The great thing about the Summer Camp Music Festival is that even if you don’t catch a band while you are at the show you can still take note and see them back home. This year Trichome killed it and got the opportunity to jam with Rob Derhak. I was busy running around with my Camp Counselor duties so I unfortunately was unable to make it over for that set. However, them being local to Fort Collins I had seen them about a year and half ago. They were jammers, but nothing struck me as too incredible about their sound at the time. Well times change and bands transform. This is certainly true for Trichome. It’s a good thing these are Colorado boys because it wasn’t long before I got a chance to catch them, and not just anywhere I saw them at the famed venue in the Poudre Canyon, The Mishawaka.
Trichome began as a bunch of white boys playing reggae. What I witnessed at the Mishwaka was truly a band evolved. They opened with O Fortuna, here is the rest of the setlist from saxophonist Michael Windham.
SET I: O Fortuna> Boogie Shoes> All the Love, Strawberry, Mighty Impil, Sway, Koolie High> Latino Embrolo> Another Day> Latino Embrollo, Farside (w/Da Funk Jam), Alright, Chant Up, Music Goes On, Let Go> Koolie High
ENCORE: Squirt (w/ Jungle Boogie Tease)
The way they have reformatted their sound is truly staggering. One thing that was most present in their playing was their dynamic layering. Trichome has a core group of 6 musically masterful members, but for this show they added a couple of extra horns for good measure. It was a journey through world, jam, reggae, and funk, which ultimately peaked with the huge Da Funk Jam, tucked into Farside. It was a stellar show that made me reevaluate my first impression of these guys. That’s one more reason to go and check out local bands that perhaps you’ve even seen before. The younger bands have the fire in their bellies to constantly improve. And in the short year or so since I had seen them last they were completely new to me. I was totally impressed where at first glance I could take or leave their sound. Now I will continue to follow them as they progress and look forward to my next encounter with Trichome.
Summer Camp Counselor
They might not be a summer camp artist (yet) but I caught two nights of rock and roll with Dr. Dog at one of San Francisco’s most intimate venues, The Independent. I first saw these guys at music festival in the northeast a few years ago and I’ve been a fan since. They’re definitely making the mark on the music scene and getting attention from hipsters and hippies alike. Both nights at the Indy (Tuesday and Wednesday) were sold out and they also performed at Dave Matthews Band Caravan stop in Atlantic City.
Dr. Dog brings impressive vocal and guitar harmonies. They’re strong songwriters to boot – I highly suggest giving The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer a good listening to. Songs can be both heartfelt and goofy, and they definitely have a Beatles influenced sound (but are also totally unique). Live, they’re music spans the gamut of influences and they have a commanding and often hilarious stage presence. Aside from the awesome musicianship that this band demonstrates, the second night at the Independent was particularly killer
for a uncommon reason.
During a tune called Fat Dog, guitar player and vocalist Scott McMicken asked a fan from the front row if he could borrow a cell phone to make a call. Politely, he makes sure it’s cool that he dials 411 and incurs a 50cent charge as he searches for a nearby pizza place. How many pizza’s does he want? All of them. Send all of your pizza’s to the Independent. Make it snappy please. About 20 seconds later, the stage is full with the band’s crew handing out delicious large pizzas!
Pretty amazing – these guys threw a flippin pizza party for everyone at the Independent. Totally badass. And the amazing part was that everyone actually got pizza! I was upstairs in the balcony and they even made sure to send pizza up there. When I left, there was still pizza out on the bar people weren’t eating!
Anyway, check out Dr. Dog. They might buy you pizza. And even if they don’t, you’ll get a kick ass show.
You can watch this whole thing go down on the video below. Skip to 3:30 to see the pizza ordering go down (or watch the whole video to catch these guys in action).
I’m thinking Blue Team needs to throw a Pizza Party at Summer Camp next year.
Counselor In Training
June 15th was a Wednesday…not normally the most rockin’ day of the week, but this was not an ordinary Wednesday. Early 90s rockers CAKE were in town and my buddy got me a ticket to the show. We decided to make a day of it. Had some dinner, some drinks, met some new people, invited them to the show, it was all working out. Little did I know how epic of a show I was about to see. CAKE formed in the early 90s and went onto record some songs I know you know…”He’s going for distance, he’s going for speed…” and “I want a girl with a short skirt and a loooooooooooooooong jacket…” Now you know who they are? Good!
While those previous two songs were definitely the ones I wanted to see (they used them for the encore) I got a little bit more of a taste of CAKE than I had anticipated. The songs of their new album were great. Awesome production, a very idiosyncratic approach to music with very specific parts to be played including the use of a vibraphone.
Two super cool things happened at this show, however. First, the CAKE frontman has so much control over the crowd, it was awesome to watch. Dividing the group up he had us sing harmonic melodies. I’ve never seen so many people locked into a band I was unfamiliar with. The way he split up the group, and forced people “on the line” to choose what side they are on gave me goose bumps. If you have the opportunity to see CAKE perform live, whether you are a fan or not, go do it!
The second cool thing they did was give away a tree…a cherry tree. Apparently, for a few years now, at all their shows, CAKE gives away a tree that can thrive in that respective area to a member of the audience who can identify the species. They must swear within 30 days to have the plant in the ground and send a picture into CAKE. Here is a link to their page with all the tree information. Check it out and imagine, what if every band gave away trees?
