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Bowlive III: Night Nine – Soulive w/ George Porter Jr., Ledisi and Skerik ~ Extended Review + Media (03.09.12): Bowlive Finale White Party Ledisi, The London Souls, and The Royal Family All-Stars TONIGHT!

Fire! Fire! Fire! These three little words are the simplest yet perfect definition of what occurred on the Brooklyn Bowl‘s stage last night for the ninth night of Soulive’s third annual ten night residency, Bowlive. So far, nine epically diverse nights of music have now been devoured by sold-out crowds of rabid NY music fans. The members of Soulive, the amazing Neal Evans on organ and bass keys, Eric Krasno, and the backbone of it all, Alan Evans on drums, were back at it for the last weekend of this fantastic run. After eight nights of raging musical collaborations, Soulive continued to deliver with an onslaught of some of America’s most influential musicians. The members of Soulive, The Bowlive Horns, George Porter, Jr., Eldar, Ledisi, Mark Whitfield, Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour invested all their energy into making last night’s audience react just as powerfully as these musicians performed.

Last night’s opening act is one of the newest musical collaborations within the Royal Family. Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour took to the stage with a “little help from their friends” to deliver a set of beautifully arranged classics.  These soul-filled vocalists are being compared to some of the greatest soul singing duos of our era and deserve all the love and recognition that comes their way. Supporting their slow, soulful vibe was drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science), trumpeter Eric Bloom (Diana Birch), guitarist Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), saxophonist James Casey (6figures), Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), and Alecia Chakour’s brother, bassist Alex Chakour. Nigel Hall sat behind his Rhodes keyboard while Alecia dominated the crowds command from the front of the stage. Performing such classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” Hall and Chakour made the music their own with beautifully blended voices and arrangements of the songs. These two voices were meant to find each other and the audience couldn’t have been more invested in the harmonies and beauty resonating between them. Pure soul perfection. Keeping with the “Family Affair,” Mitch Chakour, Alecia and Alex’s father, was invited on stage to play keys for Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From my Friends!” When Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour join forces on stage, their bond through music and their passion for soul pours out of them. This was only the second time the duo had performed as an organized set all their own and fans can be sure that it will not be their last. There is magic in this musical union that doesn’t come around often.

After such an touching set, NY-bsed DJ, Wyllys, spun on the 1’s and 2’s to keep the crowds elevated before Soulive took to the stage. When Soulive finally hit, they came out blasting with “Steppin.” This was the final weekend of Bowlive and the trio, who have been delivering us powerful sets for two weeks, raised their own bar a little higher.  After the short set with George Porter Jr. (The Meters) the previous night, Soulive jumped right into the second song by inviting New Orleans funkiest bassist back out on stage for “Pungee” and “Need More Time.” There is an energy that George Porter, Jr. brings to a stage that is tangible. Nigel Hall was back to join Porter for “Leave Me Alone,” but not before Nigel bowed at Porter’s feet letting the crowd know that this “was the funkiest black man in the universe!”

When special guest New Orleans singer-songwriter Ledisi was announced, the venue erupted. This portion of the set was so smokin’ that heat was rising from the stage. Performing “Knocking,” with Adam Deitch now on drums, Ledisi wowed the crowd with her powerful, demanding vocals and sensual style. There is no doubt that she deserves the multiple Grammy nominations that have come her way in the past few years as this was the definition of pure entertainment. “Chain of Fools” followed with The Bowlive Horns, Porter, and a surprise sit-in by Eldar, a fellow Grammy nominated pianist and composer. Surely one of the hottest portion of the night, confirmed by the buzz heard through the audience, Eldar delivered a complex piano solo while Ledisi scatted atop his gorgeous improvisational composition.  George Porter Jr. and the remaining musicians on stage supported this musical bliss to end one of the most magnificent sets of the run. Ledisi’s vocals supported by George Porter Jr. funky bass and combined with the jazzy vibe from Soulive and surprise guest Eldar was truly inspirational, uplifting and touched the audience’s soul. This is what Bowlive is all about, the deliverance of truly developed artists who are masters at their craft!!

Wyllys was spinning again for set break. Never using a set list, Wyllys kept the energy UP with choice selections of funk, R&B, and soul tunes. He kept the crowd dancing before Soulive came back for “Cannonball” supported by the Bowlive Horns. Always ready for something special and new, Soulive invited hard bop jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield on stage next for an electric rendition of George Benson’s “World is a Ghetto.” Following this amazing sit-in, George Porter, Jr. came back on stage and took the lead for the rest of the night performing multiple tunes from The Meters catalog, “Funky Miracle,” “The Dragon,” “People Say,” and “Ain’t No Use.”  The consistent funky bass lines and powerful, invested vocals coming from Porter during these selections fueled the set as well as the musicians sharing the stage. They were long arrangements making room for each artist to share their talent with rousing solos and epic extended jams. Tears were in the eyes of their audience as Eric Krasno and friends ended the set with a stunning, gorgeous arrangement of “Out in the Country.”


There are some music performances that are simply impossible to describe with words. Last night was one of those nights and any attempt at doing justice through written word seems unfulfilling after witnessing the magic of last night. The musical genius that poured off the stage resulted in emotional ballads and extended improvisational jams that expanded on the already amazing two weeks that Soulive has provided it’s audience. It’s painful to even imagine that this adventure is coming to an end. However, we still have one night!  A single night to enjoy one of the sickest musical residencies to happen to our musical community. Every night Soulive has stepped up their game, tightened their sound, and put together an arsenal of talented musicians to play some of the greatest songs ever written.  Tonight, Soulive invites Ledisi, The London Souls, and the Royal Family All-Stars to close out the residency. You can expect nothing but pure gold this evening as these boys will surely be going out with a bang! 

 Karen E. Dugan

– Photo courtesy of Marc Millman

*To see photos of these musicians and lots of other live music, please check out: http://www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Bowlive III: Night Seven – Soulive w/ Skerik, Kofi Burbridge & Lettuce ~ Extended Review + Media (03.07.12)

Zach Deputy opened night seven of Bowlive III with his Caribbean Ninja Soul flavor. His one-man-band sets always seem to force happiness out of the audience.  He is the purest definition of jolly as he sits behind a massive rig of equipment, creating and layering every element of his songs. Over the past two nights, Deputy has been throwing us all new tunes except for two different versions of “Lincoln Continental.” This would set a theme for a night of new tunes to be delivered by the members of Souilve, Lettuce and Alecia Chakour!

Experimental “saxophonic” saxophonist Skerik and the NY’s premiere urban funk band Lettuce continued into second night as special guests. However, following their formula of the previous week, Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, organist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans initially hit the stage solo. Alan Evans dominated “Rudy’s Way” with his best drum solo of the run sending the audience UP!  A fixture of Bowlive since its inception, Kofi Burbridge of the Derek Trucks Band surprised the audience when he walked out on stage with his flute for “Cash’s Dream,” a warm, softening addition to such an organ-heavy song.

The Bowlive Horns, consisting of saxophonist James Casey (6figures), tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) were next to join Soulive. Special guest Skerik completed the brass entourage and “Upright,” “Vapor” and “Flurries” delivered us a massively long horn-heavy rage. The various musicians on stage rotated solos starting with Skerik who inserted his wild element of experimental jazz while Rashawn Ross’s melting-pot experience defined his style per song. Everyone continued through the trio of songs jumping from tambourines to maracas and other various percussion instruments filling all voids with extremely tight and organized sound.  Special guest and opener Zach Deputy lead the stage for his original, “Thrill is Gone.” To see Deputy explore his guitar talents with a full band is quite a different experience. His sound completely changes because he isn’t worrying about layering the beats, the bass or the horns. The massive crew on stage closed the set with “Aladdin” and the always funky “El Ron.”

