Here we go! On the way to Summer Camp. I’ve been looking forward to this day for many years now. The past three or four years, I have been streaming Summer Camp through iClips. The excitement still hasn’t settled in that I’m finally gonna get to experience my first music festival. It’s still very surreal. Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect. The only music festival that I have gone to is Milwaukee’s Summerfest (which is considered to be the world’s largest music festival, being over 11 days) but it is not a camping festival. In 2004, when I was 12, I saw Umphrey’s McGee for the first time at Summerfest (which got cut short due to weather) and I instantly fell in love with them!
I’m most excited to see Trey because I’ve seen Phish many times, because he might actually be a jedi, and also because I have never had the opportunity to see Trey as a solo act. I’m also very excited to see Big Gigantic and Medicine for the People! Medicine gives off such a unifying love vibe that is so easy to love. My adoration for both of these bands poses a major conflict and challenge because their set times overlap. Therefore, I plan on starting with Medicine for the People then heading over to Big Gigantic when they start. There are also quite a few other overlapping conflicts that I have yet to work out. So I guess the solution is just to go with the flow and see where the night takes me! Bring it on Summer Camp!
Saturday started to remind me of the monsoon that came through a couple years ago pretty early in the morning. The rain was coming down and the paths were turning into slip and slides. But the ponchos came out and life moved on. And what a life it was! Saturday’s line-up was off the hook and the scheduled late night of STS9 and Big Grizmatik had people roaming the paths looking for extra late night tickets all day long. Luckily…I already had tickets! But first…
The first show I actually saw was the Cornmeal show. One of my favorite bands. I’ve been going to shows for nearly 10 years as I went to school on the north side of Chicago. This set was a must see as Allie Kral (the awesome chick on the fiddle) will soon be moving on. There’s no way to tell how many more times anyone will get to see this particular group together and I’m glad I had one more chance.
I took shelter after cornmeal until KDTU, who I wish was at Summer Camp every year. Then another break to get rested for the 3 – 4 hours that I long for ALL YEAR LONG. Umphrey’s Mcgee > Moe. > Umphrey’s Mcgee > Moe. This epic back and forth between Moe. and Umphrey’s is in my opinion one of the biggest things that sets Summer Camp apart from the rest. Moe. and UM have been on 10 straight Summer Camp lineups together and it gets better every year. Summer Camp is uniquely set up that its actually possible to make it back and forth between stages for each set. Good luck doing that at Bonnaroo or ever some of the smaller Fests!
Although rainy all day, it cleared up a bit at night and left the late night sets alone. This was perfect, because I needed a couple of breaks from the energetic sets taking place in the barn. With the doors closed, IT WAS HOT, shoulder to shoulder (I think a few people may have snuck in! HAHA!) and the music was even hotter. I dance hard and even when Big Gigantic has teamed up with Griz and Gramatik, sometimes you just need a break! It was nice to be able to take a break from the heat now and then and check out the Ragbirds and Floodwood on the campfire stage while I was at it.
All in all, Saturday was an amazing day. I had a poncho though…
Ohhh wowy wow wow! Happy Tuesday and the first day of Scamp recovery friends. I must say that today is rolling around like a haze after a utopian dream. Until I make it out of the office to give you the extended version of my weekend, I wanted to at least give you the short and scrumptious of it all:
A quickie to get you through: What Made my Scamp one of the Most EPIC Experiences of my Life:
- Actually getting a moe. Rebubula cover from Umphrey’s Mcgee (first ever for me) and actually an old staple for UM to cover- check out fan footage HERE!!
- Hugging Gumby- yes Gumby was there. I have no idea where his damn pony Pokey was because I certainly needed a ride to main stage!
- Hearing moe. totally crush ‘In the Kitchen’ and later having the pleasure of hearing moe-rons talk about how much they couldn’t resist the urge to groove to it
- Boogyin’ down to Umphrey’s as they blew the doors off of a small church in the middle of a Chilicothe field…now that’s a rare moment in life. Church rage!
- Watching two naked girls covered in mud share a plate of lo mein and look the happiest they have ever been in their lives- mud, sun, good music, no clothes & lo mein = happiness (And while I was too far away to slug through the field and give you both a giant muddy hug, I felt exactly the same.)
Thank you yet again Chilicothe, IL. That was one of the most heartfelt journeys through the wild I’ve ever had….can’t wait to do it all again. More details, photos and juicy Scamp downlow to come friends….
^ Roster McCabe
So we’re just getting started here at Summer Camp and it’s already been better than I ever could have imagined. The process of checking in and setting up my tent took a few hours, with several trips back and forth between the car and campsite. Upon finishing all the preparation and organizing came with a huge sense of not just relief of being ready to start venturing through the festival, but also a feeling of triumph; I finally made it!
