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Camp Barefoot 4 | August 19-21th, 2010 | Camp Hidden Meadows, Bartow, WVRemember the name, cause you will be screaming it all weekend long!!!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4

Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4

Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4

Camp Barefoot 4 was held on the gorgeous grounds of Camp Hidden Meadows in the West Virginia mountains this past weekend, providing a wonderful backdrop for almost 2000 music loving hippies to dance, eat and smile to good music.  Barefoot also made sure to feature many Virginia-based musicians, bringing a hometown feel to the weekend which I couldn’t ignore and fully appreciated.

Introducing Camp/Team Hardcore

I love that I hang out with Epic Professionals.  I am not talking about professionals in the 9-5 sense of the word.  I am not talking about professional musicians or production members.  I am talking about professional festival goers.  Where most of the people in our scene are obsessed with touring with Phish or Furthur or following any certain band, my running crew is addicted to raging music festivals all over the nation and then, during our down time, seeing individual shows in our respective hometowns.

West Virginia Mountains....pretty

West Virginia Mountains....pretty

Camp Barefoot 4 (CB4) was a new festival added to my radar this year.  I had been looking forward to it all year but was also a tad bit unorganized.  (Thank god for the professionals again.)  This year, our campsite was dubbed Camp Hardcore, so I will refer to my crew as that from now on throughout the rest of the article.

I left New York City after work Wednesday night to catch my ride to a section of West Virginia that I hadn’t been in since I found out Jerry Garcia died while I was climbing Seneca Rocks.  Meeting up with members of Camp Hardcore in Winchester, Virginia, we all caravaned to the festival grounds, arriving at Camp Hidden Meadows around 12:30pm on Thursday.  Checking into VIP was cake.  This was a first as most times there is always some kind of hold up for one reason or another at the entry gates.   We reached VIP camping after only 15 minutes.  Lovely!

I arrived with nothing more then a backpack on my back.  Living in New York City without a car provided a challenge figuring out logistics of raging a West Virginia Mountain by way of public transportation.  I had not yet replaced any of my traveling camping gear that was stolen last year nor do I really have room for all that gear in my Manhattan apartment.  Reaching out to members of Camp Hardcore, my professional posse made sure to bring extra everything to set me up with a nice little home in the woods for the weekend.

The beginning stages of Camp Hardcore

The beginning stages of Camp Hardcore (There's my little red tent....)

Let the Barefooting Begin

No BS Brass band practicing...we think...

No BS Brass band practicing...we think...

The music was not slated to start until 5pm on the Main Stage but there was rumor of the No BS Brass Band playing towards the Main entrance on The Courtyard Stage.  This stage was quite literally made up of two Eazy-Up tent placed over a large plank of wood.  I loved the simplicity of the production…a stage is a stage is a stage…folks don’t really need a lot of flare….sometimes that is the charm. Sadly, the horns never reached the stage.  Instead, a three piece string band slowly began setting up as we discussed what to do next.  The Barefoot Movement continued to play as Bo and I checked out the Camel Trailer located 100 yards from the makeshift stage….

The Camel Trailer on way to Main Entrance

The Camel Trailer on way to Main Entrance

The Camel Trailer

What the hell were we thinking?  The Camel Trailer was actually quite bizarre and more then a little disturbing. We were told that there were options of free cigarettes once you went through the trailer.  Liars.  We entered the trailer, but not before being asked to extinguish Bo’s cigarette.  Oh, the irony.  Upon entering the trailer, you are greeted by a tiny cute female in a jean skirt and a button up plaid shirt.  They would have been better reaching us through patchwork instead of hilly billy plaid. We are hippies, not rednecks.  HAHA!!

Camel Snus

Camel Snus

Our “guide” proceeded to talk to us about CAMEL SNUS, a smoke-free, spit free packet of tobacco that you stick in your lip.  Immediately, Bo and I started pointing out the lack of music (“WHY do you not have music?”) and the stale cool air that was being spewed over us like in a hospital (“Oh man, this staleness is just creepy!”).  There were TV screens with trippy blue waves surrounding us (“Whoa, we need to come back in here in a few hours!”).

Camel Snus - ewww

Camel Snus - ewww

We were not the best people to be guiding as we really were not interested in what they were giving us and by the end, even more offended by their presentation.  We were shuffled along and forced to give our information to a computer, then semi-forced to pick out a container of Snus.  Bo kept telling them he didn’t want one and they couldn’t get that through their heads. I just wanted it for the cute tin it was wrapped in.  Eventually, Bo had one in his hand. Finally, the last leg of the “tour” consisted of a “guide” opening up our SNUS tins and attempting to get us hooked on it right then and there by forcing it up up our lip before we went into a room with a presentation on a screen.  Bo and I both argued that we didn’t want that crap up our lip and so they left us alone and we proceeded to watch the subliminal message being thrown at us in the video.  It was a 4-D experience as our seats moved, air was blown in our face and we were thrown out of airplanes, skiing down slopes, biking down mountains and so much more.  It took a minute for Bo to even turn his head and look at it as he thought he was being brained washed.   He was right. As we left, we were blown away by what had just occurred.  How insane, how forceful and addicting was that?  Bo and I made a point to tell all our friends not to bother going in that trailer.  It was crazy how they attempted to lock you into the product before you even leave the trailer. WOW!!!  Personally, I think all these stupid trailers should be banned.

Gorgeous festival campgrounds

The Main Gate with the Courtyard Stage in white.

Please, my fellow ragers...

Please, my fellow ragers...

VIP PERK #1:  Only members with VIP passes were able to camp with their cars so the process to get general campers inside the venue was a fun one to watch.  Basically, a “shuttle” would come to the pick-up location and scattered hippies cold be seen running from all sides just chucking their gear onto the trailer in the back before the next hippie could.  No lines, not much organization but I never heard anyone complain, just laugh.  More of that charm…. It was so nice to be back home, away from New York City, seeing these smiling faces and knowing that we were going to be having a safe and wonderful time with my mountain pals this weekend.  Nothing better…

Cinder Cat

Cinder Cat

Cinder Cat

Cartwright Brandon – Drums
Drew De Porter – Guitar and Vocals
Taylor Hellhake – Bass
Theremin Charlie Nimitz – Guitar

Around 5pm, the music began.  I walked back to camp, taking in the lovely festival grounds along the way….all while listening to Cinder Cat, an experimental/rock/electronica band out of North Carolina.  They drew me to the stage.  Their sound was trippy and spacey.  Made me wish that they were playing later on in the evening when I would be prepared for them.  However,  I could wager that the members of this group would probably want to be raging to the later bands along side me instead of playing for me.  There is potential for this group to be a raging late night band if they continue practicing and get tighter.  Just a fun group that looked like they were enjoying themselves. There is nothing wrong with that.

Setlist: Intro>, Broke >,Sample >, Twlight >, Swamp, Temple (Part I and II), Saucer face >, A1, MJ

Encore: Antithesis

(Waiting on recording from band – definite)

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

VIP PERK #2:  The beauty about the size of this festival and the location of the VIP section, we could hear every single note from the two main stages without ever leaving our camping chairs or in my case, the hammock. One thing I have to say I noticed, the bands that performed earlier on in the day had one underlying similarity that had me losing focus most mornings.  Most would just change directions before truly hitting their jams on a given song.  Just when things would start getting interesting, just when our ear would perks up, many times, the band would flip into a new style in the middle of the song or just not complete the rise into the rage that they were building up to.   Styles in the song would change, directions just changed and it would deflate us completely.

Murphy’s Kids tunes were catchy and I found myself stopping in the middle of pitching a tent to ask who I was listening too.  However, there was just too much going on to truly give their set listening justice.  I hadn’t seen some of Camp Hardcore for over 8 years.  There was quite the reunion this weekend for sure.  I did make a mental note to check out Murphy’s Kids again if they had another set…alas, they did not.

Community Art Project

The Community Art Project

The Community Art Project

Eventually, it was a free for all...

Eventually, it was a free for all...

Art and expression through mediums other then music is nurtured at every musical festival. Most times, there are giant sculptures created as a base for community art project that allows every member of the festival to be play a part in its final creation. This festival was no different.  It was actually cute how the scale of the art project mirrored the scale of the festival.  Mountain Jam, a 15,000+ person festie, had giant towering sculptures and mazes to paint.  Camp Barefoot, what seemed to be no more than 1700 person festival, had various sized mustaches made out of wood, the tallest, coming level to my chest.

Why the mustaches you ask?  Instant Mustache was a proud sponsor of Camp Barefoot.  They provided oodles of entertainment for silly hippies late night by passing out mustaches on a stick that we could hold up under our nose.  It provided hours of entertainment.  Thank you Instant Mustache!

Directions for FUN: Print and cut out the ‘staches below and use some tape to stick them to your favorite face and take some pictures ‘cause I and the whole world wanna see, “How you sport your ’stache!”

CLICK HERE for your FREE Mustache PDF download!

Caught In the Lift

Caught In the Lift

Caught In the Rift

Doug Fisher – Vocals,guitar
Holt Nicholas – Guitar,vocals
Stephen Tuzeneu – Saxophone, keys, and percussion
Casey Sanders – Bass
Miles Kimbrough – Drums

I stopped to listen to Caught In The Rift for a bit, having notice them covering Eric Clapton’s After Midnight.  Reminded me of College…Frat Rock type music.  Lots of guitar jams in the middle of catchy little tunes that were backed with lyrics.  Similar to Vertical Horizon or something of that nature….I remember really liking the singer’s scratchy voice.  But, I couldn’t stay there for too long and I hope to catch them again soon to really get a feel for their vibe.

(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)

The Sound Board

The Sound Board

Hippy Invention #1: Propane Drum

Hippy Invention #1:

Handmade schedules made for easier planning....

Handmade schedules made for easier planning....

We spent the rest of the early evening putting together our schedules for the weekend, cooking dinner for the group and just catching up.  The fun hippy toys made their way out under our massive Tertris-like Tent City.  One friend had welded two 5-gallon propane tanks together and cut teeth making a gorgeous sounding drum.  This provided a gorgeous musical outlet for my friend Paul who gave it the best play since it’s creation.  I am always amazed at sounds, no matter where they come from.  There is beauty in each and every one.

Former Champions

Former Champions

Former Champions

David Ashby – Bass and Vocals
Matt Walton – Guitar and Vocals
Geoff Bakel – Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, and Vocals
Ben White – Keyboards, Vocals

There was a third stage, the SKU Stage proudly sponsored by Instant Mustache, located about half a mile away from VIP camping and up a large hill.  We finally took the hike up there to see what was going down.  Sadly, the entire time I was thinking that The Former Champions was this fusion Jazz group I had in my ITunes.  I was wrong but not upset by this fact as Former Champions were hitting the stage hard when we arrived. (Got to love The Instant Mustache banner behind them.)

Former Champions got the party started right.  The guitar was jammy, the spacey keys provided that synthy sound that got everyone dipping into their toes and getting their bodies moving.  The drums raged it.  It was a great group to start the night off.  But, soon it was time to hit the main stages for the real rage of the night.

(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)

RAQ

RAQ

RAQ

Jay Burwick — Bass, Vocals
Chris Michetti — Guitar, Vocals
Todd Stoops — Keyboards, Vocals
Greg Stukey — Drums

* Special Guest: Tim Palmieri

RAQ

RAQ

Originally, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine and Ekoostik Hookah were slated to play Camp Barefoot 4. However, due to contractual issues both bands were pulled from the line-up.  I feel as though the removal of these two bands sealed the deal for people on the fence on whether or not to attend.  I imagine the turnout would have been much larger with the inclusion of Kimock and EH in the lineup.  I have no complaints now but I was seriously bitching earlier in the summer.

