Summer Camp favorites, The Everyone Orchestra is the musical monstrosity that pairs incredible talent with the razor-sharp mind of Matt Butler. While the lineup itself takes on many forms Butler and his white board are the one constant. Prior to Phish’s three-night run at Dick’s The Bianchi Brothers arranged for a little shindig under the stars. They have produced a couple of these ‘music in the park’ type events with positive feedback. This was the first to take place in Sculpture Park in front of the Denver Performing Arts Center. Giant, androgynous statues dance in the field, and they immediately became everyone’s go-to meeting place. The Dead Phish Orchestra opened up, but we arrived just as they finished up their set. Several vendors lined the ample-sized field, with the beer garden being the biggest draw.
The lineup on this particular night was absolutely stellar, consisting of Kyle Hollingsworth (SCI, KHB) on keys, Michael Kang (SCI, Panjea) on electric mandolin, Dave Watts (Motet) on kit, Jans Ingber (Motet) on percussion and vocals, Jennifer Hartswick (TAB, JHB) on trumpet and vocals, Al Schnier (moe., Floodwood) on guitar, Kai Eckardt (Garage Mahal) on bass, and Bridget Law (Elephant Revival) on fiddle, with Butler orchestrating. Jason Hann (SCI) and Ted Tilton (DPO) both sat in during the second set as well. The sheer aptitude for music in this configuration of Everyone Orchestra is utterly mind-blowing. I’ve seen many different EO shows, but this has to be at the top of heap simply from musicianship. The show began with a vocal jam between Butler and the crowd. Watts’ lockstep beat was in full effect as Kyle tickled the keys elegantly.
This two set show featured some extensive jamming from EO. Strong vocal interplay between Jans and Hartswick were yet another highlight of this musical journey. With the majority of their “songs” hitting almost twenty minutes, they had plenty of time to pass the potato around. Al was a focal point for many all night as he simply shredded. Kai too was impressive to watch as he held it all down with his funky bass riffs. The first set was a little tame, as they got into their groove during the second set. Watching improvisation happen live can be a lot like watching a flower bloom. Sure everyone on stage is an absolute talent, but they have to be truly in synch with other musicians, several of whom they may never have met before, to actually perform together. That takes a special kind of genius. Everyone Orchestra played well into the evening as the sun set behind Sculpture Park. EO would claim that they are there to have fun, but with each show they continue to foster the spirit of improvisation. The show in Sculpture Park featured a lot of crowd interaction, more than a few vocal based songs, and epic jamming. At one point during the second set I was fairly sure they were jamming on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” This was a great way to start my weekend with Phish. EO always gets the musical juices flowing. They are a jam institution as far as I’m concerned. Butler travels all over the country paring up players, and spreading the power of improvisation. In what other venue is it even possible to see members of The Motet, SCI and moe. all jamming together onstage? It’s special every time they perform and their show in Sculpture Park was definitely a unique experience.
Sunday was EASILY the best day of music for me. Also, it was easily the worst day of weather. No way I was gonna let that affect my mood, though, and for many Scampers, it was the same.
I was able to catch Umphrey’s day time show, and they just continue to get better every time I see them, as now this was the 15th show for me. Highlights include a beautiful version of Dear Lord, one of my all time favorites and a rarity, with a sit-in from Luther Dickinson. They closed the set with a rockin’ Miss Tinkle’s Overture. Check out my video of it (right here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0M7GMT3F74&feature=youtu.be
Hands down, the show by The Everyone Orchestra was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Wow. I was just blown away. On stage was Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee on keys, Vinnie Amico, Jim Loughlin, and Al Schnier of moe. on drums, percussion, and guitar, respectively, Victor Wooten on bass, Allie Kral of Cornmeal on violin, Roosevelt Collier on steel guitar, and Alex Steele of Roste McCabe on vocals. There was also another girl on trombone who was just stunningly good, but I am not sure who her name was unfortunately. Of course, it was orchestrated by Matt Butler. For those unfamiliar with The Everyone Orchestra, it is all improv and the jams are literally conducted by Butler as he is leading the artists with the tempos and grooves. Their final jam had some “Love Love Love” lyrics bouncing around that got the crowd going crazy inside the intimate Red Barn.
