With all the gallantry and smackdabbery of Christmas behind us it was time to get down at the first of three nights with The String Cheese Incident in The 1stBank Center. It has been fifteen years since SCI has played a New Year’s Eve show in Colorado; this run marks the first time ever that they are ringing in the New Year on the Front Range. The first night saw a continuation of their momentum from the summer tour. They put a huge effort into practicing prior to these runs and it showed when they hit the stage.
I took the opportunity to hop on the Quixote’s bus. At $24 after fees it seemed a bit expensive, but how can you put a price on a safe ride. I arrived and quickly made my way inside. With temperatures in the single digits, it didn’t make much sense to hang out in the Lot. Inside, the kids adorned in capes and glittery accoutrement swooped about in anticipation of the night’s show. The first of a three-night run usually calls for a lighter turnout, and at the height of the evening the floor was full, but there was still plenty of seats available throughout the venue. They opened with a tasty “Round The Wheel.”
Set One: Round The Wheel, Sometimes A River, Yo Sé, So Far From Home, Born On The Wrong Planet, Betray The Dark, Close Your Eye > Black Clouds
Set Two: Rollover > Out On The Road, Give Me The Love, Eye Know Why, Jellyfish > Kashmir, Rivertrance, Sirens > Rollover
Encore: Time Alive, Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
String Cheese continued with a floating rendition of “Sometimes A River” before the show exploded with an excellent “Yo Sé.” Kyle Hollingsworth’s fingers danced on the keys and showcased his Latin flair. Jason Hahn too stepped into the spotlight blasting away on the bongos. Billy Nershi took the helm on the rockabilly bluegrass number “So Far From Home,” before the highlight of the first set came in the form of “Born On The Wrong Planet.” SCI chilled out the crowd with a funky and brooding “Betray The Dark.” They closed the set with a one two punch “Close Your Eye” into a massive “Black Clouds.” Other than the set stretching out a bit, it was fairly standard, with somewhat restrained playing. The second set would be their chance to really let loose.
They opened with an unfinished “Rollover,” that many fans assumed would come on New Year’s Eve. String Cheese transitioned smoothly into an extended rendition of “Out On The Road,” again showcasing Kyle’s dirty organ tricks. Michael Kang’s vocals gave a gentle feel to “Give Me The Love.” Kyle busted out one of his tunes with “Eye Know Why.” The crowd was slightly stunned with the intro to “Jellyfish,” again thinking this would come later in the run. However, Nershi found himself fumbling with the lyrics before restarting the song and settling back in nicely. The audience laughed it off, as this song saw some of the best jamming of the night before they ripped into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Kang again took the microphone and belted out this song intensely. It was a quick but solid version.
Cheese brought a bit of that old-fashioned dance party whomp with “Rivertrance,” but again it was tasteful and I found myself focusing on Kang’s fiddle anyway. They again ended the set big with “Sirens” into “Rollover Reprise.” The band seemed to be gushing a bit over the crowd, having mentioned several times throughout the night how happy they were to be in Colorado for New Year’s. They encored with a Travis-fronted song entitled “Time Alive,” that came off as rock opera-esque by the end. They followed up that with a short take on the bluegrass standard “Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” It was a solid start to the three-night run with the second set coming out on top. They got more comfortable as the night progressed and it manifested itself in the interplay between the musicians. With two more nights to go it would be interesting to see if they can keep up this pace.
Kashmir Video – http://youtu.be/-HUCymKySVM
Kyle Hollingsworth has taken part in a wide array of events at Summer Camp. From sitting in with moe. on “Happy Hour Hero” to hosting a seminar on brewing beer, he’s definitely a welcomed guest at the festival. Back near his home in Boulder, Colorado it’s becoming a winter tradition that Kyle takes a trip down the Front Range sharing good music and first-class beer. This year he upped the ante by including Soulive as well as a couple fresh brews. He warmed up for two nights in Denver by bringing Eric Krasno to sit in for the show at Hodi’s in Fort Collins. Kyle also brought a variation on Avery’s dry-hopped Winter Day IPA that he collaborated on with the brewery. It was a spicy ale, balanced by an abundance of hoppy goodness. It’s definitely a nice holiday beer.
Video Link – http://youtu.be/tJdcdEImhEE
Whew, what a weekend in Asheville with Warren Hayne’s beloved 24th annual Christmas Jam! Coming into the hometown holiday jam-off, many people were surprised by the seemingly random line-up with a few oddballs thrown into the mix of a jam-themed Christmas show- Sheryl Crow being the main one. And many were seemingly disappointed with the last minute announcement of pop folk band, The Avett Brothers, as their sounds continues to spiral down into pop love ballad abyss.
Surprisingly for most however, a little soulful love song mix-up fit nicely into the predominantly jam and funk breakdown. After the killer horns and jazzed up set of Trombone Shorty, the Avett Brothers tore it up, breaking out a few older tunes and picking like they did pre-Rick Rubin. Sheryl Crow then took the stage and crooned her sexy heart out, jamming the classic Crow favorites we all know and love.
But the real funk began when String Cheese Incident took the stage, breaking down old favorites like Joyful Noise and Can’t Wait Another Day before pulling up the meanest sax player on the scene, Mister Karl Denson, to join in on a mean Rosie then blowing the crowd away with Phish cover Quinn the Eskimo. What a night. I think perhaps a little Cheese in the 2013 Summer Camp line-up would truly bring the scamp house down and make Scamp 2013 an epic summer to never be forgotten. You with me?