The lineup change provided an opening for RAQ to play two nights instead of one.  This was wonderful as RAQ was only making one South East music festival this summer.

Tim and Chris...

Tim and Chris...<3

Right! So, I hadn’t  seen RAQ since attending All Good Music Festival many moons ago.  Or perhaps it was the Haymaker Music Festival. Either way, I CERTAINLY have been missing out on some major musical growth within this band.  I absolutely couldn’t believe it.  I never remembered them being so damn good.  And I mean they were damn good!

This was the set that started a theme of rage throughout the weekend for sure.  The energy of the mountain was radiating through every hippy standing around me.  Their faces were lit up and everyone was in party mode.  At one point, Tim Palmieri, of The Breakfast & Kung Fu, joined the stage.   This would be the beginning of Chris Michetti and Tim Palmieri‘s love affair that would continue on throughout the weekend, providing some AMAZING guitar rages and battles.  I mean, WOW!!

RAQ with Tim Palmieri

RAQ with Tim Palmieri

Todd Stoops on keys is what drew me to the stage at Gathering of the Vibes and what kept me in front of the stages most nights at Camp Barefoot 4.  Just a man of so many talents and styles.  Only negative, his voice. I am not a huge fan of that voice and would prefer he stick to playing the keys and leave the singing to another.  Alas, this is not the case most times and luckily the singing doesn’t last for very long. (FYI – TODD – Make yourself a personal myspace page…we need it.)

(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~definite)

My camera doesn't do the beauty of the main stages ANY justice....so pretty

My camera doesn't do the beauty of the main stages ANY justice....so pretty

The Breakfast

Tim Palmieri – Guitar, Vocals
Adrian Tramontano – Drums, Vocals
Chris DeAngelis – Bass, Vocals
Jordan Giangreco – Keyboards, Vocals

Did somebody say they were hungry?  CAUSE WE GOT FED!!!   Yes, I know the cheesy cliches are just that, cheesy…but man, they had me screaming out things I never would have said other wise.  The Breakfast picked up right where RAQ‘s rocking performance left off. HOT DAMN!!

Tim Palmieri is a BEAST on that guitar. Just shredding his way through all the sets that night.  By the end of the weekend I was screaming his name as MVP and I was not alone in this decision.  They started their set off with a trippy 18 minute Metropolis and ended it with Tood Stoops joining in on Buquebus.  Both Todd and Jordan each raging a keyboard and sounding on point.  The singing during the set, again, turned me off. I don’t understand why people sing when they don’t sound good doing it. Their instrument play, however, was AWESOME SAUCE!!

By the second song, Tim Palmieri was just in a full throttle open rage.  The rock vibe of the music was bumped up with Chris DeAngelis on bass. Adrian Tramontano seemed to be having a fun time with his beats which provided the guitarists a wonderful platform to rage against, and rage they did…..check out their set.

Setlist: Metropolis, Dougboy>, Psygn, Wake Up in a Coma>, Pygmy, Twylyte>, Jam>, May Fly Disarray, Buquebus

Download: The Breakfast Live at Camp Barefoot 4 – Bartow, WV on 2010-08-19 (August 19, 2010)

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

David Pransky – Electric Bass
Drew Heller – Electric Guitar, Soku
Justin Perkins – Kamel Ngoni, Kora, and Electric Guitar
Luke Quaranta – Percussion
Teal Brown – Drums

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

There was just a fire on that stage at Barefoot that never went out once RAQ started it.  At 1am Toubab Krewe hit the stage with a vengeance.  With as much electronica as we would be hearing this weekend, I was looking for that sound that would stand out against the rest and Toubab Krewe was just that sound.

This was BY FAR THE BEST Toubab Krewe set I’d seen all year and I can’t find it recorded anywhere. I am so upset by this as I write this section out.   Having seen them four times so far, starting with Jam Cruise, forward to me hanging out on their  tour bus for Valentines Day and ending with a full rage with them in NYC, it goes without saying I am a HUGE fan.  It’s just a phenomenal group with such an interesting sound.

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

The standout elements of within the group are their West African Influences.  Justin Perkins commands the front stage with his various ethnic instruments, leading the jams.  He is such an interesting character. You can almost NEVER get his eyes looking at a camera, he will always look away.  Luke Quaranta might be one of the best percussion players I have ever seen live.  His speed and facial expressions are off the charts.  He literally looks possessed while playing then stands up and thanks us like nothing happened.  Their sound is driven by the beats through a African vein and Drew Heller brings it back to America with his rock guitar.

(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)

Big Gigantic!

Big Gigantic!

Big Gigantic

Dominic Lalli – Production/Sax
Jeremy Salken – Drums

*Special Guest: Chris Michetti

And it just kept getting better.  Big Gigantic capped off the night with a raging dance party.  Just two guys on stage who brought multiple layers of music to our ears.  With dirty beats backed by live drums and a saxophone, I almost started to like this group better then Break Science…I said almost.  But I am telling you, the addition of that saxophone…it just upped the level for me.  Being a funk junky, that shouldn’t shock anyone of yall.

I was anxious to check this group out as they had earned a spot on Jam Cruise this year and I always love my late night dance parties on the boat in between Jam Room rages. Man, this group is going to fit on the boat PERFECTLY!!  The horn is always a big plus, bringing the funk right up in your face.  Big Gigantic dropped it full rage until 5am….I think they actually kicked it a little later because we just couldn’t stop dancing.

Chris Michetti of RAQ added a whole other dimension, coming out to join the group a few songs into the set.  I mean seriously….see for yourself.

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights

Until Tomorrow Barefoot…

I never made it to the SKU stage for Silo Effect.   For those of you hoping that I had, here is a video for your viewing pleasure as to not disappoint.

And I can’t say goodnight, because I never went to bed.  All but one of my friends had passed out so Paul and I roamed the small festival grounds hanging out with people we found who were also awake.  I met so many wonderful people that night, talked about so many great musicians with some great southern hippies, my vein of people.  And I mean REAL HIPPIES…not these New York hippy-wanna-be’s.  Man, I missed this so much.  The whole charm of being in the mountains.  The whole Southern vibe was reeling in me hardcore.  My eyes grew heavy until a friend came by and took care of that situation for me.  Pretty soon  I heard the word “KICKBAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL” being shouted through the camp grounds.  I hadn’t been to a Southern area festival since All G0od 2006 and my yearning to move back home got very strong during these down times.  But my yearning for dawn kickball was even stronger.  The sun would be coming up shortly and my boy Gator had just given me my second wind!!!

Click for Camp Barefoot: Friday (08.20.10)

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www.gatheringofthevibes.comGathering of the Vibes 2010: Saturday (07.31.10)

Check out Day II: Gathering of the Vibes VX @ Bridgeport, CT (07.30.10)

The Beautiful Festival Grounds!

The Beautiful Festival Grounds!

Creativity shines!

Creativity shines!

Issac was up early and eager to get right out to the field.  Jay and I were NOT!! Zach Deputy was opening the festival this morning and is one of my top 3 one-man-bands but we just couldn’t get out there in time.  We did, however, send Issac on his way to check Zach out. He had never seen him and  I was eager to hear Issac’s opinion later on.

Jay and I walked along the water, finding RVs who would “miracle” us some of their power to charge our phones as we enjoyed the lovely scenery that makes up the grounds of the Festival. Volunteers from Save The Sound had gathered with gloves, trash and recycling bags and were finishing up their beautiful activism.

Quote of the morning: “Who’s got my miracle electricity?

The Beautiful Festival Grounds

The Beautiful Festival Grounds

Shower time!

Shower time!

VIP Perk #3: During Zach Deputy and Max Creek, I decided I needed to shower.  I knew people who bathed in the water that made up our pretty view, but no thanks. I walked in it last year and felt more dirty.  University of Bridgeport‘s sports locker rooms were offered, free of charge, to VIP lot.  Everyday, we cause a commotion at the locker rooms, making the staff laugh and giggle as we entered and exited.  Jay is just a super funny guy so we always had fun with the locker room staff, all staff for that matter. Oh, and we were also miracled shampoo since I had forgotten to pack my own.  We were camping, I forgot about showers! 

VIP Showering Facilities. Thank you U Of B!

VIP Showering Facilities. Thank you U Of B!

The people make it fun...

The people make it fun...

After our showers, we headed to the Cosmic Casbah to sun dry and slowly prepare for our day.  This morning was not as active as the previous morning.  There was no breakfast laid out as we had arrived to late (Thankful for VIP PERK #2: Free Meal).  There were no stragglers on the mats from the night before attempting to FINALLY make their way to dream land! (Happy for my pals because it’s BRUTAL attempting to go to sleep once the sun has risen.) There were no musicians up wanting to jam the morning started with acoustics.  But the theatrics of the festival never fail to shine through every moment and make us smile:

Zach Deputy & Max Creek

I had seen Zach Deputy so many times this year that I felt ok missing his set.  Max Creek was performing as we strolled and showered.  So, I know I missed both, but that doesn’t mean you should. Enjoy their sets:

Download: Zach Deputy Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Download: Max Creek Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust

Reid Genauer – lead vocals, guitar
Adam Terrell – lead guitar, vocals
John Leccese – bass, vocals
Andy Herrick – drums

Reid Genauer of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Reid Genauer of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust was the first set I actually focused on after running around waking up, charging phones and camera, feeding the little rager and ourselves, slathering him with suntan lotion and setting up shop by the Karma Wash.

Adam Terrell of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Adam Terrell of AOD @ GOTV 2010

There was actually a little altercation at the Karma Wash.  As we arrived to set up shop, a gentleman had placed his chair on the red carpet, ripping it, ashing his cigarettes on it and casually resting his beer all around him.  Jay asked him nicely to move just a few inches OFF the red carpet and it just couldn’t be a simple issue with this guy.  I am glad it didn’t get out of hand, but you could tell by his drunken ass attitude, that he was someone who wasn’t going to cooperate easily and just argued with us. Luckily, his friends were more coherent and sane.

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

John Leccese

John Leccese

I am a huge fan of this group, not for their ridiculous talent or anything but simple because they epitomize a group of jammers who just know how to play and have fun. Their lyrics are as playful as their tunes. They are a mix of folk and rock and all their tunes are catchy enough to get you up out of a chair and dancing on your feet.

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Jason Crosby :)

Jason Crosby 🙂

After three songs, Assembly of Dust invited Jason Crosby and Todd Isler to the stage for the remainder of the set.

Set List:  Sinner, Valhalla, Telling Sue, Pedal Down Samuel Aging Fountain, Light Blue Lover, Weekhawken Ferry, Harrower, Second Song, Paul Henry, Love Junkie, Westerly

Download: Assembly of Dust Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Wavy Gravy, GOTV Emcee

Wavy Gravy, GOTV Emcee

Galactic

Jeff Raines – Guitar
Stanton Moore – Drums
Robert Mercurio – Bass
Ben Ellman – Saxaphone/Harmonica
Richard Vogel – Keyboard
Corey Henry – Trombone
Cyril Neville – Percussion and Vocals

Ben Ellman

Ben Ellman

KEEP THE FIRE COMING!!!   Again, we all took off in different directions during break but found our way back to dead center, front row for this performance My Tribe having grown to about 15 scattered sporadically behind me.

