Another wonderful weekend at Summer Camp is coming to a close, but not without another day of music. Sunday has proven to be a very wet end to the festival. The rain did not stop me from getting out and enjoying some music.
I managed to catch a strings workshop in the church including many great musicians from the weekend.
Later I caught some amazing footage I can’t wait to release of Everyone Orchestra.
To help stay dry I caught a lot of acts under shelter. I went to catch the Ragbirds playing in the VIP Lounge and it turned out for some great photos.
I truly enjoyed my weekend as a Camp Counselor in Training and all of the experiences that were put before me have been amazing. I will be working hard on getting some of my videos published for you all as soon as I am home.
On Friday afternoon at Summer Camp 2013 the good people at Scamp HQ asked if I wanted to interview a dubstep DJ. I had no time whatsoever to prepare and I was not really familiar with his sound. On top of that, this actually the first interview I have ever done with any artist! Not knowing a thing about dubstep, I jumped right and just let it flow. I knew what I was getting myself into when I first applied to be a Counselor at Summer Camp, so this was my make it or break it moment. Needless to say, I channeled my inner Oprah and enjoyed every minute of it!
Minnesota is a young dubstep/glitch hop DJ that is based out of California. Originally from Minnesota, this Midwest dude doesn’t take himself too seriously which was a huge relief once I actually sat down to talk with him outside the church. We covered a lot in the short time I interviewed him, from his Midwest roots to playing festivals all around the country. He has opened for many of our favorite Summer Camp artists including STS9 and he will even be playing with Lotus at Red Rocks in September. In the meantime, he will be dropping bass all over the country this summer including Spring Awakening next weekend in Chicago.
I could probably write a book about my 2013 Summer Camp experience. There is a variety pack of blogs I have planned for the future and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite vendors, festy food, and artist interviews with my all my Scamp family.
For now, I want to share a video that pretty much sums up my time at this year’s Scamp. This whole process has been a very different experience than anything I have ever done before. I have never blogged, interviewed artists, shot and edited a video, or documented any part of a music festival before. While I am still learning quite a bit, I feel like I represented my favorite parts of Summer Camp the best I could. My goal from the beginning was to capture my favorite aspects of Camp while still staying true to the scene.
Please enjoy this video recap for Summer Camp 2013 and keep checking back because there is a TON more I want to show you!
A more perfect day could not have been planned for Summer Camp on Friday. Music lovers arose to the crispy, bluebird sky of central Illinois with a bright beautiful sun shinning down from above. As fans shook off the grogginess of Thursday’s pre-party they found that Summer Camp was beginning in earnest and the weather was perfect. The light rain of the prior day kept down the dust promising that attendees would not be blowing a Rorschach Test into their hankies. A light breeze blew across the fields making for a sweet balance of warm and cool as the day began. Chicago Summer Camp regulars Old Shoe got the music started with an 11 AM shotgun start.
This quintet is quintessential jam with an acoustic sensibility thrown in for good measure. As Matt Robinson donned his “Easy Scampin’” shirt it was clear that not only was Old Shoe ready to have fun, they were ready to play. This band has so much potential as their local fan base already knows, They are a blend of rock, funk, folk, and more, Old Shoe just seems to fit. As their name would insinuate there is a comfortable vibe that emulates from everything they do. Their hour-long set was a perfect way to officially start Friday at Summer Camp.
Just as Old Shoe was finishing up Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn band was getting warmed up on the Starshine Stage. These guys put the power in power trio. Their sound is reminiscent of a revving engine approaching the red line. They have a growl that would make a dire wolf question its masculinity. They opened with a roaring “That Train Song.”
Set 1: That Train Song, Something For Nothing, Easy Come Easy Go, Regular Ole’ Guitar> Peter Gun Theme, Big Blue Chevy ’72, You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover, Worn Out Shoes, Clap Your Hands, Devils Look Like Angels, Some of These Days> When the Saints Go Marching In, Glory Glory
The Rev. is as much of a storyteller as he is a rocker. Joined by his wife Breezy and drummer Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell, Reverend Peyton can rip on anything with a fret board. In fact during “Easy Come, Easy Go” he absolutely shredded on a cigar box guitar. I’ve never seen one let alone heard one sound like a Les Paul. Their hour on the stage went by far to quickly and ended with a rolling version of “Some Of These Days into a raucous version of “When The Saints Go Marching In” followed by a very untraditional take on “Glory, Glory.” Let’s just say it got spiritual.