The entire Lettuce ensemble (The Bowlive Horns including Skerik, guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam Smirnoff, bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes, and drummer Adam Deitch) raged the stage for the second set kicking it off with “King of the Burgs.” Rashawn Ross lead with a killer trumpet solo while drummer Adam Deitch made his presence known after Alan Evan’s domination of the kit in the earlier set. Last night was an amazing night for drumming fans, to be sure. The funkiest band on the planet followed last night’s rage by releasing more new songs off their upcoming album to an eager, elevated crowd. On Tuesday night, we heard “Mean Fonk,” “Lettuce Play,” and the jokingly named tune “Brooklyn Bowler,” a word play on the wonderful venue housing Soulive’s ten-night residency and actually titled”Bowler,” reflecting organist Neal Evan’s signature hat. Last night the explosive audience members (and iClips.net online viewers) jumped and danced their bodies weary to new tunes, “Bump Tubby,” “Fast Kraz,” “Ghost of Jupiter,” and “New GoGo.” Alecia Chakour joined the stage for to sing the sultry “Do Ya Thing,” a first time cover for both Chakour and Lettuce. Flautist Kofi Burbridge played throughout the entire set while Skerik could be seen enjoying the set by the sound board. ED “Jesus” Coomes’ bass playing was a crucial element to the entire set as his glasses literally fogged up from the heat coming off his playing. Toubab Krewe’s Luke Quartana was back for a second night front and center on stage with his Djembe drum for “New GoGo,” while saxophonist James Caseyplayed the congas with drum sticks. Krasno was nowhere to be seen for this tune while the stage exploded into one of the sickest 11-piece percussion rages this super fan has had the privilege of watching. The amazing, soulful voice of Nigel Hall helped close the set with “Making my Way,” into a Curtis Mayfield medley of “We’re a Winner” and “Move on Up!”


Two nights into the second week and already we have had two surprise guests, Oteil and Kofi Burbridge, on top of the amazing special guests, Zach Deputy, Skierk and Lettuce. Soulive changes things up tonight with the invitation extended to Citizen Cope & Alice Smith, the legendary funk bassist George Porter, Jr. (The Meters), drummer Billy Martin (Martin, Medeski and Wood), Alecia Chakour Band, and ?uestlove (The Roots) on the 1’s and 2’s. RAGE!!

BUY SINGLE DAY TICKETS NOW!
Can’t make the LIVE RAGE? Stream It on iClips.net!

 Karen E. Dugan

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Night 6 Recap with Lettuce, Zach Deputy, Skerik, and Allen Stone :: Lettuce, Zach Deputy, and Skerik Tonight!

We have reached the second week of Soulive’s electric ten night Brooklyn Bowl Residency, Bowlive III. After two days of rest, drummer Alan Evans, organist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno were back for their sixth night, enlisting the help of guitarist Zach Deputy, vocalist Allen Stone, saxophonist Skerik and the funkiet group on the planet, Lettuce. There were also surprise sit-ins by percussionist Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) and bassist Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band). Whoa….

Last week, Soulive took on the responsibility of ripping open the stage themselves, proving that they don’t need anyone to help them stir the fire in our bellies. However, after a week of exhaustive musical deliverance, Soulive opted to let another wonderful musician lead the way with their first mid-week opener by way of Zach Deputy. Deputy describes his style as “Gospel, Ninja Soul.” He is a one-man band who sits behind a custom-made rig of electronics, computers, pedals, mics and various instruments to create a song which he delivers to the audience one layer at a time, looping his sounds to reach the end result.  The result being a complete song with beats, bass, lyrics, harmonies, and instrumental backups.  Aside from being fully invested in all aspects of his creativity, Zach Deputy is one of the kindest, accessible musicians on our scene. He adores his fans to a point that a lot of musicians do not.  Deputy spent the entire Soulive/Lettuce performance in the audience smiling and dancing away with the rest of us.

Soulive hit the stage to a sold-out venue warming up with “One in Seven” into “So Live.” Since Lettuce was in the house, Soulive invited out the horn section out for “Get Back.”  Saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) lined up behind the trio, creating an intimidating wall of brass.  However, the audience erupted into frenzy when one of the sickest bassists on the planet, Oteil Bubridge, walked out to join the tune.  Oteil Burbridge is best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and his phenomenal scatting ability he delivers while playing some of the sickest bass lines you will ever hear. The addition of Oteil’s bass to the trio was a special treat. The Allman Brothers Band starts their ten-night residency at The Beacon Theater on March 9, 2012.

The deep and dirty “Hat Trick” continued with Oteil Burbridge on bass. The tight horn section became even more ridiculous with the addition of Seattle-based improvisational jazz saxophonist Skerik on “PJs”.  One name is all Skerik needs.  A founding member of such quirky jazz projects as Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, his unique and wildly pioneering sound has been dubbed “saxophonics,” Skerik brought an element to the brass wall of horns that gave East Coasters a taste of that West Coast flavor.

For Granted” followed with a trumpet solo from Eric Bloom that stopped conversations and had eyes focused on the stage. Soulive then shifted gears by introducing the second Seattle-based special guest of the night, soul vocalist Allen Stone.  Our favorite trio was alone on stage to back Stone on his original “Unaware” Bowlive III audience members had not yet seen a voice of this nature on stage. Even though the energy lowered due to the softness of the song, Stone’s smooth falsetto was absolutely captivating and all eyes were on him by the time he belted out “Mary” and “Love and Happiness” to end the diverse and fulfilling musical set.

The second set was just a full rage by Lettuce, the greatest urban-flavored funk band in America.  The stage swelled as Lettuce’s horn section, comprised of saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) came back on.  Alan Evans, who had held down the dirty drums all night, was replaced by Adam Deitch (Break Science). Krasno was joined on rhythm guitar by Adam “DJ Schmeeans” Smirnoff and energetic bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes set up center stage. Vocalist Nigel Hall grabbed the microphone and they kicked off the hot set with some love to Bootsy Collins as he shouted “We Like To Party!”  Lettuce performed tunes off their old catalog but it was when new song “Bowler” and “Madison Square” that the audience gave the most love to the artists on stage.  “Madison Square” is currently the song the NY Knicks are using as their theme song. The Brooklyn Bowl went wild as Skerik jumped in and out of songs with his wild musical antics and Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) ending the set with a killer rendition of “Squad Live.”


The party continues tonight with the same special guests. And who knows, with the energy rising each night and more and more musical guests seen wandering the bowling lanes, you can be sure that more artists will be gracing the Bowlive stage then are billed.

 Karen E. Dugan

Youtube Videos

Soulive w/ Allen Stone – “Love And Happiness” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9n8k0vkPNc

Soulive w/Allen Stone – “Mary” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B45uPhn_oo

Lettuce – Ryan Zoidis sax solo : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa1i-ZUjo_g

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FEEL THAT RAGE!!!! SEE THAT RAGE!!! Pic by Josh Raskin

FEEL THAT RAGE! SEE THAT RAGE! ~ Pic by Josh Raskin

Blast Off: Lettuce’s new material leaves Rage in the dust…

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums
Neal Evans – Organ/keys
E.D. Coomes – Bass
Adam “Shmeens” Smirnoff – Guitar
James Casey – Alto Sax
Ryan Zoidis – Tenor Sax
Eric Bloom – Trumpet
Rashawn Ross – Trumpet
Nigel Hall – vocals/keys
Mel Flannery – Vocals
Alicia Chakour – Vocals
Happy Holiday Rage! Pic: by Josh Raskin

Happy Holiday Rage! Pic by Josh Raskin

As the funk super group Lettuce began the familiar strains of Curtis Mayfield‘s “We’re a Winner,” which morphed, as it usually does, into Mayfield’s “Move on Up” to close out Wednesday Night’s Royal Family Holiday Party at the Brooklyn Bowl,  I couldn’t help but laugh because it was a perfect bookend to a new chapter in the life of this fantastic band. This dynamic tune, with Nigel Hall jumping up to deliver some soul shaking melodies on vocals, has been one of the band’s most consistent the last couple years, and it made me think about how far this band has come.

THE MAN! Pic: by Josh Raskin

THE MAN! Pic by Josh Raskin

Rewind three and a half years! I’ve returned home from my first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and was itching for great live music to stem the withdrawal tide. I headed to the Bowery Ballroom to see this band I had skipped at Fest because I knew they were playing at home later…and I dug it.  Great band, busy, Rube Goldberg type funk (you know, lots of moving parts coming together to make awesome, think of the Charles Mingus track “Moanin'” and you’ll see what I mean), high energy, great musicians, even had this awesome dude come up and sing a few classics, including a great Curtis Mayfield cover.  Nice stuff, liked it a lot.  Snagged the new (at the time) album, Rage and really liked most of the tracks. It actually spent a lot of time in rotation in the car and the Ipod.