I knew that I was about to see the same set that I had seen at the four other Galactic shows I had already seen this year.  With the addition of Corey Henry, I was hoping that over tour, they would add new songs to their repertoire from the previous cds so that he could add his flavor.  This hasn’t seemed to have happened yet.  I do love the addition of Corey Henry‘s horn (and attitude) to the mix.

Galactic @ GOTV 21010

Galactic @ GOTV 21010

Corey Henry

Corey Henry

It was here I made a mental note to appreciate how wonderful it is to see music during the day.  It’s the atmosphere.  Something about seeing these bands in an open field, with the sun beating down on you.  Everything just SOUNDS better, feels better.  So often, I am stuck in a basement or a dark building seeing shows in the dark with a poor light show. Seeing a band in daylight, wind blowing your hair, sun shining on your skin. It just truly changes everything about a performance.  I encourage all of you take the time to get to know the music that plays in your local Parks….most of the time…it is FREE .

For New Yorkers:

Central Parks’ Summer Stage
Jazz Festival New York
City of New York Parks and Recreation

Stanton Moore of Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Stanton Moore of Galactic @ GOTV 2010

To be honest, Stanton Moore looked like he was just going with the motions.  His cute face made the looks we are used to when he gets into it but his jumps and attempts at theatrics were always just a tiny bit off.  Still sounded great though.  Always does.  This was also the first time I haven’t seen Corey Henry jump into the audience. walking and playing through the waves of fans.

Cyril Neville w/ Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Cyril Neville w/ Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Lil rager :)

Lil rager 🙂

Cyril Neville did his thing like he always does, gliding between his  percussion set and the front of the stage as he energized the lyrics with his signature voice.  I really enjoy his energy. I love his look.  Honestly, I enjoy Galactic because they have great collaborations with people like Cyril and Corey.  These artists really bring another layer to the already funky group. I am already wanting them to stop touring and come out with a new cd.  OMG, who would you want to hear with Galactic?

HORN RAGE!  Galactic @ GOTV 2010

HORN RAGE! Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Set List: Gemini Rising, Gossip, You Don’t Know, Balkan Wedding, Heart Of Steel,  Cineramascope, Ooh Nay Nay, Boban, Tell Me What’s On Your Mind, Boe Money, No More Okey Doke, From the Corner to the Block

Download: Galactic 2010-07-31 Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park; Bridgeport CT

Here’s one I took.  I think you’ll see what I mean at the end of the video about how Stanton was just a tad bit off. Not that it matters, but it happened a few times and I want him to kick ass. So, there.  I said something negative about Stanton, sue me!

Umphrey’s McGee

Brendan Bayliss – Guitar, vocals
Jake Cinninger – Guitar, vocals
Ryan Stasik – Bass, no vocals
Kris Myers – Drums, vocals
Andy Farag – Percussion
Joel Cummins – Keyboards, vocals

Banana Mafia Sighting

Banana Mafia Sighting

Umphrey’s McGee.  What can I say. I haven’t always understood what the big deal is about Umphrey’s.  They jam with the best of them and have an unbelievable following. However, I am still waiting for them to smack me into a wall with awesome sauce and so I see them.  To be honest, mainly because after Chris Kuroda, Jefferson Waful is my favorite light designer for the stage.  However, it was still sunny out so there wasn’t much drawing me to stay in the front row.  To be honest, I actually walked out of the last Umphrey’s show I was attending.  The only show all year where I have done that.  But tonight, well, they just sounded great.

Zach Deputy and I

Zach Deputy and I

Issac was thrilled to already have a spot up front to rage with his favorite band.  His energy fueled my own and I made a point to seek out the music with my ears while I was running around taking care of things before Rhythm Devils. We left him to rage with his favorite band.  I needed to take a break off my feet and just relax for a little bit at the Karma Wash before  I took off again. At some point, I ran into Zach Deputy in the VIP tent.

Umphrey’s touched on everything.  They rocked out one minute and tripped out another.  I love their drummer.  Great melodies like always.  Major guitar jams.  Just tight.

Lovely Art Installation

Lovely Art Installation

Dream!

Dream!

I also used this time to check out the vendors, the food, the art exhibits. There were times that we were forced to stop dead in our tracks to the jams that were being delivered on stage.  The audience was cheering constantly. The sun slowly went down and the lights slowly showed up 🙂

Set List: Turn & Run >, Much Obliged, Women Wine & Song, Der Bluten Kat >, Hajimemashite >, Der Bluten Kat, The Linear >, Steppin’ Razor >, Mullet (Over), The Floor, Pay the Snucka >, White Man’s Moccasins, The Fuzz >, Pay the Snucka, 40’s Theme

Download: Umphreys McGee Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Karma Wash = Self Service

Karma Wash = Self Service

VIP PERK #4: THE RAISED DANCE FLOOR!!!  OMG!!!  So, the entire weekend, VIP and staff had access to an elevated dance floor located to the left of the soundboard.  The dance floor itself was two levels and could hold quite a few people.  HOWEVER, it wasn’t until the middle of today that  I started noticing that none of my fellow VIP campers were ever up there.  I started spreading the word and everyone I told HAD NO CLUE it was available to them.  Apparently, this was a new addition to the VIP package.  It was at this point that I decided it was time to utilize the hell out of the dance floor.  During Rhythm Devils, all the members of the krewe started popping up. I wish I had a picture of the smiles on their faces when they saw the unimpeded view.    Check it out after Primus and the field emptied…

Empty stage...empty dance floor...

Empty stage with lights...empty dance floor w/ chairs...after Primus

Rhythm Devils featuring Mikey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann & Keller Williams

Bill Kreutzmann – Drums
Mickey Hart – Drums
Keller Williams – Guitar, vocals
Davy Knowles – Guitar, vocals
Sikiru Adepoju – Talking drum
Andy Hess – Bass

I LOVE KELLER (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I LOVE KELLER (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Setting up shop with our chairs in the second row on the elevated dance floor just sealed the deal for the night. Let alone, we now were about to get a full on rage from Grateful Dead drummers Mikey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann…..with KELLER WILLIAMS!!!   LORD YES!!

I LOVE KELLER WILLIAMS. Not as much as I used to, but man. He was one of the first acts I saw on our scene.  At my first festival (Allgood 2000) and I remember watching him up on stage with like 7 guitars on  individual stands, just making his way from one to the other, manipulating and lopping their sounds.  Then, as they all played around him, he merrily danced around the stage to the awesome combination of music he had created.  I fell in love on the spot.

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Mikey Hart @ GOTV 2010 (Photo by Jeff Jupuis)

Mikey Hart @ GOTV 2010 (Photo by Jeff Jupuis)

With Keller in the mix, Jerry’s Celebration of Life just continued through the Rhythm Devils, extending the power from Furthur‘s set the night prior. Fire on the Mountain was a GREAT lift in the set and the energy in the pool of people in front of me.  Keller brought a unique sound that only Keller Williams can bring.  His voice, refreshing.

The encore was ridiculous.  While the drums raged out of control, the of the sexiest black catsuit wearing, fire dancing woman came onto the stage and completely owned it for over 10 minutes. Slinging fire all around then on strings, hoops, dancing on each other, manipulating the fire thorough their bodies.  I can only imagine the jaws on the floor in the front row.  We were getting a pretty psychedelic light show from our view as well.

Let me just say, that with Keller on the line-up, this might be my favorite recording of the day.

Set List: Cold Rain and Snow, Uncle John’s Band, Strange World, Wrecking Crew, This One Hour, So Many Roads, Fire on the Mountain, Bo Diddly, Comes the Dawn, Voodoo Zombies, See You Again, crowd/band intros

Encore: Full on Drum Rage with Firedancers!

Download: Rhythm Devils Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Primus @ GOTV 2010

PRIMUS

Les Claypool – Bass, Vocals
Larry LaLonde – Guitar
Jay Lane – Drums

My fav Freak (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

My fav Freak (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

After Rhythm Devils, the dance floor emptied out.  We had been dancing behind a row of camping chairs set up by older Deadheads who just wanted to enjoy the show seated…and who completely tripped out over Jay’s laser.

We had the best spot to view Primus.  Especially since the Deadheads totally went staying for the rage that was about to take place.    And our chairs immediately popped up in the empty space. We stubbed all our friends up to the elevated dance floor with our gorgeous laminates and by the time the set started, I was surrounded by ny friends, Jam Cruisers, co-workers, and just felt so warm with my VibeTribe.

The stage was amazing. Two giant spacesuits flaked the drum kit, flashes of faces and other video being shoot onto the “mask” of the statues.  A green hue tint sprayed over thee stage by the lights. The visual stimulation was fantastic. And with a little dance in a circle and the first slap of his bass, the spectacle began.  A sound very different from anything that had graced the stage the entire weekend. Everyone had the biggest smile. Everyone was on their feet, dancing.

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Tim Alexander (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

Jay Lane (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

I can’t say it was the case for me, but some people just couldn’t take Primus. I suppose it’s an acquired taste but I love Les Claypool. With his haunting howls and screams, his insane vibe.  He touches my darker side of music and I love it.

Anything Les Claypool touches is gold and this little hippie turned into a head banging rager.  His sound is hard, heavy, menacing, intriguing, deep.  It makes you think and it’s just different.  I can completely understand how it wouldn’t be the right vibe for some people .  I LOVED it.

To be honest, I can’t tell you about any one but Les.  He is my favorite bass player.  Well, in the top three.  After the keys, the bass is my favorite instrument and it stands out heavily in shows unless I block it out.  But with Les Claypool, he is all I care to hear.  It never fails.  I completely focus all my energy and power into him.  Issac, being a bass player, had me excited for him to see Les.  Unfortunately, Issac couldn’t get into the music so he went back to a little nap before Deep Banana Blackout. I continued to dance my ASS OFF through the very last note!!  Les NEVER fails to deliver a vibrant show.  It always seems new.

Setlist: Intro, To Defy the Laws of Tradition, In the Flesh, Here Come the Bastards, American Life, Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread, Coat Tails of a Dead Man, Bob, Jerry was a Race Car Driver, Over the Electric Grapevine, Behind my Camel, Groundhogs Day, Drum and Whamola Jam, Eleven, Cosmic Highway tease > Frizzle Fry, Harold of the Rocks,

Encore: Over the Falls, Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers

Download: Primus 2010-07-31 Gathering of the Vibes Seaside Park; Bridgeport CT

Fully raged stage...

Fully raged stage...

Issac took off for Deep Banana Blackout on the Green Vibes Stage and I took off to the VIP tent for one more water upload and a lil food intake and to say goodbye to friends as we would be leaving first thing in the morning.  I took my time making my way to the VIP tent.  There is something about the energy left on a field after its been raged. A nd once again, my little VibeTribe was a few of the last folks there, witnessing the aftermath…and helping clean.

Fully raged field...

Fully raged field...

Costumes optional but preferred :)

Costumes optional but preferred 🙂

As we made our way to the Silver Lining booth, we found our little rager passing out in the camp chair next to the booth.  He had had enough.  It was off to end the night for him and we continued the night dancing around Thud’s booth.  I took a little pilgrimage through the chaos to take a few pictures but I just wanted to rage towards the back spinning in circles. My fellow Jam Cruiser and most lovely advocate in Medical Marijuana Law, Lisa Roche, was on had with her friend to dance with us. And dance we did…

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Black Out

James “Fuzz” San Giovanni – Guitar, Vocals
Eric Kalb– Drums
Jen Durkin – Vocals
Rob Somerville – Sax, Vocals
Rob Volo – Trombone – Guitar, Vocals
Cyrus Madan – Keyboards
Johnny Durkin – Percussion

Fuzz Rage! (DBB)

Fuzz Rage! (DBB)

I don’t know about anyone else but I truly do prefer a late night FUNK set over a late night disco set. Deep Banana Blackout fully delivers.  This group is just spitfire and a Bridgeport native.  Guitar powerhouse Fuzz’s energy is always constant.  His sound, always RAGING! I love Eric Kalb on drums.  I have gotten to see him with Charlie Hunter and Will Bernard a few times this year and that’s a lovely pairing right there.

