Last year at exactly this time I ended a 3 1/2 year relationship to go to Summer Camp Music Festival. Say waaah? Okay, so there’s more to the story than that one power-packed line of course. We’ve all had the feeling after a few years of holding hands, finishing each others sentences, keeping the googly eyes in check for that one special someone…..suddenly our eyes wander round and our heart wonders ‘oh what’s beyond the fence’…and we feel a panick, hot flashy sensation in our chest. Yep, that’s where I was at.
And at this time I found out that I had won a camp counselor in training position through Summer Camp’s Camp Counselor contest (an idea funny enough which was my bf’s at the time to enter into). He was graduating from college at the time and after finding out I won he told me he just wouldn’t be able to swing it with family & friends coming to celebrate him, no cash in the wallet and a potential new big boy job on the horizon. Sooo, I cried a little in my mini-wheats and rolled it around over and over in my head for two weeks. What was I going to do? He didn’t want me going without him and with each passing day I felt this need to do this for myself. to prove to myself once again that I could just show up in Chicago with a backpack by myself in the woods and I didn’t need a hand to hold, an eye to watch over me or a safety net to fall into.
I reached out to a girl on the Craigslist ride-board two days before the festival…still rolling it around in my head whether I could do this and if I could actually just hitch a ride with a total stranger. She was a sweet girl, a younger gal’ that went to the college right down the road from me and was offering the spare seat in her Prius. I told her I would let her know and explained a little of my situation. My boyfriend of course told me I was absolutely insane for even considering. So what did I do? The day before I ran to Target and grabbed a single ladies tent, lantern and granola bars then called the girl and told her all cats are a go. She told me to be ready the next morning at 8am.
My boyfriend was out of town playing a show in Tennessee so I simply wrote him a very thoughtful, compassionate letter about how I desperately needed to do this for myself. He would understand right? And then I hit the road with this very sweet young girl in a Prius with the compass set for the woods of Chicago. I showed up with a full pack hovering over me and wandered into the woods not knowing what was going to happen….
Summer Camp Music Festival continues to be one of the most diverse and interesting festivals still operating today. In an era were events come and go Summer Camp has been a constant going strong for their thirteenth year. This year plays host to yet another incredible lineup that is sure to please any music fan. One of the nice things that the organizers of this festival do that is rarely talked about is the way they break up the performances. Any festival is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type experience, but oftentimes fans of specific genres of music are left with tough decisions on whether to see on show or the next. At Summer Camp sure there is some overlap as there are at all music festivals, but for the most part they try to make it easy. By having say a bluegrass band, an electronic act, a jam band, a local group all playing at the same time you can see the show you want without missing too many of your preferred sets. With six stages not to mention the VIP bar stage there is plenty to see and do at any given moment.
Many of the events that have gone on throughout the years are back again with a few new features that are sure to add to the experience. Favorites like The Kid’s Camp, Field Day, and The Make A Difference drives culminating with the Everyone Orchestra Performance are all back. New this year there will be a Masquerade troop featuring hoopers, fire throwers, dancers, and more. The members of the troop will be paired up with specific musicians to add a visual element to their live performances. Also Make A Difference is expanding by including a Live Art Gallery for live painters at the festival. These little touches and that fact that the organizers are always expanding on them are a big part of what makes Summer Camp such an amazing experience. Kyle Hess has been named the 2013 Summer Camp Counselor making him the third ever in a short but prestigious lineage. Both of the previous counselors and several CITs will be making it back along with an entirely new crop of CITs for 2013.
Musically the lineup is top notch. Of course Summer Camp staples moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will headline again this year, but there’s so much more. Fan favorites Family Groove Company, Cornmeal, Floodwood, Brainchild, and The Henhouse Prowlers will all be there to share in the groove again this year. Electronic fans will be happy to know Zed’s Dead, Big Gigantic, STS9, and Thievery Corporation are all on the bill for 2013. Personally I am most excited about the inclusion of Trey Anastasio Band, which continues the SCamp tradition of having a huge Sunday headliner.
