that covered the Dead (called The Greatest Story Ever Told), and I have the Closing of Winterland DVD. I am familiar with The Dead, but I don’t want to give off the impression I know them super well. Because I don’t. I recognized maybe about half the songs that DSO played that night, but I definitely recognize great music when I hear it.
It was so intriguing to walk through the crowd and see the variety of people there. There was the old tye-dye hippies who I wouldn’t doubt have followed GD around in the 80′s. There were the young barefoot hippies dancing in the aisles having a great time. There were the middle aged adults wearing their polos who just wanted to have a good time. And everybody had a good time. The show wasn’t that crowded (in general, all of Summerfest wasn’t crowded that night, as the 4th is their slowest business day) so I was able to mingle around and get all sorts of perspectives on the show.
DSO started shortly after 7:30 and the first set lasted til about 8:45 I want to say. I was curious to what show they were covering; I had heard that they usually have a sign somewhere up on the stage that had the date. There was no sign up there this night, though. The next morning I found out that it was actually an original show. Pretty neat! DSO opened with Samson and Deliah. I may have been the only one who didn’t know all the words to this song (seemed to be a common theme throughout the night). The grooves were flowing and the bleachers were shaking from the first chords and lasted throughout the night. I understand I was not a Grateful Dead show, but it seemed to me like you could have fooled the crowd. The fans were just as into this show as the phans at every Phish show I’ve been to. I loved the energy. Alabama Getaway was the second song of the set, another frenzy the crowd loved. Other first set highlights include Mexicali Blues, Ramble on Rose, and the closing segue of New Minglewood Blues > Deal.
The second set and encore spanned nearly 2 hours I want to say. And this set brought the fire with it. China Cat Sunflower with a segue right into I Know You Rider, two of my actual favorite GD songs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand this is actually a common second set opener for GD in their hey day. I say that because I have just one GD show on my computer, 1987-04-03, and the second set started exactly as that. Another highlight of the second set was Saint Stephen, another one the crowd went crazy for, as well as a raging epic climax to Going Down the Road Feeling Bad that segued out of seemingly nowhere into the Rolling Stones classic (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. The GDTRFB put me in such a trance that while I thought I was recording it, I realized I wasn’t. Oops. I did however, catch the segue that lead into Satisfaction. Hopefully my video captures how much the crowd was enjoying this show.
We all love irony, right? When I saw Phil Lesh on July 4th at Summerfest in ’08, he encored with Box of Rain. So what did DSO encore with? Easy Wind, and Box of Rain. Only makes sense.
DSO – original setlist (source: DarkStarOrchestra.net)
1: Samson and Deliah, Alabama Getaway > Greatest Story Ever Told, Hey Pocky Way, Mexicali Blues, Jack-A-Roe, Cassidy, Ramble on Rose, New Minglewood Blues > Deal
2: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Feel Like a Stranger, Scarlet Begonias > Drums > Space > Saint Stephen, Aiko Aiko > The Wheel > Going Down the Road Feeling Bad > (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
E: Easy Wind, Box of Rain
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnvNhEoyvUA&feature=c4-overview&list=UU9VVC7Hq_FJB0IzMXCrpriQ
Saturday, July 6th.
“You’ve got to trust your instinct, and let go of regret. You’ve got to bet on yourself, now, star, ’cause that’s your best bet.”
311 is one of my longest favorite bands. One of my older brothers introduced them to me when I was in 1st grade (I think) with the album Soundsystem. I loved it. To this day, 311 always remains in my playlist and I see them every chance I get. 4 shows now, each one of them at Summerfest. Things work out that way when you’re from the Milwaukee area. Although I always wish that they play longer, they really put on a true rock show and it’s always a blast. Always. They love Wisconsin (lead singer Nick Hexum is from Madison) and play what we fans want to hear. I would LOVE to see 311 headlining at next year’s Summer Camp. Make it happen! They are much more insightful and conscious than they appear (they get heavy \mm/) but their lyrics provide thought provoking issues. At the end of each show Hexum says some sort of variation of “Love yourselves, stay positive.” Each summer when they go on tour it’s called “Unity Tour”, because like all other bands at Scamp, they’re about bringing people together with the common ground of music.