Counselor In Training
So, it was getting close to crunch time for Umphrey’s McGee’s Red Rocks and
Blue show. I had a request in with Summer Camp but it wasn’t until the Wednesday
before the show that they finally got approval for my photo pass. I was stoked. It
was the first time I had gotten photo access at the famed venue that I call my
summer home, The Edge.
So when the day finally arrived I grabbed a ride with my buddy Jeremy and
we hit the Lower South Lot around 3:30 p.m. I immediately met up with J-Man from
MusicMarauders and we took a minute to catch up. It was amazing how many
people recognized me as the Summer Camp Counselor. No less than 10 people
asking if I was the CC stopped me as I wandered around the Lot. It was kind of eye
opening in the sense that I realized how widely my work as the CC had spread my
image. J-Man and I walked back down to Will Call to get our credentials. Amy came down with some other friends so I headed to Upper South Lot to meet them before going inside.
We got in just as The New Mastersounds were starting their set. I quickly
made my way to the photo pit while the rest of my friends found a spot around row
15. The place was still fairly empty which meant there was plenty of room to move
around. I took photos for the first three songs as I was instructed was the protocol.
NMS riveted the audience early and blew away the crowd. Hailing all the way from
the United Kingdom they came to Red Rocks to play. I got a chance to chat with
bassist Pete Shand at setbreak who informed me they were used to playing 3 hour
shows with a half hour encore. This fact didn’t stop them from delivering the greasy
funk for just under an hour at Red Rocks. The New Mastersounds are an all-
instrumental funk based band. They stayed true to their nature by just playing a
jam-tastic set. I was very impressed with The Mastersounds at Red Rocks.
The Easy Star All Stars were up next with their mix of reggae and classic
covers. Overall it was a fun show with selections from Radiohead, the Beatles, and
Pink Floyd. Everyone has heard Dub Side of the Moon but to hear them play live
was actually a really interesting experience. I thought their originals were a nice
way to mix it up and they truly did energize the crowd. As they finished there was a
hiccup and before they could go into Time they were cut off.
No matter I was there for the main even and that was definitely Umphrey’s
McGee. They opened their set with a solid Jazz Odyssey. Here is the rest of the
setlist from PT.
SET I: Jazz Odyssey>, Bridgeless, Professor Wormbog, Puppet String, Hurt Bird
Bath, Deeper, Plunger, No Comment, Plunger
SET II: Nipple Trix, Divisions, Forks, Sledgehammer, Red Tape, Jimmy Stewart,
Red Tape, Day Nurse, Hajimemashite
ENCORE: Release, Bridgeless
The set was one of peaks and valleys, at times making the audience really work a
bit. I felt there was a bit of a disconnect with the crowd. A possibility is some level
of disappointment with attendance. At this point there was only about 4500 people
in the 9000-seat venue. Either way there was some real highlights from the show.
The open was solid coming out very strong. I was down in the pit for the first fifteen
minutes of the set and got a chance to snap some solid pictures. As I learned at
Summer Camp being that close to the powerful playing of Umphrey’s can be intense Surrounded by a cavalry of professional photogs I focused on getting my photos so I could enjoy the rest of the show. Plunger to close the first set was awesome and typical of UM’s back and forth song setlist writing.
The second set was definitely better and focused on the sublime jamming
Umphrey’s McGee is known for. Jake Cinniger was the VIP of the evening with his
pinpoint accurate guitar work. His progressive licks and ability to segue on a dime
was definitely a highpoint of the show. UM’s cover of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer was a surprise and a nice way to jump off the path for a minute. The Red Tape, Jimmy Stewart sandwich saw the most interesting playing of Red Rocks and Blue. Hajimenmashite was a solid close to the show before UM disappeared from the stage.
Umphrey’s came back for their encore with a beautiful rendition of Eddie
Vedder’s Release and closed the show with their previously unfinished Bridgeless.
All in all I thought it was a good show with a few rocky points. I hope that the lack of
attendance is not a reason to deter this event from happening next year. A full show
from Umphrey’s at Red Rocks is always something I will look forward to.
A big thanks to Summer Camp for getting my pass and giving another unforgettable
Video From Red Rocks
The New Mastersounds
Summer Camp Counselor
Cervantes Summer Celebration June 10th (Ape Tit feat. Members of the Big Motif)
For those of you who live in Colorado, you know how fun a place Cervantes can be. And when they decided to have their Summer Celebration party this year featuring a bunch of local bands, I was ready to go…plus I just moved 3 blocks from the venue, both awesome and dangerous. Anyway, The Summer Celebration party featured a bunch of local bands. The first band I saw was Big Wheel Electrosoul. Awesome live hip hop featuring my good friend Mr. Charles Parker Mertens on the bass. Normally I don’t get into the hip hop too much, but whenever there is a live backing band I’ll give it a chance. I was glad I did. Holding down great beats with socially conscious lyrics, Big Wheel Electrosoul is one not to miss.
The last band I saw, yes I’m skipping to the end because my personal highlight came mid-show, was Whiskey Tango. I guess you’d call the grass rock or something as they have a traditional bluegrass lineup with the addition of a synth and drummer with full kit. These guys rock and for sure know how to hold it down. Once again, I don’t normally get into the bluegrass but these guys were really good. I’ve seen them before and I’d see them again. With driving beats supporting a twangy vibe of excellent songwriting, this band will be doing their thing in Denver for years to come.
