Hop On The Bus – A Summer Camp: On The Road Tour Recap

Camp Counselor Sydney (St. Louis)

I’ve been to Summer Camp: On The Road in St. Louis for years and years. Even before my first SCamp, and I can say is that each year there are new artists to explore and engage with. STL is so blessed with our music scene. On The Road helps expose so many people to our local sounds. As host for the evening, I was able to connect with all the artists and their fanbases, many of whom had never been to Summer Camp before! I even had to take a moment to realize I was making my stage debut on the very same stage several of my favorite SCamp artists have played on: Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Infamous Stringdusters, and EOTO (RIP).

The evening opened with Mads & Co.: a three-piece band with a huge STL following plus a female-led vocalist. Their set was an indie music lover’s dream as Madisen’s cool vocals brought a soothing, yet welcoming intro to the audience as they swayed and grooved to this up and comer’s beats. 

Next on the lineup was Humans & Strangers, a group of four fellas with a cool bluesy sound totally capturing the sounds STL is known for. The group started chill and laid back before they brought out some of their more intense bluesy jams, getting the crowd up off their feet

The next band brought the funk when they took the stage. The Saturday Brothers know how to party as they played some disco funk beats that were catchy enough even first timers could sing along to. These guys reminded me of Summer Camp Music Festival favorites, PPPP.

As the crowd got drunk and the bands got louder, Gavin M. brought his singer-songwriter touch to the stage with a band! Usually playing solo, I was excited to see the live band. This group played many of Gavin M.’s tunes but added an extra ‘umph’ to spice it up.

Lastly, Spankonya brought out horns, bass, and keys to take us into the party realm. Some of their jams blasted us off into party space as they got trippy and wild. I’d say a SCamper could compare this trio to Campfire Stage residents, The Werks. 

(photo of Humans & Strangers from FB)

When all the votes were counted and SCampers were closing their tabs, I hopped on stage one last time to give a big thanks to everyone who came out to support their favorite bands and told them all about the SCamp love. When I announced that Humans & Strangers would be joining the Summer Camp 2022 lineup, the crowd went crazy shouting and cheering. It was an honor getting to be a part of each of these band’s On The Road Tour debut. 

Camp Counselor Kevin (Madison)

Madison is one of those music gems of the midwest. I love making the trek from MKE whenever I can find the time or the clients. We were off again to shoot the yearly get-down with Summer Camp: OTR featuring a crunchy competition lineup and hosted by SCamp favs and 3x On The Road winners, IFDAKAR

(Fans in Madison by Shatter Imagery)

Acoustic singer/songwriter Michael Darling put things in motion as the night began in an already busy room. The Jake Deringer Project was up next followed by a funktistic, partydelic, rock-reggae with a little bit of Hip-Hop band, Earth to Clark. Next we took a trip with the incredible Cosmic Railroad. A six member group called The Earthlings, starring everything from flutes to a percussionist decked out in full swamp camo, had the anchor slot for the evening.

(The Jake Deringer Project by Shatter Imagery)

Our hosts took us home as all of the votes were tallied. Shouts of VICTORY could be heard from space as The Earthlings were announced as the night’s winner. You can watch my recap of the night highlighting some music from The Earthlings and IFDAKAR below, plus a rare appearance on camera from myself to interview front man Jon Schinke upstairs at the High Noon Saloon

(video shot and edited by Instrumental Motion)

Camp Counselor Robert (Urbana)

The Canopy Club stop of the On The Road Tour is the motherjam. Two stages, an 800 person theater room, mixed genres and boasting previous winners like Abnormous, Mother Nature, Blastfome and Trouble Chasin’. What was originally slated for a middle February show had been rescheduled for early March due to snow, sleet and generally inclemate weather. The main stage featured four bands and the front room (The Red Room) smashed full with six different DJ sets. As SCamp Counselor, I was personally pulling double duty with hosting and photography for the night.

(Bianca on the Flute by Delo Ent. – Photography)

Three piece Cram Jam drove into town from their three respective cities to lead things off on the main stage. It’s never an easy task to open things up, they were up to the task. Kangaroo Court lined up next for a large crowd as the quartet performed songs like their new single, “Something’s Gotta Give.” Bianca on the Sax and The Maji Collective were an amazing crew of women that put together a full improv set featuring a wide array of instruments and sounds. 6th Street Brass, who previously played at Summer Camp in 2019, closed things off with a bangin’ and rangin’ set from a stage full of horns as one might guestimate. 