Next up was Keller Williams in the VIP Lounge. This was the first year with an actual schedule set up for VIP, rather than just a few random sets throughout the weekend. Keller was running late, taking the stage a full twenty minutes after he was scheduled. The set began ceremoniously with an introduction from promoter and festival organizer Ian Goldberg. He is Jay’s son and basically runs the whole show. Keller began by saying, “I have no plan.” He performed an acoustic, loopless show, which is something I haven’t seen since 2005 at Summer Camp. Keller is always a sort of flow of conscience type show, but his loopless shows take it to another level. Strumming away we were treated to a set that was all K-Dub. The highlight was beautiful rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “Eyes Of The World.” I would have stayed longer, but it was time for moe.
2013 Camp Counselor Kyle Hess gave the intro, which was short but sweet. Having stood in his shoes, it’s a lot of pressure to announce your heroes to 15,000 or so people. He did so marvelously. moe. opened their festival with a huge “Captain America” into “Recreational Chemistry.” This was the equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet as far as I’m concerned.
Set 1: Captain America> Recreational Chemistry, Deep This Time> Downward Facing Dog, Puebla> Ricky Marten> Seat Of My Pants, Okayalright
moe. is one of the few jambands that has never broken up, never taken an extended hiatus, and never left their fans in the lurch. It absolutely shows in their live performances. They simply grind and for that reason I’ve been a fan for well over a decade. Their guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey are so dialed in, watching them is like witnessing a two-headed shred monster. They toss each other lead and rhythm parts like hot potatoes shot from a grenade launcher. This was a classic jam-filled set with a massive “Okayalright” to close. With five more sets on the horizon they set the bar pretty high with this show filled to the brim with badassery.
The Wailers were up next on the Sunshine Stage. I’ve always been a bit confused by The Wailers , The Original Wailers and were the two diverged. The fact that Bunny Wailer is still alive and not a member of either band is enough to make me question the namesake. Originally The Wailers was comprised of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Livingston. Afterwards the band morphed into Bob Marley and The Wailers with Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his brother Cody Barrett on drums with the I Threes. Both of the Barretts were members of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s studio band The Upsetters. So basically Aston is the only real member of Bob’s band, but they continued performing after Bob’s death. They were lead by Koolant Brown on vocals who was like a bucket of jazzercise. His energy was infectious and his tone was spot on. The other notable member is Keith Sterling on keys who was also a part of The Upsetters among other Jamaican groups. They sounded solid with awesome versions of “Africa Unite” and “Stir It Up.” The highlight of their set was a mashup of “Waiting In Vain” with Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” As I was heading over to MMW I could hear them playing “I Shot The Sheriff” to an enthusiastic crowd.
Medeski, Martin, & Wood plays jazz with a jam mentality. It’s not so much about the groove because at times they go down the trail blazed by greats like Charlie Parker. Utilizing dissonance that to the untrained ear can be unsettling. However the fact is that MMW is capable of absolutely anything. Their most crowd-pleasing shows include funkiness, which was definitely present at points during their set at Summer Camp. They are simply one of the most incredible live acts touring today and it was a pleasure to see them on a beautiful day in central Illinois.
As Keller Williams ages his projects become more and more sophisticated. No longer is he content playing alone. The last few years have seen numerous projects spring from his mind. The latest is Keller Williams and The More Than A Little. This is his most soulful endeavor incorporating two female vocalists and a full band. They started the set with the song from which they take their name. K-Dub hit the stage in a black suit, smacking his talking drum and looking pretty suave. I would have to say the man won best dressed for Friday if not the entire fest. There was smoothness to this group and a focus on the funkier side of Keller. This is probably my favorite band that Keller has formed and I hope this group actually tours rather than being just a flash in the pan. This was also the most painful overlap of the day with Yonder Mountain String Band starting just a half hour after Keller, so shortly after it started, it was time to mosey.
Colorado bluegrass ambassadors Yonder Mountain String Band have been a hallmark of Summer Camp for years now. Their main stage set this year was chocked full of stringy goodness. They started with an energetic “If You’re Ever In Oklahoma” into “East Nashville Easter.”