Highlights of the show for me was the opener of Beautiful Disaster, a fan favorite, Freeze Time (my all time favorite 311 song) and the set closing of Amber, Down, Jackpot.
311 setlist (source: 311.com)
- Beautiful Disaster, Sick Tight, Sunset in July, Don’t Tread on Me, My Stoney Baby, Random, You Wouldn’t Believe, Champagne, Time Bomb, Applied Science, Who’s Got the Herb, All Mixed Up, Rub a Dub, Come Original, Freeze Time, Don’t Stay Home, Bass Solo, Nutsymptom, Amber, Down, Jackpot
E: What Was I Thinking, Creatures
Rub a Dub, Come Original http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY7xIQM7yXk&list=UU9VVC7Hq_FJB0IzMXCrpriQ
What’s better than seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest? Seeing Umphrey’s McGee at Summerfest for free. Each day, Summerfest offers admission promotions, such as a canned food drive in exchange for a free ticket. On Tuesday, July 2nd, there was no promotion. Simply, admission was free for everybody from 12-3. So without thinking twice, I of course went down to the grounds shortly after 12 to get in for free, and left right away with a re-entry wristband that is good until 7 pm. Perfect.
UM was headling the Big Backyard stage, which is my personal favorite stage at Summerfest. The opening act, Grace Weber & EMEFE, is definitely worth mentioning. I had never heard of them before, but I definitely remember them now! I was confused during the show because Grace Weber, who just sang, was only on stage for about half of the show. Turns out, Grace Weber & EMEFE are 2 different bands that collaborated just for the show. To be honest, I’m not even 100% sure how to pronounce EMEFE, but they know how to make me dance. They had about a dozen members – a horn section, drums, guitar, bass, keys – the whole 9 yards. And it’s probably worth noting every one of them had a mustache. I classify them as a funky jazz jam band. I’ve researched they are a small band from New York, so hopefully they gain enough support to tour through the Midwest again soon!
So, anyways, this band Umphrey’s McGee, brought the heat. I knew we were in for a treat when Joel told me earlier in the day via the Twitter (after I asked) that it’d be 1 extended set and an encore. A lot of my favorite UM shows are 1 setters (example: 10K ’07). Le Blitz as an opener was the perfect anticipation builder to lead into a great show. After Wife Soup, Bayliss dedicated the next song to “all the ladies who chose to spend their time with us instead of New Kids on the Block.” NKOTB was headlining the Marcus Amphitheater at the same time. So expecting to hear a poppy cover song, instead we get a gold classic heavy metal Guns n Roses cover of It’s So Easy. Lol. Well played, Umphrey’s. A few songs later, Joel introduces Kevin Sinclair to come out to join on saxophone, as they crush a Pay the Snucka into Let’s Dance by David Bowie. The lyrics were switched in Pay the Snucka to “Stasik, go have a baby, a baby, will make you tired as hell.” Small things like lyric changes are reasons I love this band so much. You never know what to expect; it’s always different and improving. Speaking of not knowing what to expect, dear lord what an encore!!! Seriously, Dear Lord. I have been in love with that song ever since I heard it at The Rave back in ’09. They had already melted my face with a raging Deeper > Tinkles, which I thought would have segued right into the ending of Snucka, but instead they snuck a blissful Dear Lord that myself and the rest of the crowd loved.
Before the encore, Joel announced the band would be returning to The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee for 3 nights of Halloween this year. Mark your calendars, people: 10/31/13-11/2/13.