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Jen Durkin‘s voice came out of no where to me.  I can’t recall ever really seeing this group live, as I had been out of the scene for almost 6 years until this past Jamuary.  Jen‘s voice hit me like Susan’s voice hits me.  So full of soul.  Singing feelings.  Notes oozing out of the coroners of her mouth. Dreads swinging in the wind!  Whoa.

Fun Fact: Deep Banana Blackout has been performing at Gathering of the Vibes since the first Vibes 15 years ago.

Setlist: Intro – Ken Hayes, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Take The Time, Homo Lingo ->, Tijuana Mama, Getch’all In The Mood, Hear My Song, Family Groove *, It’s A New Day, Like A Road +, bass solo -> Tug ->, Breakfast At Volo’s, Soul Sacrifice, band intros/announcements

* = w/Jesse Gibbon from Schleigho on keys
+ = w/Carrie and Leanne on vocals

Download: Deep Banana Blackout Live at Seaside Park, Gathering Of The Vibes on 2009-07-24 (July 24, 2009)

Good Morning and Goodbye Vibes!

Good Morning and Goodbye Vibes!

We spent the rest of the night, into the morning, hanging out with friends in the Cosmic Casbah and  watching the sun rise.  This Gathering of the Vibes had been one of the kindest, safest, well-run festivals I have ever been privileged to be  participant.  I certainly hope that everyone considers this event next year when you are planning your Summer Festival calendar 🙂 Much Love!

Thank you Note from Vibes to Participants and Staff :) Much Love!

Thank you Note from Vibes to Participants and Staff 🙂 Much Love!

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Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Walking to Boat...

Walking to Boat...

How excited was I?? I had just spent a day at the New Jersey Shore and had come right from the Transit train directly to a boat on the East River to see Cornmeal, a jam-rock-bluegrass band, for the first time.

I had been hearing of this band for MONTHS!!!  Nothing but great things.  Once it was announced that they would be performing on Jam Cruise 9 I knew I had to check them out.  Even better, I had never been on Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines so this was going to be a night of many firsts.

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

Not 24 hours earlier, Cornmeal had played for 15,000+ people at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia. And now here they were playing for us…maybe 75 people?  Quite a drastic change.

Foooooood.....

Foooooood.....

Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines Series is a groups of various sized ships that leave from either the East or West sides of Manhattan and travel up and down the East River or Hudson River while a band performs in the belly of the boat.

More food...

More food...

Upon entering the ships, you are immediately in the “Hospitality” area which held the bar and food.  It is cash only so be prepared…I was not.   There were empanada, turkey wraps, rice, pasta and salad.  The women working behind the counter were cheerful and bright.  When I went to take their picture one of them ran away.   I didn’t have anything to eat but my friends did munch on some empanadas.  They were not that impressed but it served it’s purpose.

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

One of the positives that was made clear right off the bat is the fact that the space is so intimate that the band members were mingling all around us.  This allowed for numerous conversations, introductions and commotion between all of us.  One of the other positives is that I felt like I was on a mini Jam Cruise for a night.  It was lovely.

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager :)

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager 🙂

The staff was more pleasant and accommodating. First of all, the drinks are $8 and I only had $7.  The bartender was like, “Oh, that is fine. I will make you a drink anyway.”  That drink was soooooooo strong, my girlfriend kept telling me to go get more Cranberry in my Vodka Cranberry.

Another great staff moment, the intern who was running the merchandise table agreed to let me put my traveling bags behind her table so long as she wasn’t responsible for them.  This was perfect since I had just come off the train from the beach and wasn’t able to drop my things off at home first.  Finally, there is parking all around the docks but you can also reach the boats by all forms of public transportation.

Stage prior to show...

Stage prior to show...

Luckily for those of us in attendance, the weather was cooperating with a light breeze and low humidity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel much circulation within the belly of the boat where the band performs and found myself constantly having to leave the stage area to get some air outside on the bow of the boat.

Cornmeal

Introducing Cornmeal...

Introducing Cornmeal...

“Wavy” Dave Burlingame – Banjo,Vocals
Kris Nowak – Guitar,Vocals
Chris Gangi – String Bass, Vocals
JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals
Allie Kral – Fiddle, Vocals

Noted as a Bluegrass Jam band out of Chicago, Illinois, I knew that I was going to like their sound.  I was just hoping they were as tight and off the hook as I had been told.  They blew me away immediately, effortlessly sliding between the two styles and by the end of their first song, Heaven on Time, I was singing their praises.

Took off down the East River

Took off down the East River

The first set was 45 minutes. During that time, the boat left port and traveled down the East River towards the Statue of Liberty.  Aside from the heat, it was difficult to focus on the band as we traveled due to the lovely scenery catching my eye out all the windows.  Just a beautiful backdrop for a lovely night of music.  How had I never been on these boats before?  What the hell had kept me away so long?

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

With the banjo and the stand up bass driving the bluegrass vibe, Johnny Put Down Your Gun was next.  A wonderful jammy tune about a renegade.  We all got a little bit of Johnny in us I think.

Johnny was born in old Kentuck
High in the hills of Northern Boone
Folks been sayin’ since he’s a baby
Johnny was born to break the rules

Traveling down the East River

Traveling down the East River

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

There was numerous times that I felt I heard horns.  Perhaps it was my state of mind and my constant want to hear horns in any group. Instead, Cornmeal uses numerous pedals and contraptions to create distinct sounds that otherwise their instruments wouldn’t make without help.  Kris Nowak in particular made his guitar sound lovely morphing between jamming out and the bluegrass measures.  Chris Gang proceeded to tell us how this is their 10th year playing together and how proud they are of this accomplishment.  We all cheered and I wondered how I had never heard of them until this year.

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals

JP Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

During Long Hard Road, we came around Battery Park and idled at the tip of Manhattan.  I couldn’t help but be a little overwhelmed. There we were, floating in a boat only a few hundred yards away from the Statue of Liberty.  These moments are never wasted on me and at that moment, everyone was on the bow of the ship taking in the scenic views.  From the stage I heard: “We are going to take a short break now and come enjoy the view with yall.”    And then Cornmeal was by my side, taking pictures with my friends, holding conversations with everyone.  What a great thing.

More views of the East River...

More views of the East River...

The boat itself is very liberal with what they allow to go on.  Watching the band try to keep their balance was quite entertaining.  Attempting to stand myself was difficult and I wasn’t drinking. You can imagine how tipsy the other patrons on the boat were who were imbibing heavily.  On the other hand, tonight, there were numerous Wharf Rats on the ship.  Wharf Rats is a twelve-step program which met at shows and helps people stay sober.  On such a small boat, I felt a little bad partaking in my festivities around them.

And she sings too...

And she sings too...

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Over the years, I have enjoyed the friendships of numerous Wharf Rats (or other various sober organizational members) who understand we are not all sober and that some of us still party…I like to call it “Raging Responsibly”.  Tonight, there were a few people who seemed to be all out MEAN to those of us enjoying ourselves.  I was shocked.  One girl was complete pissing and moaning about not being able to drink while another one verbally voiced her disgust when people lit up.  I find that completely uncalled for, personally.  No one was blowing cigarette smoke in anyone’s face or anything.  Peopel were being

I found out later that Cornmeal took home a Jammy Award in 2008 for Best New Groove.  This makes complete sense.  The artists that comprise this band are technically charged and brilliant.  Let’s talk about these amazing musicians.

Allie Kral of Cornmeal on Rocks Off

Allie Kral (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

First I have to go with the female of the band. The fiddle player, Allie Kral.  ALLIE KRAL!!  WHAT???  WHAT???  Are you kidding me?  I have never seen a female violinist’s arm move so fast. I have never been so captivated by a female violinist so fast.  It can genuinely be feared that her arm might fly right out of the socket and knock my ass out.  She is phenomenal.  Her speed is riveting, her precision of sound is right on point.

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

Then you have “Wavy” Dave Burlingame, the banjo player.  Oh man, where do I being?  He was incredible as well.  Flashes of Bela and others came to mind with this guy’s work.  I wish I could describe the sounds.  With his laid-back vibe radiating off his posture, his fingers flew over the strings to create a integral sound for the group.

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

During intermission, I was introduced to the Railroad Earth sound guy.  I completely forgot his name but his face is so unique I will most certainly be able to pick him out of a crowd if we ever cross paths again.  There was lots of talk of Jam Cruise being that Cornmeal was on the boat this year and even more talk about how people get on the boat working under a band.

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Set List!!

Set List!!

For the encore, Cornmeal RAGED the Allman Brother‘s Whipping Post at some point.  That might have been my favorite song of the night.  I mean, they really really crushed this cover jamming at times and raging their bluegrass vibe as Allie Kral’s arm moved over the strings so fast I could not even consider getting a clear shot of her.

The entire vibe of the night was perfection. The weather was flawless, the scenery was gorgeous, the music was the best of both worlds…WE WERE ON A BOAT!! A GREAT date night adventure if you ask my opinion. Get on it guys…

Set I: Heaven on Time, Johnny, Pennies in the River, Dig A Hole, On My Own, Long Hard Road

Set II: River Gap, Calling Me Back Home, Not At Home Anymore, Walk (Don’t Look Back),

Encore: Molly & T, Whipping Post

Rocks Off Cruise Pictures

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Trey Anastasio ~ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio ~ Hartford, CT

PHISH 2010 TOUR

Trey Anastasio ~ Guitar

Jon Fishman ~ Drums

Mike Gordon ~ Bass

Page McConnell ~ Organ

What can I possibly say?  And how do I say it? Many times, music is a feeling to us.; something that can’t be expressed in words.  I try on so many levels, but still feel as though many times I fail in my own wanting to express these massive musical adventures.  And THIS was MASSIVE on day one.  But by day four…This was EPIC.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish is a band that has been worshiped and written about by the cult masses for years.  A band whose name many times doesn’t ring a bell to your average passer-by yet has a cult following in the tens of thousands.  A band who has outsold the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Jay-Z in ticket sales numerous years over.  A band whose entire studio album collection I own, to include hundreds of live shows spanning almost two decades.  However, until this past weekend, I HAD NEVER SEEN THEM LIVE!  Being as dedicated to live music and wonderful musicians as I am; being that this is considered THE “IT” GROUP to follow in the Jamband community…having never been, well, this fact was considered to be straight up blasphemy amongst my fellow music tribe.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

I will flat out tell you that I boycotted Phish for many years.  I have always been and will always be a Deadhead first and foremost.  Where as Phish‘s touring phenomenon is my generations equivalent to the Grateful Dead tours, Trey Anastasio IS NOT Jerry Garcia and thus, nothing would fill the void.  Also, and more importantly, I boycotted Phish for the reason that everyone DID consider them the “IT” group.  Because I saw how people fell under the SPELL of Phish, swearing they were the end all/be all of the Jamband world.  And so I didn’t go to their shows.  Instead, I choose to apply my time and money to the hundreds of other bands being left in Phish‘s dust.