The highlight of the evening, however, was a band called Ape Tit. Yes, as in the breast of a gorilla. I thought it was a play on words of “appetite” but I was wrong. This band features a local Denver guitar player paired up with the drummer from the Big Motif. If you know the Big Motif or saw them at Summer Camp, you know these kids, and I mean kids, are super young. It’s always a treat to see the entertainment on stage have big black “X”s on their hands, always wondering, where is this kid gonna be in 10 years when he’s had an opportunity to be exposed to all the music scene has to offer? Some people don’t make it, but if this performance was any indication, the kids from the Big Motif have their heads on straight and will be around for a while. Ape Tit was great. Hip Hop and break beats with layers of delayed guitar put over it. All fine in it of itself, the show really took off when Big Motif’s bass player joined in and took the event to another level. If you get the chance to see Ape Tit in Denver, do it, if not, catch the Big Motif and see these young kids before they are a ticket to tough to get.
Counselor In Training
Sunday was the culmination of my Summer Camp experience. Not only was the lineup jam-packed, but it was also the day of my private campsite show as well as my interview with moe. So it started nicely with me heading over to the barn to get cleaned up. The clouds looked ominous at this point but I was optimistic. I was also wrong. I stopped by my P-Town friend’s RV for Sunday Brunch. I thought this was both clever and cute. I mean how perfect is that? So I took a little video of it, which you see here.
It was a nice gathering of friends and the protein helped me for the final push that was Sunday at Summer Camp. Angie made Amy a plate and I headed back to camp as the winds were beginning to pick up. I dropped off the food and went to our friend’s site to make sure they had everything buckled down. It was about this point that I made this video.
It was getting a little scary as the winds whipped through tarps and tents. Luckily, those of us who camped in the woods got some solid protection but us lowlanders were also the victims of some serious puddles. All in all it was a fast moving storm and after about 45 minutes it was completely over. Music resumed on the Camping Stage, but the two main stages were out of commission for at least another hour. That meant there would be some on-the-fly rescheduling. Fareed Haque & Math Games did not get to play due to a scheduling conflict and Cornmeal was bumped up to 2 PM on the Sunshine Stage. That meant that UM and Huey Lewis would be playing at 3:45 PM. It meant that I would miss Cornmeal’s final set because of my interview, but I would be able to catch the rUMors show.
Amy and I hunkered down for the rest of the storm and after a bit of rolling thunder it was over. The only real issue left after the storm was the mud. It had been an element all weekend but after we got pummeled certain areas of the concert fields became impassable. The steady plodding of people’s feet had done a lot to pound out the moisture in the ground over the last three days, but in one quick storm all that hippie footwork was undone. The Wood Brothers’ set was also canceled but they were already playing the Campfire Stage for late night so I was okay with this move as well.
I went to my interview with moe. Rob had a last minute emergency he had to deal with so I sat down Al, Chuck, Jim, and Vinnie. In another surreal moment I got to talk to my heroes for about 20 minutes. We talked about a wide range of subjects including everything from how Summer Camp came to be to the new album. For the record there will be a new release out next year and no it will not be a double album. We also got a chance to talk about the role social media played in their recent Electric Lemoe.nade Show. The issue Al had was the fact that fans think it’s funny to vote for songs like We Got The Party and they are the ones that actually have to take the time to learn, like a Miley Cyrus song. Obviously the Internet can be ruthless sometimes. I finished up my interview as we heard Bela Feck and The Flecktones take the stage.
Bela Fleck is the epitome of musical prowess. He has been nominated in more categories than any other musician in the history of the Grammys. If that doesn’t give you an idea of his range, I don’t know what would. The set was tight, but I only got to catch about half. Since Coffin’s departure to Dave Matthews Band, they have been playing with original Flecktone Howard Levy on keyboards and harmonica. After an 18-year absence he began playing with them last year. This was my first chance to catch the original lineup and I have to say they played like butter. They were smooth and Victor Wooten drove the bus as Future Man punched out the drums on his SynthAxe. The highlight of the set for me was Sinister Minister, the sweet jazz drifted out over the crowd as I made my way over to the Soulshine tent for moe.’s acoustic set brought to us by HeadCount.
The acoustic moe. show really got the day going proper. The Soulshine tent felt like the cultural center of Summer Camp. It was located adjacent to the Make A Difference area and featured everything from open mic jams to headlining acts. It was a place for Yoga, Raffles, Workshops, and some amazing music. Unfortunately with so much going on all weekend I only got to take part in few of the events, moe.’s acoustic set was one show that I could not miss. The boys took the stage and opened with That Country Tune, here is the rest of the setlist from Phantasy Tour.
SET I: That Country Tune, Blue Eyed Son, Can’t Seem To Find, Okayalright, Tambourine, It, New York City
The audience recording is on Archive. Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
This set was a lot of fun. I snuck backstage and got a few shots from behind the band before finding Amy exactly where I expected her, dead center in the mud rocking out to moe. I had tried to text her for the last 10 or 15 minutes before the show with no response. She was walking by when she heard the barker shouting about a moe. show in the Soulshine Tent. She of course stayed for what was about to ensue. Blue Eyed Son displayed some excellent vocals as well as picking from the band. Before Can’t Seem To Find you can hear Rob asking about the Mega Man totem that can be seen in just about every picture from Summer Camp. The fan blasted back, “Where you from, you don’t know Mega Man?” To which Rob replyed, “I went outside and played sports… and had girlfriends.” The crowd got a kick out of it, and actually I happened to be filming at this point so you can see most of it in my video.