Words To The Wise: Make sure you bring all the essentials for proper festival raging. Sunscreen and rubber boots are must haves, but also be sure to bring plenty of water and food. Check your gear before you get to the festival to make sure your tent is in proper festival condition. Get plenty of rest prior to Summer Camp as you will most likely get very little sleep over the four days. Know that you are driving into central Illinois and police presence will be high on the way in. They will have dogs and they will search you if you get pulled over. Illinois 55 was the preferred way in, but it seems that State Patrol is savvy to this and that was where they seem to be focusing their attention. As Bayliss pointed out last year during the UM soundcheck on Thursday, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Know your limits and know when to rest. It’s easy to get caught up the excitement of the weekend and the next thing you know you’re dehydrated and in no condition to continue the party anyway. The residents of Chillicothe love Summer Campers by the way. They know how much money we bring in and tend to want us to come back. I recommend stopping by a local restaurant on Monday on your way out. You’d be surprised at the warm reception you’ll receive. Also there is a shopping center just up the road from the festival grounds, so if you forget something it’s fairly easy to hop in your car and pick up some essentials. Finally be prepared for any an all weather. Anything from rain to a blazing sun is a possibility so being equipped with warm clothes as well as summer attire is smart.
Summer Camp is a chance for all types of music fans to come together and bask and the beauty and wonder of Three Sisters Park. New friendships will be made, amazing collaborations will happen, and music will fill the air. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
Sometimes things happen. To the dismay of fans that traveled over a thousand miles to see their hometown favorites Old Shoe in Colorado, their first show of the run at Hodi’s Halfnote was postponed. A combination of three days of blizzard and cancelled flights contributed to the decision, but people were certainly disappointed. Personally I had been looking forward to the show for months, and given their place as renowned Summer Camp alumni, I was excited to see them live. CIT Dave Weckstein was traveling with the band and I met him early for some dinner and a beer. We were just finishing up when Hodi’s posted that they would not be having the show. I was baffled because the three days of blizzard had finally subsided and the sun was actually out. Understanding that they had many friends in town Old Shoe arranged to play in their hotel lobby at Cambria Suites at 10 PM. Word spread fast and as Dave put it, it was time for a “Party at the Moontower.” So feeling it was appropriate I donned my pajamas and headed down. The 3-piece consisted of Greg Fundis, Joe Day, and Matt Robinson. The lobby was an unassuming place for the random assemblage of Shoe fans that filtered in. They had a nicely stocked bar and I have to believe that the hotel sold more drinks than they ever had with about twenty or so fans refilling regularly. They opened with an acoustic jam on “Loco Motive.”
Acoustic: Loco Motive, Dust Bowl, Take That Road, How Mountain Girls Can Love
Electric: Day Rains Night, Family
For those that are unfamiliar, Old Shoe is an up and coming acoustic tinged jam band. They can pretty much do it all and they are a tight group with lots of talent. After the first song they slid their chairs up to be closer to the fans scattered on couches and chair throughout the lobby. The highlight was their take on The Stanley Brothers’ “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” The boys moved back to the electric set up and ripped through a couple more originals before we were told it was all over. With the hotel at 95% occupancy the sound had drifted up a couple floors and some of the patrons were none too happy. So after an awesome version of “Night Family.” The hotel asked them to stop. What did we expect really? I think the fact that Old Shoe even attempted this says a lot about their character and their dedication to their fans. I certainly appreciated it and it proves to me how special it is to live in Colorado where music seems to always find a way… for a little while at the least.
Leftover Salmon is a Colorado tradition. They are the source from which so much jam and bluegrass flows. String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and so many others would not be what they are today if it wasn’t for the trail blazed by Salmon on a cold night in Crested Butte over twenty years ago. After an incredible set at Summer Camp i figured it was time for an update from the mountain state. Leftover has gone through some transitions through the years. The passing of Mark Vann, the departure of Jeff Sipe and Bill McKay, the search for formidable replacement on banjo that ended with Andy Thorn have all had an effect on the band. They have persevered and their music is as vibrant as ever.
Their show at The Aggie Theater in Fort Collins was completely sold out meaning tight quarters were the order of the night. I staked my spot Vince side on the rail. They took the stage just before 10 PM with a quick “Liza.”