I was able to catch one of my favorite bands last night, Roster McCabe, at the Camping Stage. Including last night I’ve now seen them 13 times, all of which over the past 3 years. It’s been an amazing journey to witness how they’ve progressed and developed their sound over the years as they have evolved their music with the fusion of new trends of electrorock. They played a few new songs which I’ve never heard before, which is always a treat, and then blew the crowd away with a dance frenzy cover of Daft Punk’s new single, “Get Lucky.” They’ll be playing here at Scamp quite a few more times and I’m stoked to see them again, and I highly recommend them to anyone else.
After Roster McCabe finished up I was able to catch most of Digital Tape Machine’s set at the Starshine stage. I knew that Joel and Kris of Umphrey’s are in the band which was the compelling reason for me to check them out, and I definitely picked up on some of the UM influence in their sound, although they were far more electronic.
There’s quite a bit going on the grounds here today, and I’m ready to go take on the day. I’m looking forward to checking out the “Activities with Umphrey’s McGee” at the VIP tent today, not really sure what that entails, but any opportunity to meet one of my favorite bands, I will take. After that, I plan to check out moe. for a little bit before I partake in the Golden Ticket event for Umphrey’s merchandise, and then stage hop around the grounds between Medeski, Martin & Wood, Keller Williams, Papadosio, Yonder Mountain, Umphrey’s, EOTO, Roster McCabe, STS9, Medicine for the People, and Big Gigantic! So many bands and so little time! There’s supposed to be a super moon tonight during the Medicine for the People set, so great times are destined for this night as well as the rest of the weekend!
Summer Camp 2013 has FINALLY arrived and the Thursday party was a blast. It really set the stage for the rest of the festival…this year is set to be the best one yet! In terms of music, I finally was able to catch Digital Tape Machine. They put on a great show, as is expected from such a talented union of musicians. DTM consists of Kris Myers, Joel Cummins, Joe Hettinga, David Arredondo, Marcus Rezak, and Dan Rucinski; members from multiple Chicago groups including Umphrey’s McGee, Strange Arrangement, Liquid Soul, Land of Atlantis, and the Hue. The sound is a blend of electronica, jam and rock with a great variety to the style of their individual songs.
DJ Solo rocked out the vibe tent with sub dub steppy techno jams. I saw him for the first time at Universal Rhythm Assembly at the Peoria Riverfront two years ago. He caught my attention with his rendition of the Farmers Insurance slogan, “We are Farmers” and since then I have been a huge fan. Then I was able to catch Sun Stereo, a Summer Camp veteran that keeps bringing their talents center stage. This year they changed up their sound and really rocked it out. Veering from their more mellow sounds they bumped it up and even had a little dub stereo come through. They finished their show strong with a classic – Talking Heads “Burning Down the House.”
Some of the other things that are making this Summer Camp truly epic are the newly installed carnival rides. Yes you read correctly. If the music isn’t enough now you can really get your head spinning on some of their festival rides. Also there are significant layout changes with nice wooden fences around VIP. Clear paths and greater camping areas are making navigating Three Sisters Park a breeze. In addition, the paths have gotten much more colorful and bright with an amped up array of LED butterflies and designs all over. Yesterday was so great…can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store.
Year after year moe. and Umphrey’s McGee have anchored Summer Camp’s schedule, but the addition of Trey Band has made this year’s lineup one of the most scene oriented to date, not to mention Yonder, Keller, STS9, plus Medeski, Martin, and Wood. The only other bands that could possibly fall into this topnotch jamband echelon would be Cheese or Bisco, so the good people at Summer Camp HQ decided that EOTO and Conspirator would have to fill that void. I have seen all these acts multiple times, most of them at Summer Camp, and they are the reason I fell in love with the scene so many years ago.
In case you are living under a rock, Cornmeal’s Saturday show will be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend. Their fiddler, Allie Kral, has announced that this will be her last show as a member of Cornmeal. This band has been a staple at Summer Camp for almost a decade and many Scampers, like myself, have completely fallen in love Allie over the years. Even though this is not the last we will hear from Cornmeal or Allie, for that matter, this set is bound to be a tear jerker for many a fan.
This lineup contains at least a dozen other bands that make me dance, but in all honesty, I return to Summer Camp every year because I’m an Umphreak. Summer Camp provides 6 sets of Umph, a handful of side projects, plus sit-ins that make Memorial Day Weekend UMforgettable. My first Umphrey’s show was at Summer Camp in 2004, so I guess it is only perfect that I will be celebrating my 75th Umph show at Summer Camp 2013. I’m predicting a few new songs, maybe a new cover, and a ridiculous light rig that will bring facemelt to a whole other level. Prepare to get your minds blown people!
Now for my Sunday variety pack…..