I love the banter moe. comes up with onstage and as of late I have been missing it. I was happy they got a little more playful during this set. The acoustic Okayalright was sublime. It’s been one of my favorites as of late and it just rocks the face, and seeing an acoustic version in the Soulshine was my highlight of the show. They busted out a nice Tambourine before blasting off with It. Some of these songs rarely get the acoustic treatment so I found this to be one of my highlights of the weekend. I mean there couldn’t have been more than a few hundred people in attendance because as I stated earlier, with so much going on, the tent shows are often overlooked. They closed the set with a fulfilling New York City.
And with that I hurried back to the Sunshine Stage for some Umprhey’s McGee. They actually opened for their much-anticipated alter egos the rUMors, with Huey Lewis by playing a couple originals. I got into the pit for the first song and actually got some great shots. UM opened with All in Time followed by a new song, Room To Breath before inviting Mr. Lewis onto the stage. Here is the full setlist from http://www.umphreys.com:
SET I: All in Time, Room To Breath (*), Don’t Fight It (**^$), Up on Cripple Creek (^^), Heart and Soul (^^), The Weight (^), Women Wine & Song (^), Respect Yourself (^$), Workin’ For A Livin’ (&&^), She Caught The Katy (^^), Partyin’ Peeps (^), I Want A New Drug (^)
* first time played, original
** first time played, Wilson Pickett
^ with Huey Lewis on vocals and harmonica and Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret horns
^^ with Huey Lewis
$ with Gale Gardner and Linda Greenwood on vocals
& first time played, The Staples Singers
&& first time played, Huey Lewis
You can listen to the show on Archive. Thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
Room To Breath was like a meaty fight song, with melodic guitar interlacing from Jake and I enjoyed it very much. The rUMors got it started with a Wilson Pickett cover of Don’t Fight It with Gardner and Greenwood on backing vocals. It was like the band transformed from the Umphrey’s we know and love to a an 80’s powerhouse right before our eyes.
“I went to Summer Camp as a kid but it was nothing like this.” –Huey Lewis
They went into The Band’s classic Up On Cripple Creek, where Lewis seemed a little rough before getting into his groove. Heart and Soul got the crowd moving and honestly, it was the Huey tunes with UM as a backing band that gave me chills. Hearing Bayliss take over on vocals was amazing. Not to mention the raw power behind the chords played by the rUMors was just incredible. As they went into The Weight, I had to make a quick run over to the 312 Vibe Tent to check in on the home brewer’s workshop put on by Kyle Hollingsworth from SCI and Adam Lewis of Family Groove Company. I took some pictures of the tasting before grabbing Adamfor a quick recap of the workshop. You can see that interview here.
I thanked Adam for his insight on brewing before racing back to the rUMors set just in time to catch Respect Yourself. It broke my heart to leave, but as the Summer Camp Counselor, it was my duty to see and take part in as much as I could. Huey Lewis, always the showman, never left the spotlight for the entire set. Workin’ For A Livin’, another Lewis classic woke everyone up and the Taj Mahal blues standard, She Caught The Katy, was a very nice addition to an already stellar setlist. I also have to point out that Lewis’ harmonica work was just solid all day long. Lewis got a chance to jam on an Umphrey’s original with Partyin’ Peeps. They ended this history-making set with the much anticipated I Want A New Drug. I was very happy with how this all turned out. And a big thanks to Huey Lewis for taking a chance, it was well worth it.
I ran over to the Red Barn as Everyone Orchestra was finishing up their soundcheck. In the interim I got a chance to talk to a few people who participated in the Make A Difference Challenge at Summer Camp.
Make A Difference was a series of tasks that attendees of the festival could take part in to earn their ticket to this private show. This incarnation of EO included Kyle Hollingsworth, Al Schnier, Natalie Cressman, Jans Ingber, Brian Jordan, Randal Moore, John Stanton, Abigail Stauffer, Chris Wood, and Erin Zindle and orchestrated as always by Matt Butler, which meant that we would be witnessing a serious jam session from a mind-blowing lineup. The jamming was sick, if you have never seen Everyone Orchestra, they are lead by a conductor who feeds them words, phrases, audience suggestions, and feelings to create a live musical collaboration. It’s awesome to watch and a great way to reward the proactive festival goers who took the time to clean up and recycle. I think this experiment was a rousing success and I hope to see other festivals taking notes from Summer Camp. By giving just a little incentive, people really became involved and that was what Make A Difference was all about.
I stayed at EO until just before 6:00 PM when I said goodbye to the great jam and headed back to my site. No one was around but I met up with CIT Jeff Greenswag on the trail and we ventured off to see Bruce Hornsby together. I tried to spend a little bit of time with all the CITs so this was my chance hang with Jeff for a set. My only real familiarity with Bruce Hornsby comes from his short stint with the Grateful Dead and some of his popular work. I know he is a truly accomplished pianist, but what I didn’t realize is how much fun he has playing live. He took us on a journey through blues, jazz and rock before bringing Bela Fleck and Jimmy Herring on stage for a cover of Huey Lewis’ Jacob’s Ladder. Hornsby picked up the accordion for this song and regaled the crowd with this powerful composition. I was headed back to get ready for moe., but couldn’t resist the opportunity to film this one from the back of the bus. This video is a little shaky mainly because of the zoom (also keep an eye out for a spot about midway through when I was almost run over by a wook) but hey, the sound is good.
