Once again Summer Camp came through with yet another photo pass to Red Rocks. This time for the bluegrass extravaganza headlined by Scamp veterans Yonder Mountain String Band. They did an amazing job putting together a stellar supporting lineup with Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters filling out the bill. I have been waiting for this show for months and was totally stoked when I went to grab my pass at the booth. There was a rumor floating around online that Red Rocks would be releasing an additional 500 tickets. With the show selling out just the day prior there were literally hundreds of kids out roaming the lot with their respective fingers in the air. So by the time I got back down to will call around 5 PM there was a huge line of eager fans, but as I got to the window a representative came out stood on a boulder and let everyone know that the show was officially sold out. I found out from her that they only released 50 tickets rather than the bruited 500.
I quickly headed back up the hill because the doors were already open and I didn’t want to miss my chance to shoot The Infamous Stringdusters who were up first. J-Man and I made our way down to the pit and I was immediately struck by how many dear friends I was surrounded by. I noticed local videographer and documentarian Eric Abramson on stage with his trusty camera. He is my personal hero and everything I aspire to be, look out for his upcoming doc on Scramble Campbell entitled ScrambleVision. I looked up into the quickly forming crowd to see Roach, Wildo with the Team Shit Show Crew, and a ton of pink vests in honor of far too young fallen Yonder fan Lilli Trippe who recently lost her battle with a rare form of childhood leukemia. Her story is truly heartbreaking but the show of support from not only YMSB but also their fanbase is very inspiring. RIP Lilli. You can read more about her story and also make a tribute to Lilli at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lilli.
So as the Stringusters made their way a call of “Let the fun and games begin,” was belted through the PA. They opened with a searing version of Fork In The Road; here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: Fork In The Road, Black Rock, Get It While You Can, Ain’t No Way Of Knowing, Hitchhiker, Walking On The Moon, It Don’t Mean Nothing, How Far I’d Fall For You, In God’s Country, Can’t Put Out The Fire, Steam Powered Aereo Plane, Rain
You can download the audience recording on ARCHIVE. (Hyperlink – http://www.archive.org/details/isd2011-08-20) Thanks to Gerry Gladu for posting and posting quickly I might add. (Hyperlink – http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22gerry+gladu%22)
When you are in the pit at Red Rocks it is very much a dance with the other photogs. You grab you shot and move on and try not to get in each other’s way. It was a lot of fun working with J-man and some of the other unbelievable local shooters Tobin Voggesser and Rob Tobin (no relation.) The Infamous Stringdusters seem to give a sense of real authenticity in their picking. They were steeped in the old-timey goodness that defines what real bluegrass is all about. They floated around each other in a fluid dance as each took their turn for solos while really listening to what the others were playing. They maintained a certain reverence for this genre’s true aspirations. The early arrivers were treated to a cavalcade of pure bluegrass. Songs like their version of the Police’s Walking On The Moon, In God’s Country, John Hartford’s Steam Powered Aereo Plane, and the show closing Rain were amazing to watch. I was very happy with their set and will definitely be on the lookout for their next journey to Colorado.
