Sunday at Summer Camp is always bittersweet. I run around covering my shows and taking pictures, but in the back of my mind I know that it will soon be over. The last two years have seen some incredible Sunday lineups adding that cherry to the sundae in the form of a big act. Last year it was Widespread Panic, this year it was the controversial inclusion of Jane’s Addiction. I for one welcomed their inclusion into the lineup. Having never seen them it was an opportunity to jump outside my comfort zone and experience something different. Sunday began early with my routine and a trip over to see Banyan sound check. I found Willie Waldman, Clint Wagner, Stephen Perkins all up on the stage getting their sound dialed in. I’ve know Willie Waldman for ten years, since I was in college so it was great to see him at Summer Camp 2012. Perkins is a machine and I met him playing in Denver four years ago, he gave me the nod as he got his kit set up. Long time moe. fan and all around nice guy Gary was there hanging with the band. For those that don’t Gary has been a concert institution in the Midwest since I started seeing shows. His long grey beard and tie-dyed socks can be found dancing away any given night from Denver to Chicago. He’s a good man and thorough.
Banyan filled out their lineup with Rob Derhak on bass and famed Sun Records saxophone and flute player Herman Green. For those that don’t know, Banyan is a Free Jazz ensemble that blends all genres of music. Lead by the powerful rhythms of Perkins, who most definitely adds a rock edge to the mix, Banyan in any form is a great way to start the day. Throughout the show Rob built on an amazing dynamic between himself and Perkins absolutely keeping it all in check. Banyan’s rotating lineup often includes Clint Wagner. Clint is an amazing fiddle player and guitarist who adds so much texture to their overall sound. Their set ran the gambit of instrumental jamming anchored by Perkins driving percussion. I stayed until the final song before heading over to Umphey’s last set of the weekend.
The afternoon sun splashed over the crowd as Umphrey’s took the stage with an intense “Domino Theory.”
SET I: Domino Theory, Mail Package> Great American > Jimmy Stewart (w/ lyrics)> Great American, Phil’s Farm> Deeper, Partyin’ Peeps, untitled*, Booth Love> The Fussy Dutchman, Resolution> Phil’s Farm
*First Time Played, Original
You can listen to the set on Archive at http://archive.org/details/um2012-05-27.mk4_24bit – Thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
Umphrey’s sixth set at Summer Camp was a culmination of their entire weekend. It was a celebration of all things Umph and a great way for them the shut down their weekend. I have said it numerous times but this band is just ridiculously tight. Their afternoon set included a beautiful “Great American” bookend with an improvised “Jimmy Stewart” featuring lyrics. They also played a new song that is as of yet doesn’t have a title but features some brightly toned shredding. They end their set with a fifteen-minute plus “Jajunk” encore that really left the crowd satisfied. Performing six excellent sets over the course of one festival is no small feat but Umprhey’s continues to bring the heat every year at Summer Camp. That means if you are a fan you need to be there. I scooted out towards the end of the set to help CIT Jason aka Chickhead Fan with his interview with YMSB. He got a chance to chew the fat with Jeff and Ben for about twenty minutes and really had a great discussion about their origins and their history with Summer Camp.
I headed back to The Church to touch base and was asked to help with filming another interview for CIT Abbey with Michael Franti as well as do my own interview with The Devil Makes Three. This meant I had to get prepared, rework my schedule, and miss the beginning of moe.’s acoustic set at the Starshine Stage. Honestly I was happy to help out the CITs and Summer Camp in anyway I could. They’ve been so great to me and although I would consider myself an alumni of the Camp Counselor program, I would also like to be a bit of a mentor whenever possible. I quickly set off for moe., but stopped by the Field Day celebration, which was just getting started with a couple kegs from 311. And fortunately I made it over to the show for “Time Again into Backwoods.”
SET I: St. Augustine> Spaz Medicine, Tambourine, Chromatic Nightmare, Time Again> Backwoods, Lazarus, New York City> 32 Things, Nebraska
You can listen to the set on Archive at http://archive.org/details/moe2012-05-27.acoustic – Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
moe. has been playing more and more acoustic shows and even did an all acoustic version of Welcome To The La Las. I for one welcome it as I think many of their songs lend themselves to an incredible acoustic interpretation. Like I said having missed the first half of the set I have to say the most compelling segment I saw was their awesome stripped down version of Lazarus. This song just keeps growing on me and I was truly impressed with this take. Keep doing this moe. it’s always so much fun and it is much appreciated.
Afterwards I quickly headed over to The Devil Makes Three. I was surprised to find only one other photographer in the pit but a massive crowd assembled. This is one of those bands I have been eager to see for quite some time. They have a powerfully rhythmic approach to bluegrass and remind me of bands like Trampled By Turtles or Split Lip Rayfield from a lyrical standpoint. Fresh off their performance at Delfest, The Devil Makes Three brought the heat to an already warm afternoon. Hard drinking songs mixed with a flair for the narrative are the characteristic of this band. I noticed that a tall gentleman behind the standup replaced their regular bassist Lucia Turino. I later found out that Lucia has been off the road with them due to a broken arm. I hope she has a speedy recovery, and this just gives me an excuse to see them with their full lineup when they come back to Denver. Highlights from their set included “Old No. 7” and a plucky version of “Statesboro Blues.” I later got a chance to sit down with the band and you can see my full interview here.
It was time for Summer Camp staples Yonder Mountain String Band; they opened with a scathing “Traffic Jam.”
SET I: Traffic Jam, One More, Loved You Enough, Pockets, Southern Flavor, Don’t Worry Happy Birthday, If There’s Still Ramblin’ in the Rambler (Let Him Go)> Shake Me Up> If There’s Time, Snow On The Pines> Follow Me Down To The Riverside> Snow In The Pines
The set is up on Archive at http://archive.org/details/ymsb2012-05-27.aud.flac16 – Thanks to ikepgh for posting.
Again it’s awesome to see Colorado bands so well embraced throughout the country. I get spoiled living on the Front Range, because so many great bluegrass and jam acts call Colorado home. So to see these bands in front of a big audience in Illinois reminds me of how good I have it. Yonder continues to be ambassadors of bluegrass. They are almost a gateway drug to this amazing genre of music. For me they helped to pave the way to my enjoyment of the music and the scene that surrounds it. A bouncy “Pockets” was a nice addition, but my call for the highlight was the enormous “If There’s Still Ramblin’ In The Ramber” which just seemed to go on and on. It showed Jeff’s true prowess on the mandolin and really got the crowd pumped.