Set I: Liza, Gulf Of Mexico, Voodoo Queen Marie, Aquatic Hitchhiker, Gold Hill Line, Sing Up To The Moon, Morning Sun, Highway Song, BooBoo*, You Can Find Some Other Man, Lonesome Johnny Blues**, Danger Man**
Set II: Gonna Have A Party, Here Comes The Night, Walking Shoes, Bend In The River, Light Behind The Rain, Riding On The L & N, The Other Side, Mr. Wrong**, Come On Baby**, Out In The Woods**, Railroad Blues**, River’s Rising
*W/ Friends on Drums
**W/ Johnny Hickman on Guitar, Harmonica, and Vocals
Big thanks to Rob O’Brien for taping and posting on Archive. http://archive.org/details/los2013-04-13.24bit
This show was a non-stop shredfest that showcased the new era of Leftover Salmon. The setlist is a mix of fresh and classic with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. “Gulf Of Mexico,” which is basically an indictment of BP and the devastation they caused to the costal waters, was a nice touch. Their Zydeco was showing with “Voodoo Queen Marie,” but it was “Aquatic Hitchhiker” that made jaws drop. This instrumental song built so beautifully, relying heavily on Andy Thorn’s banjo. Andy really has revitalized this band in a big way and continues to keep the energy at peak level. “Gold Hill Line” was a quick, but passionate version with Drew on vocals before they invited a few friends to help with percussion on “BooBoo. “You Can Find Some Other Man” kept up their breakneck pace before they called their old friend Johnny Hickman to the stage. Hickman is from the alternative rock group Cracker and he along with David Lowery recorded bluegrass versions of their songs with Leftover Salmon performing as the backing band. The result was an album entitled O Cracker Where Art Thou?. Hickman is an accomplished guitarist with a rowdy, bluesy feel to his style. Much like what Bill McKay brought to the table, Hickman transformed Leftover Salmon into a rocking bar band. They blasted through two Cracker tunes, “Lonesome Johnny Blues” and “Danger Man” before taking a short set break.
Thirty minutes later the band and opened up round two with “Gonna Have A Party.” We were treated to a subtly stunning “Here Comes The Night,” before coming back to one of their newer songs, “Walking Shoes.” There seems to be a more tuned in consciousness in their lyrics than some of their early work. There is a maturity that only comes with being on the road for two decades and it is seeping into everything they do. Drew busted out his fiddle for “Bend In The River,” which is always a treat, but the highlight of the show was the Andy Thorn sung “Light Behind The Rain.” They slamgrassed us with “Riding On The L & N,” before Drew’ mandolin took the driver’s seat with the Salmon classic “The Other Side.” They invited Hickman back to the stage for a four-song run of both Cracker and Salmon tunes that left fans happy. The version of “Out In The Woods” was yet another highlight in show filled to the brim with high points. They closed the set with an absolute barnburner rendition of “River’s Rising” that showcased the evocative vocals of Mr. Emmitt. There is something about his voice that stays with you long after the amps have been put away for the night.
Leftover Salmon came back to the stage with a quick “Euphoria” and as quickly as it started it was over. This is the type of show that leaves you all bubbles and sunshine. The rain had begun to drizzle as the capacity crowd filtered out into the night. Exhausted smiles dotted the faces of the people as they wiped the sweat from their brows. It was a good night of Salmon and an energizing way to spend a Saturday evening in Fort Collins. For a band that has been on the road for so long it would be easy for them to become blasé as well. However LoS is always innovating, inviting guests, and generally leaving it all out on every stage they play. This a new dawn for this band and I for one am happy to be witnessing their rebirth.
Jennifer Hartswick discusses everything from TAB at Summer Camp to her latest album The Ocean Floor. She is a force to be reckoned with at the festival, taking part in multiple sets with a wide array of artists throughout the weekend. She dives into her first experience at Summer Camp as a patron not a performer and how that began her infatuation with this Midwest tradition. Take a look.
Sooo….the time has come and you’re deciding how you want to spend your sweltering, sexy summer months. You want maragaritas served to you in a disco hoodie with your shiz playing center stage right? Well who the hell doesn’t. Forget the hokey pokey, THAT’S what it’s all about! So, with all of the insane line-up releases coming through these days, why take the drive to out to the woods in ill-town to discover just what Scamp is all about? I’ll give you five killer reasons as a season two scamper: (ya’ll ready?)
- 6am Kickball with Ryan Stasik– ummm yep….it happens at breathtaking summa luva camp. All hungover with elbows and last nights disco shorts and pasties flying. It’s a pretty unforgettable experience….whether you can see well enough to actually kick the ball or not!