(PSYCH by Robert K. Multimedia)

Motou jumped out of the gates first in the front room, followed by the duo Cantrip who has been putting in several road trips to perform at The Canopy Club recently. As the venue continued to fill up, twoleggedzoo took to the stage. While he did not end up with the winning bid, be sure to check out TLZ aka John McNally hosting his permaculture workshop at SOULPATCH this May. Behind John was another pair of combo punching out of towners, PSYCH. The pair really continued to turn things up for the crowd. Double barreled outlaw and reigning rock-paper-scissors champion Troubleshoota was up next. Coming back from her scholarly duties in Ann Arbor, DJ Medusa returned to Champaign-Urbana with a banging house set. Finally, newcomer Siccatrix dubbed and womped things out for final set of the night.

By nights end, I hit the stage one last time to announce that Kangaroo Court and Troubleshoota were both on their way to make their Summer Camp Music Festival debuts this May. The Roos told me that they were stoked to take in the full SCamp experience as a team this year while catching legends like the Smashing Pumpkins along with artists like Cory Wong, Malaa and Mungion all in the same space. Shoota shared with me that he’s been coming to Summer Camp since way back in 2011. Coming to see a little known DJ named Skrillex. Having witnessed the explosion in attendance+production over the years he is thrilled to continue his own Summer Camp evolution; from being one of 10’000 plus fans to being one roughly 200 artists on the listed on the lineup.

Watch this amazing recap video! (shot and edited by williamharris.info)

Camp Counselor Niki (Chicago) 

Friday night was pretty poppin at Martyr’s in Chicago on March 25th. The EDM takeover was set to determine which local producer and/or DJ would earn a spot on the SCamp 2022 lineup as we closed out the final weekend for OTR! When the venue opened for the night, there were tons of friends and family ready to get drinks and cheer on their homies. The SCamp table was lit with candles and covered in boxes for each of the DJs about to take stage plus birthday celebration cupcakes for yours truly.

Kicking off EDM night was Able Gray, a melodic bass producer from Chicago who has been making music for over 10 years. He was stoked to share that he’s now the head of the Chicago collective, XMedias and was heading to Madison right after his set to perform the next day. His 50-minute set included remixes from Zeds Dead and ODESZA and was complete with electronic drum pads and live vocals from Noel Michelle.

(Mooski by Brett Bergen Photography)

“Can I get a moo?”. Next up was Mooski, a chic-Chicago gal who loves cows! Originally from McHenry county, this newcomer has been making music for just over a year. Her set went hard with lots of experimental bass, hybrid trap, and drum and bass. While she’s never been to Summer Camp, she is set to play at North Coast Music Festival this summer and has two new songs dropping very soon!

The 3rd artist, Jaxon, was all about the heavy, heavy dubstep. Things started really heating up when the Rockford-native took off his jacket and started unleashing some fire remixes including Trampa, Svdden Death, Panic at the Disco, and original tracks from his new project, Dead Weight. His set was one of the most diverse of the night and got the crowd hyped for sure!

Agent O snuck up on stage pretty quickly. While I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, his set was fun and he had a good turnout of supporting friends as well.

The alien up next was Orbiix, a Milwaukee homie known for his own kind of “space bass”.  He came on stage with a homemade mask complete with LEDs, a classic staple to his performance look. Orbiix gave an exciting performance, hyping the crowd up on the mic and dropping heavy riddim with psychedelic beats. 

(Bass-iLL by Brett Bergen Photography)

Hometown hero, Bass-iLL, from Chicago’s south side was one of the most anticipated sets of the night. His set was high-energy: a mix of experimental bass and hybrid trap with banger, after banger, after banger. Before his set, Bass-iLL shared with me that he’s been DJing for almost a decade, producing for just over 4 years, and is extra fond of SCamp since it was his very first festival.

Last but not least was Jynx. Another south-sider who has recently released music on Shiba San’s record label, Bassmetleak. Although he loves bass music and typically plays bass house, he ended the night by giving us 90s house music. It was bumpin’!

Ultimately, Able Gray won by two votes and will be performing at Summer Camp in 2022! Congratulations! Thanks to all who came to perform, the attendees for voting, our photographer, Brent Bergen for shooting both nights in Chicago, and Martyr’s staff for having us!

Camp Counselor Derek (Chicago) 

Night 2 of the On The Road Tour in Chicago hosted some of the area’s best live bands. As a Camp Counselor I got the opportunity to introduce each band and the winner at the end. Each band was worthy of Summer Camp in my humble opinion, but only one gets the slot at camp.

(BooThangs by Brett Bergen Photography)

Earthmother started out the night with a strong half hour and a packed room early. This trio did not disappoint with solid rythym and traditional groove guitar (sounding like Mark Knopfler one minute and Jimmy Page the next).

