Summer Camp: On The Road Tour Kicks Off in Colorado [ARTIST INTERVIEW]

Night One: Denver

Summer Camp: On The Road Tour started off with a bang in Denver at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom. The event brought out much talent, six acts in one night. Amorphic, Shady Oaks, The Runaway Grooms, Sqwerv, The Kings of Prussia and Backwhen all held captive audiences as they took us away with their incredibly unique performances. We are extraordinarily grateful that these bands took the time and energy to come compete. This is no easy feat, rapid band switches and no real soundcheck makes it a wild ride and we can’t thank these artists enough for doing what they do.

Although we loved all of the music we heard, the winner at the end of the night was clear- The Runaway Grooms captured our hearts and won a slot at Summer Camp Music Festival. They had even flown out of Arizona that day, mid-tour, to come play for us at On The Road. They jumped on a flight early the next morning to continue their tour in Arizona. That is some real Summer Camp spirit right there.

I had a lovely interaction with these gentlemen before they played and they were so kind as to give me a copy of their new record, “Violet Lane.” They explained how they got the album art, by asking an artist they loved to create a piece which would showcase how he felt when he listened to the album. The artwork is gorgeous and it truly does reflect the vibe and beauty of the album. “Violet Lane” reveals faint echoes of the Grateful Dead, but in authentically Runaway Grooms fashion. It feels familiar and comfortable like your favorite band hoodie. At the very same time it is exciting, fresh and energetic- much like stumbling upon a fantastic act at the Campfire stage that you didn’t even realize you NEEDED to have in your life. This is a band you really don’t want to miss. I got the opportunity to have an email interview with them after they were announced the winners. 

Camp Counselor Allyce: How did you hear about Summer Camp on the Road?
The Runaway Grooms:  I want to say an email popped up in our inbox asking if we were interested in playing the OTR series, so we submitted all our info. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  Is this the first SCamp OTR you’ve competed in?
The Runaway Grooms:  Sure is. This is the first year any of us have heard about the competition. Which isn’t too much of a surprise as our band took its new formation in November 2019 just before the pandemic hit. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  Have any of you been to Summer Camp? What year? Favorite act?
The Runaway Grooms:  Zachy G is the only member to have been to SCamp prior to this. He went back in 2014. The entire festival was absolutely amazing and so was all the music. Highlights were Umphrey’s “Come as your Kids” mash up where they blended Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” and MGMT’s “Kids”. Also, Zac Brown did a mind blowing cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  Who are your musical influences?
The Runaway Grooms:  This definitely varies from member to member and is super expansive, but some big players are Mac Miller, Medeski Martin and Wood, John Scofield, Marcus Miller, Jerry Garcia, Merle Sanders, and this list goes on forever. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  What bands are you excited for at #SCamp22?
The Runaway Grooms:  Little Feat, Cory Wong, and The Main Squeeze. Really stoked for Lespecial. Those guys are so talented.

Camp Counselor Allyce:  moe. or Umphrey’s McGee?
The Runaway Grooms:  If we have to pick one or the other, Umphrey’s McGee, but we love them both. 

Camp Counselor Allyce: What band did you enjoy watching the most at Denver’s SCamp OTR stop?
The Runaway Grooms:  Both Sqwerv and Amorphic were absolutely amazing. Keep your eye out for these guys!

Camp Counselor Allyce: If you could pick a collaboration of two artists on the #SCamp22 lineup, who would it be?
The Runaway Grooms: Hmmmmmm Cory Wong and The Main Squeeze would be super FUNky!

Camp Counselor Allyce:  If YOU could collaborate with one band on the lineup who would it be?
The Runaway Grooms: Umphrey’s! 

Camp Counselor Allyce: How long have you all been a band?
The Runaway Grooms: As the current lineup, since November 2019. The 3 founding members started playing locally in Colorado back in 2017. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  Any advice for bands competing in upcoming OTR stops?
The Runaway Grooms: Put it all on the line. Play your favorite songs, tell everyone and their mom to come out to the show, most importantly just have fun.

(The Runaway Grooms at Cervante’s by Camp Counselor Allyce)

Night Two: Boulder

Summer Camp on the Road Tour in Boulder at The Fox Theatre gave us a wonderful variety of music. PJ Moon and the Swappers, The Buzz, The Skinny, Caustic Soda, Project Aspect and Vanimal Kingdom all held their own in this competition. It was a truly diverse event showcasing many genres. From indie, rock, jam, jazz, folk, fusion to jamtronica and even fiery punk rock, this On the Road stop really brought the Summer Camp vibes via epic dynamics. We are so grateful that these bands took the time to join us for a night of high-speed fun. 

While all of these bands brought something really special to the stage, there can only be one winner! The Skinny took the “W” and they have solidified their slot at Summer Camp Music Festival. Congratulations to our new friends, The Skinny! I had the opportunity to have an email interview with the band on their win. 

Camp Counselor Allyce:  How did you hear about Summer Camp on the Road?
The Skinny:  I saw an Instagram post promoting the event. The post had a link to ‘submit your band,’ so I took a chance on a cold submission.

Camp Counselor Allyce: Is this the first SCamp OTR you’ve competed in?
The Skinny:  Yes.

Camp Counselor Allyce: Have any of you been to Summer Camp? What year? What were some favorite acts?
The Skinny: Our drummer Kyle went to Summer Camp from 2007 to 2014. His favorite acts were Umphrey’s/Wailers in ’07, The Roots in ’08, Buckethead, Claypool and that one guy ’09. He worked the last few years through the Canopy Club in Champaign Urbana, IL.

Camp Counselor Allyce: Who are your musical influences?
The Skinny: Greyboy Allstars, Galactic, The Meters, The New Mastersounds, Grant Green, Scofield

Camp counselor Allyce: What bands are you excited for at #SCamp22?
The Skinny: Excited to check out Cory Wong, The Main Squeeze, Aqueous and Lespecial.

Camp Counselor Allyce: moe. or Umphrey’s McGee?
The Skinny: I have to go with Umphrey’s since I know some of the guys from our college days together at Notre Dame. We were all in different bands at the time. 

Camp Counselor Allyce: What band did you enjoy watching the most at Boulder’s SCamp OTR stop?
The Skinny: The Buzz had a great vibe and the players in Vanimal Kingdom were very impressive.

Camp Counselor Allyce: If you could pick a collaboration of two artists on the #SCamp22 lineup, who would it be?
The Skinny: Any collab would be fun to see. They always end up interesting in some way. 

Camp Counselor Allyce: How long have you all been a band?
The Skinny: The project is nearly 4 years old. Ryan (guitar) started the project in July 2018.  Glenn (sax) and Chris (bass) have been with the band since its inception. Nick (keys) joined in June 2019. Kyle (drums) is the most recent member and joined the band in September 2021.

Camp Counselor Allyce: Any advice for bands competing in upcoming OTR stops?
The Skinny: Promote, promote, promote! If you want the most votes, bring the most people. Sharing a bill with so many artists is also a great way to network the local scene.

(The Skinny at The Fox Theatre by Camp Counselor Allyce)

 

Colorado is an epic place for live music, one of the many reasons I moved here from Northwest Indiana 8 years ago. These two nights were excellent reminders of just that. Supporting local music is SO important to the vitality of our communities. If you have an opportunity to catch one of these On the Road events you really should. Being able to vote for your hometown heroes to play such an incredible festival with a bonus chance of winning a pair of tickets to Summer Camp Music Festival really makes it a no brainer. Go support your local venues, your local musicians, and make some new friends while you’re at it!

I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful faces in just a few short months!

Mad Love, Camp Counselor Allyce