“A wise man once said you should drink tequila in the sun once in your life… then he passed out.” – Jeff Austin
I stayed until “Snow On The Pines” before I headed back over to the Sunshine Stage for my interview with The Devil Makes Three. Michael Franti got on the stage just as I finished my interview. Franti is a ball of political angst and positive vibrations. His set at Summer Camp was a perfect blend and a nice way to spend the afternoon.
SET I: Everyone Deserves Music, Yes I Will, All I Want Is You, All I Wanna Do Is Be With You, The Sound of Sunshine, Ganja Babe, Sweet Little Lies> The Joker, Gangsta Girl, Yell Fire!, Hey Hey Hey, Life Is Better With You, I’ll Be Waiting, Say Hey, Long Ride Home
The set is up on Archive at http://archive.org/details/franti2012-05-27.at853_24bit, Thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
Musically they blend rock and reggae with tracks like “All I Want Is You.” Franti relies heavily on crowd interaction at one point getting off the stage and venturing out into the audience with his microphone in hand. I find his fanbase to be perhaps the most energetic crowd in the scene, oftentimes jumping in synch with the bandleader. I get tired just watching the crowd, but there is something to be said for a singer who connects with his audience in this way. The highlight for me was a special request from, “the prettiest girl at the festival,” “Sweet Little Lies” into Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.” It was a fun set and afterwards I met up with CIT Abbey for her interview with the man himself. You can see it here.
I caught a few songs of Sphongle live but I had the Private Camp Counselor show starting soon so I headed over to grab Amy and get posted up for it. We met up with the golf cart caravan and drove our way up into the woods beyond VIP. In many ways it was much like my show last year. Just down the path from where the magic happened. Maria was set up with her friends on the VIP path and ready for the experience. The carts parked and all the members of moe. filed out with a little help from Greensky Bluegrass. It was time for a picking session in the woods for the lucky few who made it. It was an amazing acoustic experience that seemed to strangely have the same amount of people as the year pervious. Highlights of the show include an amazing “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” and a great “Okayalright” requested by the Camp Counselor herself. It was quite the experience, and it stretched on for about five songs before it was over. I was so happy to be there and actually be able to take some pictures and video as opposed to last year where I had to just enjoy it. Graham took us back down to the backstage before giving us a ride directly to Jane’s Addiction. I told him it was much appreciated and I settled in for the headliner of the evening.
The photo pit was close so I was not able to take pictures from the pit so I opted to grab some blanket in the VIP section and relax. The concert was a whole new experience. High production value with elaborate staging and lighting. Perhaps the most disconcerting was an actor on stage who hung himself in mock fashion. Burlesque clad women dancing on the speakers were another element of the show. They played a version of “Three Days” that was simply stunning. They also brought out accompaniment for a stellar version of “Jane Says.” All in all it was something completely different from what I’m used to. I was happy to have experienced it in the comfy confines of Summer Camp.
And like that it was back to see moe. close out the weekend. They opened their final set with a massive “Rebubula.”
SET I: Rebubula, Threw It All Away, Waiting For The Punchline, ATL*, Captain America> Puebla> Tubing The River Styx> The Pit
*New Al song, First Time Played
You can listen to the show on Archive http://archive.org/details/moe2012-05-27.at853_24bit – Thanks to tonedeaf again for posting and taping throughout Summer Camp 2012.
This was arguably their best set of the entire weekend. They brought fluidity to their playing that is simply unparalleled. Opening up with “Rebubula” was mesmerizing, but the new song from Al had me leaning in with focused attention. They ended their set with a massive jam that began with a killer “Captain America.” There is something to be said about a band that can string together four songs and segue flawlessly over the course of thirty-five minutes. “The Pit” was notable for it’s incredible jamming structure. They encored with a solid “Head” to close out their weekend. I left feeling like I had once again accomplished all my goals and was totally content with the overall experience.
We headed back to the Campfire stage to see a bit of Caravan of Thieves and the beginning of Greensky Bluegrass, but given the fact that I had been running around so hard all weekend I was ready for bed. It’s amazing how much you look forward to an event like Summer Camp and as it winds down you are ready to get back to your life. I think that’s the hallmark of any great festival. They give you everything you could possibly want over the course of three or four days and by the end you are completely satisfied. As my head hit the pillow on night four of Summer Camp 2012 I felt totally pleased and amazed with all that I saw and did. Summer Camp is a beautiful thing, like a blank canvas that you can create anything you want out of. There are a million different experiences, and a million different stories that occur every year over the course of the festival. Mine is just one perspective, and I hope you enjoyed my point of view. Until next year, cheers.
Day Three at Summer Camp also known as Field Day was one for the books. It is perhaps the most classic of SCamp lineups with the moe. and Umphrey’s McGee tag teaming the headline slots of the evening. But first it was time to get dirty. I got up and went through my morning routine, getting ice, and getting ready for the day. I made my way to The Church to charge batteries and post for the festival. I got a chance to really meet up with the CITs and chat a bit with them about their coverage. The CITs this year brought their “A” game, and really stepped up the level of coverage from last year. They had some solid support that allowed them to hit it hard. I have to say the entire program has really come a long way. Last year the CITs and myself as Camp Counselor were largely left to our own devices. This year they had help with interviews and to really fan out across the festival to bring a wide array of perspectives to the blog. It was great to see them along with Maria really take on their role in a big way. It made me miss my crew from last year.
It was off to Field Day, and to represent for the Purple Team. As the Online Purple Team Captain I felt it was my responsibility to get out and participate in this incredible aspect of the festival. Last year was the inaugural year and the Red Team took away the honors. This year the Yellow Team had a strong presence, but time would tell who would take the trophy. The first event of the day was Sunrise Kickball, which due to the fact that I was up late for Ha Ha The Moose was not an option for me. Actually as I was crawling into my tent I heard a couple of my neighbors getting up to go see Stasik and kick a few balls. The Saturday competition began with Capture The Flag. Last year Purple Team won this one and I wanted to make it happen again. We were a man short and I actually grabbed a SCamper who happened to be walking by. That kid was simply amazing. He singlehandedly snagged two flags before he was tagged out. We were down to just two men and managed to retrieve the Yellow Flag for the win. Next up was tug-o-war. We quickly won the first round against Red and it was a final between Purple and Blue. The Purple Team pulled it off giving us a solid lead to start the day.