Set 1: If You’re Ever in Oklahoma> East Nashville Easter> 40 Miles From Denver, 20 Eyes, Irondale, Pretty Daughter, Casualty, Kentucky Mandolin*, Dear Prudence*> Raleigh & Spencer*, Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown*
*w/ Roosevelt Collier on Pedal Steel
This set was a beautiful, rambunctious journey with one of my favorite bands. Jeff Austin’s face contorted as he wore the finish off his mandolin, by straight ripping it up. They invited Lee Boy, Roosevelt Collier to the stage to play the pedal steel with the band. This added a whole new dimension to their group. He wasn’t even on the official lineup, but he ended up being an artist at large of sorts playing around all weekend long. Their take on “Dear Prudence” with him was definitely memorable as was their set closing “Two Hits.”
Finally it was time for the main event with Umphrey’s McGee. Basically Summer Camp has become their home fest as they now share the bill with moe. They have such a dedicated following and are actually from the Midwest so it makes a lot of sense. They eased into a two set extravaganza with “There’s No Crying In Mexico.”
Set 1: There’s No Crying in Mexico > All in Time > Mantis Ghetts, Nothing Too Fancy> Ringo, Eat, Believe the Lie, Conduit, Comma Later > Nothing Too Fancy
Set 2: Puppet String > Plunger > All in Time, Sociable Jimmy, Bright Lights, Big City1, Glory> Plunger > Puppet String
*w/ Dom (Big Gigantic)
Umphrey’s is the most technical band in jam and this show demonstrated just that. The boys let us know that they are still Death Metal with “All In Time.” “Nothing Too Fancy” into “Ringo” was the climax of their first set and again raised the bar from a band that might as well be professional bar raisers. “Eat” actually had me a little frightened as again their Metal was showing, before the progressive “Believe The Lie” eased the tension. Umphrey’s is not an easy band to watch. They don’t just give it to you. They make their fans concentrate in a way that no other member of the jam community does. You have to work to understand what this band is doing. They are the opposite of dubstep in that regard. They ended their first set by going back into “Nothing Too Fancy.”
Their second set was bookended by “Puppet String” and included a sit in from Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli. It was a little more reserved than the blowout that was set one. “The Bright Lights, Big City” on which Lalli sat in was a definite highlight of a set full of technical turns and rage heavy jam. Umphrey’s is a big part of what makes Summer Camp so great and this was their night to blow it all out. They did so marvelously. During “Glory” they teased The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Rhinoceros” which got fans hopeful, but I’m glad they stuck to the script. This is one my favorite UM tunes and really demonstrates a different side of their sound. With a little bit of the theatrical moes came to the stage for the encore. The Umph boys gave them a look like, “We got this,” and proceeded to bust out a highly mechanical “Rebubula.” It was a nice touch to show the interconnectivity of these two groups at this particular festival.
After Umphrey’s I opted to nap it out for bit to be ready for the late night in the Red Barn with moe. and YMSB. I arrived at the Barn around 12:45 and made my way inside. The Barn is 400-person shell complete with lasers and a high ceiling. moe. opened with “Mar-Dema.”
Set 1: Mar-Dema > Kyle’s Song > Kids, In a Big Country, Wind it up > Sensory Deprivation Bank, lylelovit. > Waiting For The Punchline
Their hour and fifteen minute set left fans wishing they would play until the sun came up. This was classic moe. with a wonderful “Kyle’s Song” as well as a bust out on “Big Country” which hadn’t been played in 929 shows. Before playing “Sensory Deprivation Bank” Rob said, “This is the most downloaded song in the history of porn… it’s true.” I’m not sure if that’s actually a fact but it was absolutely huge. The set closing “Waiting For The Punchline” whipped the crowd up into a frenzy. This was solid moe. and a fun way to spend a late night.
After a stage swap that went a little too long Yonder took to the boards. They got going with a solid sandwich in the form of “New Horizons“ into “Blue Collar Blues” back into “New Horizons.”
Set 1: New Horizons > Blue Collar Blues > New Horizons, Left Me in a Hole, Fingerprint, My Gal, Steep Grade Sharp Curves > Gut Feeling/Slap your Mammy, New Deal Train, Another Day, Little Lover, Ten
Encore: Southern Flavor
Yonder took us on a late night bluegrass romp that saw classics flirting with a few new tunes. It was simply a great day of music and YMSB was the perfect end to it all playing well into the wee hours of the morning. Additional highlights of their set included “Let Me In A Hole,” “New Deal,” and “Ten.” They encored with an awesome “Southern Flavor.”
