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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Stillwell’

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

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Atmosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kids #2

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

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

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

Vending Area Art Peice

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

The Dog Element

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

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

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

Puppy Love!!

Puppy Love!!

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

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

Rolling Stream Rage

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

Activism

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

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

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

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

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

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

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

Rager...
Precious Rager…

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

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

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

Weather

Clothes Line

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

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

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

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

Vendor Row Shot From Hill

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

Specific Highlights of the Weekend

DESISEL MEAL!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuddle Puddles Puffathons ~ Lil B

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

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

Time Machine...

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

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

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

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

Night Lights

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

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

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

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

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

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

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

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

Music, Sweet Music

Rage!

Musical Mustache Rage!

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

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

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

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

Sol Flo

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

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

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

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

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

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

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crucial Elements

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

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements:

Crucial Elements: Greg Haynes

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

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

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

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

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

Kings of Belmont's Drummer

Kings of Belmont's Sam Cushman

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

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

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

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

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

Click HERE for Kings of Belmont Live @ Camp Barefoot 5

The Mantras

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

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

The Mantra's Keith Allen

The Mantra's Keith Allen

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

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

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

The Mantra's Justin Powell

The Mantra's Justin Powell

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

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

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

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

Showing that Mantra Love!

Showing that Mantra Love!

Former Champions

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

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

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

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

Roberts, Walter and Deitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth’s Talking Heads Set

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

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

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

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

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

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

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

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

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

Thank You Camp Barefoot

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

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

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

Tons of live video of CB5

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Big Something

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

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Brothers Past

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

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

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DJ Williams Projekt

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

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

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Down Home Country Band

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

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

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

Future Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jesse Chong Band

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

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Kyle Hollingsworth

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The New Deal

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal I

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal II

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Papadosio

Papadosio – Method of Control – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Curve – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Find Your Cloud – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Cue – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Advocate of Change – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

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

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

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People’s Blues of Richmond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pimps of Joytime

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

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

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

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

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Perpetual Groove

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

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

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Segway

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

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

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

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

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Zach Deputy

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

Encore: Twisty Twisty & Headed Home

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Zoogma

Zoogma at Camp Barefoot – M-10

Zoogma Camp Barefoot – New Luxury

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Front of a great shirt!

Front of a great shirt!

…….continued from Night  1 of Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

Before I knew it, my head had hit the pillow in my bed the night before and just like that, my feet were back to hitting the pavement to the Brooklyn Bowl.  The NY Funk Live group was gathering tonight to make sure the dance floor was packed and the energy was high.  Such a genuinely good group of people.  I encourage all funk friendly followers to look into the group and see if it’s for you.  A fellow funksters shirt caught my eye and made me giggle. I hope you get a kick out of it also.

Back of a great shirt!

Back of a great shirt!

It was the second night of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Brooklyn Bowl.  I was arriving a bit early to meet my buddy who was going to introduce me to just the best damn falafel I have ever eaten.  The place is called Oasis and it is right at the L train Bedford stop, first stop into Brooklyn from Manhattan.  Oh my goodness, it was just so good! Not oily, the extras: the red cabbage, the pickles, the hot sauce, were all so different yet all worked so well together.  SICK! And it was $3.50.  No lie, it is now what I plan on eating every time I head to the Brooklyn Bowl now. Yup! Yup! Light yet filling and $3.50…Word!

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

We arrived again before 9pm and there is only a slight line at the ID check this time. Once inside, it’s right to the front, makin’ my way to my regular spot to lay down my things.  A few buddies are already marking their territories at the front of the stage.  After chatting with them, I turn around to get my little notebook out and there is a NYC condom laying on my purse.  I look to the guys elevated above me in the bowling section and they just smile with their smirky grins and raise their glasses.  Seriously?  Looks like someone else was marking his territory.  I place the love token in my purse and turned around to the men in the joint that had some class…my friends 🙂