Railroad Earth is quickly becoming one of the most dynamic bluegrass acts on the circuit today. They are simply mesmerizing and they have the ability to basically stun their audience. They were certainly in contention for MVPs of the night and I would go so far as to say that they stole the show. YMSB has been playing this yearly pilgrimage to Red Rocks for quite some time now, but the supporting lineup this time around went a long way in helping them sell out their home venue. While J-man and I were in the Lot I asked him to hit up Tim Carbone and ask if they were planning on playing Like A Buddha mainly because I’ve geeking out on it recently, he texted him back with a, “We’ll see,” type answer. As we settled in the pit for our shots that is exactly what they decided to open their set with. I couldn’t help but give J-man a quick fist bump between photos. Here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: Like a Buddha> The Jupiter and The 119, Potter’s Field, Warhead Boogie> Head, Black Elk Speaks, Bird in a House, 1759
You can listen to Gerry Gladu’s Recording on Archive. Thanks Gerry. (http://www.archive.org/details/rre2011-08-20)
The crowd was going absolutely nuts as I spent the first couple songs taking my pictures. RRE has a very distinct sound and twang to their style, it’s almost hypnotic and while you are dancing to it, it’s so easy to get swept up into the emotion of the song. They know how to bring dynamism to their songs erupting into a cacophony of sound before ripping out the bottom for some minimalist jams. There is no question this is by far the best Railroad Earth set that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing from the folk rock of The Jupiter and The 119 to the almost Celtic styling on Potter’s Field, they started very strong. The Warhead Boogie into Head was in one word powerful. Tim Carbone’s violin adds a level of elegance and beauty to their songs and shows his versatility with each new number. The vocals of Todd Sheaffer are definitely distinctive, he does such a good job of annunciating and really pushing out each lyric, however the most impressive player of the night may have been Andy Goessling who is such a talented multi-instrumentalists that he can singlehandedly shift RRE’s sound depending on what he plays. They closed with a barn burning 1759. It was just a jaw-dropping set from start to finish, I was filled with a level of admiration and excitement for Railroad Earth that I have been missing when I saw them previously. They are certainly on fire and have just announced a three-night stand at The Ogden for New Year’s. Denver very much appreciates this RRE.
“… And now it’s our turn to get to play the family picnic.” – Jeff Austin
The only word to describe Yonder Mountain String Band’s performance at Red Rocks this year is energetic. From start to finish they came out with the fire in their fingers and created a set to please. People have complained that the last few years have seen lackluster performances from YMSB; this was not the case on this particular evening at The Edge. They opened with a scorching What The Night Brings; again here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.
SET I: What The Night Brings, Night Out, Criminal, Easy As Pie, Pretty Daughter, Complicated, Ten> Shake Me Up> Ten, Town, Spanish Harlem, Little Lover, Little Rabbit, Sideshow Blues
SET II: East Nashville Easter, Finally Saw The Light, All The Time, Just The Same, Too Late Now, Pockets, Lord Only Knows, On The Run, Rain Still Falls, 40 Miles From Denver, Keep On Going, Dawns Early Light> Robots> Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown> Keep On Going [reprise]
ENCORE: Southern Flavor, Shady Grove
You can stream or download the Gerry’s recording on Archive. (http://www.archive.org/details/ymsb2011-08-20)
Yonder passes around vocal duties like Germans pass around a boot of beer. They are like the power trio of bluegrass except that there are four of them, which is certainly a minimal lineup by any the genre’s standards. The crowd was packed and definitely a little wasted from what I could tell. After I took my photos I saw a girl b-line it over the rail by the stairs to let her dinner go, and truthfully I was a little taken aback. I guess in my 17 YMSB shows I never noticed how wasted some of the fans get. There was more than one story that floated through the ether about uncouth behavior from kids at the show. Other than that one incident I didn’t really see much else out of line but seriously guys be safe and take care of each other. Despite a few rumblings from the crowd the majority were there to have a great time with their favorite Colorado band. Yonder kept the energy level high with classic renditions of Criminal and Danny Barnes’ Pretty Daughter but the highlight of set one was the Ten sandwich with Shake Me Up as the meat of the hoagie.
At setbreak I went backstage, which was a surreal experience to say the least. I didn’t get down into the tunnel, but I did get up into the VIP lounge area. I took the opportunity to tell Todd and Tim from Railroad Earth that they played an incredible show and that I was very happy they were on a part of this stellar lineup. I settled down in the back corner and while the rest of the VIPs were ushered out I got ready to take some video, because when am I going to get this chance again? The bass rumblings of Kaufman got East Nashiville Easter started before they tore into the song. The sound was boomy backstage so as soon as I got my video I slipped up behind the main speakers for a few shots, before heading back out into the sea of people. All in all it was probably one of my best setbreaks at Red Rocks.