I ventured off to see Umphrey’s McGee playing a private show in The Church as part of their VIP Picnic offering. I asked Vince if I could slide in the back to witness the fun, he very nicely obliged. It was a small show with maybe a hundred or so hardcore Umphreaks in the building.
SET I: Slacker, Booth Love, Mamu, Wizard Burial Ground, A Go-Go
ENCORE: Much Obliged
Here’s a short video Maria this year’s Camp Counselor snagged from the show.
The sound was intense as it blasted off the walls of the small enclosure. It quickly became warm as the faithful fans danced away the afternoon. I would say that it might have been the hottest set of the weekend, most certainly in temperature. The highlight of the show was a bust out of Mamu, which UM has not played in four years. All in all I was truly thankful to have witnessed it given the fact that it was a last minute addition to my Summer Camp experience.
Afterwards I headed back for Field Day and watched the Purple Team go undefeated in Flip Cup. It was looking like this rag tag group of fans might just pull it off. Next up was Dodge Ball and it was a tight race. It came down to one Purple Teamer against one from Yellow who happed to be a member of a certain family known for frequenting the rail as a unit. Obviously people were rooting for the kid, but in the end he was hit out and the Purple Team was victorious. As long as Red didn’t win Arm Wrestling the Purple Team would get the title of 2012 Field Day Champions. Luckily it was Yellow who won their only event of the weekend and Team Purple took the trophy. I was pretty stoked, but it was time to head out and catch some live music.
I headed over to the Soulshine Tent to see Marc Ross of Rock The Earth hosting a performance and discussion with Chuck Garvey. I entered to see The Ragbirds finishing up their set and was happy to see them. I caught them last year and they have such an amazing energy and vibrancy to their performances. Lead by Erin Zindle whom I had a chance to chat with at The Floodwood show at the VIP bar the previous evening. She is simply stunning playing a djembe to a bubbly crowd. She has a sugary voice that fits tightly into their organic, World sound. I saw the last three songs of their set and was happier for it.
Marc hosted an interesting conversation with Mr. Garvey that included not only their views on the environment but also a detailed discussion on Chuck’s musical roots.
SET: Where Does The Time Go, Suck A Lemon, Hi and Low*, Bell Bottom Blues**
*w/ Vinnie Amico
** w/ Vinnie Amico and Brendon
You can watch the entire set and discussion at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09emXkCHnwY. Thanks to foosman1 for posting.
Non-profits have always had a prominent place at Summer Camp. When thousands of people gather in one locale it’s an opportunity for us all to learn together. That’s exactly what this was, and I want to personally thank Marc for hosting such an awesome event.
I met up with Amy at the Rock The Earth show and we headed over to The Campfire Stage to see Denver locals The Lumineers. We have both been infatuated with this band as of late and it just so happened that we had to travel a thousand miles across the country to see this local phenomenon. They are an acoustic stick of dynamite pulsating with energy and charisma. It’s only a matter of time before they absolutely explode on the level of Mumford & Sons or The Avett Brothers. Bully to Summer Camp for having the foresight to include them on the lineup. Highlights from the set included “Flowers In Your Hair” and their single “Ho Hey.” I reluctantly left a few minutes early to go and see Gov’t Mule on the big stage.
Warren Haynes is the hardest workingman in jam. He is a member of Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers, Phil & Friends, various other Dead-related Projects, and he has a solo band. I have always been impressed with his playing as well as his work ethic, and Mule was a solid addition to the Summer Camp lineup.
SET I: Kind of Bird, Temporary Saint, Gameface, Beautifully Broken, Trampled Under Foot, The Other One Jam, Hunger Strike> Dear Mr. Fantasy> Hunger Strike, When The Music’s Over
The set is available for purchase on Mule Tracks.
The “Beautifully Broken” was soul melting and showed us the tender side of Mr. Haynes. Matt Abts on the kit was an absolute machine bringing his complete prowess to the performance. Teasing “The Other One” before a “Hunger Strike” sandwich that contained Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” was stunning. His southern style was an excellent touch to the fest, and I’m always happy to see The Mule.
It was time for the main event, a bare-knuckle boxing match between moe. and Umphrey’s McGee. I raced over to the pit so I could shoot the McGgee.
SET I: Tango Mike> The Floor> Through The Cracks, Bridgeless> Utopian Fir, August, 1348> Bridgeless
SET II: Depth Charge*, Hurt Bird Bath, Comma Later> Nothing Too Fancy, Tom Sawyer, The Triple Wide> Hangover> 1348
ENCORE: All In Time
*First Time Played
You can listen or download the show on Archive at http://archive.org/details/um2012-05-26.mk4_16bit. Thanks again to tonedeaf for posting.
Again it was back and forth shows with sets splayed out like a fine double-decker sandwich but I will start with UM. The master shredders pulled out all the stops for their Saturday night at Summer Camp. Kris just kills the kit every time blasting on the double petal like a man running for his life. The “Tango Mike” into “The Floor” opener was almost scary as I hopped around the pit taking photos. Their first set seemed to fly by but the newly debuted “Through The Cracks” with it’s funky swagger stayed with me. They utilized “Bridgeless” as the crux of the rest of the set, but I left before they made it back to it for moe.
After moe.’s first set I returned to The Sunshine stage to get a bit more of the Umph. The first time played “Depth Charge” was a sinister kick to the shins that featured some stellar guitar work from Jake. The “Nothing Too Fancy” stretched to well over fifteen minutes and saw the band really building towards something. It nice to see the “ADD Band” let a jam grow naturally. However the obvious highlight was the Bayliss sung version of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.” I ended up heading back for moe. during “Hangover.” As much as I love me some Umphrey’s, moe. keeps pulling me back.
moe. began their Saturday night with the Chuck sung “Wind It Up” and they most definitely sounded like they were ready to play.