- Scamp family– Every festival has their crew, their long-awaited vibe that show up regardless of the year’s strife and shows up with lawn chairs, fire pits, glow in the dark panda bear hats and an extra blanket for you to crash on. There truly is no family like the scamp family (I’m pretty sure a really kick ass music video could be made to that melody this year…oooh)
- Thievery Corporation…yah THIVERY is bringing their ambiant funk chillaxness to us! No further explanation needed…
- Stepping it up to make it a truly green festy scene– We all love our mother right? And it’s more and more important that we take care of her, even when we’re gettin’ it on the flo’ to moe, yah? With bio-diesel generators, color-coded recycling for compost and garbage, and off-setting carbon emission, Summa’ Camp is keeping it real right along with us!
- If you could spend a weekend seeing a lil’ Big Boi sexiness followed by cream your face UM love and sit down and groove all in it with moe. would you? Don’t even try to say no! You crazy! And aint nobody got time for that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFEoMO0pc7k
Fort Collins has a vibrant music scene; case in point the monstrous bluegrass tainted event at the Aggie featuring the homegrown duo Head For The Hills supported by The Holler!. Much of the time Fort Collins is overlooked when it comes to local music, or seen by touring bands as a warm up show. Over the years I’ve tried to share some of the incredible music that happens here on a weekly basis. This show is a prime example of why I’m happy to call FoCo my home. The Holler! who are usually relegated to playing festival stages, or smaller venuess, found themselves with plenty of room for activities on the Aggie stage. I worried that they would sound thin, but from their opening notes it was clear that they came to play.
Set 1: Kitchen, Karakoram, Wildwood, Beyond The Mirror, You’re So Bad> Come Back Home, Climb, Just Like You, Red Dress> Peak, Memory, Gratitude, Song Remains The Same, Peace Frog
The at times delicate sound of The Holler! filled the room as the few that were already inside wandered toward the stage. They eased into the set with a few originals, before waking up the crowd with a cover of Tom Petty’s “You’re So Bad” into their own beautiful “Come Back Home.” By this point the crowd was steadily growing and they were definitely drinking The Holler! Kool-Aid. Arms flailed as the Friday night crowd showed they were there for a good time. The highlight of the set was an impeccable jamgrass version of Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains The Same.” And after that when everyone thought the dance party was over, they closed with The Doors’ “Peace Frog.” I have to say this was the best I’ve seen The Holler! perform, and I look forward to them hitting The Aggie stage again soon.
Head For The Hills is arguably the best musical export Fort Collins has to offer. (I’m sure many Pretty Lights fans would disagree.} They are a local band that has made good performing on the biggest bluegrass stages in the country including Telluride. They recently announced they would play at Rocky Grass this summer. H4TH continues to draw big crowds at home and across the country. They opened the hometown extravaganza with “Down The River Road.”
Set 1: Down The River Road, Instrumental, Light The Way, Instrumental, Never Does, Instrumental, Daylight Turns To Night> 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover> Instrumental, Blue Orchid, Instrumental, Take Me Back, Scrap Metal, Unchain My Heart, New Song?, My Angeline
Set 2: Call Me The Breeze*, Mind Is Moving*, Poor Boy’s Melody, Music For A Found Harmonium, Instrumental, If And When, Midnight Highway, Chili Dawg, Nellie Kane, Lover’s Scorn, High On A Mountaintop, Goin’ Down
Encore: Run To The Hills, Instrumental> Japanese Cowboy, Love Please Come Home
*w/ The Holler!
Focusing on debuting a few new songs, and delivering a top-notch romp through their repertoire, Head For The Hills gave those in attendance quite the show. I don’t know if it was something in the water or perhaps the beer, but just like The Holler! before them, H4TH came out firing on all cylinders. The level of authenticity in Head For The Hills’ lyrics and ability is so unprocessed and at the same time beautiful. First set highlights included the prolific jamming on all of their instrumental tracks, as well as a stellar version of The White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid.” The “Unchain My Heart” was perfect, they closed the first set with “My Angeline.”
The second set began with a huge hometown jam that saw The Holler! sit in on a sweet version of J.J. Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze” before they went into a gigantic version of the Holler original “Mind Is Moving.” First of all, wow, and secondly it was really nice of H4TH to support their opener by playing one of their songs. Additional highlights from the set included a sick version of “Music For A Found Harmonium,” which is a bouncy, lighthearted instrumental. “Nellie Kane” made an appearance, before they closed the set with an incredible “Goin’ Down.”