The set started a little slower than the first and saw Yonder sticking to more docile tunes. Although numbers like Too Late Now and Pockets showed glimpses of what was to come it wasn’t until On The Run literally erupted into a bluegrass volcano from which the rest of the set flowed like an ooze of magma-infused goodness. When the boys really kicked on the afterburners the rest of the set was remarkable. The Dawns Early Light into Robots into Two Hits into Keep On Going was the reason I continue coming back to see these guys. It was just a good time. They encored with punchy Southern Flavor before a beautiful Shady Grove. And just like that the 6 plus hours of bluegrass on the Rocks was over. As the kids shuffled out of the venue I couldn’t help but have a warm feeling in my stomach happy and full of pride for this great state I call home. Thanks again to Summer Camp for arranging my pass and giving me yet another astonishing opportunity to capture what I love for everyone out there. With summer coming to a close being at Red Rocks affirms everything I love about live music and I was happy to make the trip one more time.
Ok folks, there are a few things that the state of Wisconsin is known for and they are the
cheese curds, the beer, the Wisconsin Dells and Summer Fest. Summer fest is the biggest
music festival in the US an it is held through the month of July in Milwaukee. The weather was perfect, the choice of friends who came were perfect and being able to pre party in the parking lot was even more perfect because then we didn’t have to buy drinks in the park. I was pleased to travel the 3 hours from my house on a special Thursday to make it to see the Summer Camp artists such as Yonder Mountain String Band, G Love & Special Sauce and Michael Franti all in one set. And let me tell you that was the down fall, having to pick between who I wanted to see because they all played at the exact same time…..LAME. But me being me I made it to all!!! I started at Yonder who played an amazing Kentucky Mandolin and helped me to boogie down with my close friends and fabulous boyfriend. I figured having my adventure start at Yonder was a good choice, they have always pleased me with how they open their shows and how fast the crowd responds to the twangy beat. After grooving to Yonder for a tid bit I mozzied my happy butt over to G Love who rocked the crowd and made me appreciate glow sticks the size of my leg because holding one of those babies up in the air for more than a second makes me wonder how people at Summer Camp can hold all the totems and such for a whole day hahaha. It gets hard if you have never done it before but seems to get easier the better the show I have noticed. Like anything else it easy to dance, sing, hold totems and such if you are an awesome set so G love made it easy for me. After getting groovy to some G love I made my way over to my first ever Michael Franti show and let me tell you it was nothing like I expected. I haven’t really listened to much Franti but that man can throw down and make the ladies woooh hehe. If you have never seen the man than I highly suggest it because he is tall and handsome. Not only that but the man had talent and soul. I would enjoy seeing him again if you know what I mean. But t makes me happy to have seen him for the first time with good friends of mine. I ended up staying at the Franti show for the rest of the evening. The energy from the crowd was immaculate and the music was new to me and good.
It was really cool when we walked out of the park when the music was over. Our hopes were high, our crave for music was mouthwatering and there were some talented boys right outside trying to earn a buck and feeding our need for more. These four boys were skilled and had their stuff together. It is so hard to tell you how talented they were but let me tell you I bet they walked away with at least $1000 that night. They set up right outside the main gates to anyone who walked by had to at least hear them. When we heard the commotion we couldn’t help but walk over and see what all the hubbub was about. They were playing 5 gallon bucks like I have never seen. They were playing right on with one another, throwing sticks in the air, saying their
little tone “we want a dolla, I know you got a 20” all together perfectly. It was really cool. And no kidding people were dropping in money like no other, some people actually were dropping in 20 dollar bills. It was nuts but they were good. A buddy of mine decided he was going to drop in $5 but he wanted to play with them and they were cool enough to let him, it was hilarious because he couldn’t keep up with their speed. It was all in fun though. But these boys played out there every night and made a pretty penny doing it.
All in all if you are ever in Milwaukee during the month of July I would highly suggest hitting up Summer Fest. It’s a guaranteed good time.
Counselor In Training
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