Comcast Theater @ Hartford, CT (06/22/10)

Righteous! Much Love Jay!

Righteous! Much Love Jay!

So, I have this buddy, we shall call him Jay.  He is a total Phish head, by way of the Grateful Dead.  He spends thousands of dollars on Phish tickets every year for his friends and for himself.  Enough for every venue, every show, for whoever might need them, and always great seats.  He does this with the greatest intentions of sharing his tickets, stubbing his crew down and working it so that all his friends can be together for the show, grooving together as he bops all over the venue.   He offered to treat me to my first Phish show, swearing to me that I would continue on to as many shows as I could after the taste I got in Hartford.  This was his world, a world that I was ready to allow myself  to enter and already found slightly intoxicating just by the movement that occurs when it’s PHISH TOUR time and those ticket lotteries occur.  And it was about to be introduced to me in a pretty sick way.

They each have thier own tour bus. No Biggie.

They each have their own tour bus. No Biggie.

We climbed into the car around 2:30pm Friday afternoon and arrived at the Comcast Theater in Hartford, CT around 5:30pm.  This is where the beauty of my Phish experience truly begins.  As we are driving through the toll booths, Jen asks the gentlemen if he is going to the show.  “Phish?” he says. Jay leans over and tells him to jump in the car with us and that we had a ticket it for him if he just jumped in.  I could read the pain on his face.  And with that, Jen asks how much.  Without missing a beat, the kid goes, “No charge.” “Excuse me?/What/Huh?,” we all say.  “You’re good,” he says and we pull away in mid thank yous.  We were MIRACLED at the toll booth.  And it just got better and better.

The car fit nicely!

The car fit nicely!

Stompin grounds for the evening

Stompin grounds for the evening

With Jay’s All Access laminate, we were able to drive through the masses, past VIP parking and parked it right backstage next to the tour buses.  I knew immediately that with this laminate, things were going to get a little rowdy.   We chatted up the guard and walked right into the venue through its side you see above.  None of us ever being asked to produce our tickets.  It was lovely.  I snapped pictures and we wandered around the venue checking out the layout, running into other friends along the way.  We checked out our seats (Section 200, Row U, Seat 241).  I was so excited.  I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to rage front row like I normally did but I knew I would be able to see Trey.  See his smiling face and his bouncing, vibing, cute, happy self all over the stage and that made me so happy.  After combing around the lawn and seeing how far the stage looked from there, I was so very grateful for Jay.  We ran into our teenage posse who had been taking pictures on the stage and then we then took off for the lot parties.

The RAGE Stage! Comcast Theater, Hardtford, CT

The RAGE Stage! Comcast Theater, Hardtford, CT

Checkin out the lawn...

Checkin out the lawn...cant see stage! Yuck!

As we stumbled upon the parking lots, the scene appeared no different then a musical festival mixed with a Jimmy Buffet concert, full of tailgaters and hippies as far as the eyes could see.  Once there, we decided to hit The Shakedown, a rogue section of the Jamband scene that pops up in places surrounding shows/music festivals where folks vend their wares.  Definitely a wook-filled vibe in spots but just like all things in life, it was easy to look past the grimy and the dirty to see the beauty in the environment I was walking through.  We met some friends at the end of the Shakedown and made plans to meet up inside.

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Page McConnell @ Hartford, CT

Page McConnell @ Hartford, CT

The show was slated to start at 8:00pm and so we walked back to find our seats and get the party started.  At this point, I still hadn’t used my ticket.  Jay takes me by the hand and we walk right into the venue, no questions asked.  My ticket was never taken out of my pocket.  For this venue, we held down five seats in Section 200, a few rows back from the front, towards middle left aisle.  I was in the isle as PHISH walked on stage.  A security guard leans over to a guy near me and says, “Teach her the rules right now.” Apparently, I had to stay within a certain line so as to be out in the isle…fire hazards and what not.  Duh! And that rule was so broken so fast but not by me because  within SECONDS of the music starting, Jay once again grabbed my hand and led me to the front row, left side…PAGE side.  There it was, I was up front for FEE!  And there I stood/danced/smiled all night.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

A perfect view of the band.  To be standing in the front row at my very first Phish concert was a little overwhelming.  I was not expecting anything so great.  I figured I would be out in the lawn like most other big shows I attend or in the seats stuck behind some big dudes.  I had been assured of our wonderful seating prior to the show but being 5 foot nothing, I am always weary as no one truly knows how little I can see.  But I knew going into this trip that things would be above average.  It’s just the way things work out.  And I was blissfully happy because the energy in that place was hitting me like a freight train.  If you think I was happy, magnify it by 1 million and stick that energy into all the people around me who KNEW what they were in store for.  The people who built up what was around me and what I was feeling and becoming apart of.  Everyone was SOOOOOO happy.  Fee was great.  A cute song about a weasel named Fee who gets his nipple cut off.  Sure, why not!

Thanks Chris!

Thanks Chris!

Chris Kuroda's lights ~ EXCELLENT!

Chris Kurodas lights ~ EXCELLENT!

I was pleasantly surprised to hear how lovely Page was right in front of my face.  Happy to hear the piano a little louder then the other instruments.  This song had such great piano amongst the chaos of the story.  First song in and I was silently questioning why I had boycotted them for so long.  The energy in the pavilion was sick.  Everyone was singing, jumping up and down, blowing up balloons and raging in the isles.  Sure, this happens at tons of shows where the fans are ridiculously fanatic but this was different.  This was extremely more intense.

Thank you Chris Kuroda!

Thank you Chris Kuroda!

They jammed out during Rift but I wanted more during that song to be honest.  A guy a few rows back screamed, “This is my first Phish SHOOOW!!”  Of course, I scream back, “ME TOOOO!!”  There was a big commotion of hugs and high fives between our groups and I fell in love with our community all over again.  He smiled and ended up finding me later during intermission for more hugs. Now, you tell me what other show is like that…on this MASS a scale.

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

With it’s gorgeous melodic intro, Summer of 69 got the venue swaying with its lyrics reminding us that it’s SUMMER and IT’S TOUR TIME!!!
“Glad to find anytime alone / and it’s summer once again / The days are full / but they’re not our own / Remember our life back then.”
And with Mike Gordon‘s bass reentering after the chorus, they ALMOST got me crying.  Such a pretty song and SUCH a loving vibe blasting through the venue at that moment.  It truly is an experience that so many people just will never attempt nor understand.
Backstage @ Phish, Hartford, CT

Backstage @ Phish, Hartford, CT

In case you didn't know...

In case you didnt know...

During Cavern (the last song of the first set), it was time to rage the bathroom.  Jay grabbed my hand and led me backstage.  The walls were covered with large pictures of bands that have left their mark on the venue and in the music world.  Phun Fact #123:  A few days prior, they erected the below photo of Phish, so aptly located next to what was Trey’s dressing room for the evening.  Speaking with Trey the previous night, he had been VERY excited and happy about this honor.

Phish on All Star Wall Backstage @ Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

Phish on All Star Wall Backstage @ Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

Unlimited waters was a FABULOUS plus!

Unlimited waters was a FABULOUS plus!

While walking backstage, I was shocked at how quiet it was.  The band’s dressing rooms were lined up in a row, littered with hippie blankets and children’s toys.  Smelling of incense and just shockingly quiet.  All these toys but no kids.  I knew they had to have an entourage of children and wives and whatnot.  That threw me off. Wonder where their rage room was?

Mike's Sound Room

Mikes Sound Room

I walked past a little room with a TV screen and what appeared to be a sound board.  I would find out later on in the tour in Camden just what this room was meant for.  You will have to read that article because I got to hang out with Mike, the sound guy, for a few minutes and it was pretty rad.

Heading back to our seats, we met up with a few more friends.  The second set was by far the best set.  I was amazed at how well I just flowed into the concert, knowing more of their music then I thought I would as I had listened to them so much in high school.  I was thrown back 10 years, when CDs were all the rage.  I was actually introduced to Phish when a friend made me a mixed tape and put Bouncing Round the Room and Billy Breaths on it.

Like an alien space ship from SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

Like an alien space ship from SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

Our teenage posse had joined us, rocking their laminates with the biggest grins and raging with us instead of at their usual soundboard spot.  Issac, wide-eyed and holding a tee-shirt, tells us how he ran into Fishman backstage and how Fishman proceeded to proclaim that he “doesn’t LIKE tee-shirts” and gave it to Issac.  It was a dope pencil drawing of Jerry’s head, hair blowing across his face due to an unforseen wind.  It really was a cool shirt.  The following day, Issac was rockin’ that shirt.  Damn right, Issac!

Unreal.  Beautiful lights by Chris Kuroda!

Unreal. Beautiful lights by Chris Kuroda!

Trey = Light & Love

Trey = Light & Love

When the music started, our front row spot had doubled.  How was this possible? Didn’t people own these seats?  Were they raging the lawn with their friends? But throughout tour, this is how it went.  No matter how many people we brought to our spot, there was always enough room.  You always get what you need.  Later, I would be told that normally…generally…things like that never happen.  Many times, the guards are pushy, constantly asking for your tickets, shuffling people along.  But we were lovely music mamas in boas, not drinking, clearly having a GREAT time, staying out of the isle and behaving.  I mean, I felt like I was at the Brooklyn Bowl at times. Not like I had 14,000 people behind me raging.  I was surrounded by all my best ones, missing those who were not able to be there, and thinking about those who were still spread all over the venue.

Amazing Sauce!

Amazing Sauce!

Reba brought the spacey, obscure jam that I so adore from Phish.  Like rouge jazz insertions throughout parts of the song, while other parts are fast and solidly melodic. Yet, other sections were rocky and all sections were raging.

Kuroda is Obviously my fav member of Phish! Yes!

Kuroda is Obviously my fav member of Phish! Yes!

And Mike Gordon‘s bass really hit home with me during Cavern.  I have been hooked on listening to him ever since.  I LOVE Mike Gordon!  I LOVE his sound.  Whoever does sound for him during this tour is making him sound perfect.  He has stood out to me during the entire run.  And during Tweezer, ugh, that bass line.  Thwacking me across my dome.  Phun Fact #72: It is best to always make sure you surrounding security guard is well taken care of.  See if they need water, anything really, as it’s best to be on their good side.  Diplomacy and politics run in all facets of life including front row at giant venues.  By doing so, we were able to take some great pictures with Trey behind us as well as go to the middle for some great shots!

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Theme From the Bottom might have been one of my favorite songs of the night for nostalgic reasons.  Everyone singing with the band was fun to watch.  Glow sticks had made their way from the wars on the lawn behind us up to the front and all sizes of balls had made their way to the stage area.  Harry Hood brought another 15 minute jam session.   I loved Trey’s guitar in Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.  So, so funky.  “Got a blank space where my mind should be,” sang Trey, one of my friend’s favorite lines.  The lyrics for Phish songs are great and that was definitely a great line 🙂  And as the guitar just rock-n-wailed, Fishman thumped the drums and the cymbals in perfect time. They are so tight, that even on a horrible night, they can’t be truly bad.

