Preparing for another ritualistic venture to Three Sisters Park; I can’t keep myself from reminiscing about last year. The whole experience was crazy, everything about it – from deciding to enter and making the video to announcing moe.’s first set. Entering the Camp Counselor 2012 Contest wasn’t even my idea to begin with – my friend randomly suggested it and I thought to myself “why not?” In all honesty I NEVER expected to win when I sent in my original video. It didn’t help that I emailed it merely two hours before the deadline would turn any chances of it happening to zero.
Summer Camp had always been special to me for many reasons – Summer Camp was not only the first festival I ever went to, but it was also the one weekend of the year which I could spend with my old best friends from college. When I, rather incredulously, realized I made the first round of candidates the significance and meaning of the prize began to actualize. I realized that winning wasn’t just going to be sweet because of the prizes, but because I was going to have the opportunity to experience unique moments that are literally, and as David Byrne’s would say, “once in a lifetime.”
The competition was pretty fierce. I was up against some great people; they all were smart, interesting and suited for the role. Luckily I had some good friends on my team and we fought harder and harder on each round. By the time it came down to the final three I even had my family in South America voting and telling their friends to vote as well. When the announcement was made and I read on the Facebook post that I won, I had to re-read it several times. It was exciting – I was going to get to meet and announce moe., interview some great people, and sit side stage for some great shows; the anticipation began to grow.
Within a few weeks I was finally on the trip to Peoria to be the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor. As soon as we put that rockstar parking pass on the rearview mirror and parked right next to the VIP entrance, I knew that weekend was going to be epic. Out of the many years of attendance, last year was the first time I had someone drive up to the car in a golf cart and take us (and our bags) up to our campsite. For the first time out of the many years of attendance I walked up to the backstage entrance behind the moonshine stage and demonstrated my “I can go back here pass.” I was nervous and terrified because I was going to announce moe.’s first set in about half an hour. Then I see Rob sitting in a golf cart, chillin behind his black sunglasses and he can see I’m nervous and I tell him why. “Oh you’ll be fine, it’s easy.” I smiled and said “Yeah, coming from someone who has just a bit more experience…”
The entire weekend was a blur of hectic sweetness. I couldn’t believe that suddenly it was Sunday. In those four days I had gotten to watch moe., Gigantic Underground Conspiracy and Umphrey’s sidestage. I got to partake in Wavy Dave’s birthday festivities and watch his cake melt in the 100 degree weather. I sat and spoke to Vinnie who gave me some drums instruction. I had the opportunity to interview the members of Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, G. Love, Wavy Dave and Kinetix. Umphrey’s signed their names to a poster which now hangs on my wall. The best moments however, were those unscheduled interactions with the people that make the festival what it is –getting insights and wisdom from Vinnie and Rob, singing Happy Birthday to Wavy Dave, talking to Ian, Rex, Holly, Danny, Graham, Nick, the Counselors in Training and the regular festival attendees who posed for pictures and gave me their personal take on the event.
Being Camp Counselor also experienced the festival in completely new way; in my effort to capture the energy of the festival, I met more people, took more pictures, and saw more varied bands than any other year. Looking back on it all I wish I had done even more. There is no real way you can prepare for the experience however, and it all happens so fast there isn’t much time to stop and plan. I wish I could relive the entire experience with the experience of it under my belt, but I can’t. All I can do is sit and reminisce about the wonderful 2012 Summer Camp weekend and smile knowing that it all actually happened.
It could happen to you too…YOU could be one of the few people on this Earth who get to live Summer Camp in this exceptional way…but you will never know unless you try.
Congrats to Kyle Hess, Camp Counselor 2013!!
For the rest of you: Start thinking of your 2014 Camp Counselor Video!!
See you soon!!
Since I saw Rebelution at All Good in 2010 I had been itching to see them again. Unfortunately last year I was unable to catch their Summer Camp set but last night I finally got the opportunity to scratch and caught their show at Mr. Smalls Theater. As fortune would have it they stopped in Pittsburgh as part of their “Spring Greens Tour.”
Hot Rain kicked off the night. They are joining Rebelution for the tour. Hailing from Hawaii this upbeat reggae band stays true to their heritage and genre singing about love and beautiful women. They constantly interacted with the audience; uniting the souls which filled the venue in song. It was a fun way to start the show, check out their myspace page with free music here.