I made my way back to camp where I met up with Amy. I told her it was time for some moe. and she hopped out of the tent ready to rock. We headed over to The Moonshine stage where we found the rest of our crew by the soundboard. We were pretty much in the same spot all weekend, which made it easy to reconnect in the massive crowd. I told Amy I would meet her in a few songs and headed down to the pit as moe. opened with a rocking Deep This Time, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: Deep This Time, Y.O.Y, Down Boy, Happy Hour Hero*, Rain Shine**, Farmer Ben, Moth
SET II: Plane Crash, Shoot First***, Silver Sun, Seat Of My Pants, Billy Goat
*w/ Kyle Hollingsworth on key
**First Time Played – Original – Al Song
***w/ Bela Fleck on Banjo
You can download the audience recording on Archive. Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
Y.O.Y was one the first moe. songs I ever heard and it still holds a special place in my heart. It was a solid version that saw some very nice percussion work from both Jim and Vinnie. Rob busted out a nice Down Boy before they invited String Cheese’s Kyle Hollingsworth on stage for Happy Hour Hero. This was incredibly appropriate considering Kyle had just released Hoopla a festival pale ale at Summer Camp. It was a mild but hoppy concoction that he collaborated on with Boulder Beer. I have to say it is a tasty beverage and a festival is the proper place for its consumption. Check out my video of Kyle with moe. here.
Rain Shine (or is it Rainshine?) was my favorite moe. song debut of the weekend. It was a very fitting song considering the topsy-turvy weather we had on Sunday and I do believe it could be a huge vehicle for the dark jam. I might add that during this set the sun was shinning brightly. Farmer Ben was what was up. I love it when Jim grabs the mic and plays the part of front man, but this version was special. It included teases from Chalkdust Torture as well as the Grateful Dead.
As moe. went into Moth I hightailed it back to my site to set up a couple chairs and drop some glow sticks so the crew could find my site for the private show. Afterwards, as I raced over to Widespread Panic, I stopped to chat with the Concious Alliance guys for a few. You can see our conversation here.
WSP was the last of my onstage sets, but when I arrived, no one quite knew who to talk to and the stage was on lockdown. They opened with a rowdy North. Here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: North Proving Ground, Party At Your Mama’s House, Wondering, Heroes, Angels on High, Tall Boy, Driving Song, Saint Ex, Goin’ Out West, Drums, Porch Song, Driving Song, Airplane, Protein Drink, Sewing Machine
I was just sort of relaxing backstage enjoying the music when I noticed Heis walking up with Kyle Hollingsworth. I headed over and had a nice chat with Kyle about his Brew Fest last year and about Hoopla. When we finished talking I watched him approach a couple of hula-hoopers by the fence and ask to borrow a one of theirtoys. That’s when I caught this video.
It was the little moments like this that I witnessed that were really the icing on the cake of the Summer Camp Counselor position. Holly soon found me and took me up to a spot about 8 feet from Jimmy Herring where two chairs had been set for our arrival. I was onstage for Tall Boy through Drums and this may have been the best chunk of the set. It was pretty awesome to watch Schools and JB communicating onstage while Jimmy just wailed away. I did grab a video of the first part of Driving Song, which you can see here.
I headed down during Drums mainly because I didn’t want to be alone up there and I had seen a great part of the show from a truly unique vantage. I was ready to mingle. Plus, I was getting antsy for my show. I enjoyed the rest of the set and hung out with my old pal BC. As they finished up I met Holly at the back gate and took a seat on the golf cart. We were waiting for WSP to sign my poster, (another part of my prize package.) Well, as I sat there Jimmy Herring comes walking over to the bus and takes a long look at me, “John, John, how the hell you doing? Geez it’s been two or three years, how the hell you doing?” With that Jimmy came bounding around the barricade and entrapped me in a massive bear hug. He began rambling on about how good I looked and how happy he was to see me. The joke was that Jimmy thought I was John Popper. Well, I let him go on for about 30 seconds before I cut him off, “ Jimmy I’m really too big of a fan to let you go on, I’m not really John Popper, but now you have to take a picture with me so I can tell this story for the rest of my life.” Jimmy obliged before making a quick exit to the bus.
It was getting to be crunch time so we left the poster in the hands of WSP management and drove over to the Camping Stage to meet up with the Kris, JP, and Allie from Cornmeal. Ben Slayter (my Director of Photography) met us and we all piled on the cart and drove through the crowd down to the VIP gate.
I had texted or told about 10 or 15 of my close friends at Summer Camp that this shindig was about to go down. I also told the moe. Phantasy Tour crew which made up the bulk of the crowd that was assembled as we pulled up. I took my seat and Ben got his camera ready. Amy and my friends smiled as I made my way in and I was just happy to be surrounded by so many good people. Honestly, there couldn’t have been more than 60 people in attendance. I had contacted Jesse Scott to tape the show, but he had an unforeseen issue with his deck so I am very thankful Ben was there with his video camera. (I was told I could not film my own set which is why I don’t have anything posted yet.) Stay tuned for the footage.
So all five members of moe. along with Allie and Kris from Cornmeal gave me a private show. It was just unbelievable.