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Get Some Jesus ~ Pic: by Josh Raskin

Get Some Jesus ~ Pic by Josh Raskin

But here is the thing, if you don’t know the Lettuce story, then you don’t get the power of the whole picture.  Unlike bands who stay together and tour often like Galactic, the members of Lettuce only gather for small periods of time throughout the year. When you are Lettuce, you record a quick album, maybe you see each other a couple times a year for a few gigs, but that’s largely it, you’re not necessary wood-shedding together a whole lot.

Case in point: On archive.org, Lettuce has eight recorded sets in 2002, one recorded set in 2003, no recorded sets from 2004-2007.  None!  Then, moved by the passing of James Brown and J-Dilla, the fellas recorded Rage and started out on the road again in 2008. This is not to say these guys aren’t monster players on their own, because they are. But there’s a difference between rocking out with old friends and playing sets with increased regularity, rehearsing and getting into the groove, finding and exploring new places. You gotta know who else is there to really get there! That’s why I like seeing shows at the end of the long run instead of beginning, because players will have gotten a little more comfortable, a little more familiar, and will be able to stretch out. That’s the band we saw on Wednesday night.

James Casey and Ryan Zoidois kilin it! ~ Pic: by Josh Raskin

James Casey and Ryan Zoidois kilin it! ~ Pic by Josh Raskin

A couple Royal Family Ball throwdowns in New York and New Orleans, a Royal Family Ball tour, two Bowlive runs, the first ever Royal Family Affair (which I sadly missed), two Royal Family holiday concerts, Bear Creek Arts and Music Festival, Jam Cruise, prep for the CRAZY set with Dr. John and Maceo that kicked off this year… it’s been a big couple years for Lettuce.  Each performance felt a little stronger, a little tighter, a little more impressive.

With Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour in the mix, Lettuce can grow to as many as twelve or thirteen folks on stage at a time, and making that sound tight ain’t easy. Some of the fellas putting down roots in Brooklyn really allowed for a base of operations for the group, particularly at the Brooklyn Bowl, and it shows.  Lettuce has done more gigging, rehearsal, and playing together than they have done in a while. As 2011 winds down, they’ve started dropping new tunes in shows, tunes that feel deeper and stronger than any of their previous material. Again, I dig Rage, a lot. However, this is no longer old friends putting together some real solid grooves and giving props to the giants who’s shoulders they stand on. Lettuce is now a fearsome unit ready to flex their own muscles.

Mel Flannery and Alicia Chakour ~ Pic by Josh Raskin
Mel Flannery and Alicia Chakour ~ Pic by Josh Raskin

The band is tight as hell.  Everybody sounds awesome. I was loving Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff leading a couple tunes and laying out a great solo.  Adam Deitch is locked in on the drum kit and he and E.D “Jesus” Coomes combine to make one killer rhythm section! The Shmeeans/Deitch beatboxing was HOT as well!  Eric Krasno keeps growing, which seems preposterous for someone as good as he is. Neal Evans always brings that extra something to kick the songs up (though as much as I love Neal, the clavinet was a little up in the mix, and I had to abandon my normal front right spot to make sure I could hear the horns).  And while Sam Kinninger was missed, the horns did sound awesome, with Ryan Zoidis leading the pack, Rashawn Ross and Eric Bloom on trumpet, and sentimental favorite James Casey (see: ridiculous solo on “Get Back” from Bowlive 1) on tenor.  In fact, due to Kinninger’s absence, Casey could be seen upstairs with headphones on learning Kinninger’s parts right up until the show began. True dedication! I would have loved for the band to give the horns some more spotlight. Either way, they were solid as always.  Vocalists Nigel Hall  impressed the most this night having grown so much as an artist and a dude in the last two years.  Alecia Chakour and Mel Flannery are also great additions to the krewe.

I’ve seen these musicians before, but not like this.  I kept turning to people and saying, “What?!” The new grooves are chest-thumping, gut-busting, smack the person next to you and say “Damn, that shit is dope!” kind of tracks. “If I Was Jack Spade That Would Be My Theme Music” kind of tracks. KILLIN!! I can’t say it any plainer than this: the new material Lettuce is playing is FIRE!  Nasty, literally jaw-dropping funk not to be messed with. Of the five or six songs I heard Wednesday night, four of them would be my favorite track on Rage! right now, and that’s an album I really like!

My advice to other amazing funk/soul/jam bands I know and love, especially when playing anywhere near Lettuce, STEP YA GAME UP!  2012 is a year of a lot of eagerly awaited album releases: Galactic, Antibalas, Soulive Karl Denson EP, even hip hop legends Black Star are getting into it.  But if Eric Coomes’ warning to me on my walk out of the Brooklyn Bowl holds true: “Dude. Wait till you hear the other shit, you don’t even know.” The best one of all could be coming from the Royal Family straight out of Brooklyn.

At last, that blessed day has come.

Set-List: Madison Square, Fast Kraz, Play, By Any Shmeeans Necessary, Last Suppit, Slow Zap, Mean Funk, Slippin’, Dilla, Let it Ride, Kings of the Bergs, GoGo and Makin’ My Way Back Home (w/ Nigel Hall), Blast Off

Words by Russ Agdern
Pictures by Josh Raskin
Video by Bill Giordano

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In it’s fifth year on the musical map, Camp Barefoot 5 provided one of the year’s most positive festival experiences for 2500 music lovers this past weekend at Camp Hidden Meadows, in Bartow, West Virginia.

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Camp Barefoot 5 | August 18-20th, 2011 | Camp Hidden Meadows, Bartow, WVIn an ever-growing music festival world, full of mainstream acts, money grubbing production companies, cookie-cutter designs and investors and promoters who are in it for the wrong reasons, we are lucky when we can find a festival that continues to evolve yet keeps a firm hold to its charm.

The best music festivals do not rely solely on their line-up, their location, or their staff.  It is a seamless combination of all of the above that has left a lasting impression on this professional festival goer.   I have attended multiple festivals around the world this year and I can’t get around the fact that a festival so quaint could be so satisfying.

Every year just gets better and better. I love how the line-up changes from year to year but still has the local and regional acts that I have grown to love! This is def. one festie you can hit up by yourself and leave with a ton of new friends. ~ MrHarryHood83 on JamBase

The two main (quaint and perfect) stages @ 4am Thursday

The two main (quaint and perfect) stages @ 6am Thursday

When thinking on how to approach this article, I wrote out a list of refreshing and positive points about the fest that became endless.  The campers, the location, the weather, lack of cell-phone service, the size, the WONDERFUL staff, the vendors, artists and special large and small-scale musical collaborations.  The list went on till I hit about 150 points and put down my pen.  I recognized that Camp Barefoot contains everything one might want out of a music festival and that there are aspects of this event that other festivals can’t replicate.

The Atmosphere

The River that runs along the Main entrance and Family Camping.

The river that runs along the Main entrance and Family Camping. Completely accessible to all who care to enjoy it for whatever reason. Children colored rocks along the water all weekend.

Location, Location, Location: A good drive off the beaten path into the mountains of West Virginia, one of the most important and refreshing aspects of this festival is the location.  Once 30 minutes outside of Camp Hidden Meadows, telephone service shuts out.  This is such a blessing in disguise for those of us who are addicted to their phones and the internet. Five days of uninterrupted country camping. There is a cleansing aspect felt from the disconnection of this addiction that you feel immediately. There are rivers, walking paths, quaint bridges, and lush green landscape to pop up ones tent.

Thank you Camp Barefoot for the most baller end to my summer I could possibly ask for!!!!!! What a beautiful weekend in the valley, hours away from cell phone service, surrounded by some of my best friends, funky music, and an amazing view!!! ~ Danielle Christenson

You can't help but feel wonderfully isolated and country-fried at Barefoot!

You can't help but feel wonderfully isolated and country-fried at Barefoot!

As the name suggests, Camp Hidden Meadows is nestled into a small scale valley which should probably hold no more then 3000 people.  Tickets were limited to a maximum capacity of 3,000 people this year. VIP only sold 40 ticket making it a nice, small space to get to know your neighbors. The location of VIP this year was much more pleasant as well.  Last year, there was cow poop in many of the fields. This year, I heard a rumor that only just the day before did the poop get picked up manually by staff. THAT is dedication! We will definitely be pumping VIP up with more heads next year after the success of this year’s Barefoot.