Both electronic and jamband fans will enjoy the way DJnoDJ fuses these two genres by layering their talents in order to duplicate our most beloved tracks. If I still have enough fuel left in my tank early Monday morning, this is where you will find me.Needless to say, I can’t wait to experience Summer Camp as a CIT! I guess it’s my job to remind my fellow campers to be safe, stay hydrated, and see as much music as possible because this year’s lineup is INSANE! With that being said, hollar at your CIT if you see me around! I love making new friends, especially at Summer Camp!
Summer Camp is so close I can practically smell it. The lovely mixture of fresh air, food on the grill, and the ripe natural musk of thousands of hippies. Athough it has almost been a year since Summer Camp 2012 I have been busy seeing lots of Summer Camp artist all over Chicago. In my last blog I wrote about the festivals I went to in 2012, well this is the rest of the story, the non-festival shows I attended in 2012.
- Phish – 2 Nights at Alpine Valley
- Iron Maiden with Alice Cooper
- Easy Star Allstars
- Keller Williams
- Old Crow Medicine Show
- 7 Walkers
- David Byrne and St. Vincent
- Family Groove Company
- All Eyes West
- Still Alive
- Old Shoe
- Full Court Press at the Abbey pub (featuring many Summer Camp artists)
- Psycles – with guest Kris Myers
- Helping Phriendly Orchestra
- Yip – Yip
- The Hue
- Umphrey’s McGee Halloween in Milwaukee
- Punch Brothers
- Jaik Willis
- Hen House Prowlers
- Chicago Jazz Orchestra (playing the music of Frank Zappa)
- Terry Bozzio Drum Clinic
- The Motet
- UmBowl IV
- The Grey Boy Allstars
In 2012 had the opportunity to see a lot of musicians that I have been waiting years to see from the legendary David Byrne, frontman of the Talking Heads, to European Drum and Bass virtuoso Squarepusher. It was definitely a year of branching out as well seeing Iron Maiden perform live for the first time. I had the pleasure of being completely blown away by the talents of the Punch Brothers when I went to their show on a whim. Also got a photo pass for the first time to shoot pictures of Old Crow Medicine Show. I was most recently able to attend the epic UMBowl IV. Needless to say it was an epic year for me. I will detail some of my favorite shows below. Remember to check out my Videos and Pictures from all the shows I went to.
David Byrne and St. Vincent
I am a huge fan of David Byrne, I love practically everything he does, his music, photography, art installations, his writing too. In my opinion he is a true genius. To be able to see David Byrne and St. Vincent play their new album “Love This Giant” was a real treat. They played the album in it’s entirety as well as a few T-Heads and David Byrne solo songs. The stage show consisted of an empty stage, David Byrne, St Vincent, and their band, a mixture of brass instruments, prancing around stage in an awkwardly beautiful manner.
I was introduced to Squarepusher a few years ago by a friend and have been dying to see him play since. Born as Tom Jenkinson, Squarepusher is from the U.K. and doesn’t make it to the U.S. much so when I heard he was touring in Chicago I bought tickets as soon as I could. He is an extremely talented electronic musician specializing in Drum and Bass, but his real specialty is when he plays solo electric bass. His music is heavily influenced by jazz and would be appreciated by the biggest haters of electronic music.
Iron Maiden / Alice Cooper
All I can really say is wow! Iron Maiden will take you on one hell of a ride. The stage was a set that looked a stone alter dedicated to the the devil. The back drops kept changing through the show depicted their famous mascot “Eddie” in various demonic states. And the great Bruce Dickinson ran, climbed, and jumped all over the stage in true rock-n-roll fashion. It was great to see these legends play at the top of their game. Alice Cooper opened up the show. I saw him earlier in the year at Bonnaroo and was just as pleased to see him again. His show consist of costume changes, a giant spider, a Frankenstein monster, and even a mock guillotine execution. Alice Cooper is shock rock at its finest and is still rocking hard when most artist have put touring on hold.
I was introduced to the Punch Brothers a few weeks before I went to their show with my friend who had an extra ticket. These talented guys remind me of a younger, hipper version of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. They are all masters of their instruments and can pull of jazzy bluegrass versions of Radiohead’s “Ok Computer,” They played most of the tracks from their two albums including “Movement and Location,” “You Are,” and “Patchwork Girlfriend.” I was particularly blown away when the mandolin player, Chris Thile, came out after the encore and played a piece of classical music without any amplification. After seeing the Punch Brothers live I have not been able to take them off my iPod.
Old Crow Medicine Show
My Mom introduced me to Old Crow and they quickly became a favorite of mine. I have even learned their song “Wagon Wheel” on Ukulele! I was lucky enough to get a photo badge when I went to this show so I was able to get some really good pictures, you can check them out here These boys really know how to throw down. They played their hits like “Wagon Wheel,” “Levi,” and “Methamphetamine.” Everyone in the theater was really feeling it and having a good time especially when they played the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land.”