PRIVATE SET: Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, The Weight
ENCORE: Speedy Golf Cart Exit
It was a huge highlight of my festival. Allie was close enough that Amy could feel the breeze from her bow. moe. was just a few feet away as they picked out the songs. I mean even now I’m still buzzing from the experience. After the first song Al looked at me and said, “We do have to get to work soon.” I assured them their time was greatly valued and I appreciated every second of it. At one point some kids charged through the crowd in front of Cornmoe., probably in a hurry to catch moe.’s final set. Everyone just sort of chuckled to themselves and the music continued. The Weight became a sing-along and with that, they all hopped in their respective golf carts, the crowd parted, and they disappeared down the path. We all just sat there for a second in the post glow smiling about what we had witnessed.
Amy, my friends, and I got our gear together and headed back to the Moonshine Stage for moe.’s last set of the festival. I told my friends they were going to open with Plane Crash, because it was time, before I made my way down to the front. It was my last opportunity to get photos so I hit the pit quickly then wandered backstage where I finally met the elusive Jay Goldberg. I thanked him and Arlan for an amazing experience and headed back to my group. As I was heading back, moe. invited Bela Fleck onstage for Shoot First. I loved the twang Bela’s banjo added to moe.’s mix. Silver Sun built slowly but exploded into a dueling guitar jam reminiscent of an AC/DC show before coming back to planet Earth. The SOMP was face melting and the set-closing Billy Goat was full of funky goodness. Now for those that don’t know, I edited my Summer Camp Counselor Video Resume with Rebubula
as the sound bed, which they chose to encore the last set of the festival with. I couldn’t help but feel that this was one final nod to me from my favorite band. It was the perfect exclamation point to my once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thanks guys.
Afterwards, Amy and I drug our chairs over to the Campfire Stage to end our weekend with the Wood Brothers. It was a euphoric end to my weekend as the first ever Summer Camp Counselor. I felt magnanimous and righteously good. I had literally met and talked to hundreds of campers. I had filmed a ton of great music and events. I had taken over 4,000 photos. My job was complete.
The next morning we tore down our camp and filmed my final standup, which can be seen here.
It was time to head home… until next year Summer Camp. Thank You.
You can see my Sunday pictures here.
One of the best things I got out of my first Summer Camp experience, was a rekindling my love for moe…
Like many of you, I’ve been listening to moe. since high school and they were the band that really drew me into the jam scene. I still have my tattered blue hooded sweatshirt with the band’s name on it. But as time goes on, and musical interests change, moe. did take a bit of a back seat in my musical catalog. I still saw them whenever they played within 100 miles of me and sometimes, a bit further. Last year, I went back east to Boston for New Years Eve which also happens to be my birthday (yes, I was literally born to party) and brought my whole RI family with me to bring in the New Year with a little the guys and their families (anyone who attended that show knows what I mean).
At Summer Camp, I saw some of the most high-energy moe. sets I’ve ever seen. The band just seems at home here at Three Sister’s Park. The first set I caught on Friday was incredible. Opening with Akimbo is always a good sign. Singing along to Mexico, St. Augustine and Kyle’s Song felt good. Highlight from that set: Bayliss coming out and playing The Harder They Come! Saturday nights second set was on fire: Crab Eyes, Buster, Skrunk > Lazarus > McBain > Recreational Chemistry, E: Captain America
I also got an acoustic set from the boys. The last time I saw that was Bonnaroo 2004 where we also got an Okay Alright (plus Buster and Spine of a Dog) – just the perfect acoustic sing-a-long moe. song. There were only about 150-200 people watching this go down and it that made it even cooler. This set was presented by HeadCount.
Both Chuck and Al came out with KDubalicious for some serious fun – including a cover of Tell Me Something Good! On Sunday, I stumbled into the 312 Vibe Tent to find Rob sitting in with Trichome. These guys were funky and I walked in just in time to see Rob trading bass solos with Trichome’s Dave Frediani. They never stopped playing – it was impressive.
During their last set, Bela Fleck, one of my favorite musicians, sat in for a killer version of Shoot First. The whole set was blistering and when the came out for the encore one of my best friends, AJ, who I’ve known since elementary school and hardly see anymore due to living on opposite coasts, just looked at me and said, “Man, I just want to get a Rebubula before this weekend is over.” It was kind of like magic – the lights went blue and we knew by the first note, Rebubula was exactly what these guys were about to play. Now, I realize a lot of moe.rons probably weren’t surprised to have them end the night with that song, but that didn’t make it any less awesome for us.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Summer Camp kicks ass and helped me get back to my roots. Sometimes you need a reminder and moe. played a weekend of music I won’t soon forget. Since I’ve been home, they haven’t stopped playing on the ol’ iTunes and I really can’t wait for them to come back to the Fillmore in SF.
Counselor In Training
I woke up on Friday totally ready for the actual festival to begin. Thursday was awesome but it was time for the heavy hitters. I headed to the barn to get cleaned up. One of the perks of total access was getting a shower every morning and believe me, this is a luxury I’m not used to in a festival setting. After getting ready I made my way backstage. It was time to give my intro for moe., and I was actually pretty nervous. I took a little time to compose myself and think about what I wanted to say. How do you introduce your heroes? Wandering around before the set I got the chance to chat with Jim for about 10 minutes. I had met him previously at the now defunct Green Room when he played a show with Willie Waldman. Amazingly he remembered our meeting and congratulated me on winning the camp counselor position. Around 12:30 moe. gathered at the stairs and followed me onto the stage.