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I was not on point for this show.  Because I was so focused during the first show, I felt like I wanted to just melt my face off and dance tonight.  This review won’t be nearly as long as Night I.  I seemed to focus more on taking pictures then notes.  Karl and his Universe took the stage around 9:45pm this time.  Hell of a lot earlier then the previous night of an hour later.  Right into a full out saxophone rage from Karl Denson.  I am not sure if they really played The Bridge or not.  I don’t recall that song being played but the set list says otherwise…  Either way, the first song was a HUGE rage fest and a great way to open.  EVERYONE was focused, attentive and dancing.  The stage was set up as follows, from left to right:

David Veith (keyboards)

Chris Littlefield (trumpet)

John Staten (drums)

Karl Denson (saxophone/flute)

Chris Stillwell (bass)

Brian Jordan (guitar)

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

The first song I recall is Kool Is Back.  I love this song.  The horn bring you right in with a catchy tune.  Karl picked up the tambourine and everything got really funky.  Brian gave us a guitar solo created off of his rift that is the background of the song.    The banging of the cowbell, John Staten just ripping apart the drums.  He was always inserting extra smack downs in the lulls of the other instruments which I appreciate.    This song reminded me of a 60’s game show for some reason.  Again, I think that if each of these artists had a band of their own, I would go see them all.  This song is so full of yummy jazz flute I can’t stand it.  FAST jazz flute.  Karl’s fingers were moving so fast and he was bouncing to the rhythm of his fingers.  My friend SCREAMS his monstrous scream in recognition of the slaughter that is taking place with the flute.  And Karl KILLS it.  Both horns are picked back up and they blast out the ending with Brian leading the way with the funky rift.

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

At this point, Karl’s horn insanity is taking down to a medium slow growl, a really jazzy sound emits and the song changes.  Galaxy!! “On a rocket ship /No time to wait /I just want to gravitate!” sings Karl.  They hit the lyrics pretty hard in this song, little play from the instruments.  At least for a little bit!  We got some interpretive jazz sax from Karl and people screamed.  The drums got louder and Karl got faster.  My friend tapped me on the shoulder to hand me some love.  We danced around.  I heard the tambourine.   As I look at my notes, I see where my friend wrote PEACE + LOVE = FUNK!!  I think he might be on to something. 🙂  So, there is a part in this song where they kind of let the slow, low, minimalist movement take over and not much happens.  He lost me.  I started thinking of a friends who weren’t there and and texted them pictures.  It was just a really jammy sloooow background for some chatting to commence for a few good measures.  But the nice part about these lulls, they pick up fast and just intensify and makes your head EXPLODE.  Yeah, Karl knew what he was doing.  And no pun intended but SPAAAACE!!!  I couldn’t figure out where some of the sounds were coming from, finally figuring out the horn sounds were coming from the keys? Shoot, I still may be wrong. I was loosing my mind waiting for the song to explode in my face.  My notes mention something about there being wasted time pickin’ and that is because I just wanted Brian to rip my face off with his fingers on the guitar.    He stands there with such a darling smile on his face and its like he is busting to blow out the guitar but he doesn’t.  Honestly, I can’t tell who I want to hear more. Who did I come to see?  They were all so great. “Outta Sight, Outta Sight” sings Karl twice.  Honestly, this Tiny Rager was in the middle of a Tiny Universe but I was entirely in my own world.

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

YES!!  YES!!!  YES!!  I heard the Reggae beat, the dance in my legs shifted immediately.  It moved up to my hips and the salsa vibe was pumping.  Might Rebel was serve up so nicely.  I longed for Debrissa McKinney’s voice immediately as she sings with them on their latest album, Brother’s Keeper.  This is easily one of my top five KDTU songs.  JUST LOVE THIS SONG! Gypsy rage!  Russ ask to borrow a lighter, confusing me because he doesn’t smoke, and holds it in the air swaying it back and forth. We giggle.  It was definitely a moment for that.  Karl looked directly at him, because you just cant miss this guy standing out with his red hair and giant stature holding a lit lighter, and with a beaming smile, nods in recognition of the act.  Russ adds some reggae beats with his mouth in the crowd and its hilarious.  It fits.  This is such a different song from the others being played that night.  It was so very Reggae and it was a nice change.  All the musicians soloed and just killed it.  Coming together at the end, it was just a pure hippie rage in depth.  Very heady and it was over just like that.