Trey rages! @ Hartford, CT

Trey rages! @ Hartford, CT

The best part of this show came at the end, during the encore.  Phish played a groovy Tweezer Reprise.  Aside from what was about to happen at the end of this song, Trey’s energy is so ridiculously evident in the video below.  He was having SO MUCH FUN on that stage that I was loosing my mind.  Sure, I loved the music, but as much Live music as I watch, I rarely see the guitar artist I adore bug out and just rage physically.  That is what I LOVE to see…when the artist is as much into their music as we are.  When their music takes them over, lifting them our of their chairs, off their feet, into the air or sprawling on the floor.  Skerik is a prime example of the crazy I like to see in my artists from time to time.  I was flipping OUT and it was as much Trey’s energy as the music or the atmosphere.  And then right as they finished Tweezer Reprise, Trey jumps back to the microphone and excitedly shouts”,

“You know what! We’re having such a great time.  We’ve only got a couple minutes before they kick us off this stage. And we played Tweezer in Hersey Park but we never did Tweezer Reprise. So, we’re going to play it again. THIS IS FOR HERSEY PARK!!!”

Front row ragers!

Front row ragers!

And RIGHT BACK into another Tweezer Reprise…clearly this was not planned as Mike took a moment to look around and then fall back into round two….and then the place erupted.  And by God, if Trey’s energy and the energy in that supernova that was the Comcast Center hadn’t reached it’s boiling point…right at that moment, the eruption shook me to the CORE!  I mean, just pure ultimate joy was radiating out of these people floating around me screaming their excitement.  Intense is the only word I can think of.  Trey was bouncing all over the speakers, the venue was lit on fire. This video will show you everything you need to know! It sounds amazing and looks even better…Definitely hit PLAY!

Set List I: Intro, Fee>, Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Summer Of ’89, Foam, Possum, Moma Dance>, Julius, Reba, Cavern

Set List II: Intro, Halley’s Comet>, Light>, Billy Breathes, Tweezer>, Theme From The Bottom>, Harry Hood>, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan

Encore : Sleeping Monkey>, Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise x2

Download: Phish 2010-06-18 Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

So much equipment...

So much equipment...

Ragers leavin out the back....

Ragers leavin out the back....

When the music was over, it was over for good but like a festival, I LOVED knowing that I would be able to do this all over again tomorrow night.  Yet, like a concert, I was also happy that the possibility of sleeping in and not having to run to make early music was a nice positive that I immediately picked up on as plus for touring with a band.  For a while, we just sat in our chairs chatting over the double Reprise we were just thrown.  That was so ridiculous.  The power of the people in the pavilion and rolling up the lawn…I could taste it.  There were glow sticks everywhere, in piles.

We were staying with a gorgeous family I had met only weeks earlier at Mountain Jam.  They lived in Hartford and supplied about eight/ten of us with beds for the night in their lovely villa.

Das Villa! Thank you Levys!

Das Villa! Thank you Levys!

Waking up to the sun filled rooms and the breezy walkways, I was SO excited to think that we would be piling back into a car, and taking off for another state! Another night of Phish and another night of the biggest party you can go to that isn’t on a boat.  I can see why my parents kept me from touring with The Dead and Phish back in high school.  It was a raging party and they knew once I got a taste….I’d never come back!

Thank you Levys! xoxo

Thank you Levys! xoxo

Continue on tour with me: PHISH @ SPAC ~ Saratoga Springs, NY ~ (06.19.10)

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Rage Mobile

Rage Mobile

As the eve before Mountain Jam arrived, I couldn’t sleep, no one could.    My phone was blowing up with text messages finalizing last minute plans, causing last minute mini-drama bombs that kept us on our toes.  It was like the day before Christmas, as it is before every festival.  It might as well be Christmas, right?  You know you are going to meet up with long lost phamily that is normally scattered across the nation and when you arrive you are given lots of goodies and presents 🙂  AM I RIGHT?  Oh, our world is so full of life and love.

Approaching Hunter Mountain

Approaching Hunter Mountain

Get ur tickets

Get ur tickets

The four of us piled into my buddy’s rage mobile and we took off down Highway 87.  Two and a half hours later we were taking Exit 20 and making our way through the windy roads to the top of Hunter Mountain, the site of Mountain Jam for the last six years.  The scenic drives through these mountains, or any mountains, are one of the perks of heading to any festival.  Once you exit the bustling city, it only takes about 20 minutes before you start hitting lush rolling green hills on either side.  My mind always gets thrown back to the Blue Ridge Mountains and it makes me miss Virgina, my home state, that much more.

The Weekend Rage Haven

The Weekend Rage Haven

I don’t do well with rain and this festival was notorious for it’s thunderstorms and drastic change of weather. After much debate and consideration, I decided to shack up with my buddy in his house for the weekend.   It was a lovely cottage type house with three bedrooms and a shower, which numerous friends used over the course of the weekend.  It’s always good to have a friend with a house! (MUCH LOVE FOR MURRAY! THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIEND!)

Welcome Center

Welcome Center (& my housemates)

Waiting to see the music and get into camping....

Waiting to see the music and get into camping....

With all my friends setting up their tent cities in Camping, I was free to roam the grounds.  As I walked up the hill, a lovely old deadhead stopped just to tell me I looked lovely.  I was wearing my favorite skirt I had bought at my first festival (All Good) over 11 years ago.  A wonderful skirt my mother has repaired numerous times over to allow it to continue to live.  It is the little moments like these that I never have to write down.  The little moments of joy that find their way to your ears and eyes because people are just KIND in these settings.  Hippies are the greatest people in the world.

Hunter Mountain (East Side)

Climbing up Hunter Mountain (East Side)

This venue was GORGEOUS.  I had never been to a venue with such a gorgeous backdrop.  The scene I was staring at behind the stage was magnificent.  Beautifully lush green mountains with white clouds floating above.  It truly was a sight to behold. Wait until you see the pictures of the sunset.

Look at the view behind stage!  WHAT?

Look at the view behind stage! WHAT?

Kofi Burbridge & TR

Kofi Burbridge & TR

My music karma followed me to Hunter Mountain.  The commute went smooth, the house was so close, the weather for the weekend was, for the most part, sunny and dry.  As well, within the first two hours of arriving, I had spotted and caught up with just about everyone I was hoping to see that weekend.  One of the first people I ran into was Kofi Burbridge.  He is always one to be found mingling among the crowd, getting into trouble.  Then came a string of friendly faces who just made the hug chain continue for a few hours.  This was going to be a GREAT weekend.

Elmwood in Colonel’s Hall

Elmwood in Colonel’s Hall

As I explored the grounds, the first drop of music I could hear was from the Colonel’s Hall, one of four stages set up at the venue.  I stepped in for a few seconds to hear Elmwood and was right back out.  There were three other stages: The East stage (Main stage), The West stage (side stage) and The Awareness Village stage.  The shows I wanted to see were going to be mainly on the East and West stages.

The Karma Wash @ Mountain Jam

The Karma Wash @ Mountain Jam

My home base for the festival was the Karma Wash.  From now on, if they are part of any  festival I am at, you can always find me there.  A wonderful group of people who have more fun then I can describe.  They have created a wonderful wonderland of playfulness for both adults and children.  Everyone always need a good Karma scrubbing and they provide the services!  Join their Facebook fanpage to see where you can get your Karma Washed next!

The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

The Avett Brothers

Scott Avett – Vocals, Banjo, Kick Drum, Drums
Seth Avett – Vocals, Guitar, High-Hat, Keys, Drums
Bob Crawford – Vocals, Bass
Joe Kwon – Cello

I made my way to view the East stage where I could hear the folk/rock sound of The Avett Brothers tearing it up.  Ah, the banjo always makes me smile.  Their vibe was upbeat and feisty.  Scott Avett’s singing flowed over the mountain from the stage and was so lovely with his brother harmonizing.  When family members sing together there is a blend and a cohesiveness in the sound that is intangible to others.  I wish I could tell you who else is on stage with the Avett Brothers in the above picture but alas.  They rang out bluegrass into rock up the mountain until a piano was brought out for a few numbers which slowed down the vibe considerably.

As the piano accompanied, Scott sang I and Love and You, the title track off their newest cd.   A simple song with a powerful statement.   The only songs I recalled from quickly listening to their cd a few days prior.  It caught my ear when I heard the lyrics Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in and Three words that became hard to say, I and Love and You. This group is tangible and by that I mean that I felt something when they sang. They touched me.  I am not a fan of lyrics but coming from folk/bluegrass type music, I adore it.  They were solid in their delivery and emotional amongst their dancing jigs.  I loved them as they had help me toss my shoes off, hike my skirt up and dance in the dirt. Dancing with nature.

Download: The Avett Brothers @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

The Avett Brothers @ The Main Stage

The Avett Brothers @ The Main Stage

Now, Mountain Jam is the brain child of Warren Haynes, of The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule.  This meant that we would be blessed with two full nights of 2 sets of Gov’t Mule.  It meant that Warren Haynes would be sitting in with whatever group he felt drawn to join.  Get your party pants on…because once Mule started, there was no turning back.

Here's that sunset :) SO lovely!

Here's that sunset 🙂 SO lovely!

The rad ladies room

The rad ladies room

There was a 45 minute break before we were raging with Gov’t Mule!!! I completely shacked up by the Karma Wash for this set!  I had no intention of trying to fight the thousands of people cramming up to the stage.   Took off for what I heard was NICE bathroom in the ski lodge. ALWAYS a plus to have something other then a porta-potty.  I about died as I walked passed the men’s room that looked like just a bunch of high school stalls.  And then walking into the ladies room that had a lavish dressing room area, numerous sinks, mirrors, and couches.  LOL!!  Typical…

Gov’t Mule

Warren Haynes – Guitar & Vocals
Matt Abts – Drums
Danny Louis – Keyboards, Background Vocals
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass

Now THIS was how one should watch Gov’t Mule.  This was their festival, their time to shine.  They know just as well as we do that it is their set that first night that sets the mood for the rest of the weekend.  The energy and pure freaking rage of the first set was enough to cause a landslide…pun totally intended!

As World Gone Wild played, I totally realized that I was away from the city and I threw my head back to look at the stars.  In that moment, a shooting star crossed overhead and I totally had a moment with myself.  I shit you not.  I thanked the powers that be for making my life worth living.  And when the sun finally set, Hunter Mountain literally looked like it was on fire from the lights and the energy that was kicking off the weekend.  Look at the picture below.  Fire on the Mountain!

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Thorzine Shuffle closed out the set.  Warren screamed “Till the damage is done!”over the mountain and everyone sang along.  I could hear the harmonica on stage as if it were right beside me.  The sound from the stage up that mountain was tremendous.  Warren’s solos were superb and he teased Eleanor Rigby.  I looked to see my friend dancing her heart out.  A fellow blogger, I actually had written in my notes to just link to her description of this set.  A COMPLETE MULEHEAD!!  She was so happy and at that moment I loved me some Warren just as much as she did.

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

Gov't Mule @ Main Stage

For the second set of Mule we decided we needed to be closer.  The highlight of the set for me was when Les Claypool joined Warren on Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy. Such a combination of styles: Warren’s southern drawl against Claypool’s slapstick bass.  They TOTALLY jammed it out for a while.  Unfortunately, this would be the only guest appearance I would SEE.  I took a trip to the parking lot with a friend which caused me to miss seeing Kofi Burbridge sit in on Raven Black Night, Grace Potter sit in on Gold Dust Woman and Ray Lamontague join the stage but THANK GOD I was able to hear it all!!  Kofi’s flute reached my ears and I immediately lost focus on my parking lot mission.  Those conversations would have to wait.   I had to get back.

I about died when I thought I had missed the end of the last set but the encore followed.  Inside Outside Woman Blues was SOOO damn sexy!  I loved Warren’s guitar on this one the best.  Any Open Window and Steppin’ Lightly, where Jorgen Carlsson stood out on bass, closed it OUT!!! WHAT  WAY TO START YOUR FESTIVAL!!!!