J Boog took to the stage next and kept the upbeat reggae jams flowing. Many people may not recognize him as the former B2K member that he is. He’s grown a bit since those days and so has his talent. J Boog maintains undertones of the R&B, hip hop background while bringing forth a new kind of sound.
Then Rebelution took to the stage, starting off their performance with one of my favorites: “Bright Side of Life” (check out the video!) Everyone started jumping and the whole place was jammin. The venue was the perfect size and so was the crowd. The vibes at the show were flowing peace and reggae love. It was spectacular. During the second half of the show they also played “Outta Control,” another personal favorite. Apparently a crowd favorite as well because the entire place beamed forth even greater energy for that song.
It is astonishing to think this band is almost 10 years old – haven taken off from Cali roots to become the great band they are today. Part of what makes them so special is their political consciousness and their call to action. If you haven’t yet, listen to “Courage to Grow.” You will find yourself inspired with new feelings of hope and desire for fulfillment. The band consists of Eric Rachmany (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboard) Wesley Finley (drums), and Marley D Williams (bass). I was actually lucky enough to meet and spend some time with Marley after the show. He was extremely nice and super down to Earth (not to mention very attractive!)
Rebelution has tons of music available to listen to and even download for free on their myspace page. The band will be touring in the US throughout the month of May and is then heading over the Atlantic for a United Kingdom run with one stop in Portugal. They will be back in Cali and Oregon in August. If you can make it to a show – do not miss out! It only took one show to make me a giant fan and I know it will only take one for you as well.
For many, many, many, and yes, many years I have been dying to see one particular band that I had heard so much about. One band that has the reputation of being the ultimate jam band, with a massive following that they have accumulated since their beginnings in 1983. On Friday June 29, 2012 I was finally given the opportunity to experience the musical genius that is Phish.
From the second we arrived at the venue I could already tell that this was going to be a unique show. The crowd was in general, a little older and a little more reserved in a way – but definitely not in a bad way. These were the die hard fans that love the music and the band in a truly exceptional and loyal sense; they were there for no other reason.
Unlike most of the shows I normally attend, there were a total of four hula hoops (mine included) and not many other flashy toys…and the truth was that once the show started, it was easy to see why: the band is so captivating, and the energy between the band and the fans is so powerful, that it’s almost impossible to tear yourself away to look at or play with hoops.
I can’t imagine how much money went into their light show; it was amazing. The overall picture from the lawn at Klipsch Music Center was spectacular. On the big screens it was possible to get detailed views of the expressions on Trey Anastasio’s face as he sang his heart out. We could see Page McConnell’s fingers go crazy on the keyboard, Mike Gordon’s insane picking on the bass, and the Jon Fishman wailing on the drums. The whole band had such awesome chemistry and it was contagious – as there wasn’t a single song that you didn’t find yourself singing along to. “Possum” was by far the best example of everyone dancing and singing together as the song built up every time with the main chorus.
The first set was great, and from some of the fans I learned that it was a unique compilation of their music. That Friday was the first time since 1998 that they played the song “Sweet Jane.” Among my favorite tracks was “Limb by Limb,” where the harmonizing really made the song. I also liked the ominous and almost scary tone that chilled your bones as they played “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” I was ECSTATIC when they played “First Tube” during their encore – as that is one of my all time favorites. However to be completely honest, my favorite part of the concert was when they finished their first set with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” one of my favorite Beatles songs. It was by far the greatest live performance of that song I have ever seen or heard.
So, overall, I am so glad we trekked to Indianapolis for this most amazing of musical experiences. Phish not only lived up to all my expectations but surpassed them. If you are like me and have always “heard great things” but never had the chance to go, start turning wheels to make it happen. From the first song to their last, this show was a unique adventure – the music, lights and atmosphere was in itself a journey that filled you with emotion and made you wish it would never come to an end. This was my first Phish show, but I guarantee you it will most certainly not be my last.
Therefore, last Sunday – tired from lack of sleep due to friends visiting for the holiday – both Derrick and I hit the road, driving over two hours to see Big G at the Canopy.
I had to be at work the next day – at 8am, so I was estimating I’d get about 4 hours sleep…did that in any way make me hesitate? No way. Nothing was going to let me miss this show.