So down home and earthy 🙂 (giggle!!) I wanna go back!! ~ Aslan Deacon (Jam Cruise Head Cheerleader)

There is a large on-site lake with a make-shift tube slide that functions as a wonderful amenity for those needing a refreshing cool-down from the afternoon sun (which never got TOO hot) or a shower.  Personally, you couldn’t pay me to get in that lake (rumor of leaches and what not) but I enjoyed knowing it was there for fun! It was constantly in use and pleased everyone who entered!

The lake/swimming hole at the top of the hill.

The lake/swimming hole at the top of the hill. I never made it back up once the festival started. (Sunrise, Thursday morning)

World's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/)

World's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/)

One of the greatest aspects of all is the night sky.  Camp Barefoot is located 14 minutes away from the World’s largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/). The placement of this telescope became knowledge to me while trying to figure out why there were no telephone towers in the area.  The placement of this telescope became UNDERSTOOD to me when I looked up into the sky on the second night of the festival. Just…WOW!!

Kids #2

Little ones ran around all weekend. Smiles and giggles abounded.

There are no words that do justice to the spectacular view we were given of the constellations on the second night. I literally hung out by the porto-potties in Family Camping getting lost in the Milky Way and various other galaxies for half an hour until a friend walked by and MADE me move. Another time, I saw five shooting starts in one hour.  Barefoot places you in the stars. Literally, there are layers upon layers of stars.  Seemingly closer, they practically reached out for me in the moments I melted into them.

Sadly, the stars didn’t present themselves in such a manner on the surrounding nights as they did that second night.  However, they still shined brighter and truer then this country-girl turned city-chick has ever experienced.  I lost the stars to the bright lights of the urban bustle years ago and it’s one of the things I miss most of country living. If for nothing else, the vision of the night sky from this venue is worth everything it takes to get there.

Vending Area Art Peice

This monster art piece began at the start of the festival and was finished by the second day. It was also the wall that defined the vendor area's beginning. I tried repeatedly to help them spray paint but alas...

The Dog Element

This guy made sure you had your rager pass before you were let backstage ;)

This guy made sure you had your rager pass before you were let backstage 😉

Dogs are an integral part of the Barefoot experience.  Each year, Camp Barefoot walks away with the Rager Award for Best Dog Population. Hands down!!  I don’t care who you are, dogs make things better and there are hardly any festivals that allow dogs these days.

Puppy Love!!

Puppy Love!!

It must be noted, especially in the bigger festivals, that our scene has lost its innocence in the canine area.  Wookies walk around with aggressive looking breeds on purpose and today’s lot dogs are scary and used for protection and aggressive portrayal.  I love all dogs and I try not to discriminate (being an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor for NYC PARKS and all) but being surrounded by multiple aggressive looking dogs is not something I enjoy. There is no such thing as a scary dog at Barefoot 🙂

At Barefoot, even my girlfriend who can’t stand dogs was loving up on the sweet faces that ran lose over the weekend.  There was a tie-dyed pug, a mini-pin in a dress, an enormous Great Dane with Dalmatian markings that towered over young children and numerous muts with bandanas around their necks who literally ran free wearing smiles. Yes, even the dogs smiled this weekend.  Barefoot is blissful.

Rolling Stream Rage

Rolling Stream Rage ~ We spent a lot of time by and in this lovely stream 🙂

Activism

Continuing the puppy love, there were numerous activities held throughout the weekend that promoted fundraising for the Humane Society of Pocahontas County.  Currently raising money for their new shelter, this local shelter is in desperate need of donations to provide for homeless pets. Hippie Olympics ($20 a person), Fans Vs Bands Kickball ($30 a person), and the sale of $1 raffle tickets raised over $1000 this year which went toward the building fund.

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

In exchange for camper’s generosity, Camp Barefoot hands out phenomenal prizes. The winner of the Hippie Olympics received:

1st place: (2) CB6 “GOLD” ALL ACCESS package passes for 2012, (2) snowshoe all day ski lift tickets, (1) Chapin Matthews Painting, 2) CB5 stickers, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) DJ Williams Projekt CDs, (2) Funkuponya stickers

2nd place: (2) CB6 VIP passes for 2012, (1) Kevin Vigil painting, (1) XL Williams Walter & Co t shirt, (2) CB5 stickers

3rd place: (2) CB6 general admission tixs for 2012, (1) Rae Vena Painting(1) William Walter & Co medium t shirt, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) CB5 stickers

4th place: (1) William Walter & Co. small t shirt, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) CB5 stickers

Rager...
Precious Rager…

Kickball participants paid $30 and received a backstage laminate (giving you access to the showers backstage and any other adventures one might find back there) and one of the Barefoot 5 Buddha Posters painted by Aaron “AJ” Masthay.  Great stuff if you ask me and even better once you recognize that it’s a small festival and you don’t have TOO much competition against you so the possibility of you winning a prize is large!

Finally, as always, the event is kid and Earth friendly featuring a KidZone and waste reduction programs.  Over the weekend I saw little one in the river being washed or running across the fields with a towering dog and leash in their hands. There was also Car Pooling movement that numerous friends took advantage of.

A nice Hammock City set up by EMO in the audience field for campers to relax and watch the music! The stages are behind me as I take this picture.

Weather

Clothes Line

Clothes Line - simple art piece strung from the tree tops near the third stage. Feel that country vibe yet?

The weather is strange in the sense that it feels as though you run through every season in a matter of hours when the sun goes down.  The days are stunningly bright and perfectly sunny but once the sun goes down, within the hour a brisk intense chill takes over and the dew is close behind leaving everything covered in a thick layer of moistness. For those of you planning on attending in the future I suggest you don’t make the mistake I did and be prepared for these changes in the climate. Tank and bikini tops during the day and hoodies and layers for the night!

Just wanted to say thanks to the vendors last weekend also. Great food, clothing, art, and everything else! So much cool stuff to check out, thanks again! Thanks again for my favorite weekend of the summer! Such a great eclectic group of people, music, and art. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work, and thanks to all the bands for bringing it this weekend! Can’t wait to do it again!!! ~ Sean Reville

I am not going to lie, when it rained the second morning a crew of us went to the closet Hilton hotel one hour away for an adventure, a shower and some bad game show network TV until the sun came out.  This hotel run was in the plans for a friend of ours before we knew the rain would come.  It worked out perfectly as we were able to stock up on things from Walmart for a few vendor friends who needed supplies and campers who threw in a few orders before we left!

Vendor Row Shot From Hill

View from top of the hill near third stage looking down at Vendor Row! You can FEEL the country in this picture 🙂

Specific Highlights of the Weekend

DESISEL MEAL!!

One of our many delicious in-camp meals! Breakfast: Sliced Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon with Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs w/ Red Peppers and Cheese. Tortillas and salsa not shown!

Crazy Arrival & THE HIPPIE DOME! There was lengthy debate as to what might greet us upon our arrival. Hillary Dovel, my traveling partner in crime, and I arrived at 4:30 am on Thursday morning.  We were greeted at the VIP entrance with a big vehicle blocking the only way onto the grounds.  Leave it to me to show up when no one is on duty. I had to snicker at the high level of security. I felt like I was home again. The sense of safety in the South felt good.

We left our car and walked down to the venue which was totally dead except for a few Wooks in the mist that hadn’t gone to sleep yet. It took us some time to figure out which campsite was ours because everyone was asleep and the layout of the grounds was different this year.  We found our WONDERFUL hippie palace that had been erected but where were our Ragers? They COULDN’T be sleeping? We tried peeking in tents but that got weird pretty much before we began and so we just assumed this pimped out spot was our home for the weekend and our friends had waited up long enough.

OUR HIPPIE DOME for the weekend! Thanks to John and Eric Way for thier hard work!

OUR HIPPIE DOME for the weekend! Thanks to John and Eric Way for their hard work! This was the living room and there was a kitchen and dining room off the sides. Epic! Epic! Epic!