Set 1: Intro, Stay With Me, New World Blues, World Gone Wild, Time To Confess, The Shape I’m In, Monkey Hill >, Monday Mourning Meltdown, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Thorazine Shuffle

Set 2: One Of These Days >, Fearless, The Wind Cries Mary, Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy (Part 1 & 2) > (w/ Les Claypool), Drums, Wishing Well, Raven Black Night > (w/ Kofi Burbridge), Gold Dust Woman (w/ Grace Potter)

Encores: Inside Outside Woman Blues, Any Open Window >, Steppin’ Lightly

Download: Gov’t Mule @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

The New Mastersounds

Eddie Roberts – Guitar
Simon Allen – Drums
Pete Shand – Bass
Joe Tatton – Organ and Piano

New Mastersounds @ Colonel Hall

New Mastersounds @ Colonel Hall

After Mule, we geared up for the 1am late night sets.   Les Claypool (Main Stage) and The New Mastersounds (Colonel’s Hall) were performing at the same time.  This would be my first mental headache of the festival.  I adore Claypool, as he feeds into my tiny dark side.  However, I had tickets to see Claypool at the Brooklyn Bowl the following Tuesday in Manhattan so I decided to rage it with The New Mastersounds first.  Apparently, I was not alone. The venue was PACKED but we got our front row spots on lock down no matter where we roll.

The New Mastersounds @ Colonel Stage

The New Mastersounds @ Colonel Stage

Throughout the day, my friends and I had told everyone that The New Mastersounds were the band to watch that night.  Most definitely, one of the freshest acts to come out of England in the last few years.  They truly have skyrocketed up in public opinion and I had been looking forward to seeing them all year.    A friend spit out some interesting info the other day about NMS: “they’ll be the first to tell you they didn’t even think about “jamming” their tunes until they started touring the U.S. and learned that there were people that actually enjoyed that approach.”  So, having only heard their studio album, I was blown away by their live performance.

Kofi Burbridge joins The New Mastersounds

Kofi Burbridge joins The New Mastersounds

Eddie Roberts threw out so much energy from that stage that I felt involved. He got so into his vibe that it was flat out tangible.  Man, being so used to small club type settings or even large venues, on any given night, I felt closer to these bands at certain times on that Mountain amongst 15,000+ people then I ever did in NYC venues.  And The New Mastersounds has us sweating bullets on that dance floor.  A large portion of my friends said that they danced their hardest that first night at New Mastersounds.  I know in that first set, I lost a few pounds myself.  The heat was unbearable and I was dancing up front with my favorite people.  SO HARD!!!  Kofi Burbridge joined the stage during Fast Man and stayed for quite some time, adding his spectacular talent and sound to an already rocking performance.

Set I: Intro, Zambezi, Miracles, Dusty Groove, Thermal Bad, MRG, Fast Man -> Kofi Jam ->, Get On The Good Foot -> You Got It All, Six Underground, The Minx, 33 (A Good Year To Die), Carrot Juice, Make Me Proud!, One Note Brown ->, One Note Brown, Stage Banter, San Frantico, Idris, Nervous ->, Jam ->, Nervous

Download: The New Masterdounds @ Mountain Jam VI (06.04.10)

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam

Les Claypool

Les Claypool – Basses
Mike Dillon – Percussion & Vibes
Sam Bass – Cello
Paulo Baldi – Drums

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (Main Stage)

About half way through their set, I was dying of heat exhaustion and decided to take a walk outside and catch some Les Claypool.  As I walked up the side of the mountain I decided if I was going to watch some Les, I wanted to be in the front row. A friend had been in charge of designing the paramedic route to the stage so the set up was a little different then previous years I was told.  This new route allowed for me to walk right up the middle to the front and allowing me to access the stage very easily.  And by god, it took me sometime but I got to the dead center, front row just as Les was teasing Led Zepplin’s Kashmir.  We are in the second song of the second set at this point.  Times FLIES!  And then I couldn’t move!  Not because of the people, but because Les Claypool delivered a RIGHTEOUS set and a funky David Makalaster I sandwiched a kickass version of Southbound PachydermThe New Mastersounds had lost me.

The Utterly Amazing! Les Claypool

The Utterly Amazing! Les Claypool

If only you could have seen what my eyes saw...

If only you could have seen what my eyes saw...

My favorite part of Claypool’s performance was when he left the stage for the drummer rage.  Upon his return, he had put on his monkey mask and transformed into one of his many personas of strange.  Freaking Creepster.  I love him.  This was just FUN!!  The strobe lighting allowed for him to walk out stunted, as we only saw every other step.  In the frame of mind I was in, I could have easily freaked out.  He looked completely out of control to me.  It was creepy and wonderful at the same time.

Set I: Up On The Roof, Rumble Of The Diesel, Toys Go Winding Down tease->Amanitas, Buzzards Of Green Hill**, Red State Girl, Hendershot, Precipitation->Mr. Krinkle tease->Precipitation>, Drums->, Drums & Whamola Jam

Set II: Booneville Stomp, Cosmic Highway->Goodbye Blue Sky tease->Cosmic Highway->Kashmir tease->Cosmic Highway, David Makalaster I, Southbound Pachyderm, David Makalaster I, D’s Diner

Download: Les Claypool @ Mountain Jam (06.04.10)

During D’s Diner, I took off back towards The New Mastersounds hoping to catch the last few songs with my friends.  I didn’t even bother making my way to the front.  Remember how my friends said they might have danced their hardest to this set?  Well, as I entered Colonel Hall, everyone who I had lot track of, still wanted to see, or was looking for, was right there  in the back.  My friend “M” must have been introduced around 5 times but within a few minutes more glorious friend circles collided and the krewe grew exponentially right on the spot.  GOD, I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY!  My friends were flying all over the place.  Literally, arms flying, spinning in circles, twirling each other, dipping each other….we might have been dancing with the music but we were more dancing with each other at that moment.  This continued for the remaining songs.  And I found myself another few pounds lighter.

The music ended and we walked 20 feet outside to the picnic tables and I SANK into the chair that would remain my best friend for another 2-3 hours.  We literally raged there for the remaining time with new friends and old.  I sat back watching my friends click with each other.  The weather was gorgeous, the vibe was chill.  To me, these might be the greatest moments…when friends from different walks of life finally cross paths and everyone just chills and talks about the great music they saw…all connected through the music, the vibe, the atmosphere.  And it’s especially great when you get to say thank you to the band as they walk to their tour bus to go make more people in another location happy.  The New Mastersounds had blown their spot up at Mountain Jam.  Totally rocked the Mountain to a close.  And when they walked out, the cheer was probably heard in Camping.  They were so appreciated. I hope they knew that deep down in their souls!

We walked home as the sun came up and my head hit the pillow before 6am.  It was difficult to sleep with everything running through my head. What a night and with beautiful weather to boot.  I looked forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

Day II Review: Mountain Jam VI @ Hunter Mountain, NY (06.05.10)

Thorzine Shuffle closed out the set.  Warren screamed “Till the damage is done….”over the mountain and everyone sang along.  I could hear the harmonica on stage as if it were right beside me.  The sound from the stage up that mountain was tremendous.  Warren’s solos were superb and he teased Eleanor Rigby.  I looked to see my friend dancing her heart out.  She was so happy and at that moment I loved me some Warren just as much as my friend did.

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"You should take this plant..."

"You should take this plant..." / "Are you sure you don't want it?" / "Maybe we can pawn this off on Bujak."

Around 11am Saturday morning, I decided I could muster the energy to move.  We had raged HARD Friday.  Aaron and I showered and gathered ourselves for round two.  Ahhhhh, the shower…..how nice!!!  The place may have been Wookie Central but it had showers and a warm bed…can’t beat that!  Aaron was the greatest roommate ever and had come stocked with bagels, cream cheese, fruit and ALMONDS!!  The food at the resort was below par cafeteria quality with basically a grade school cafeteria menu to include chicken fingers, hot dogs, hamburgers/cheeseburgers and french fries all for around $5-$7 per item.   Not sure if there were any vegetarian options.  Definitely none that stood out!

After forcing down some food, I sent the word out to my boys that we were up and the pre-party was to commence.  The response texts were hysterical, groggy, misspelled and I could feel their pain throbbing in my temples!!  We  made our way to the Jacuzzie suite where it didn’t take long to get rid of our headaches and melt into the plush love seat.  My brain was finally prepared to wonder about the day’s agenda…

Radioactive @ Rock The Resort II

Radioactive @ Rock The Resort II

I was looking forward to today for many reasons, but the main one being that my love for poetry, slam or otherwise, was going to thrash the theaters.  Radioactive was my first hit that day around 12:30pm.  Having seen him battle with Adam Deitch the night before, I knew I wanted to see more.  An emcee, beatboxer, writer, painter, and b-boy, Radio plays musical instruments (but not during this set) and incorporates electronic beats with his beatbox (which he definitely did).

Radioactive @ Rock The Resort II

Radioactive @ Rock The Resort II

During the beginning of his set, he knocked out beats/sounds with his voice/throat/hands, recording them, looping and layering them on top of each other to create a base for his lyrics.  This is the kind of thing I adore watching; people who make something out of nothing.   At one point during his rap, a hip-hop dancer was raging the dance floor all alone and Radio incorporated the dancer into his lyrics.  His free-styles spoke of peace, love, compassion, that none of us are the center of anything and we are all part of something.  I sat among the other five people in the theater, yes five, wondering how many people truly felt that in their hearts.

“Do that thing where you make stuff up,” the dancer says. We all laugh.  Taking it from the curb, he battled himself, changing the tone of his voice to deep and growly vs. high and pitchy to correspond with which “side” was spitting.   It was entertaining.  After his set, I had to introduced myself.  I had truly appreciated what he had to say and loved the delivery.  I left for the next show feeling inspired, unaware that Radio, otherwise known as Woodrow, would rage the Jacuzzi suite HARD with us later on that evening!!

Sophistaphunk @ Rock The Resort II

Sophistaphunk @ Rock The Resort II

Sophistaphunk was up next.  Another band with their styles dipped in poetry, I had heard good things.  They had this lamp set up on the stage that I noticed immediately and thought brought a bit of charm to the otherwise dark stage.  I was feeling the effects from lack of sleep at this point and decided to melt into a first tier rolling chair to watch their set.  They were funky at times, rock at times, they definitely were all over the place in terms of style.  There was one song that even had me out of my chair at one point.  But then they actually lost me when it came to the freestyling’s of Jack Brown during a particular song.

Wookie's Picnic @ Rock The Resort II

Wookie's Picnic @ Rock The Resort II

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, but after just seeing Radioactive, it was hard not to compare.  At the same time, they were two different styles.  I really loved what Jack was saying, it just wasn’t fast enough for my taste in the moment.  Especially when they had just jammed so hard.  I am a harsh critic when it comes to this.  I have been lucky enough to judged multiple slam/poetry competitions here in Manhattan and I rely heavily on how my emotions lead me when I watch the presentation as I am listening to the lyrics.  I just wasn’t feeling his choice.  I felt my switch get turned off and knew I needed to recharge.

Rock The Resort II

Rock The Resort II

One of the negatives to having a music festivals indoors is the fact that it’s actually indoors.  The sun was beaming, people were wookin’ it out in the parking lot, laying on blankets in the grass, having picnics.  You couldn’t do any of that inside the dark, grimy theaters.  The music would have to wait.  I felt the need to join the happenings out in the parking lot!   Wookies were scattered everywhere with their heady rugs thrown about, beer in hand, dogs in tow.