The next day I was tired, cold, and had an aching, stiff neck. Was work on Monday painfully long and horrible? Yes. Was it torture? Yes. Was Big Gigantic worth it? F**K yes.
We entered the Canopy Club – one of our favorite venues- and Ana Sia was the DJ peering over her Mac. For me, it is always nice to see a female up on stage. She played some sweet beats – I especially liked her rendition of a forgotten high school favorite “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. She was focused the whole time – yet dancing the whole time as well. She definitely has talent – I am sure this is not the last time we will be seeing Ana Sia.
Ana finished up around 11. After a short break the place lit up and out walked Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken – or as otherwise known, Big Gigantic. This is a unique duo – based on sax and drums. A great mix. Throw in some bass and you got yourself a show worth driving 2 hours to see on a Sunday night.
Big Gigantic was stopping at Urbana as part of their Uprising Tour…ending with a New Year’s show in Chicago. The place was surprisingly jammed and even Gumby made it to the show. What really made this an especially fun concert was that they played many of my favorites – such as their Aloe Blacc “I need a dollar” remix and their Kanye West “Get em High” remix.
Some of the other great ones were “Sky HIgh,” “Lucid Dreams,” “Shine” (A Place Behind the Moon), and “Nocturnal” (Nocturnal). There were all kinds of fans, there was all kinds of energy and the whole place was just jumpin’. In case my pics aren’t doing it justice – I want to stress how great the light show was. They did a great job; it was original and perfectly synchronized.
One of the most amazing things about this band is that they are all about satisfying their fans – and one of the ways they do it is by giving us free music. That’s right – you can download their album “Nocturnal” for free on their website. So if you are not on the Big G party wagon then your missing out. Go to their site, download their music, come to a show and praise the ingenious drums-sax mix. If it’s just not going to happen in the near future, at least I can offer some consolation in telling you that they will be at Summer Camp next year. Yeah so if you didn’t get your tickets to SC yet – what are you waiting for?
On Friday June 22nd we arrived at the Universal River Assembly for the second half of Family Groove Company, and I’m glad we made it because they eased us into a great night of bumpin’ with their upbeat yet chill jams. The night was warm and pleasant, it was the my first trip to the Peoria Riverfront and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting. The venue is a picturesque park running alongside the river with a large and beautiful fountain spraying dashes of water high in the sky, greeting you as you come in the main entrance. The sun was still barely hanging in the western sky when we were getting in and we could hear Family Groove Company rockin’ it out as we passed the children playing in the fountain.
Once “inside” the atmosphere was nice and relaxed, with the perfect amount of people to space ratio. If you wanted to get up close to the stage, there was no shoving through crowds; or if on the other hand you wanted to hang back, there were plenty of chairs and picnic tables to sit on. DJ Solo made it difficult to stay put though as he brought us some fun and heavy tracks. Among some sweet originals, including a particularly unique song that borrowed a line from an insurance company commercial – of all places – he pumped it up with a sweet cover of my favorite Darude song “Sandstorm,” and got the crowd ready for the headliners.
EOTO is a band that I have seen many, many, many, times. It is amazing that despite these numerous encounters I do not get tired of their shows. The truth is, and I have said this before, that they manage to keep it fresh unlike any other band I’ve seen. With only two members, Jason Hann and Michael Travis, one would think it would be difficult for them to keep up with the current music scene; however they not only keep up, they sail past most acts that may even have bigger lights and performances, bringing forth a percussion-loaded jam unlike any other. Plastic petals lined the stage, flashing colors and images to EOTO’s dub-stepesque beats. It is hard to describe their sound, I would say that they are a jam-band-electronica-bass mix, but it doesn’t matter what “genre” you call your own I am willing to bet you will LOVE this duo. When they’re not jammin’ out as EOTO they’re playing in String Cheese…need I say more?
I was SOOO nervous…I was pacing; I was worried I would fall, I would trip, I would stutter, I would pee my pants…luckily none of that happened and I am so relieved. It was a great experience, such a natural euphoria to be up there in front of so many people and getting to announce one my my favorite bands of all time. I wish I could do it every year! As I have reiterated over and over, all the band members were ultra cool and made me feel comfortable going into it and that for sure helped. Thanks again, guys! You rock…in every way =)