SET I: Wind It Up, Big World> Ricky Marten> Californ IA> Moth, Happy Hour Hero*, White Lighting**> George
SET II: The Road, Paper Dragon> Haze, Shoot First> Meat> Billy Goat
ENCORE: Plane Crash
*w/ Warren Haynes
**First Time Played
You can download the recording on Archive http://archive.org/details/moe2012-05-26 – Thanks to Travis Souza for posting.
Al got snappy on “Big World” before the whole band blasted off with “Ricky Marten.” “Moth” would have been the highlight of the set had Warren Haynes himself not stepped out for “Happy Hour Hero.” His southern slide guitar really altered the jam on this song. It was a great juxtaposition to see a bunch of Yankees jamming with the south’s incomparable son. Next up was a new song with Rob on vocals entitled “White Lighting.” I think it’s great that both moe. and Umphrey’s are comfortable enough to debut songs at Summer Camp. It’s a great Petri dish for fans to get a taste of new tunes, and it seems like every year one of them is introducing something fresh. They ended with an extended “George.”
For the second set we headed up to watch moe. from the side stage. It’s a vantage point I will never tire of seeing them from. The hour and half set was full of massive jams including a twenty-five minute “Meat.” Few jam bands these days can even stay on a song for that long, so it’s great to see moe. really going deep on this track. They kept it up with a big “Billy Goat” to close out their second set. They encored with a predictable but always welcome “Plane Crash.”
It would have been easy to call it a night right then and there but the draw of seeing Umphrey’s Biscuit performing songs by Pink Floyd and The Beatles was too much to pass up. Billed as The Brain Damaged Eggmen, Magner and Brownie from tDB joined Kris, Bayliss, and Jake from UM for this exceptionally rare performance. Joel came out as a front man for a version of “In The Flesh” as well.
SET I: Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band> In The Flesh> Another Brick In The Wall> Jam> Fearless> Tomorrow Never Knows, Have A Cigar> Jam> Breathe, Jam> Comfortably Numb, I Am The Walrus> Jam, Brain Damage/Eclipse
Additional highlights of the show included a powerful “Fearless” and a sick “I Am The Walrus.” They ran through a wide array of songs from each band’s catalog adding the twist that only an Umphrey’s/Bisco side project could inject. It was definitely a fun way to end the night. We headed back to our campsite ready for one more day as Summer Camp 2012.
I can honestly credit Summer Camp Music Festival with my coming of age as a music journalist. They have truly embraced my work and given me countless opportunities to hone my craft. So the trip back to Chillicothe this year was like a big homecoming for me. Amy and I flew into Chicago Wednesday afternoon and spent the evening eating Nigerian food and relaxing with friends before the making the trek down south. We got caught in traffic but eventually made our way into the loving arms of Three Sisters Park around 12:30 PM. We parked in VIP and were immediately attended to by the staff. I have to say the festival really stepped up their game with the VIP treatment this year. We were taken by golf cart down to the box office to get our passes and even got a ride to our campsite with all of our camping gear. It was a nice start to the weekend. Winds whipped through the grounds as we got our tent set up. I made my way up to the Church, which was home base for all of the counselors as well as press. Holly was there and she gave me my press pass and I was set for the weekend. I went back and collected Amy as we were both ready to catch some early afternoon jams.
The Thursday Pre-Party has morphed into an all out extravaganza with some not-to-be-missed concerts. It really sets the tone for the entire weekend and for any future Summer Camp attendees I would highly recommend it as an integral part of the overall experience. The entire layout of Summer Camp just felt bigger this year. Expanded stages and the movement of the Sunshine Stage pushed this fest into the major category in both execution and feel. The lineup was just packed and I would argue that it was the best assemblage of music for the entire summer festival season. We found ourselves at Caravan of Thieves at the Camping Stage. A prefect blend of gypsy and jam, this folk flavored ensemble brought an intense energy to their performance. The highlight of their set was a swing mash up of “I Will Survive” and “Staying Alive.” Their sound could easily be from the era of Django Reinhardt, but their take on the style is absolutely current. Caravan of Thieves was a bouncy and fun way to get the musical juices flowing at Summer Camp 2012.
We headed back to camp and on the way caught the end of moe.’s sound check at The Moonshine stage. We were greeted with a solid version of “Haze,” but it only succeeded in wetting our appetites for a weekend with one of my favorite bands. We stopped by the VIP bar and noticed that they were equipped with a much better stage than last year, leading us to believe that there would be some impromptu performances. We were not disappointed. We headed back to the Starshine Stage for some good ol’ Family Groove Company.
SET I: Trying to Live Up> Time To Tell Me, She Might Get Warm, Professionals Here, Byron’s Got The Time, Bennie and the Jets*> West Egg Party*, Falling Off The Fence
*w/ Allie Kral on Fiddle
Family Groove Company has become another one of those Chicago bands that are a big part of the Summer Camp Family. They are always going to be there and their Thursday set was most definitely well attended. Janis Wallin drives the bus leading her band into a roundhouse kick of jam straight to the face of all those in the crowd. Musically they were incredibly tight, and I honestly believe that if they toured a bit more they could really draw a national fan base. As it stands they are one of Chicago’s tastiest treats. Obviously the highlight of the set was the Allie sit-in on the Elton John cover into FGC’s “West Egg Party,” which featured some intrepid key work from Jordan Willow. It was the first sit in we saw but it would not be the last by a long shot.
We quickly headed over to the Camping Stage for Colorado’s own Elephant Revival. Elephant Revival is a very much a part of the Front Range scene and it was nice to see them on the lineup of Summer Camp. Nothing like traveling a thousand miles to see a band you can see on a regular basis around their hometown of Nederland. They are a delicate journey into an acoustic world. For those that have never seen them the first thing that strikes you is their positive energy wafting off the stage. They have an infectious sound that draws you in like a moth to a porch light. Bonnie Paine has a beautiful voice that blends with guitarist Sage Cook’s vocals like a well-concocted smoothie. They were a great way to watch the sun begin to set over the first night of Summer Camp.