In the second of my many surreal moments of Summer Camp 2011, I stood in front of a crowd of 15,000 or so people and let them know moe. was about to play a show. As soon as I said, “…would you please welcome moe.,” they tore into a massive Akimbo. Here is the rest of the setlist from Phantasy Tour .
SET I: Akimbo, Puebla, St. Augustine, Mexico, Blue Jeans Pizza, All Roads Lead To Home, Kyle’s Song> Kids
Encore: The Harder They Come*
*with Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee
You can download it on Archive. Thanks to Bean for the recording.
I wandered out onto the lawn triumphantly looking for Amy and my friends, but they were knee deep in the crowd. So I took the opportunity to take some wide shots before heading back to the pit for some closer photos. This set was literally a collection of some of my favorite songs. St. Augustine was tight and Mexico was huge and featured a playfulness that really set the mood for Summer Camp. The closer of Kyle’s Song into Kids was face melting and as the sun blasted through the clouds for moe.’s only day set, I knew I was home. Bayliss came out for a cover of Harder They Come to encore and signaled a passing of the torch for UM to take the reigns Friday Night.
From moe. I went to my CIT meeting and discussed the previous days coverage and touched base on what was left on the schedule for Friday. I took a few minutes afterward to interview Tom Mcelroy of the Sun Foundation and Primitive Arts Collective who told me about some of the primitive living skills and native art forms that they teach. They led workshops all weekend that varied from fire making to hide tanning. It was a very enlightening interview.
I made my way to the Sunshine stage for the Punch Brothers’ set. Now I have wanted to catch this band for quite some time, I have been a huge Noam Pikelny fan since his days with Leftover Salmon and Chris Thile is always a bucket of energy. However, it seems like every time I plan to see them in Denver I miss the boat. Well Summer Camp 2011 cured me of this longstanding issue. I headed down to the pits for some photos and caught a little video which you can see here.
The Punch Brothers have a level of authenticity rarely seen in bluegrass these days. They dress the part and as a string band they are a sight to behold. I was thoroughly impressed with their set and after I finished taking photos, I simply stood back and enjoyed it for a minute.
I went back to camp to gather my friends for Cornmeal. Cornmeal as I stated in my previous post has really grown with Summer Camp Music Festival. They definitely took their evening set seriously by just nailing down good tight bluegrassy goodness. I shot some photos and again went over by the bleachers with my friends and just enjoyed the show. The nice thing about the scheduling at Summer Camp is that they allow different fans to enjoy what they like without having to make too many tough decisions. For me Friday was a bluegrass day bookended by moe. and Umphrey’s with just a sprinkle of Dead provided by 7 Walkers. But many, many other fans opted for the raw electro-funk of Big Gigantic and the hip-hop of De La Soul. That’s what I appreciate about Summer Camp. Cornmeal kept fans very happy on Friday afternoon and afterwards I took a minute to grab some food and watch De La Soul for about 15 minutes. They absolutely energized the crowd and it was refreshing to hear them at Summer Camp.
We headed back to Sunshine for Yonder Mountain String Band, we walked up to the bleachers just as they started Out Of The Blue here is the setlist from PT.
SET I: Out Of The Blue> Looking Back Over My Shoulder, Another Day, Little Lover, Just Like Old Times, Complicated, All The Time, Strophe For An Unsung Albatross (Peanut Butter Cup), No Expectations> Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty
Encore: Crazy, Troubled Mind
Living in Colorado I usually get the pleasure of seeing these YMSB a couple times a year, I would say they played a pretty standard set except for the No Expectations>
Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty which was fairly earth-shattering. I caught the beginning of that amazing run here.
At the beginning you can hear Jeff Austin pointing out what everyone in attendance already knew, and that the Sunshine Stage had been the bluegrass stage all day and then dedicated the next song to the greatest bluegrass band ever Umphey’s McGee, “…they play the old way.” My apologies for the Don’t Tread on Me flag that makes its way into the frame around minute two, that happens from time to time when you are shooting wide. I did my best to shoot around it but it is what it is. The Whipping Post was just stellar. They came back to encore the set with Split Lip Rayfield’s Crazy and a nice Troubled Mind.
I hit Tea Leaf Green but only for a song or two before heading backstage for my first onstage set with Umprhey’s McGee. It took us a minute to find someone in the UM management to let us go up, and as we were standing there I heard the Jaws theme played before they opened with Prowler. Here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Prowler> 1348> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tape> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tap, Pay the Snucka> Bulls On Parade> Pay The Snucka, 2nd Self, Senor Mouse, Mulche’s Odyssey
Set II: Jazz Odyssey, Preamble> Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins, Rocker Part II, Day Nurse, Hourglass*, The Floor, National Anthem**
Encore: The Triple Wide> 1348
*First Time Played
**with Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) on Saxophone
You can download the audience recording on Archive.
Thanks to tonedeaf for the post.
A moment or so later someone found us and took us onto the stage. Now I know Umphrey’s is intense but being 8 feet away from Jake as he is shredding a solo is a little mind bending. Amy and I didn’t stop dancing for their 80+ minute first set. The Red Tape was just massive clocking in at over 20 minutes; this song features both sides of the Umph coin. It allows for Bayliss’s prog-rock run, some cheesy 80’sesque jams, as well as lots or room to shred. The sheer number of notes Jake hits in between verses would make any metal guitarist envious. The real highlight of the first set has to be the Pay the Snucka into Bulls On Parade into Pay the Snucka. I caught this in Aspen in February but to see it on stage ten feet away from the band was life affirming. They ended the set with a tight Mulche’s and we were whisked off of stage and just like that my first of three was over.