Hillary and I choose not to sleep that evening. We spent the hours of 4:30 am to 8:00 am wondering the quiet camp grounds, checking out the space that would be taken over by raging hippies in a matter of hours. It was blissful watching the sun rise over the mountains and casting its golden glow on the green tree tops that create this lovely little dip in the serene The Blue Ridge Mountains. At 8pm, we finally crashed for a few hours.  The music began at noon 🙂

Cuddle Puddles Puffathons ~ Lil B

Kickball: Hillary Dovel has been setting up Kickball games quite literally around the world for our wonderful jam community over the past few years.  My first experience with her Kickball games was Camp Barefoot last year (EPIC!) followed by Jam Cruise Kickball in Jamaica (SERIOUSLY EPIC).  This year, Camp Barefoot Kickball was supposed to take place each morning at dawn (if players were awake) and there was a Fans vs. Bands game scheduled for Friday which ultimately moved to Saturday.

For the Bands Vs Fans game, each Fan put up $30 with the proceeds, totaling $300, going directly towards the Building Fund for the new Humane Society of Pocahontas County Shelter. In return, players received a backstage laminate (accessing you to the showers) for the rest of the weekend and a beautiful Camp Barefoot 5 poster.  I encourage everyone to sign up for kickball next year. It’s so worth it 🙂

Time Machine...

Sadly, this didn't work at the end of the weekend when we all wanted Camp Barefoot to start over!

This year, there is no doubt that the event was disorganized and this wasn’t anyone’s fault but our own.  Being Hillary’s wing lady, I take partial responsibility for literally dropping the ball!  We raged it so hard that we failed to promote kickball properly and have already discussed ways to eliminate this problem next year. Last year we were in the same state of rage but we promoted it much more with megaphones and people not liking us so much in those wee hours of the AM.  We are trying to find a middle ground to this promotion for next year!!!

Disorganization and lack of energy aside, there was one Dawn Kickball game that found campers sliding in the dew shortly after the sun came up one the first night.  As well, a pick-up game on Friday occurred which ultimately took the place of what was meant to be the Bands VS Fans game Saturday. Multiple fans and members of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Segway and The Mantras squared off in a no-rules game of Kickball that had silly hippies giggling from beginning to end.  Well, there is one rule…the only rule: NO BUNTING!

Thanks to all the members of the Bands who offered their time to give us such a great laugh as they kicked our butts. There is something really hilarious and wonderful about this event. I hope it continues on and really becomes an integral part of what makes Camp Barefoot a special experience.

Night Lights

The two main stages at night lit up by the wonderful 81 Productions!

Live Painting:  I have never seen so many live painters in one spot then I did this past weekend.  Jon Blake (Crazyredbeard) (a personal favorite and whose work we just purchased in April at Rock N Roll Resort), Chapin Mathews, Shannon Mordhorst, Jamie Morgan, Amity Dewey (one of my favorite new found artists), G. Scott Queen (who brings an edge and urban flavor to this his art), Kevin Vigil, Rae Vena, Carter Roach, Danny Phillips, and Aaron “AJ” Masthay (creator of this year’s Barefoot gorgeous poster) were all on site and are inspirational to the environment in the moment while painting. It really is amazing and a wonderful treat to buy yourself if you were so inclined and touched by a specific performance.

I think what keeps me painting at shows is the true love I have for the music and for the act of creating art. And what better place to do it then at a concert with a million kids jumping around? I love being able to inspire people with my art; my hopes are that they will go out there and do the same. Everyone is an artist. ~ Jamie Morgan

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

However, it was entirely too much. Don’t get me wrong, the art work and watching it be created during a live performance is actually very stimulating.  In fact, I suppose if I didn’t have a VIP Pass I might just have set myself up in the front row of the general audience near the painters to watch them create. I suppose, the amount of painters didn’t bother me so much as the location they were set up to paint. Set up in the VIP pit, we were forced to dance around them and try not to fall into them. I don’t even drink and I was falling into them at times when I wasn’t raging the rail.  It was just cumbersome and slightly annoying because you don’t want to harm their work or their toes. This might be the biggest issue I have with the entire festival and it’s not even something I TRULY care about so that just goes to show ya how great this weekend truly is!!

The beginnings of an audience forming for the music start on Thursday! Just look at that stunning blue sky and green mountain backdrop. Perfect weather also!

The Artists Care: Camp Barefoot is the ONLY musical festival I have gone to where members of other bands playing throughout the weekend are set up within the camping grounds mixed in with the fans.  Camp Barefoot is also the ONLY festival where I see members of other bands making their way to the front row to completely rage the rail for their favorite sets.  I watched the bassist for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong immerse himself in the culture of the festival all weekend playing kickball and wandering around engaging new people around their camp grounds. Segway’s manager did the same.

The smaller bands are humble and kind and there as much to learn and digest the music as much as they are to perform for their fans.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SEEING this type of involvement.   I will always be a fan first and I know how that rail riding feels.  But to see other artists doing the same, that is something special.

Music, Sweet Music

Rage!

Musical Mustache Rage!

Everything at Camp Barefoot screams simplicity and value through it’s small scale.  Barefoot delivers the best music their region has to offer by way of the Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland jam band scene with a few special nationally recognized gems thrown in the mix.

Emphasis is on the reflection of the region vs the country’s staple Jam Bands that generally find their way headlining large-scale festivals. It is for that reason I love attending these small festivals. I love finding new talent and recognizing new musicians who are going to open up on our world.  I love writing about these groups that never get the coverage they deserve.

The lineup for Camp Barefoot is always littered with wonderful, small scale groups who leave a large impression on all their new listeners.  Here are this year’s stand-outs (in my humble opinion).

The Jeff White Band opened up the festival at 12pm Thursday on the main stage. His cover of Paul Simon‘s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” is what greeted me as I awoke in our wonderful campsite. What a lovely, funky way to rise.

Sol Flo

Garry: Guitar and Vocals
Alicia: Guitar and Vocals
Tasha: Stand up Bass, Clarinet, mandolin
David Moo Young: Drums & Percussion

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

From Ashville, NC, Sol Flo was the first band that made me stop and take notice on Thursday afternoon. Originally an acoustic/folk hip/hip trio, Sol Flo has recently taken on a drummer from Central America named David Moo Young which seems to have rounded out their sound.  This weekend happened to be David’s first music festival.  Gotta love the virgins….

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

From where I was standing in VIP Camping, they sounded like a young soulful college band with attitude, delivery and some gnarly funky bass. I prefer a bass guitar line for breakfast so I took myself over to the stage to investigate. I was shocked to see a much more mature band.  Siblings Garry and Alicia Bullard provided the positively youthful, soulful vocals and guitar play while Tasha Bear played one mean bass.  She surprised me the most.  With the utmost respect, she kind of reminded me of my mother, only my mother can’t slap a mean bass like Tasha Bear can!

Family Tree:  This rock group reminded me of Guster. Their songs were catchy and fun.

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops

Molly Murphy – Vocals, Guitar, Kazoo,
Sally Murphy – Vocals, Tenor Guitar, Kazoo
Jess Bergh – Percussion, Vocals, Guitar
The Reverend Bill Howard – Vocals, Electric Guitar
Terry Newman/ Remy Duguet/ Lorie Lichtenwalner- Bass

Stanton, Virginia’s The Judy Chops was the first group that got me truly excited. Rightly so, as they are talented members from other bands who have come together to purely entertain.  Reminiscent of Django Reinhardt styling one moment and bluegrass hip hop another, The Judy Chops have a refreshing sound and fun concept.  They mash songs together or rather “chop” them up and piece them back together to create an exciting musical experience.

In their song “Sex Monster,” I caught at least 15 songs beginning with Bloodhound Gang‘s “Discovery Channel” to Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” to the Talking Heads‘ “Psycho Killer”. Then there was a mix of a Michael Franti‘s “Ganja Babe”, Keller William‘s “Boob Job” and a David  Pollard song.  After that insanity, they went into a swing-y Ella Fitzgerald tune. It was all over the map.

I gotta say off the top of my head The Judy Chops and Crucial Element were my new favorite find!! ~ Aslan Deacon

Their set was fun, danceable and full of chopped up pop tunes that had the thin crowd smiling ear to ear. As their set progressed, the crowd grew as the music called to them.  It’s been a long time since something fun and fresh like this has been put in front of me musically.  Their 3-part harmony was smooth amongst the chaos. This band would be killer to hire for a wedding and I mean that in the most positive way! So much fun!