After Elephant Revival it was back to Starshine to watch the end of Digital Tape Machine, which is Joel Cummins’ and Kris Myers’ side project with members of Strange Arrangement, Liquid Soul, Land of Atlantis, and Hue. It’s an electronic explosion of video game music and I found it to be both interesting and engaging. As many of my readers know I’m not a huge fan of electronic music, but I found Digital Tape Machine to be very good at blending analog and computer-driven effects. The result was a plinky, Mario Brothers type sound. Thursday has become an opportunity for many of the larger bands on the bill to showcase their other projects. It’s a great way to see what some of my favorite musicians are pursuing on the side.
Now it was time for another Summer Camp stalwart Cornmeal. They have become an integral part of the lineup and for good reason. Watching this band evolve into an amazing jamgrass powerhouse has been a beautiful experience.
SET I: Troubles Gonna Find Me Tonight> Comin’ Back Home Again, Stuck In The Mud, Sun Is Shinning Down, Better Off This Way> Track Six?, Lookin’ At You, Rise About, Run Away and Hide> Stranglehold> Run Away and Hide
This set is available on archive at - http://archive.org/details/cornmeal2012-05-24.mk4_24bit, thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
This was another high-energy bluegrass boogie for the all those in attendance. The song choices contained obvious Summer Camp themes, like sun, mud, and home. Allie just shredded the violin, as she always seems to do, with Kris belting out some powerful vocals throughout the set. As the stage lights flashed over the crowd, who happily bounced to the bluegrass rhythms, it felt good to be back at Summer Camp. The winds died down the night warmed, and I knew we were in for another stellar weekend in the Midwest.
We ended our night with moe. side project Floodwood. They were on my list to see so I was stoked they were on the Camping Stage on Thursday. Al is a helluva guitarist and moe., has recently been doing more acoustic sets as well as an acoustic version of What Happened To The La Las, so it’s great to see Vinnie and Al in a full-blown bluegrass band.
You can listen to this set on Archive - http://archive.org/details/floodwood2012-05-24.mk4_24bit, again thanks to tonedeaf for posting.
Floodwood was a bucket of fun, and the band showed some incredible prowess on the strings. Backed by Vinnie’s potent drumming, they were a breath of fresh air. Thursday seemed to showcase the bluegrass music, which was absolutely fine with me. Rob and Chuck sat in on “Blue Eyed Son.” However it was both Chuck and Jim on the “Waiting For The Punchline” hoedown that was truly a spectacle. They ended their set with a smoking version of “The Hobo Song.” We opted to miss the Stringdusters as it was getting late and I wanted to be fresh for Friday, which would go late given the fact that Ha Ha The Moose was playing until 4:30 AM. So I hiked the trail through the woods and back to my tent for a good nights sleep before the fest began in earnest.
I took on a full day of music last Sunday with Leftover Salmon’s Aquatic Hitchhiker Release in Denver and trip back to Mishawaka for The Wood Brothers supported by Paper Bird. This year Leftover Salmon is making their triumphant return to Summer Camp and last year’s fest was my first time enjoying the music of The Wood Brothers. Here is my write up of my experience.
Leftover Salmon on Santa Fe
Over five months in the making, Leftover Salmon threw a massive party in the streets of Denver in honor of the release of Aquatic Hitchhiker. Their first album in eight years is certainly reason to celebrate, and 9,000 or so of their closest friends made the trip down to the 700 block of South Santa Fe to do just that. The setup can only be described excellent. Taking up the entire road with a beer garden and food vendors set up in an adjacent parking lot. I got in early and headed to the photo pit. They opened with a truly appropriate “Ants In My Pants.” Here is the setlist.
SET I: Ants In My Pants, Gold Hill Line, Zombie Jamboree, Stop All Your Worrying, That Was Your Mother, Doin’ My Time, Gone For Long, Aquatic Hitchhiker, Liza, Gulf of Mexico, Kentucky Skies, This Is The Time, Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie
SET II: On The Other Side, Keep Driving, 420 Polka, Light Behind The Rain, Down In The Hollow, Sing Up To The Moon, Bayou Town, Breakin’ Thru, See The Mornin’ Sun, Walking Shoes, Get Me Outta This City, Pasta On The Mountain, Here Comes The Night, Euphoria
ENCORE: I Don’t Know You, River’s Rising
Thanks to Corey at Kind Recordings for posting the recording on Archive, you can listen to it HERE.
The show began with some seriously classic Salmon including “Gold Hill Line” and “Zombie Jamboree.” Through the course of the show they managed to break out the majority of the track list from Aquatic Hitchhiker. I would go so far as to say it was the perfect balance between old and new. They finally got into the tracks from the new album with “Stop All Your Worrying,” and let me tell you the fresh Salmon tastes delicious. They dedicated “That Was Your Mother,” to all the moms in the audience given the fact that it was Mother’s Day.
“I sure do love bluegrass…. Play some of that spacegrass.” – Vince Herman
The next stretch was all new tunes showcasing how hard they worked on the new CD and how far they’ve come in a short 22 years. They closed the first set with a pair of classics including “This Is The Time,” which felt like a true assertion and “Up On the Hill Where They Do The Boogie.” I can’t think of any other band right now that would put on a show like this for their fans free of charge. Phish is not bringing all their followers to Burlington for a show like this. Leftover Salmon absolutely busted their ass to make this happen. They did not do this not to sell albums, which were being sold at the discounted rate of ten bucks. They did it because they are truly happy with where they are right now and they wanted to give back to their base. Leftover Salmon has experienced so much over the past two decades and many other bands in the same position would have fallen by the wayside. However they persevere because of a promise to Mark Vann and also because they truly love performing live. Unfortunately I had to hit the road back to Mishawaka after the first set. However given their presentation during set one I look forward to a new era of Salmon. It is officially Leftover 2.0. It is obvious they are back in a big way and with this amazing performance on Santa Fe, they proved that now is the time.
The Wood Brothers with Paper Bird
The Wood Brother with Paper Bird at Mishawaka
After the nonstop roller coaster of a weekend, a nice quiet evening at the Mish to close out their opening weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I raced back up from Leftover Salmon in Denver and got there in time to catch Paper Bird. Made up of Sarah Anderson, sisters Guinevere Patterson, and Esme Patterson, with Caleb Summeril, Paul DeHaven, Macon Terry, and Mark Anderson. The three ladies front the band and have a playful banter they toss around between songs. Their acoustic style was both relaxed and delightful. Drifting into elements of indie and bluegrass Paper Bird was a truly unique experience. They played a nice set of music and were a good fit as a Front Range opener for The Wood Brothers.