Of course we immediately crossed the road to see 7 Walkers at the Starshine Stage. George Porter Jr. couldn’t make the show so they enlisted the help of Tea Leaf Green’s Reed Mathis on bass. I was pretty impressed with the band Billy put together. Papa Mali is a solid guitarist with an incredibly unique voice; he has the rasp to belt out Dead tunes properly. Highlights from the set included a sweet Bird Song and a rendition of 7 Walkers which they took their name from. You can see my recording of it here.
The audio is a little over modulated as I was in the pit and couldn’t find an audience recording with which to sync. I would say that overall they were a lot of fun and a nice breather between UM sets.
Umphrey’s came back on for their second set ready to rage. They opened with a quick unassuming Jazz Odysssey almost like they were trying to lull the crowd into a false sense of calm. Then they played the eerie Preamble before snapping the audience awake with Tinkle’s. The Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins was just disgusting and the reason why I go to Umphrey’s McGee shows. The rest of their second set was all bonus as far as I was concerned. Additional highlights included a Day Nurse dance party, and Hourglass, which was debuted at Summer Camp. They invited Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic to play saxophone on the set ending National Anthem. They encored with a nice Triple Wide into 1348. I thought the UM sets from night one were very strong and they definitely took their headlining night at Summer Camp to a new level.
There was about a thirty minute break between the end of UM and the beginning of moe. in the Red Barn. We took the opportunity to sit at our camp and talk about the events of the day. Amy and I headed to the Barn past Greensky Bluegrass who was just getting started on the Campfire Stage.
moe. came out to play for 400 lucky souls with a sweet Dr. Graffenberg, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Dr. Graffenberg, Bullet, Letter Home*, Timmy Tucker, Downward Facing Dog, Big World> Ricky Marten> Time Ed> George
ENCORE: Spaz Medicine
You can download this set on Archive. Thanks to jessedscott for posting this recording.
I thought the barn was a blast. I always feel a little conflicted inside knowing there are about 15,000 other people who would like to be in as well. I can honestly say I have listened from outside a number of times over the years But moe. made magic in that little sweat box and despite my misgivings I would never miss them in the Red Barn. The reggae-ified Letter Home was awesome and you can see it here.
Timmy Tucker was big and they didn’t stop for the second half of the set. I had a great time and really enjoyed the fact that I got to start and end my day with moe. We stayed until the beginning of Spaz, which was close to 4 a.m. before heading back to our tent. We slept hard and good. It was already an amazing experience and the next two days would continue to impress, humble, and excite me. Stay tuned for my Saturday and Sunday recaps coming soon.
You can see all of my Thurday Photos here.
As well as my Friday Photos here.
With the help of my ear plugs I managed to sleep straight to about 11:15 in the morning…it was magical. I’d never slept that late at the festival before. Turns out I was up just in time to catch a little 56 Hope Road, a great band that has been around for years. I stopped by the Empenada stand and cored a potato egg empanada, perfect for breakfast. Great part of the food vendors, I think I visited them 3 or 4 times throughout the fest.
It was getting to be time to go check out Moe. And see Camp Counselor Nick Stock introduce them. On the way I caught the Reverend Peyton warming up and snapped a pretty good pic of him. I love seeing the performers backstage getting into their mental or zen or whatever it is they do for themselves before a show.
Musically, Friday was pretty low key for me during the day. I did, however make it out to the guitars workshop at the Church. Al and Chuck from Moe. were there to answer a lot of us guitar nerds questions about gear, playing styles, ideas towards playing the guitar and more. They were so personable and played a couple little jams for us. My favorite question though came when an audience member asked if they ever felt like they need to get some of the other artists like Jake Cinninger from the festival up to jam and show them a thing or two. Al and Chuck kind of looked over at each other puzzled, Chuck turns to the audience and says, you know, Jake’s a pretty accomplished player himself so sometimes it’s like he plays something and I’m like, wait, what?
For me, really, Friday was about the night time, which is the right time…Umph, Sound Tribe, Umph, I couldn’t be happier. The shows were amazing. UM went a little extra effort and set up their light rig in the shape of a “U” and an “M” pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. They pulled out a Senor Mouse during the first set and debuted 2 new songs second set, Day Nurse and Hourglass. I liked both very much despite one being a dance track and the other rock…it just goes to show you don’t know where those guys are going to go next. In between sets I caught some STS9 on the big stage. What an amazing job of lighting that was taking place. The crowd was so packed I didn’t even try to get within what seemed like 100 yards from the stage. It was great to see the Summer Camp crowd so big.
After the second UM set the wolfpack headed back to the site to recharge the batteries for a minute. We got some food, got some drink, got some glow sticks, and headed out to the Vibes tent. We caught the end of Team Bayside High, but we were really there for Wyllys & the New York Hustler Ensemble. First of all, I just have to say that the upgrade in the 312 tent was AWESOME. That tent is actually a great stage and a wonderful alternative to the red barn late nights. Wyllys & the New York Hustler Ensemble, though, those guys were amazing. Wyllys has been a phenomenal DJ since before his time with Umphrey’s as a crew member and adding talented artists to add a little something extra in the live setting, something to really connect with, I think is a lot of fun. We danced all night and made it back to the site before sunrise.
Counselor in Training