I headed down to Bohemian Nights on Sunday around 3 PM for Widow’s Bane. Widow’s Bane is not a Summer Camp band, but maybe they should be. For those that don’t know this self-proclaimed “Zombie-Death-Polka” band performs adorned in face paint and blood. Led by Mortimer Leech who was poisoned by his wife a few hundred years ago, The Widow’s Bane does not shy away form playing to the crowd. They invited a friend to serve cotton candy to the mass as they performed. They were the surprise of the festival, playing up their characters and making for an intriguing blend of rock, folk, and cowpunk.
The rest of my afternoon was filed with a pair of Summer Camp Alumni, Great American Taxi, and Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Both Vince and Kyle have had interesting positions at Summer Camp over the years. Vince Herman played the role of master of ceremony in 2006 and Kyle Hollingsworth lead a discussion on home brewing and sat in with Everyone Orchestra in 2011. I took my time heading back over to the Old Town Square Stage for Leftover Salmon side project Great American Taxi. It had been two years since GAT had played at Bohemian Nights and they definitely drew in the people. The highlight of their set was a beautiful rendition of “Silver Fiddle.” With Vince Herman at the reigns this band never disappoints.
I went to see a bit of Sunday headliners Gipsy Kings before ending the weekend at Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Kyle of The String Cheese Incident has assembled an all star side project including Garrett Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on kit. They played everything you would want to her from them including an epic set closing “Rosie.” I left the event happy to have covered it, and elated with how well it came off. It’s impossible to live in Fort Collins and not make it down for at least a day or two of Bohemian Nights. Even if you don’t like many of the bands there is always plenty to see and do. I took the opportunity this year to pick my very own 10-show weekend, which is easy to do given the fact that so many bands played the event. It was well run and a great time, now let’s see moe. headline a night next year. Thanks to the Bohemian Foundation and the Downtown Association for all the hard work.
The long awaited two-night run of Game 7 was billed as the MusicMarauders Two Year Anniversary Celebration. Having been writing for MM for close to a year now, which has been a great experience overall, I was very excited to join in the festivities. Writing for MusicMaraudes was just one of my qualifications that helped land me the Camp Counselor position. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of coverage for both Summer Camp and MM.
I arrived early enough to catch a bit of Wisebird’s opening set. They were a foursome of wide brim hat wearing, bearded jammers who looked like they walked straight out of a Kerouac novel. Wisebird dabbled in bluesy song structures with a rockabilly twang. I would say the most striking thing about their playing was the distinct cleanliness of their sound. While not necessarily incredibly complex the music of Wisebird was tight and well thought out. They were an interesting juxtaposition for the night’s main event. I headed backstage with J-man for a quick interview with Magner before they took the stage around midnight.
This was the third outing of supergroup Game 7. A jam hybrid with Araon Magner of the Disco Biscuits, Michael Kang from String Cheese Incident, Particle’s rhythm section Darren Pujalet and Eric Gould, as well as Pete Wall from the Motet. Playing together for only the third time live this nascent collaboration showed incredible promise. All of the members save Pete Wall (who is a member of The Motet whom I wrote about in my prevoius post.) have played at Summer Camp in one band or another. As fans filtered in, many from STS9’s Fillmore show, shouts of Kang and Magner could be heard from the enthusiastic crowd. They opened with an original jam entitled Multiball 2. Here is the rest of their setlist.
SET I: Multiball 2, Chicago> Mike’s Outro, Run Like Hell, La Femme, Time To Pretend, Howl At The Moon, Skyscrapper> MIA Jam> Da Funk> Feeling Older, Mind Over Matter, Neck Romancer, Come Together
ENCORE: Multiball 1
(Taken from onstage setlist.)
Game 7 was a fusing of styles as diverse as the members who made up the group. With the often-subtle mannered Michael Kang playing bandleader he passed around the jam like a hot potato. Scantily clad Bisco chicks and a random girl dressed in a bear suit danced passionately as the band eased into their two-plus hour set. It would have been easy for them to be an untz-fueled monster given the Particle and Bisco backgrounds, but honestly they were a fluid organic musical experience with an electronic edge. Their version of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell was an inspired take with a trance-y bridge before they went right back into the tune to close. They performed a jam on MGMT’s Time To Pretend, which had been played the night previous. However given the fact that they are a newly assembled endeavor still working on original material it was to be expected. The show flowed quickly with covers from Air, Daft Punk, as well as a version of Disco Biscuits’ Neck Romancer.
The show was incredibly balanced and it really displayed the musical prowess of everyone involved. It’s collaborations like this that reaffirm my faith in the jam scene. Unlike other musical realms, the amazing talent of the members of this community allows them to play with anyone, anytime. On a Saturday night at Quixote’s we witnessed some serious musical ability. Most notable of which may have been Pete Wall who seemed to blast off about midset. He brought a new dynamic to his sound and was virtually evolving right before a captivated audience. Magner did what he does best all night killing it on the keys and adding his own sonic flair to the sound. Pujalet was a human metronome on the skins with Gould giving a pinpoint precision to his bass playing. They bookended the show with their Multiball 2 jam finishing around 2:30 AM. As the crowd spilled out in the streets I smiled to myself knowing that I got to see this sick lineup at the beginning. They have so much raw potential that I can only hope that they continue to find time to play together in the future. Happy Anniversary to MusicMarauders and I look forward to another amazing year of live music coverage.