Here is the Sex Monster video.  At the very end of the video Jess announces the name of the song and you can hear me scream my response 🙂 I was energized by Sex Monsters.

Crucial Elements

Joshua Crenshaw – Keyboards
Billy Austin – Lead guitar/vocals
Gregory Haynes – Guitar/vocals
Chuckie Luv – Drums/vocals
Jason Jarrell – Bass
ButtaFly Vazquez – Lead and backing vocals

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements:

Crucial Elements: Greg Haynes

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

A member of my camp made friends with the keyboardist’s girlfriend and so we decided to check out this Richmond, Virginia band first thing Saturday morning on the Mustache Stage.  Bringing the best Roots and Reggae vibe heard over the weekend, Crucial Element is made up of five musicians who truly get into their music and message as they sing three and four part harmonies with that Reggae fire.

Their female vocalist, ButtaFly Vazquez, was phenomenal!  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize true talent.  She was absolutely born to sing. Like many bands at Camp Barefoot, Crucial Element handed out CDs, in this instance, Grow, Crucial Element‘s latest CD showing off the newest line-up of the group.

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Ross van Brocklin – Vocals, guitar
Max Collins – Vocals, guitar
Aaron Ahlbrandt -Vocals, keys
Chris Coleman – Bass
Sam Cushman – Drums

Kings of Belmont's Drummer

Kings of Belmont's Sam Cushman

I have to be honest with you friends. I have one live recording from this well-known Charlottesville, Virginia band on my computer that was given to me by someone whose musical opinion I value greatly. I attempted three individual times to listen to the show and each time I was turned off by various things.  I just wasn’t connecting with them in the right way.

I have heard such great things so perhaps I had to hear them live? Who knows, but it is specifically for that reason that I made myself go to their set and watch it in its entirety 11pm Thursday night on the Mustache stage. And guess what….I loved them!

They are anything but predictable and that is a great quality to have in a group. High-energy raging rock with some jamming musicality.  This is a great thing considering that the bassist on stage was making his debut with the band. With a solid sound, they bring a friendly feeling that one might vibe on from a house band.

I loved how super appreciative they were. They kept saying, “Thank you! We appreciate you guys coming up here. We know we are up against some pretty heavy hitters [Perpetual Groove]. Not only that, we are up THE HILL!!” ~ Hillary Dovel

Personally, I was stoked that this band was playing because I have been losing my grip on Perpetual Groove since last year.  The highlight of The Belmont set for me was when they broke out with a stellar cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”. Wookies slowly emerged from the mist in every direction. It was killer. Their energy was unmatched that night and I was so happy that the option against Perpetual Groove was Kings of Belmont.

Click HERE for Kings of Belmont Live @ Camp Barefoot 5

The Mantras

Keith Allen – Guitar/Vocals
Marcus Horth – Guitar/Vocals
Justin Loew – Drums
Justin W. Powell – Keyboards/Vocals
Brian Tyndall – Bass/Vocals
Brent Vaughn – Percussion/Vocals
CAMP BAREFOOT MVP’s BABY!!! Only in backwoods West Virginia can you allow a psychedelic rock band to play till 6:45 in the MORNING!!! That is how Camp Barefoot closed out its wonderful four day hippie fest!  The Mantras are SO much fun!

A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation ~ Thanks WikiPedia

The Mantra's Keith Allen

The Mantra's Keith Allen

Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, The Mantras, led by guitarist and vocalist Keith Allen, had two sets over the weekend.  Their high-energy first set was during the day, under the sun.  I don’t own any Mantra Cds and so I had forgotten about the sound of Keith Allen’s voice. It reminds me of Les Claypool in the way that he has an unusual inflection in all the right, quirky ways. Les Claypool, however, uses a microphone to create his sound.  Keith Allen just brings it naturally. His voice may be an “acquired taste” as I heard one fan put it but their sold out shows in their home state prove that it’s a taste that everyone enjoys.

There is also something to be said about a band who takes pride in their light show.  I ADORE a good light show. A good lighting director (like Chris Kuroda or  Jeff Waful) knows how light triggers our emotions and stimulates parts of our brains.  Healing Bear is the name of The Mantra’s light director and he brings that extra layer that every late night show needs.  I heard that he was asked by other bands to help them out as well. Gotta love the family sharing vibe.

I saw Keith backstage the last night of the festival and asked him if he was ready to close this mother down. He said he felt great and had made sure to get a good night sleep because he was planning on bringing the fire.  That he did.

The Mantra's Justin Powell

The Mantra's Justin Powell

Their late night set BEGAN at 4:35am.  Amongst their signature, fun-named songs like the bass-thumping “Magillicuddy” and “Metrognome,” there was a killer cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Terrapin Station.”  I was in Vendor Row when this song was being played and the notes trickled down the hill into my ears. I noticed multiple hippies around me spinning. It was a joyful site to behold. The Mantras also threw down a solid cover of London’s progressive rock band King Crimson‘s “Thela Hun Ginjeet.”  An enthusiastic set to say the least, bassist Brian Tyndall is always fun to watch as he throws around his black hair and it was a pleasure to see the group with their new keyboardist, Justin Powell who filled the slot nicely.

The Mantras are huge in their region and there is no questions as to why. I could go on and on about thier set however The Mantras are one of the few bands who got recorded so I will let you take a listen and decide for yourself! Enjoy!

Click HERE for The Mantras Live @ Camp Barefoot Late Night Set

Set List: Sweaty Monster Pt. 1, Cairo, The Prelude, Ska Face, Man You Rawk!, Dr. Ssanasinod, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Jabberwocky, Five Roads, Terrapin Station, Magillicuddy, Metrognome.

Showing that Mantra Love!

Showing that Mantra Love!

Former Champions

Walton – Guitars/Vocals
Wolf – Keys/Vocals
Ashby – Basses/Vocals
Bakes – Drums
Hyman – Sound
DJ Possum – Lighting Design

Former Champions was a pleasant find. Or perhaps it found me. My best friend from high school is best friends with the drummer’s wife.  Did ya get all that? Needless to say, I had to come give some love to this set and give it more than my usual ADHD infused attention.

This live electronic rock band from Richmond, Virginia took me a few songs to get into but once I got into their groove, I was into them fully.  Getting down in the front row and dancing up the sides. Describing themselves as “a modern, high-energy, musical ensemble focused on expressing ideas and emotions through sound and words,” they did just that. They played well-composed songs with on the spot improvisation, which is fine. That is what all jam bands strive to do. However, this bands goal is to influence and inspire the human spirit with their music and I felt it, I really did. I could tell because of the smile on my face, my happy ears and my grooving booty.

Their jamming and dark Nine Inch Nails’ cover of “Closer” was a highlight of this set for me. I am going to say, one of my top five songs of the weekend, hands down. I remember looking around thinking how happy I was to be dancing around all my best girlfriends and I know the music helped fuel my happiness in that moment.  The song took on so many meaning in that moment.  All bands seek to connect with something and Former Champion’s music reaches out and gets into you.  That is their goal and they succeed in that goal.

Roberts, Walter and Deitch

Robert Walter – Hammond B3 Organ
Eddie Roberts – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

Eddie Roberts playing around with a stuffed weasel that was thrown on stage

Eddie Roberts playing around with a stuffed weasel that was thrown on stage

Holy Hell!!! POWER TRIO OF THE YEAR! Barefoot, like most musical events, is subject to a Radius Clause. Due to nature of the clause, bands can not play inside a certain mileage of a previously booked show so as not to draw audiences away from bigger venues. The contract stipulation is an lucky inconvenience for Barefoot due to the Masontown, West Virginia’s All Good Music Festival and Floyd, Virginia’s FloydFest flanking Barefoot’s dates and location.

Personally, I love these contractual clauses for a very specific reason.  Do you have any idea how many super groups have been created due to this clause.  I could go on for hours but I will just speak on the super group that got plugged this year for Barefoot.

Robert Walters, raging the Hammond....OMG!

Robert Walters, raging the Hammond....OMG!

Eddie Roberts putting on some psychedelic glasses after someone threw them on stage

Eddie Roberts putting on some psychedelic glasses after someone threw them on stage

First, you got the heavy, soulfully jazzy Hammond B3 organist Robert Walter from Robert Walter’s 20th Congress and The Greyboy Allstars. He is one of my top three favorite organists in our Jam scene. For those of you who were there, I am sure you enjoyed his facial expressions as his music flowed from his body. He is HEAVY with his playing teasing rock, jazz, soul, funk and multiple effects creating sounds only his fingers can find.