Heady Wears @ Rock The Resort II

Heady Wears @ Rock The Resort II

The vendors were mainly inside but a few random mobile shops were selling their wares.  A vendor would later tell me that they felt as though there were more vendors then there were attendants.  I am pretty sure they were right.  Outside, people were lying on car hoods and drinkin’ beer out of their trunks.  Music was playing from various locations via car speaker or boombox.  Aaron and I strolled the grounds, coming across wookie picnics and passed out soldiers of rage from the night prior.  There were some gorgeous Willow trees and a large lake with various gazebos surrounding.  The place had potential to be magnificent if given a nice face lift.

Jon of the Shred @ Rock The Resort II

Jon of the Shred @ Rock The Resort II

One of the crazy things about this festival, music just popped up everywhere. No idea who they were, but a band just set up shop in the vendor section.  The vendors expressed their happiness as they had felt forgotten on their side of the building as they couldn’t hear the bands in the theaters.   I took a minute to step foot into the next room to catch another few songs by Jaden.  I’ll, say it again, it’s clear that this girl is talented.  She covered a few songs before I took off in another direction.  There were points like this were I was CRAVING good music and it could NOT be found.    I walked in on Jon of the Shred as he played Smoke on the Water.  I was immediately turned off by the name hahaha but I attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt.  This guy was a rager but it wasn’t consistent.  One song would be somewhat fluid, the next would be sloppy.  He can shred the hell out of a guitar, he can play some keys, but his attempts to do both those things and maintain the computer and keep his hair out of his face….needs more practice.  I was dying at this point.  The Jacuzzi suite was the only answer.  If I couldn’t find good music, I could always find good conversation.

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

Again, I had to peel myself away from that suite because it was getting to be about that time.  I could smell the coming of good music.  The sun was going down and the resort was becoming more animated.  I made my way downstairs to see if Skerdio was set to rage. They weren’t so I proceeded to dance among the wooks in the lobby to a nameless band who actually threw us a pretty good dance party.  I saw Skerik standing behind them not looking to happy.  Then he was off towards the stage door.  Then Radioactive is standing near the band, looking perplexed.  And then he is off.  I head to the theater and it is literally myself, Tony, Toast, and a couple of the New Riders in the entire room.  Mind you, the lobby is packed.  Skerik walks up and shakes his head.  he is clearly not pleased.  “Yo man, the M.E.A.T. movement has made it’s way to the East coast. We are ready for ya,” I say with a smile!  And Skerik gave a solid belly laugh as his frown was turned upside down!!  Apparently, the band in the lobby was so loud that no one could hear the Skerdio announcement over the PA and I don’t think the lobby band was meant to be playing anyway.  Seriously, at this point, the chaos is all part of the charm! But eventually Skerdio made it up on stage and another badass assault on the senses took place.

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

Skerdio @ Rock the Resort II

What an interesting combination. I loved it.  And as my boy Eric stated, “This is going to be one of the best sets of the weekend,” I get lost in all of it.  Radioactive to the left with his system in place, Skerik on the right with his saxophone in hand and freak switch flipped FULLY on.  His tongue was already sticking out; he was rocking back and forth.  Radio began by layering the sounds and beats he threw with his voice.  Skerik started pumping in off beat blasts in between shakin’ his head like the crazy man he is.  Radio begins free-styling.  And so it went for a few songs, with various beats, sounds and funky Skerik facial expressions.  After awhile, a guitarist joined the stage. We were thrown the name but I never caught it.    And again it went with the layering of beats, Skerik‘s funky horn and sweet guitar rifts that changed the sound over completely.  When Radio sampled the guitar player’s rift, his face lit up as he was able to play over himself.  The theater never really did fill up and at one point I heard a kid say, “You should hear the weird style of music that is going on in there.” I loved it.

Rock the Resort II

Rock the Resort II

It was back up to the 8th floor some relaxing! Who am I kidding? It was nothing but awesome-sauce rage town in that room hahaha!!!  I rode up the elevator with Radioactive yet again.  “Dude, come in and play with us!” And he did, stories flying, music playin, smiles raging.  More good friends, more good music, and more netWOOKing!!!  Then it was RUBBLEBUCKET time. Or so I thought!

Do people really take the time to review the medical staff?  I absolutely had nooooo intentions on doing that but, alas, my life can never be boring, can it?  I had skipped over seeing Rubblebucket three times in the city earlier this year because I knew I would be seeing them this weekend.  Little did I know what kind of an adventure I was in for during their set.

Wook the Resort II

Wook the Resort II

So, remember those almonds that I mentioned earlier.  At some point before the Rubblebucket set, I made my way back up to the room to reload on water and get ready for the nights events.  I grabbed about 12 almonds from the container to munch on for energy.  Something I have done my whole life.  I immediately felt weirdness in my throat.  It is about 6pm at this point, I think, and so Aaron and I grabbed some french fries from the cafeteria and I knew something is up.  My throat was closing, my eyes were closing, hives…oh man, this was happening fast.  Being highly allergic to cats, I knew I was having a reaction but man, I was hoping it was not to the almonds.  I left Aaron with the french fries to gather myself in the ladies room when I took one look in the mirror and knew I was screwed.  A lovely wookette helped me to the Medic lounge which was empty.  Shit!  Then I find the closest security guard who was immediately on the walkie talkie and sat with me until the doctors showed up.  As horrid as I looked and felt, this might be one of the greatest parts of my weekend adventures 🙂

Rock the Resort II

Rock the Resort II

Dr. Steve was his name and Nurse Jill was hers.  They were kind, accommodating, wonderful.  They knew exactly what they were doing.  I knew I had to remain calm because with the insanity that was raging all over my body, it would get worse if I panicked.  There were ice packs then blankets, tanks to help me breath, Benadryl galore.  When they brought out the epipen I prayed that didn’t have to use it.  This shit was no joke, man!  And then I was knocked out…from 7p to 10ish, coming to from time to time to groggily say, “Please make sure I am better for New Riders.”  Their response, “Oh honey, of course!  That is what we are waiting for too!”  The whole time getting uplifting texts from all my boys who had run into Aaron through out evening and been updated on my pathetic situation!  After waking up and not having to itch my skin off, I was released.  And note to you all, I guess don’t offer me things with nuts it.

New Riders of the Purple Sage @ Rock the Resort II

New Riders of the Purple Sage @ Rock the Resort II

New Rider of the Purple Sage took the stage at some unknown time.  Everything from this point is so hard for me to recollect.  I was so doped up on Benadryl which was knocking me down.  I had a 5-hour Energy Shot and crap keepin’ me up.  But I remember lots of dancing as they brought their folksy vibe to the room.  Sounds reminiscent of The Dead.  My notes are illegible.  I really wish I could give you more. I had not seen them since my last All Good Music Festival.  But, at this point, I was just happy to be in the theater breathing and dancing!  At one point I look over and there is Jill, dancing, swaying, eyes closed.  Taking it all in.  I am so glad I hadn’t prevented her from seeing them.

I was all over the place during the end of their set.  I believe it was Madam Bliss who was out there giving us a little dance party, blah!   At some point we all met up in the suite.  It was always like clockwork when that happened.  Like our internal alarms went off and we all were on the move to the 8th floor, collecting people on each thrashed floor.  I realized I had spent some quality time getting pumped up with my boys in the Jacuzzi suite and it was time to move again.  I was Up! Up! Up! And it was time to rage some FUNK through this resort.

Jeff Bujak @ Rock The Resort II

Jeff Bujak @ Rock The Resort II

We make our way down to the theater for the last round of music!  After a slight detour on another floor we get back on the elevator and we see Sam Kininger. All I can say is “YYYYEEEESSSS!!!!!”  However, before Sam’s set I was looking forward to seeing Jeff Bujak.  Justin had be talking about him all weekend, calling his style “Intelligent Dance!”  I was completely intrigued and had missed chilling with him in the suite because of the damn peanut attack.  Dammit, it was time.   And THIS WAS NOOOO JOKE.  Finally, an artist I had never seen before who FLOORED me!  This is something I was hoping would happen all weekend.

The Sam Kininger Band @ Rock The Resort II

The Sam Kininger Band @ Rock The Resort II

Jeff does his own lights, sound, composition, smoke effects, etc.  A tight little package, straight up. He was fluid, he was consistent.  Among all his chaos of sound, I heard the most lovely of melody on the keys.  He played them beautifully.  The smoke and lights made for some gorgeous shots.  He would lay down funky beats and then give us jazzy piano on top of it.  He always had a melody to deliver and the beats were dope. I felt like I heard a bit of Latin beat in the mix during one song.  It was interesting, it was well-put together…it was good!

Download: Jeff Bujak @ Rock The Resort (04.10.2010)

Sam Kininger Band @ Skerik @ Rock the Resort II

Sam Kininger Band @ Skerik @ Rock the Resort II

Jeff Lockhart, The Rager!

Jeff Lockhart, The Rager!

The Sam Kininger Band went on around 4am and I was right where I needed to be!  There was never a time all weekend where all of my buddies were in the same room at the same time until that show.  I look around the room and EVERYONE who makes me smile was there, wide-eyed and smiling back!  I knew this would be my last performance as we were leaving first thing in the morning. I was already missing everyone’s faces.  The stage held Sam Kininger on saxophone, Nikki Glaspie on drums, Amy Bowles on organ/keys, Aaron Bellamy on bass, and a personal favorite, Jeffery Lockhart on guitar.  The songs start off with the various instruments leading in and then Sam brought the funk.  Sam brought the dance party that made you want to clap your hands.  The Band backed Sam as he raged his axe of funk consistently, jazzy, blasting.

Skerik and Sam @ Rock The Resort II

Skerik and Sam @ Rock The Resort II

I LOVE seeing Nikkie Glaspie play.  A female drummer is always killer!!!   The ladies were awesome but then you had Jeffery Lockhart.  That man took his liberties with that bass and we loved every minute of it.  At one point, he takes a seat in a chair and just wastes us where we stand while he sat!   At this point, Radioactive joins the stage as does SkerikSkerdio was to rage with Sam Kininger Band.  Man, life is fun!  Radio threw out his signature beats amongst the funk.  Skerik and Sam battled their horns against one and another.  At one point, I am pretty sure Jeffery and Radio battled.  It was all fun, improvisational on many parts and a great funky dance party to end the evenings. I text J-Man, “One last session after?” “Yeah! I am still at Bujak!”…”And I am still in front of the horns!”…”Big surprise!” he texts and I return to dancing!

At the end of the set there are hardly any of us left standing.  Aaron had already peaced to bed perhaps a half hour prior.  I had lost track of time and realized it was like 6:30 in the morning.  I was done; we all were.  Those of us left made it to the fluffy couches on the 8th floor and attempted to wind down.  As we relaxed, we talked about Bujak, Skerik, Radio, Lobby Rage and Sam…you know, the good stuff of the weekend.  I knew I had to make it to my bed but I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t want it to end.

As I walked to the 7th floor, it all flooded over me.  The horrible production that gave the fest a charm all its own, the dogs, the wookies.  I knew I had made some bonds that weekend that would never break and I knew I had broken some.  I had seen some pretty awesome bits of music and almost died from eating 12 pieces of a food item that I used to eat by the pound.  Not at all what I thought would kill me at one of these things haha.  All in all, I would say that me and the boys raged one hell of a season opener.  I face planted into the bed with a wide smile.  Been holding onto it ever since 🙂

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