Setlist (source: allthings.umphreys.com) :
1: Le Blitz > Plunger, Turn & Dub > Mail Package > Wife Soup, It’s So Easy (Guns n Roses), Robot World > Out of Order, Pay the Snucka@ > Let’s Dance@ (David Bowie), Bright Lights, Big City > Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd), 2×2 > No Comment > 2×2
E: Deeper > Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Dear Lord > Pay the Snucka
@ Kevin Sinclair on saxophone
My birthday. Christmas. Packers’ playoffs. Summerfest. That’s the ascending order of my favorite days of the year (at least until Summer Camp becomes a yearly tradition). I’ve been to every Summerfest since ’99 (when I was 7), and I know my parents have brought me along earlier than that, I just have no recollection of it. My father has been to every single Summerfest since the opening in ’68, but that’s a whole other story. Maybe I’ll share that in a future post. Anyways, this is the 11 day span I make sure I get off work months in advance every year. The last Wednesday of June through the first Sunday of July. Every year. The most I ever attended was 8 nights back in 2010. This year I will total 6 appearances, the first 3 I will share below.
^mid gate entrance
Thursday, June 27
Thursday morning, I had no plans of attending Summerfest. I didn’t have a ticket, there were’t any bands playing that I was real committed to seeing, and I was already going to the Brewer game in the day. Some of my college buddies were in town and had never experienced The World’s Largest Music Festival, so I had to show them a good time. Being a Thursday night, it wasn’t too crowded, so we stage-hopped around a bit. We started at REO Speedwagon, a band I am not all too familiar with (just the main radio songs) for about a half hour. They were on the Big Backyard stage, which is probably my favorite side stage on the grounds. It’s smaller and more confined, creating an intimate feel between the crowd and the band. The crowd was loving the show, as the band members displayed a lot of enthusiasm and showmanship up on stage.
The next stop was to go see Blues Traveler, the most fun I had in the night. It was my first time listening to Blues Traveler, and after seeing them, it won’t be my last. I didn’t know any of the songs, but I loved their sound – I’d describe it as a mix of southern blues jam rock.
Friday, June 28
This was the day I had marked on my calendar for some time. I got to the grounds by 6 to catch an hour long set of Roster McCabe, who was performing on the Tiki Stage. I’ve written about these guys before and I can’t say enough about their talent and potential. The sky is the limit for this small time electro-rock reggae jam band from Minneapolis. Here is a video I took of their original, Critical Speed. This song makes me feel like I’m in a video game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D9gEfWOu_o
After Roster McCabe, I ventured to the south end of the grounds near the Marcus Amphitheater to find myself a Tom Petty ticket. Honestly, I just would have been fine with a lawn seat for $50 (~face value). I spoiled myself a little bit, and found a ticket in about the 20th row for just $80. Such a steal. I walked through the gates into the Amphitheater with the BIGGEST smile on my face. It’s been 4 years since I’ve last seen Petty, and I was worried that I’d never get the chance again. First thing I got to say is, we need to start reconsidering the Heartbreakers as a jam band. They’re not there yet, but 3 different times during the show the band displayed some serious extended pieces of improv from their tunes, sparking more dance moves from across the stands. Highlights of this show for me include the three consecutive greatest hits of Here Comes My Girl, MJ’s Last Dance and Free Fallin’. As I’ve said before, little concert moments have compared to Free Fallin’ live. One of my all time favorite songs, as well as I’m sure the rest of the sold out crowd at the Marcus Amphitheater. Even into his old age, Petty still brings the love and energy every night and shows his passion on stage. You can just tell he absolutely loves being up there, and that he’ll do it as long as he sure can.
Setlist: (source: http://instagram.com/p/bJhmihyB1G/)
Rock & Roll Star, Love is a Long Road, I Won’t Back Down, Baby Please Don’t Go, Here Comes My Girl, Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Free Fallin’, Woman in Love, Cabin Down Below, Band Introductions, Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Traveling Wilburys), Rebels, Melinda, Learning to Fly, You’re So Bad, I Should Have Known It, Refugee, Running Down a Dream.
Encore: Don’t Come Around Here No More, You Wreck Me, American Girl
Here are some videos I was able to capture:
Here Comes My Girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8vHWZu6-kM
Free Fallin’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=784Jett6cZU
Don’t Come Around Here No More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdRutD0-_AA
^ sell out crowd at The Marcus Amphitheater!