As I walked down the trail back to my tent the birds were beginning to chirp and I knew that Saturday would be coming all too soon. Summer Camp is non-stop run and if you do take a break you are going to miss something. That’s just the nature of the beast. It’s always important to pace yourself, but it’s even more important to see as much live music as possible. Two down, two to go.
“Facemelt” is a word commonly used at Summer Camp Music Festival but it seems most of the general public has no idea exactly what we are talking about. As a Summer Camp CIT, I thought I might be able to shed a little light on the word’s meaning by asking fellow Summer Campers to define “facemelt” and give some examples of when their faces have melted in the past.
Friday night walking to the first Umphreys set I saw my shoes came untied. Since I was excited to get to the show I made the rash decision to wait and tie it once I got there (I like to live on the edge). A little later down the trail I ran into a group of girls that I started to chat with. It wasn’t long at all before they noticed my shoestrings and decided they needed to inform me of my situation, like i couldn’t see it. So sarcastically I tell them that I never learned to tie my shoes. I said that I thought shoestrings were just a fad and eventually everyone will move to Velcro. Velcro is obviously the better choice. These girls ate it up, the closest one bent down and tied my shoes for me while reciting, “See? You do the loop d loop and pull.” I just stood there flabbergasted. Never in my life have I witnessed such kindness paired with such cluelessness. I never even ended up coming clean about it. I think she must have figured it out by now though….right? The story would be so much more funny if she found out by reading this. I hope you are reading this shoe tying girl from Louisiana .
Saturday was another amazing day at Summercamp. My day started off amazing getting to meet and speak with Dumpstaphunk! I was most excited about my interview I got to do with Victor Wooten and Reed Mathis! They are some of the best bass players in existence and the opportunity for me was amazing!
Spent the rest of the day dealing with a rainier day than we would of liked but that did not stop SCampers from having a great time anyway. Music ensued and everyone did their best to enjoy as much of it as possible.
Finally we finished our nights off right by blasting off to Umph, moe, Umph, moe! I made it this year to Michigan’s own Ragbirds who played an amazing post headliner set!
Can’t wait to finish this weekend off right! Looks like more rain, but we won’t let it damper our fun!
After 4 days of some of the best music of my life, it has come to an end. Looking back, I had one of the best times of my life. Sure, the weather was nasty, but there’s nothing you can do to change that. I played football growing up and I learned real quick that you just gotta play through the shitty weather. For Scamp, it was the same mindset. Are you really gonna let the rain ruin your day? I didn’t spend 6 hours in a car to come let my experience get ruined by something out of my control, so hey, I just had a good time. The weather is what it is, so you just gotta embrace it and move on. The rain turned the fields into one large mud puddle, ruining my shoes, socks, and jeans, but I worse things could have happened. For example, the music could have sucked. But the music blew my mind and that’s the only thing that matters. Looking back, here are my Top 5 performances from my weekend:
1. Trey Anastasio Band 2. The Everyone Orchestra 3. Umphrey’s McGee – Saturday 4. Umphrey’s McGee – Friday 5. Umphrey’s McGee – Sunday.
Yeah, I listed all 3 UM shows. That’s because they’re SO great. I also want to shout out Roster McCabe’s Pre-Party show on Thursday night as another great performance.
Looking back, I just wish I saw more concerts! I am bummed to admit I missed out on Sound Tribe, Yonder Mountain, Papdosio, Keller Williams, and EOTO, and also missed portions of a couple moe. and UM sets and Big Gigantic. Just too many overlapping music! Also, the camp grounds were very dark at night. Some areas were lit by hanging neon lights, why can’t they just have that all throughout? I think it’d be better if the camp grounds were also more organized into grids or squares, and section it off a little bit more so they are easier to navigate.
Although Summer Camp has come and gone, the summer is just getting started. I’m looking forward to Roster McCabe swinging through La Crosse, Wisconsin, in a couple weeks, Summerfest next month – lineup includes Tom Petty, Pretty Lights, Umphrey’s, and Dark Star Orchestra, 3 nights of Phish in July, and 2 nights of the Allman Brothers Band in August. Be on the lookout for more blogs from me from all the shows I check out the rest of the summer!