During setbreak I got a chance to grab some food off the new menu. I have to say that this is just one more of the improvements I’ve seen at Mishawaka over the last two years. The cooking was excellent with some higher-level fare as well as some affordable choices.
The Wood Brothers are quickly becoming a favorite of mine to see live. Their down to earth style is so approachable and intriguing, it’s hard not to be quickly enamored with this group. Combining the talents of brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, at times it feels like you are sitting on the front porch of the Wood home listening to two siblings play for their friends and family.
SET I: Stealin’, When I Was Young, Lovin’ Arms, Mary Anna, Where My Baby Might Be, Stumbled In, Postcards From Hell, Spirit, Shoofly Pie, Angel Band, Liza Jane, Midnight Rider, Chocolate On My Tongue, Luckiest Man, Honey Jar, Glad,
The almost two hour set was a great demonstration of what The Wood Brothers are capable of. Their take on Americana and acoustic instrumentation gives me faith in the quality of new music. Highlights from their show included an awesome “Postcards From Hell” and a tight “Luckiest Man.” Chris Wood known for his intrepid jazz licks in Medeski Martin & Wood is transformed into a folk luminary. Oliver is a fine picker with a twang in his voice that lends a certain authenticity to their sound. After seeing their performance at Summer Camp last year I knew I would be happy to make it up the canyon for this show. The concert ended before 9:30 PM, which is usually the case for Sunday shows at Mishawaka.
Summer Camp… Where to start? When I think about Summer Camp it is like being wrapped in a warm blanket and whispered to from a caring mother. Unlike many people who leave the festival with fond memories and happy thoughts, I took Summer Camp with me for an entire year. Winning the first ever Summer Camp Counselor Contest in 2011 was the beginning of something new for me. I had been writing and taking photos for several years prior to entering the competition. However everything changed after I left Summer Camp. Suddenly doors opened and I was welcomed with open arms across the music scene. I had already been writing for MusicMarauders and Surrender To The Flow Magazine but suddenly people seemed open to my work and ready to embrace my coverage.
Let’s take a step back. After I covered Summer Camp with dozens of videos, thirty-eight pages of blog posts, and multiple interviews, I left feeling I had accomplished my goals. What I didn’t expect was the support I received when I got home. Holly and the rest of the team at the festival worked tirelessly to get me into so many shows after the fact it really boggles the mind. I got to shoot photos at my home venue of Red Rocks for Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, and so much more. I was backstage for moe. at The Boulder Theater and covered literally countless concerts in between. I became a main contributor to MusicMarauders who also supported my endeavors in a big way.
Now I find myself at the precipice of Summer Camp 2012. In will be a sweet reunion. The newly crowned Camp Counselor Maria Iriart has won the title, and talking with her personally I know she will do it up right. She is fan with amazing passion and she has all the tools necessary to simply knock it out of the park this year. Personally I look forward to the new era that Maria will shepherd in…. which brings me to Summer Camp 2012.
So much is on the plate at Summer Camp this year it’s had to even fathom what the fans and musicians will experience. With a new layout and a new design the festival has truly evolved. Lineup-wise we are looking at one of the best years ever. I think that’s the point. I picture myself running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to see it all. Obviously I am stoked to see moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Cornmeal, Leftover Salmon, and Jane’s Addicition. However I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the lesser-known acts like The Infamous Stingdusters, Ha Ha The Moose, The Lumineers, Banyan, and so much more. Field Day is officially in the 2.0 era and will be a ton of fun. Beyond the music there is so much going on including the green initiatives and the workshops I could go on and on about how stellar the experience will be, but I’d rather tell you about it after the fact. So stay tuned to the blog and follow Summer Camp on Facebook and Twitter. So thank you again to Jay, Ian, Holly, Arlan, and moe. you guys are still my heroes. And if you see me be sure to say hello.
Hello again Summer Campers! We are now only days away from what everyone has been waiting for since May 29, 2011, Summer Camp 2012! In my last blog I told you how to set up camp like a chicken. This time I am going to tell you what things you need to bring to Summer Camp to party like a chicken.
Chickenhead hat – For me, one of the most important things I bring to Summer Camp is my signature Chicken hat. If you see me at the festival come and say hi and take a picture with me. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date of where I am at at the festival, give me tips on shows, post pictures, or make fun of me. Whatever you choose.
Costumes/Weird Clothing Items – Besides my Chickenhead hat you might see me in numerous other costumes that I am bringing to Summer Camp. I think costumes are one of the best ways to have fun and express yourself at Summer Camp. I will be appearing in: (in no particular order) a silk shirt with berries on it, McDonalds French-Fry costume, hamburger hat, inflatable sumo-suit, a kilt, and whatever awesome things I may find over the next couple days.
Toys – This year my friends and I all threw down to get some fun things for Summer Camp. I suggest teaming up to buy with your friends because the more you buy the cheaper you get it for. We bought 300 glow sticks, 22 sky lanterns, 20 LED balloons, and 6 tubes of glow paint. We will also be bringing a laser light machine, kaleidoscope, 2 muppet style puppets, 1 frisbee, 1 bottle of glow-in-the-dark bubbles, and whatever I pick up in the next couple days.
Instruments – Music is the foundation of Summer Camp and when you aren’t seeing any performers it can be fun to make your own music or jam with other campers who brought their instruments. There is also the infamous Summer Camp drum circle that plays till dawn at the Campfire. We will be bringing ukuleles, bongos, a djembe, guitar, and nose flutes.
As you might have noticed I have will be continuing to look for fun things the next couple days, I truly believe that the search for fun items to bring to Summer Camp never ends. Send me a shout out on Twitter or Facebook if you have any tips for last minute fun/weird things for me and other Campers to bring with them to make it the best Summer Camp Ever.
Facebook – Stay connected
Summer Camp has had so many artist grace their stage over the years, that if you go to any show chancres are the majority of them have played Summer Camp. While the headliners Juno What have yet to play SCamp both Euforquetra and Bernie Worrell have made the trip. My jam-packed weekend of music began with Juno What?!’s headlining show at Cervantes with famed funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Much of what Worrell pioneered throughout his career with Parliament and to a lesser extent the Talking Heads is the basis for what bands like Juno What?! are doing today. So it made sense to toss them together in a live setting. Up first was Fort Collins based Euforquestra who continues to impress audiences up and down the Front Rage. Euforquestra continues to be one of my favorite shows to see live, they are a danceable journey into the abyss of world funk. Their sound is so undeniably eclectic and inviting I challenge anyone to see them and not have a good time. Here is their setlist from their hour and half onstage.