Next, you have New Yorker Adam Deitch who was simply born to drum.  Keeping bands such as Pretty Lights, Lettuce, Dr. Klaw and BreakSciene on beat, Detich is one of the brightest stars in the drumming community and my homie from NYC. This fierce set reminded me how much I enjoy his talent.

The music and the people made the festival! One of the best parts about Camp Barefoot is every year I feel like something happens (collaboration, sit-in, etc) that is a one of a kind event most likely to never happen again. Perfect example is Walter, Roberts, and Deitch all playing together and THEN Karl Denson running on stage like a kid in a candy store to join in. ~ Cullen Seward

...I liked that it wasn’t a mile walk from main stage to my spot. I left R,W & D to pee and get a beer and was back in like 5 mins! ~ Jeanelle Myers

Finally, you have masterful guitarist Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds out of Leeds, England.  His energy and styling is fresh, free and his sense of humor is on point. As a dense Wookie in the  audience threw a bottle on stage to which Roberts exclaimed, “If you are going to throw bottles, please make sure they are full.”  During another point in the performance, both Deitch and Roberts took turns having fun with a campers’ stuffed weasel named “Terrance” that made its way on stage and eventually tied to Robert’s mic by his stuffed tail.

Karl Denson came out to join the party for a song!

Karl Denson came out to join the party for a song!

This superb power trio had only performed together three times before gracing the main stage on the last night of Barefoot.  I was told earlier that they had chosen a collection of rare B-side songs to perform but they had so much fun on stage that they only got through a few. They ended up playing two of Deitch’s songs and a two of Water’s songs.  “Flood in Franklin Park” is a Grant Green song which Robert Walter’s made his own.  “A-1 Sauce” was a song that I didn’t recognize but Deitch killed it.  The entire set was the highlight of the whole weekend. I see massive amounts of live music and it’s not always that I get to see a new group in its earliest creation! You never would have guessed they had only played together three times prior to Barefoot.  The set was pure gold.

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth’s Talking Heads Set

Kyle Hllinsgworth – Keys
Garrett Sayers – Bass
Dave Watts – drums

Kyle Hollingsworth (String Cheese Incident) is one of my favorite keyboardists after Robert Walters and this set was magnificent.  You also can’t go wrong with one of the best rhythm sections in America backing you up with Garret Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on drums. YOWZA! The Kyle Hollingsworth Band also played a regular set of their wonderful music however it was this Talking Heads set that left the lasting impression.

The energy from this set was unmatched as famous songs like “Psycho Killer” and “Crosseyed and Painless” made their way through the fields of dancing and singing campers. I weaved in and out of the crowd for this set and it was interesting to see the age differences recognize and not recognize the songs. Just a superb dance party. In those moments, I was so happy that Kyle was bringing this music to the ears of these musical newbies I found in the audience.  This is the one set that I wanted to find the most as a download. I am hoping it turns up.

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Karl Denson – Saxaphone
Chris Littlefield – Trumpet
DJ Williams – Guitar
David Veith – Keyboards
John Staten – Drums
Chris Stillwell – Bass

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

A saxophone led band, I mean who doesn’t love that? It’s unique and Karl Denson is the hardest working man in the Jam community. Just go follow him around at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and you tell me different. Setting the bar in funk, Karl Denson came on after Roberts, Walters, and Deitch to complete the funky filled night of smiles and dancing.  Karl Denson can make you smile before even playing a note. He is just walking charisma.

DJ Williams (DJ Williams Projekt) has been asked to play in place of Brian Jordan while Brian takes on new musical challenges. I was so pleased to see DJ Williams being picked for this slot. He filled Brian’s shoes wonderfully and brought his own style of Virginia funk to the position. Drummer John Staten is SICK!!  I mean, what can I keep saying about him? He is simply amazing and stands so grand behind his rig.

If anyone befriended a space ghost or a man with big’ol fake boobies on his chest this weekend, please do get in touch!!! ~ Dave Fullerton

Thank You Camp Barefoot

Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!  As a music lover, a music festival junkie and a critic, I can’t give enough love to this festival.  A festival that is surrounded by as much love and positivity as is put into it.  From the grassroots foundation to the focus on developing bands in the region’s scene, Barefoot is a Diamond in the Rough as far as music, environment and experience goes.  There just isn’t a better place to spend your weekend.  When the dates for next year’s Barefoot surface, you can be sure that I will be pressuring all my people to attend. I hope that this tiny (wink) review will stimulate you to do the same.

Thanks again Camp Barefoot for creating one of the best experiences of the entire summer. ~ August Joseph Heisler IV

Below is a list of media that I collected while putting together this article. Please give these groups a listen.  They are all spirited, high energy, wonderful regional groups from Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland and all deserve your attention. Thank you to everyone who tapes, records and captures the memories of these events.

Tons of live video of CB5

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Big Something

Big Something: “A Simple Vision” & “Josh’s Disco” (Pro Audio)

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Brothers Past

Brothers Past Live at Camp Barefoot on 2011-08-20 (August 20, 2011)

* I heard from a number of people that this was their favorite set of the weekend

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DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt: “This World” live (Pro Audio)

DJ Williams Projekt: “Cake” live 8/19/11 (Pro Audio)

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Down Home Country Band

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 1 of 3

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 2 of 3

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 3 of 3

Future Rock

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 1 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 2 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 3 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 4 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 5 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 6 of 6

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Jesse Chong Band

Jesse Chong Band: live@ Camp Barefoot (Pro Audio)

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Kyle Hollingsworth

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The New Deal

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal I

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal II

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Papadosio

Papadosio – Method of Control – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Curve – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Find Your Cloud – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Cue – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Advocate of Change – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio: “Direction” & “All I Knew” live (Pro Audio)

Papadosio: “Frequence” live 8/19/11 (Pro Audio)

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People’s Blues of Richmond

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 1 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Nihilist Blues” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 2 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 4 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 5 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Motherfucker” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 6 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 7 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 8 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 9 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Go Home” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 10 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 11 of 11

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Pimps of Joytime

The Pimps of Joytime | “My Gold” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 1 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 2 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | “Janxta Funk” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 3 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 4 of 4

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Perpetual Groove

Perpetual Groove: “Robot Waltz” live 8/18/11 (Pro Audio)

Perpetual Groove: “At the Screen” live 8/18/11 (Pro Audio)

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Segway

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 1 of 3

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 2 of 3

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 3 of 3

Segway showing us some heat during their Saturday late night set.

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Zach Deputy

Set I: Savannah, Butter You Up, Troubles, Working With, Shark Fin, Let It Out, Scrambled Eggs

Encore: Twisty Twisty & Headed Home

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Zoogma

Zoogma at Camp Barefoot – M-10

Zoogma Camp Barefoot – New Luxury

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STEVE FEELIN IT!!

STEVE FEELIN IT!!

Steve Kimock Residency: Night III @ Sullivan Hall

Steve Kimock – Guitar
Andy Hess – Bass
Pete Sears – Keys
John Molo – Drums

For the last three weeks, Steve Kimock held residency at New York City’s Sullivan Hall on the Lower East Side. The beauty of a residency is the opportunity to experience your favorite musician/group in various musical positions. Each week, Kimock was supported by a different line-up of musicians bringing us a dense Dead/New Orleans vibe his first week,  creating vibrant jams with a younger generation of musicians the second week and finally destroying the audience with a fusion laden performance the third week.  The guests were as follows:

Night I:

Henry Butler (Acclaimed NOLA Keyboardist)
Andy Hess (Govt Mule, Black Crowes, John Scofield)
John Morgan Kimock (Crazy Engine)

Night II:

Marco Benevento
Marc Friedman (The Slip)
Adam Deitch (Lettuce, Breakscience)

Night III:

John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, Phil & Friends)
Pete Sears (Hot Tuna)
Andy Hess (Govt Mule, Black Crowes, John Scofield)
w/ opening act Moonalice

Wednesday night’s performance capped off what was truly a magnificent run of music.  The heavy fusion style was deeply evident throughout the night’s performance as Steve Kimock delivered the audience what I am boldly going to have to put into my “Top 10 Favorite Steve Kimock Shows” list.  I can hear the gasps now but to be fair, I have only seen him maybe 35 times!! BUT STILL…how many can say that they have seen Steve Kimock sing, let alone sing a Beatles song?