They began their encore with Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills.” First of all, nice play on words there, and secondly way to rock out the grass. Their four song encore ended with a nice “Love Please Come Home.” What a show! This hometown throw down was loads of fun, and both bands really came to the stage correct. Get out and see these guys, hopefully they will be playing together real soon.
It’s that mushy gushy time of year again, everyone’s favorite played-out Hallmark holiday filled with stuffed guerillas that sing Ray Charles songs, little boxes of Whitman’s Chocolates, candles, bubble-baths…you know what I’m talking about. And if all of those things make you want to barf as much as they do me, then maybe you’ll consider doing something a little less traditional and skip the $25 ahi tuna and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Pull out yer dancing shoes and hop in the car for a lil’ romantic east coast getaway with Summer Camp warriors and veterans moe. in Raleigh, NC this year! (hell, and bring the chocolate covered strawberries too)! What would possibly make your lover’s soul shine and cheeks glow more than a night of full-on, feel-good boogyin together!
That’s my plan this year. Funny story: While attending to official Summer Camp Counselor biz-nass at last year’s fest, I met an amazing guy named Billy Ray who lives in Raleigh, NC and is a die-hard moe. fan! I mean, he’s seen them over 100 times now! Seriously! They even gave him a shout out and did a little song and dance at his 100th! Since I live in Asheville, NC, we’ve actually hung out a few times since Scamp (once to catch moe. in Nashville, TN of course)! So, when he told me that his all time favorite jam gods were going to be rippin’ in Raleigh for V-Day, I was like, “Man, that’s a dream come true right there.” That would be like Umphrey’s McGee playing in my own back yard on my birthday
And don’t you fret your sweet little heart if you can’t make it out on a Thursday night because they’re following that show up with a night in Charlotte, NC on Friday then on to rage in Georgia the Saturday after. Of course, you can catch the official schedule here: http://moe.org/tour They’ve been killing it lately so don’t wait all the way ’til Scamp 2013 (even though it’s not far away) to get down with these guys. As my friend Billy Ray would say, “Bam!” (aka: Doooo it)
Hope to see you lovers, spinners, freaks and moe-rons at the show!
Summer Camp 2013…will we hear the Main Squeeze? Let your voice be heard.
Set: Sign, Seal, Delivered, I Wish, All I Do, Too High, Livin for the City> Boogie On Reggae Woman> Contusion> Sir Duke, Love In Need Of Love Today> Higher Ground.
There are no certainties in life, but good music speaks volumes. I know this much…Summer Camp could used to get “squeezed”. The Main Squeeze, hailing from Bloomington, IN recently relocated to the Windy City and have been showing off their chops honed overseas in China, and down in Manchester, TN at a weekly Martyrs residency on Chicago’s north side.
For the third installment the quintet decided to bring out even more funkiness to the mix with a tribute to the sweet voiced lyrically masterful legend himself Mister Stevie Wonder. Corey Frye did major justice to the Rock Hall of Famer by elevating his vocals to near perfect harmonies. His energy and enthusiasm to the craft and a musical mentor are apparent in the passion he put forth throughout the set. He even donned the trademark shades and cracked a joke midway through the set jesting “It’s so dark with these on, I don’t know how Stevie did it.”
Speaking to keyboard/keytar player Ben “Smiley” Silverstein he explained due to a uppity neighbor near their practice space that liked peace and quiet over a late night rehearsals, they only had one real “run through” before the show! Amazing. However, these guys are professionals and know the songs backwards and forwards so the night went off without a hitch. Playing together for 3+ years they really have a comfortable flow and feel of when each should step out front to solo.
Having checked out Janis & Friends Stevie Wonder Tribute set at Abbey Pub for Halloween I was eager to see how their set stacked up, both from what songs they played and how they put their “twist” on what now are such iconic songs. They only thing that was missing besides the costumes (YouTube Jaik Willis as Big Bird for a laugh) was a horn section. Yet The Main Squeeze had a number of healthy keyboard solos where Silverstein really shone. Paired with mean electric guitar fills and a bass that kept the low end tight I really enjoyed this evening immensely.
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?