This years UMBowl was as epic as ever. It was my second UMBowl, I also attended the UMBowl II. For those who don’t know this is Umphrey’s most fan inclusive show of the year. It is a place for the most hardcore Umph fans to do what they always dream of and call the shots at the show. During the first quarter the band took a second look at previous “jimmy stewart” improvisations that gained the most votes from fans. The second quarter setlist was created by attendees voting from a list of songs and/or band configurations. Highlights included Metallica’s “Orion,” “Cantina Band” from Star Wars and my personal favorite a medley containing most of the final songs on the Beatles “Abbey Road” album. Something that I can only compare to seeing most of Umphrey’s members play it last year as the Brain Damaged Eggman, at a Summer Camp Late Night Red Barn set. The third quarter was a S2 art event, where attendees texted in themes for the band to improvise off of. The best part of this quarter was when one of my buddies themes “Tribal Drum Jam” was put up for the band to jam on. The fourth and final quarter is a “Choose your own adventure” where 3 or 4 song choices are put up on a screen for attendees to choose from so the setlist is made in realtime. The UMBowl is always a good time and never ceases to remind me why I keep coming back to Umphrey’s McGee shows.
Well that is pretty much everything I have seen since Summer Camp 2012. It has been a great year but I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces at camp this year!
There is nothing like the budding beauty of Chicago in the Spring and no more amazing of a place than Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs. Just round the corner from the home plate entrance to the renowned Wrigley Field is the go-to joint for Cubby fans year-round, aptly named the Cubby Bear. What better way to kick off the 2013 Scamp season with a lil’ pre-fest shindig than with a pre-jam with two members from one of Summer Camp’s headlining jam legends.
Ohhhh mama, that’s right! Jake Cinniger and Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee are planning on tearing down the Cubsters house May 9th to make sure you Scampers have your game face on for 2013! And they won’t be alone in laying down the shiz and amping the Chi-town scene for what’s to come. They’ll have a little help from one of Chicago’s own, Zmick, a four piece prog rock band whose sound is dubbed ‘dungeon funk’! If you haven’t allowed your ears the hypnotic pleasure of taking in the multi-layered bass-laden grooves of these boys, then do yourself a favor– DO IT NOW!! (If you love UM, you’ll dig Zmick and I say this as a hardcore prog. rock bass head)
Just a little jammage to get us all toasty before the big party! Rock Balls!
Can you believe Summer Camp 2013 is ONLY 44 days away? What do you think of the lineup the crew put together this year? Pretty amazeballs if you ask me. The festival mainstays of moe. & Umphrey’s are again front and center holding down headlining spots. But they share some pretty rarified company! The Wood Brothers and The Wailers were late adds that pleased many a camper. The only thing left to figure out is where everyone will be slotted with other great acts like Trey, Thievery Corporation, STS9, Avett Brothers, and YMSB.
I caught Thievery’s NYE show out in Vail as the ball dropped and we rang in 2013 at Dobson Ice Arena. Their mix of house electronic beats along side a live band with amazing female and male vocalists has been heard around the DC area for years. I’m thinking that the late night set with ZEDS DEAD is going to easily rival last years by Pretty Lights. Be sure to get your tickets to the RED BARN late nights while you still can. If not don’t worry they’ll have another set placed strategically throughout the awesome weekend at Three Sisters Park.
What sort of collaborations will we see this year at Camp? Will Trey get down with moe.? Will Yonder and Cornmeal team up? These are the questions that get people excited, and with 44 DAYS to go…let your imagination run wild.
Speaking of who is bringing rage sticks or totems this year? Last year saw some pretty unique creations, and I for one am gonna be scouting for the famous “STOP & GET DOWN” sign along with a host of others. I may give out prizes so be on the lookout for me and when you do see me throw up your best “rage face” for the picture.
I’m really thankful that this year i’ll have time in addition to covering the festival to hang with my band pals Family Groove Company, Old Shoe, Henhouse Prowlers, Afternoon Moon, Chicago Farmer, The Giving Tree Band, The Ragbirds, and Zmick. Friends are what makes the festival experience that much more special and its been almost a year since I hung out with my fellow CIT friends and Camp Counselor from last year. That’s a year TOO long for sure.
Let’s see besides seeing Widespread Panic this weekend at UIC. I’m heading out west on tour with Old Shoe as they play a few Colorado dates at the end of April. If you are around Fort Collins (4/17), Steamboat Springs (4/18), Denver (4/19), or Nederland (4/20) make sure you look up where they are playing on that Facebook thing and get on down to check them out pre SC2013! I’ll even share a tasty local beverage with you (if you are of age of course). Until we meet again at Camp keep your eyes peeled for the schedule and when its released start planning your romp through Three Sisters cause a good time starts with a good plan!