SET I: Backbone, Price Is Right, Hopscotch, Ogun, MOMO, Soup, Reggaemylitis, Road Funk, Hang Ups, 2007, Free> Pure> Excuse O> Free, What Cha Want
This set has it all including a sick version of Peter Tosh’s Reggaemylitis with Grundstad on vocals. Mike Tallman has to be one of the most underrated guitarists playing around Denver these days. He quite simply shreds with amazingly smooth finger work. The Free sandwich shows how tight they have become during their time inc Colorado, but the highlight of the show had to be their tribute to the late, great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Also known as MCA, his passing is a huge loss to the hiphop community. The Euforquestra boys thought it was appropriate to honor him with a cover of What Cha Want. They invited three MCs to the stage and busted out a compelling close to their set.
Juno What?! is an electro-funk outfit made up of Joey Porter and Steve Watkins on keys, and Dave Watts on drums. The lineup is unusual to say the least consisting of totally rhythmic instrumentation, however, the band is often joined by friends to help fill out their sound. On this particular evening those friends were many, most importantly famed funk innovator Bernie Worrell, as well as members of The Motet and Euforquestra. The night’s theme as an all out dance party continued strong when Juno What?! opened with their now classic Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get with Joey on the talk box. It just set the mood for the entire night as the kids on the floor started their two and a half-hour boogie marathon. They were soon joined by Bernie who fit into their sound like a well-worn glove. Watching Mr. Worrell at the keys is simply spellbinding. There is just something indescribable about seeing such a leading light in the world of funk performing right before your eyes. His weathered hands stroke the keys with amazing comfort. It’s like seeing an old married couple still experiencing love after many years of wedded bliss. Highlights included a rowdy We Want The Funk and a sick “Red Hot Momma.” Seeing Porter play with one of his heroes was the icing on the cake. It was a great night of fun for everyone in attendance. I hope we can all do it again some time.
Juno What?! graciously offers up their recordings for free download here. http://junowhat.net/multi-media/about/
With Leftover Salmon making it back to Summer Camp this year I thought it would be good to give their new album a listen. Here is my review. Eight years in the making Leftover Salmon’s Aquatic Hitchhiker finally hit record stores last week. A truly original work of art this album is everything Salmon with absolutely no filler. Comprised of road-tested tracks as well as some new tunes. The impetus for all of can only be the addition of Andy Thorn to the lineup. The last year has seen some changes in Camp Salmon. The departure of Bill McKay and the addition of Thorn have given the band a clearer focus on the “Poly-Ethnic Cajun Slamgrass,” that is their hallmark. The opening tune entitled “Gulf of Mexico” is sung by Drew Emmitt and is reminiscent of his earlier work like “Valley Of The Full Moon.” It refers to the oil spill in the Gulf and shows how Salmon continues to be concerned with bigger issues. Martinez’s drums hit hard like an abandoned alarm clock left to rattle away while Drew’s vocals just soar. Vince gets funky on the road song, “Keep Driving.” You can almost picture him looking out the window of a tour bus with a notepad in hand writing the words down. “Liza” is one of my favorites that has made it into their new rotation; it’s a fun shanty love song that makes crowds bounce. Musically the title track “Aquatic Hitchhiker” is perhaps the most profound on the album, lead by Thorn’s banjo shredding and Drew’s violin. For several years after the passing of Mark Vann and the exodus of Noam Pikelny LoS seemed to be searching for someone to fill the void. I can honestly say that they have found the plug in Andy Thorn. The banjo is so essential to their sound that it is imperative to have a finger-flying shredder at the helm. Andy is just that. “Bayou Town” as it’s name insinuates is a down home zydeco-flavored strum. Greg Garrison’s bass finally finds the spotlight on “Sing Up to the Moon,” with Vince on vocals. In “Light Behind the Rain” Thorn steps up the microphone, it’s a track that he used to perform with Grant Farm. His smooth delivery is the perfect juxtaposition to Vince’s rowdiness and Emmitt’s towering voice. Leftover kicks back into high gear with the extra optimistic “Stop All Your Worrying.” Martinez gets out the brushes to Great American Taxiesque “Walking Shoes.” The Americana that Herman has been focusing on for several years certainly made it into the mix with this song. “Kentucky Skies” is a Scruggs flavored romp into the Salmon’s more traditional sound. “Gone For Long” feels like the days last cigarette while the album closing “Here Comes The Night” gets jazzy and a little lounge.
The mix of Aquatic Hitchhiker is just stellar. Recorded in both Colorado and Portland, it has a solid flow, both in music and texture. I highly recommend grabbing a copy, sitting down with a cold beer, and letting the night come.
Summer Camp alums Euforquestra hosted a hometown show at The Aggie in Fort Collins to celebrate the release of their debut live album Let Us In. The night began early with an opening set by Barley Davidson. Barley Davidson is an offshoot of local funk institution The Nu Classics. Focusing on a smoother delivery than their counterpart, Barley Davidson features Walter Hannah on guitar and Eric Imbrosciano on kit with a rotating group of horn players to fill in the gaps. I found them to be a silky way to get the night going. Walter had filled in on keys for Euforquestra a few times before Matt took over, so it was nice to see him spreading his wings with this new project. Besides their jazzy jams they also tossed in a couple of instrumental covers including Tears For Fears’ “Everyone Wants To Rule The World” and Squeeze’s “Tempted By The Fruit Of Another.”
Next on the bill was Papagoya, who also call Fort Collins home. They were a blend of funk, jazz, jam, and reggae, meaning that they were the perfect segue from Barley Davidson to Euforquestra. Lead by Dimitri Zaugg on keys and vocals, they were a glossy brand of funky dub that exuded a solid energy and clean musicianship. Having caught them once previously, I knew they were solid performers, but this time around they brought some potency to their playing. Their hard hitting sound reverberated off the wall of the Aggie. By this point the room was filling up nicely, never reaching full capacity but it was definitely a solid crowd. An interesting mixture of college kids and elder hippies dancing like it may be their last chance. Papagoya ended their set and soon after Euforquestra took the stage.