Finally, there was Trey. Words can’t even begin to describe the musical journey he takes me on every time I see him perform. He came out on stage, did a nice little awkward and goofy half-bow to the crowd, picked up Ocelot (the name of his guitar) and got right into First Tube, a classic song that gets me rocking every time. He didn’t let up from there in his first set got better and better with each song. Unfortunately it was raining for most of the first set, so I didn’t get many pictures or videos, but it let up enough for me to catch the end of “Money, Love, & Change.” Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUBGexwkKU&feature=youtu.be
His second set was cut short due to the nasty flash flood, which to be honest, came as a sort of relief to me. I found myself at such a predicament because a gust of wind, or Trey’s peak in one of his jams, snapped my umbrella in half. Once that happened I just got SOAKED. I mean soaked. And muddy. But I mean, it’s Trey! During the jam of Push on til The Day, the final song he ended up playing, a small child arose on the shoulders of someone in the front row, and he just danced danced and danced away for all to notice. The crowd cheered him on as he had all the spins and moves, mostly with his arms, and even Trey went up and gave him a high five after the song ended. It reminded me of when Alpine Valley last summer, in which Trey pulled up a bunch of phans on stage during their encore song of Meatstick, showing despite the level of stardom he has reached, he still has the heart and joy of music to share it with others and acknowledge great moments when it happens. By the way, I was one of those guys doing the Meatstick dance on stage. Here’s the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIFwpRxFLA
Well, Summer Camp, it was GREAT. Although the rainstorm cut the night a little young, I had a hell of a time and am already counting down the days til next year.
Everyone Orchestra travels the country bringing one-time only musical experiences to the masses. They are a tradition at Summer Camp as part of the Make A Difference events at Summer Camp. If you don’t know what that is, look in your program and get involved. or check here.
From the mind of Matt Butler lineups are assembled and during his shows he creates themes and tangents for the band to follow. Everyone Orchestra scheduled a three-night romp through Colorado that included stops in Gunnison as well as Denver, but they began with a night at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins. The lineup was made up of Matt Butler conducting, Dave Watts on drums, Steve Kimock on guitar, Anders Beck on dobro, Jans Ingber on percussion and vocals, Kai Eckhardt on bass, and for one night only Bridget Law on violin. This power packed group was certainly enough to create an amazing musical experience, but first up was Marcellus Wallace.
Marcellus Wallace is a soul, funk, rock, adventure lead by singer Devon Parker of The Nu Classics. They came out strong mesmerizing the crowd with their blend of brass and soulfunk. It was almost a throw back to an earlier R&B sound, with more than one attendee asking, “What does Marcellus Wallace look like?” With originals like “Lover” their vibe is certainly intriguing if not infectious. The highlight of the show was a sit-in by Jans Ingber on John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” If you dig a retro sound foul of soulful nuance I would recommend checking out Marcellus Wallace and finding out what he looks like for yourself.
Everyone Orchestra took us on a two set journey through rock, jam, jazz, folk, and a little bit of bluegrass thrown in for good measure. With Bridget Law only hopping on for one show of the run she was truly a featured artist. With his small dry erase board Butler wrote down things like “Ya” and “4/4 Rock Beat” during which he took to some improv on the microphone. The first set went quick going just over an hour, but the second set was a 90-minute jam that went almost to bar close. The crowd at Hodi’s again was light making for easy maneuvering but a little disappointment on my part. As I stated in my review from the week prior of Euforquestra, this is a funny time for venues in college towns. The kids are taking finals, graduating, packing up, and moving out. This makes for somewhat spotty attendance for any show. If Everyone Orchestra had scheduled this performance a month ago, I have no doubt that it would have sold out. Jans Ingber alternated between singing a few tunes and ripping it up on the congas. One of the jams featured Kai Eckhardt who I have not had the pleasure of seeing live since his days with Garage Mahal. He is as agile on the bass as ever and his harmonious notes were truly a pleasure. Kimock was great without overpowering the lineup. I’ve seen him with EO before and he honestly knows how to perform in a group dynamic. This night was no exception. Everyone Orchestra is always a treat and if you are truly a fan of the jam they are worth any amount of effort to catch them live. Butler never disappoints when choosing a lineup and they are always unique. With their upcoming show for Make a Difference at Summer Camp it might have been easy to let this one slide by, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
Everyone Orchestra has become an institution at Summer Camp. They have been playing the “Make A Difference” show for the last few years, which is a private concert that rewards campers for making donations and helping to clean up the environment. This group is always a special treat. Being the fan of jam and collaborations that I am, this band does everything that I hold dear in my favorite genre. EO is always jam-packed with some the very best musicians in the scene all under the confident direction of Matt Butler who acts as the conductor. This lineup included Al Schnier, Jamie Masefield, Steve Kimock, Jen Hartswick, Marco Benevento, John Morgan Kimock, Reed Mathis, and Jans Ingber. This lineup is full of Summer Camp alumni, most notably Al from moe. Saturday was the second of a three night run. Friday saw a big turnout and Sunday featured an afternoon set on the patio. Due to the High Park Fire The Motet’s show at Mishawaka was canceled, so Dave Watts and Friends supported Everyone Orchestra. However first was the surprise of the evening; Huckle performed on the main stage.