I’ve been seeing Kimock in various iterations (Zero/TheOtherOnes/KVHW/SKB) since 1997. I have NEVER witnessed him singing… Mind = blown.. ~ Evan S.

The rock solid rhythm duo in John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, Phil & Friends) and the phenomenal Andy Hess (Govt Mule, Black Crowes, John Scofield) with the gorgeous ivory talent of  Pete Sears (Hot Tuna)  provided a support for Kimock that allowed him to showcase his talents effortlessly, to an extent that a fire RARELY seen in our wonderful Mr. Steve Kimock burst through over the progression of the night.  Steve Kimock truly shined about as bright as I have ever seen him shine!

Kimock Residency!

Kimock Residency!

John Molo!

John Molo!

When I arrived at the intimate Sullivan Hall, Kimock and friends had just began a Kimock original, It’s Up To You. The placed was packed!  I was drawn to the stage immediately as Andy Hess’s bass lines wrapped themselves around my heart, pulling me closer.  Nang Chalk Pipe, an Ernest Ranglin cover followed.  Jamaican guitarist and composer Ernest Ranglin is someone I had never heard of until Kimock began covering this song.  There is a guitar style found in nearly all ska music called “scratching” that some people might suggest was created by Ranglin.

If Eric Clapton is God, then Steve Kimock is the holy ghost ~ Josh  W.

Kimock’s slow, calculated intro into the Jimmy Cliff tune Many Rivers To Cross was an audience favorite. Sadly, there was a large group of people talking in this small space and for the first time at a show in a while, I heard a large portion of the audience “shhhhh” the other portion.  I LOVED that! Personally, I want a shirt that reads “Shut The Fuck Up While The Band Is Playing” on the front and back.  Kimock utilized his Hawaiian lap steel to create the draw that defines the song.  It was sullen and romantic at the same time. Couples swayed and smiles abounded on the audiences faces.

The jam into Baby Baby, a cover of Ronnie Shannon’s Baby, I Love You which was a hit for Aretha Franklin in the late 60s (thank you for this clarification, Mike), was wicked with Steve lifting off his seat and on to his feet with a smile creeping out from the sides of his generally stagnant lips.

Andy Hess’s bass line locked it down. Andy Hess’s bass line ALWAYS locks it down.  For those of you not familiar with Andy Hess, I suggest seeing him immediately.  He is an artist in our community who is criminally slept on, providing a solid foundation in every project he plays participant and is rarely given credit when credit is due.  The ability of an artist to hold back is just as important in certain musical scenarios as raging through with your instruments. Musicians need to remember that and sometimes they do not.  When musicians play with artists like Steve Kimock or John Scofield, they must remember to allow these guitarist to shine and not overpower them for any reason.  It’s a skill you learn over time playing with different artists.  Andy Hess can back any musician, allowing them to shine and still be dripping with sweat holding down his spot on stage with a fury. SOLID!

First Set: You’re the One, Nang Chalk Pipe, Many Rivers To Cross, Baby Baby

Andy Hess & John Molo

Andy Hess & John Molo

John Molo!

John Molo!

The second set was KILLER! A personal favorite, Tangled Hangers, had Steve dropping the fusion-y solos and John Molo’s rocking the audience out.  However, it was when the first note of Tongue In Groove hit that made me so happy as it is my favorite Steve Kimock tune.  As I inhaled the gorgeous beginning of this song, I looked around at the room which was filled almost solely with older men.  The masculine beauty of this song was not lost on a single man 0r women in there.  It’s the ultimate love song.  Half way through, Pete Sears destroyed a solo that elevated the jam immensely.  So tight!  I am going to let the video speak for itself.

Steve Kimock

Steve Kimock

Golden Road‘s upbeat, dancing vibe brought out some hoots from the audience before people fell into their own dancing worlds. Peter Sears, yet again, showing his stellar ability on the keyboard without over shadowing Kimock. Another seasoned musician who knows how to withhold until given the window to let loose. John Molo holding down the rhythm with Andy Hess was such a pairing, the two melded seamlessly together.  At times, I kept thinking they should be recording this for a live cd release.

I believe that many people’s disconnect with Steve Kimock possibly come from his lack of stage presence.  I feel you on that.  Tthere are times where he literally disappears off the stage for me but he never falters in his sound.  The new generation of music lovers enjoy a hype show, that rager performance, the necessity of dancing and lights, the Chris Loftlin banging his head, Skerik raging in our faces. But with Kimock, well, he just sits on his stool with his glasses propped at the end of his nose dressed in all black, making it look effortless (almost boring as I know some feel).  What you fail to see with this opinion is that he is pulling things off that other guitarists only dream of doing. So, when I watched as Steve Kimock walked to the microphone, busted out a killer smile and began singing Slow Down, which I believe is a Beatles tune, my jaw fell to the ground.  YES, Steve Kimock sang. I couldn’t understand a word he said and that didn’t matter.

Last night’s show was the only time I’ve ever seen him say anything to the audience besides band introductions, and certainly the first time I’ve seen him sing (out of maybe…20 shows?). Even during interviews, he’s incredibly reticent, giving either two word answers, or near-nonsensical ramblings, punctuated by nervous laughter. ~ Josh W.

Second Set: Tangled Hangers, Tongue in Groove, Golden Road, Slow Down

This third and final performance of Steve Kimock’s residency had a distinct flow of comfortableness as a result of the musical experience that radiated off his musical support for the evening. Andy Hess, John Molo and Pete sears showed us how to do things right, putting Kimock on his well-deserved pedestal as they all shined along with him.  And for someone who lacks stage presence during most of his performances, it was a wonderful treat to see Steve Kimock so spirited.

!!!Download Show Here!!!

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Oh My Goddess aerial performers during Break Science

Oh My Goddess aerial performers during Break Science

The start of festival season is an exciting time in our musical community!  The cold of winter melts off our dancing legs and the anticipation of weekend and week-long non-stop musical events become reality.  For New Yorker’s, the New York festival season kicked off in Kerhonkson, NY on April 1, 2011with the Rock & Roll Resort.

ED "Jesus" Combes (Lettuce)

ED "Jesus" Combes (Lettuce)

There were many acts, but the main acts of the weekend consisted of multiple musical groups from The Royal Family record label.  The members of The Shady Horns, The Sam Kininger Band, The Nigel Hall Band, Break Science, Chapter 2 and Lettuce headlined each night over the three day musical event.

Sam Kininger (The Sam Kininger Band)

Sam Kininger (The Sam Kininger Band)

The different acts brought an amazing array of musical talent and diversity, from the beautiful vocals of The Nigel Hall Band, to the funky grooves of The Sam Kininger Band, Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 as well as Lettuce and the late night beats of Break Science.  The Royal Family left their mark on Rock and Roll Resort 2011 in a deep way.

Eric Krasno (Lettuce & Chapter 2)

Eric Krasno (Lettuce & Chapter 2)

For an in-depth overview of each of these acts, please check out my article for The Royal Family Records website

Use this link – http://www.royalfamilyrecords.com/news/post/royal-family-reigns-rock-n-roll-resort – if link above doesn’t work!

Downloadable Sets:

Eric Krasno & Chapter 2
The Nigel Hall Band
The Sam Kininger Band
Lettuce

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And for an in-depth overview of Rock N Roll Resort, please keep your eyes out for the posting on Music Marauders in the next 48 hours! Rage!

Neal Evans (Chapter 2 & Lettuce)

Neal Evans (Chapter 2 & Lettuce)

Chris Loftlin (Chapter 2)

Chris Loftlin (Chapter 2)

Jeffrey Lockhart (The Sam Kininger Band)

Jeffrey Lockhart (The Sam Kininger Band)

Nigel Hall (The Nigel Hall Band)

Nigel Hall (The Nigel Hall Band)

Adam Deitch (Break Science)

Adam Deitch (Break Science)

** Special thanks to Chris Monaghan for photography.  You can check out his phenomenal photography at http://www.monaghanphotography.com **

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