Opening with one of their classic Afro-Cuban jams “Tramba,” Euforquestra came to play, which was obvious from their first note. Here is their setlist from the show.
SETI: Tramba, Reggaemylitis, MOMO, Road Funk, Sea Miner> Pure> Excuse O, Going Over That Waterfall> Tipsy> What A Day, Cause A Reaction> She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Elegua, Price Is Right, Soup
ENCORE: Late In The Evening> Feel Together> Glide> Feel Together
Euforquestra is a dance-fueled machine; they symbolize a road tested funk outfit of epic proportions. From the time they took the stage the temperature steadily rose until it reached the liquefy point. Ripping into the Peter Tosh classic “Reggaemylitis” was an early highlight, in a show literally chocked full of them. “Road Funk,” which features Matt Wright on vocals shows a different side of this constantly evolving group. Being the newest member of a band can be challenging. However with every change Euforquestra seems to search out and take advantage of the talents of that person in the best way possible. Wright has a higher pitch and a brighter tone to his singing that meshes incredibly well on this song.
“It’s an oldie where I come from.” –Mike Tallman
“Sea Miner” is to Euforquestra as “YEM” is to Phish, it is their instrumental opus that never ceases to wow an audience. It was the beginning of a massive jam that included a stops on “Pure” and “Excuse O.” Tallman’s guitar work was on point all night, he is most definitely one of the most underrated guitar players on The Front Range. They dedicated “Going Over That Waterfall” to Earl Scruggs, and took it to its jazziest point with both Jeter and Zalatel taking turns blowing it up on the horns. Euforquestra transitioned skillfully into the polka-esque “Tipsy,” before busting out the Talking Heads classic “What A Day.” They pulled out a couple of tracks off of Let Us In with “Cause A Reaction” into The Beatles’ “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.” The segue between these tunes is tight, like a well-planned kick to the face. They pulled out “Elegua,” which is a track off their Explorations In Afrobeat album. It’s enjoyable to see them sticking to their roots, and while this concert looked ahead to the new album, it was full of moments that looked back to what brought Euforquestra to this point. They ripped into one of their newer songs “Price Is Right” before finishing their almost two hour set with a massive “Soup” that stretched to the twelve minute mark and left the crowd gasping for air.
The encore was just spectacular with a version of Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening,“ that was spot on. They finished up by teasing the audience with “Feel Together” tease before going into Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s “Glide,” and then back into “Feel Together.” The band is just firing on all cylinders right now. With around a hundred shows a year Euforquestra continues to push out to new audiences and refine their sound. These hometown shows are a great way to see old friends and watch one of my favorite bands bring the heat. As the sweat-soaked patrons walked out into the cool night air we were left with a feeling of sheer joy, knowing that the boys would soon be back and we could do it all over again.
St. Patty’s Day, the drinkingest day of the year was also night two of Galactic’s Paddy Gras run at The Ogden in Denver. Galactic made the trek to Summer Camp in 2007, and are on the bill this year as well. When I saw the recent announcement of their inclusion on the lineup I knew I had to cover them here.
I arrived early and witnessed smeared shamrocks on the faces of the bleary-eyed patrons which acted as the unofficial war paint for the evening, as the sea of green filled in for the sold out show. Shirts adorned with leprechauns, cartoon characters, and various shades of emerald were the informal jersey of the dance battle, which I was immediately confronted with upon entering.
DJ Logic was on stage spinning his brand of jazzy funk-infused house music while kids were break dancing on the floor. Logic is an interesting cat; he is known for sitting in with numerous bands from the Blues Traveler front man John Popper in the Popper Logic Project to Widespread Panic. He gained notoriety at the inaugural Bonnaroo by performing with over a dozen artists and filled the role of the DJ at large in a big way. Logic spun for close to an hour keeping fans happy as the show got underway.
Los Angeles-based band The Aggrolites performing their own brand of self-proclaimed “Dirty Reggae” was next on the bill. Elements of rock and soul find their way into the mix. They rely heavily on crowd reaction and develop an energy that is contagious. The few fans that were familiar with The Aggrolites congregated in the front as the band eased into their set. Jesse Wagner blasted out his vocals on the microphone as the audience joined in the vibe. Riff heavy songs shot out the PA like musical bullets. Having no familiarity with the band, I quickly found myself dancing and chanting along with the group. Normally The Aggrolites find themselves playing alongside bands like 311, Flogging Molly, and Social Distortion, but they were a great way to get the night started. They ended their set with a powerful cover of The Beatles “Come Together”.
After a quick stage change Galactic took their places and opened with a funky “Boban”, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Boban, Total Destruction To Your Mind, Heart of Steel, Break In The Road, Balkan Wedding, Manic Depression, Hey Na Na, Night People, Out In The Street, Bittersweet, Ha Di Ka, Shibuya, Funky Bird, Boe Money, From The Corner To The Block, Crazy Horse Mongoose, How Many More Times
ENCORE: Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Goin Down
The driving drums of Stanton Moore immediately took center stage and didn’t leave the spotlight for the rest of the evening. The man is a beast and he shows his prowess with ever hit of the snare. Rebirth Brass Band’s Corey Henry on trombone was a distinctly awesome addition to Galactic’s performance. The back and forth between Henry and Ben Ellman was thrilling. Corey Glover originally of Living Colour fame, took over vocal duties for the show. It was reminiscent of the Galactic days of yore that saw Theyrl Houseman DeClouet on the mic. The instrumental version of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” was a highlight to be certain. Glover came back to the stage to hit it hard for a run of tunes that made up the meat of the set. The staggering crowd was treated to some classic Galactic funk with “Shibuya” and “Funky Bird” before Moore soloed on the kit for “Boe Money”. They ended the show with a stellar “How Many More Times”. They encored with a sick “Ash Wednesday Sunrise” into “Goin Down”. Galactic brings the heat when they play. They are a funky force to be reckoned with and continue to perform with an energy that is impressive to say the least. They are truly worthy of their place at the top of New Orleans exports and I’m truly looking forward to seeing their set at Summer Camp this year.