The BooThangs brought their boo crew out in spades throughout the night. An eclectic foursome with female lead vocal and a powerhouse of gentlemen backing (keep an eye on that bass player).

Dr Unk was up third and it started to become clear that all of the bands really worthy of the spot at camp. The four members of Dr. Unk (not ‘drunk’) brought great songwriting, tight guitar licks and good harmonies. These guys are carrying on the tradition of our festival’s founding band moe., and doing it well.

Fourth up was K-Nein with seven members delivering a wall of sound. They pleased a packed house with great vocals and guitar and key jams.

To me, the three members of Arbor Creek made the biggest impact. With a full sound akin to Government Mule these guys may not even need a spot at camp. Success is in their future with or without it. (But I did pass along my admiration in case there ends up an empty spot to fill.)

(Camp Counselor Derek announcing Rotten Mouth by Brett Bergen Photography)

Rotten Mouth brought out the rowdies later in the night. They definitely did not disappoint the crowd bringing a slightly edgier form of jam and left them pleading for another song.

However, there was a job to be done. In fairness to everyone the show had come to a close and it was time to announce the winner. The totals came out like this: K Nein 21, Earthmother 26, Dr. Unk 41, Arbor Creek 44, Rotten Mouth 61… and the winners BooBabies with 102. – check em out at camp y’all!

Camp Counselor Robert (Urbana) [Again]

Summer Camp: On The Road was back in Urbana for one final stop on the tour. Location: NOLA’s Rock Bar dowtown. The sister venue to our beloved Canopy Club has become a local bright spot for live music in a post-pandemic era. Not only was I on as host and photographer again for this Sunday night event, but was given the opportunity to run point on the booking as well. While all competitors took stage and did their thing, the crowd of 150+ determined a clear winner. 

(ZiPPiR Collective ft. Chase Baby by Delo Ent. – Photography)

Summer Camp vet DJ Belly set the tone as the room filled up. Come 08:30pm the performances kicked off with last year’s OTR winner Thee Delinquents who brought a rowdy and rotating set of rappers. A newly formed odd-squad supergroup, The Left Overs, were next up on stage and continued to build up and on the crowd’s energy. The room was live by nine and we were just getting started. ZiPPiR Collective drove all the way from Springfield (roughly 1.5hrs away) to take their shot at Summer Camp and ended up finishing second in votes. They brought a huge road crowd and captured plenty of new fans in the room with their high energy and collaborative performance. 

University of Illinois student (graduating) Azazel was on deck. He set the room on fire with beatbox wizardry spanning multiple genres and featured an amazing call and response portion with the crowd. V8 Vast Change drove in from Bloomington, IL. to bless us with one of the best live performances the region has to give. The youngest of all the performers, NTR (prodiTY), took to the spotlight wearing a full wig before ripping it off and tearing the stage up. Last, but surely not least, hometown favorite Dos 2PointO closed out the competition bids for the night with a twenty minute performance of his own.

(Trouble Chasin’ by Robert K. Multimedia)

The competitors wrapped things up around 11pm and the crowd was treated with a special set from 5x (going on 6x) Summer Camp veterans Trouble Chasin’. Seeing how the two solo artists formed this collaboration as a result of them both performing (and winning) at SCamp: OTR’16 it was fitting that they went full circle to come back as headliners for this event showcasing the next wave of talent. Two of the best rappers that Champaign-Urbana has to offer and my official diagnosis is to not sleep on their live-af festival set this SCamp. It was back to DJ Belly to close the night out… we had our winner.

Come see international beatboxer Azazel this memorial weekend with me. You can peep some of his previous work in competitions or on platforms like MTV India. I asked him after the show what we could expect from his set… “I bring an arsenal of different genres and a niche art form to the table. I am assuming beatboxing as a solo act has never been done at scamp before and I’m excited to push the art forward while giving the crowd everything I’ve got.”

Hop On The Bus

Summer Camp has been described as an incubator of talent by some and the On The Road Tour is a great example of just that. Congratulations to all of the tour stop winners! We are thrilled to have you!! If you missed the two-show recap+interviews from Colorado by Camp Counselor Allyce you can find it on the blog HERE. Don’t forget to watch our Camp Counselor video PLAYLIST either and most importantly be sure to like-follow-subscribe all of these amazing contributors on their appropriate media below! See you next year on the bus, we’ll save a seat for you. Beep beep

Camp Counselor Sydney
Camp Counselor Kevin
Shatter Imagery
Camp Counselor Robert
Delo Ent. – Photography
williamharris.info
Camp Counselor Niki 
Camp Counselor Derek
Brett Bergen Photography 
Summer Camp: On The Road Tour