Saturday, June 29
I do not consider myself a very big electronic music fan. I prefer the good ol’ rock and roll. A handful of talented musicians up on the stage pouring their souls through their instruments. Pretty Lights, however, is one of 2 exceptions (Big Gigantic being the other). This was my first Pretty Lights show, so I wasn’t too sure of what to expect. The Harley Davidson Roadhouse Stage was just PACKED with people, shoulder to shoulder. I will estimate about 15,000 were in attendance for Pretty Lights on this hot summer night in late June. Of all the shows I’ve been to, Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) instantly put himself in the top tier of a good time. One word to describe the atmosphere? Party. As crowded as it was, everyone there was having a blast and dancing to the best they could with limited space. I am sad to admit that it was difficult to take pictures and videos, but for good reason: the picnic table I was standing on was shaking! Too many people dancing. I suppose that’s a good problem to have at any concert! I can’t wait to see him again. The highlight for me was definitely his remix of Time by Pink Floyd, considering there was a Floyd cover band playing Summerfest earlier that day that I missed. I wish that I was closer, but if I had tried any further up there I would have been too uncomfortable to move and dance.
Let’s Get Busy, Around the Block, A Million Tomorrows, So Much in the Dark, Can’t Stop Me Now, Finally Moving, Cold Feeling, I Put a Spell on You, Done Wrong, Time, How We Do, SummerTime, If I Could Feel Again, Out of Time, World of Illusion, One Day They’ll Know, So Bright, I Know the Truth, Yellow Bird, Total Fascination, Still Night Remix, I Can See It In Your Face, Up & Down I Go, Hot Like Sauce, Exodus
Here’s my video of Finally Moving: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omCT4Bzak5U
^ my 2 best pics from Pretty Lights.
After PL finished, I caught the tail end of Roster McCabe’s set again at the Tiki Stage. I could hear their hit “Take a Breath” from a whole stage over and ran up to join the small frenzy of dancing Summerfesters. Take a Breath is the perfect song I think to set an example for Roster McCabe’s sound: a mix of reggae, rock, and EDM. Here is their released live album version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmedpaoyw34.
They encored with Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” a great cover choice as it drew the attention of even more passer-byers in and added to the fun. I saw Roster in mid June in La Crosse, where they also covered the MJ classic. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX8ENXjfj5I
At the end of each show, Alex, the lead singer, takes a picture of the crowd and posts it to their facebook. Here is the photo, which doesn’t quite do justice to how many people were in the tiny little area
^ Roster family photo!
And that sums up my first 3 nights of Summerfest! My next recap will be Umphrey’s McGee from July 2nd, followed by another blog of Dark Star Orchestra and 311.
This will be my first post as one of your Camp Counselors! I am so excited to be here at the festival and blogging for SCamp. Every year, the week before the fest we find ourselves constantly checking that 10 day report of what kind of weather we will be seeing over the weekend. For some reason it always seems to change every 5 minutes. Before coming to the festival, my +1 sent me this hilarious weather report that I feel is quite accurately how my weekend will go!
I hope you all enjoy it. Here’s JR Johnivan with your weather!
The forecast is looking partially UMmy, with a heady chance of moe. lazers. Possible wailer storms coming in Friday, right around 4:20
which is going to give way to a Level 9 STS watch later on in the evening, eventually ending with some massive dubstep, where on-site reporter Jason Hann will be live in the VIP lounge.
Saturday you’d have to be a conspirator not to love this weather, so make sure to eat your bowl of cornmeal in the afternoon cuz it’s a (karl denson’s) tiny universe out there, or maybe you wanna go with a pizza with THE WERKS on it, before getting an UM, Moe, UM, Moe, and make sure to put them sunglasses on cuz late night Ragbirds will be BRIGHT!!
Then we’ll start off first thing Sunday afternoon with an extended UM watch, before checking out some TAJ MAHAL-like weather – believe me, you’re gonna wanna eat plenty of LETTUCE for this one, oh – did I forget to mention this is Ragbirds season? Hope you have your sunglasses on Sunday too, cuz there will be plenty of Ragbirds crossings out. Thats right about the time we’ll ROCK into the FUTURE , then, we’ll have a 4 hour commercial from our main sponsor, TAB (Cola) before ending the weekend with some moe.
and that is your weather report son!
Enjoy your festy SCampers!