Sunday was EASILY the best day of music for me. Also, it was easily the worst day of weather. No way I was gonna let that affect my mood, though, and for many Scampers, it was the same.
I was able to catch Umphrey’s day time show, and they just continue to get better every time I see them, as now this was the 15th show for me. Highlights include a beautiful version of Dear Lord, one of my all time favorites and a rarity, with a sit-in from Luther Dickinson. They closed the set with a rockin’ Miss Tinkle’s Overture. Check out my video of it (right here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0M7GMT3F74&feature=youtu.be
Hands down, the show by The Everyone Orchestra was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Wow. I was just blown away. On stage was Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee on keys, Vinnie Amico, Jim Loughlin, and Al Schnier of moe. on drums, percussion, and guitar, respectively, Victor Wooten on bass, Allie Kral of Cornmeal on violin, Roosevelt Collier on steel guitar, and Alex Steele of Roste McCabe on vocals. There was also another girl on trombone who was just stunningly good, but I am not sure who her name was unfortunately. Of course, it was orchestrated by Matt Butler. For those unfamiliar with The Everyone Orchestra, it is all improv and the jams are literally conducted by Butler as he is leading the artists with the tempos and grooves. Their final jam had some “Love Love Love” lyrics bouncing around that got the crowd going crazy inside the intimate Red Barn.
Finally, there was Trey. Words can’t even begin to describe the musical journey he takes me on every time I see him perform. He came out on stage, did a nice little awkward and goofy half-bow to the crowd, picked up Ocelot (the name of his guitar) and got right into First Tube, a classic song that gets me rocking every time. He didn’t let up from there in his first set got better and better with each song. Unfortunately it was raining for most of the first set, so I didn’t get many pictures or videos, but it let up enough for me to catch the end of “Money, Love, & Change.” Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUBGexwkKU&feature=youtu.be
His second set was cut short due to the nasty flash flood, which to be honest, came as a sort of relief to me. I found myself at such a predicament because a gust of wind, or Trey’s peak in one of his jams, snapped my umbrella in half. Once that happened I just got SOAKED. I mean soaked. And muddy. But I mean, it’s Trey! During the jam of Push on til The Day, the final song he ended up playing, a small child arose on the shoulders of someone in the front row, and he just danced danced and danced away for all to notice. The crowd cheered him on as he had all the spins and moves, mostly with his arms, and even Trey went up and gave him a high five after the song ended. It reminded me of when Alpine Valley last summer, in which Trey pulled up a bunch of phans on stage during their encore song of Meatstick, showing despite the level of stardom he has reached, he still has the heart and joy of music to share it with others and acknowledge great moments when it happens. By the way, I was one of those guys doing the Meatstick dance on stage. Here’s the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nIFwpRxFLA
Well, Summer Camp, it was GREAT. Although the rainstorm cut the night a little young, I had a hell of a time and am already counting down the days til next year.
3 days down and only 1 more to go!
Heres a little recap for Saturday.
Because I live so close to the festival, when I woke up, my girlfriend and I went to our house to shower and get some good eats before making our way back to Three Sisters. When we got back, we went to our campsite to get ready. Headed to Moonshine to see how funky we could get at Conspirator. Just like we thought it was pretty heady. The bass raddled my noggin like a freight train. It was super furious.
After Conspirator we headed back to the campsite to rest a little and made our way to the vibe tent for Manic Focus. We were there for about 20 minutes and realized we were about to miss Diplo back at Moonshine. We hurried over and stumbled all over in the mud.
During Diplo’s set we all got as low to the ground as possible and then BOOM, Thousands of people jumped in the air and started breaking it down. Bass.. BASS EVERYWHERE. I thought conspirator had some heavy bass but wow DIPLO layed it DOWN.
After Diplo we walked around the festival for awhile till thievery corp. Ended up forgeting about thievery corp which I was super upset about. But realized I had Griz, Umphreys, and Gramatik to go see.
After all three shows I was pretty tired and beat so we went back to the campsite and started to mess around with people. Told everyone who walked by that they dropped their pocket and some laughed some really thought they dropped their pockets and others took it a little to serious.
After the jokes, before bed we found someone that was going to do a belly flop for us by my campsite right into a giant puddle. He was a little drunk and had the balls to do it. $20 really does go a long way with some people.
Here’s the video because my words just don’t do any justice to it!
Until next time,
Happy Scamping everyone!