Huckle is an acoustic rock outfit from Sebastopol, California. They had a down home feel to their delivery like a band around a campfire. However they were both smooth and complex in their performance. Huckle is comprised of Murph on upright bass, Ezra Lipp on drums, and Simon “Huckle” Kurth on acoustic guitar and 10-string slide. Each one of them are multi-instrumentalists and showed their prowess on their respective tools of the trade. A decent crowd gathered to see them play. I found them to be utterly enjoyable and a great way to start the evening. They did an impromptu version of their original song Ramblin’ out on the sidewalk after their set. MusicMarauders was there to catch it.
Next on the patio were Dave Watts and Friends otherwise known as The Motet. The Motet always brings the heat and this funk filled night was no exception. Dave Watts lead the stripped down group through a series of covers and originals. The highlight of which was a sit in from Jen Hartswick that set the stage on fire. The dynamic between Garrett Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on kit continues to impress me every time I see them play together. They are perhaps the best rhythm section on the Front Range, which is saying a lot considering the pool of talent out here. Jans Ingber was on the mic a lot throughout their two set show, which was woven into the night quite nicely. Matt Grundstad sat in for most of the night on percussion freeing up Jans to play front man full time. He pulled double duty sitting in with Everyone Orchestra as well.
Everyone Orchestra always combines the best talents jam has to offer for a great live event. Super Jams as a rule can be hit or miss. It’s difficult for a group to come together having never played with one another and simply gel. They have to be incredibly talented and Butler has always been a great judge of talent. He is a bus driver who can handle the type of pressure that comes with leading incredible musicians through the murky waters of imporvisation. It was great to see Jaime Masefield on the stage. It has been the better half of a decade since I saw Masefield with Jazz Mandolin Project. In fact one of the first times I got to see Jaime was at the inaugural Summer Camp. I got a chance to talk with him and he informed me that he had been taking it easy for some time with his family. Butler began scribbling on his dry erase board and the band quickly got underway.
You can listen to the show on Archive from Kind Recordings.
I was awed with the young but capable John Morgan Kimock on the kit. He almost looked out of place until he began playing. Al was a treat, after watching him at Summer Camp with moe. and Floodwood it was great to see him let loose in Everyone Orchestra. Jen split her time between vocalizing the instructions on the boards and playing trumpet. Jans harmonized nicely with her when he came to the stage. Kimock Sr. held back quite a bit, playing in the shadows of the stage. However, when he was given the chance to shine he did so brilliantly. Most notably was a slide solo during the second set. Reed Mathis is simply spellbinding on the bass. He effortlessly dictates the flow like a man herding cattle through a canyon. The bass is so important to the Super Jam as a concept that without someone well versed at the position it can all go awry. Thankfully Reed knows what he is doing and helped keep everyone in check immensely. The entire two set show was a blast. It went by quickly as the crowds shifted from the patio to the inside and back again. Ending just before 2 AM it was a great experience all around. I would have liked to have seen Pete Wall sit in with the band on Sunday, but alas it was time to head back to Fort Collins. I look forward to the return of Everyone Orchestra.