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Shake It Out was next and it was the same as the night previously. I just set everything out and shook it out.  No notes, no recollection of anything fantastic happening.  Just dancing machine!  Hands in the air, spinning, knocking into my pal who was trying to contain himself but I could see in his eyes that he wanted to freaking flip out 🙂 Ah, reservation, I know you not.

And honestly, the set list said “Elephant” was next but it wasn’t. It made it’s way into the second set.  New York City was to rage the closer. And I mean RAGE!  It was a slow start at first and then it was a shit show of EXPLOSIVE funk all over that stage.  The ending of that set was one of the most intense endings of a set I have seen since Bowlive.  It was off the charts funky fantastic.  The energy was palpable, the place was packed.  And with that, they walked off the stage.  It was time to rage the bench and discuss…I was so high from all the goodness of that night that my vision was literally like a rippling pond at one point. Out of control. Damn, what a closer.

Set I: The Bridge, Kool Is Back, Galaxy, Mighty Rebel, Shake It Out, New York City

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

For the first time,we were not allowed outside of the front to walk around, smoke, get some fresh air .  We were confined to an area outside the front door, slightly herded. I am still wondering what that was all about.  After the insanity of amazingness that was Bowlive, these Karl Denson shows were definitely some of the the most amazing/fun shows I have seen at the Brooklyn Bowl to date.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has a ridiculously ginormous amounts of soul.  It’s endless, full of funk, jazz, blues, and rage.  A GREAT team.

RAGE!

RAGE!

At this point, I just have my dancing shoes on and am not thinking of much else.  Steamed Water was awesome and I danced so very hard during that song.  David Veith really stood out on the keys during this set.  I had been hearing what I thought was a flute all weekend and it was his sound.  I don’t know if it was where I was standing.  But he always sounded like a flute.  I remember thinking that at that point I would just be happy to have the horns surrounding me on all side just blowing my head off.  I was so needy for them it was ridiculous.  I remember distinctly wanting crawl inside one of the horns and live in it.  Definitely out of control.

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Trampled Underfoot, a Led Zepplin Cover, was “all about the love.”  Brian  worked his magic on the guitar once again. I just love his smile.  Chris Littlefield in tempo with the shaker as Karls on the mic, for like 7 measures, a lot of time on the cowbell.  I remember specifically texting that to a friend haha.  But again Karl ransacked the stage with his horn and the biggest cheer of the night came blasting out of the crowd.  I mean how do you not scream when guitars are jamming, horns are IN YOUR FACE NASTY, the drummer is basically on his feet, breaking his bloody sticks in half with each beat.  The crowd goes ape shit and Karl extends his arm in recognition of the cheer – the place erupts once again.  Back on the cowbell, Karl mentions his anniversary again. So special, it made my heart yearn.  “I cant stop talking about love,” says Karl.  How very special.  Another dance in unison between Chris Littlefield and Karl.

John Staten @ THe Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

And the shit just kept hitting the fan.  Karl blew me away in The Grunt. I know I am talking about him a lot but he was the main reason I went to the show.  How many time can I say he blew that horn, raged that horn, he was was awesome.  He brought a little jazz back into the otherwise funky song.  A few blats of improve was nice, a 3 minute jazz solo, real nice.   I remember there was chanting at one point, “NYC, NYC NYC!!!”  I completely spaced out for a while dancing around my little area, it had gotten a bit tight up front at this point, some odd photographers were bouncing around. I don’t know if they changed songs or were in the same one but we got a taste of Brian’s funky guitar and that cute smile.  Wearing a vest over a white shirt with jeans, he was lookin’ adorable that night.  Everyone looked sharp!  God, I love good music. “Make some noise in here,” shout’s Karl.  The venue screams in unison.  There were sooooo many people there compared to the night before.  It was shocking. Where had they all been Friday night?  I was very glad they were there. I wanted Karl and his Tiny Universe to know how much NYC loves them:)

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

An introduction to the next song, still unsure of the name.  Karl says, “Everything we do is for the ladies!  Am I right?”  Everyone screamed.  “You know it, they know it…..but just this once, we got a little something for the fellas.  This song is for the fellas.”  There is a little instrument banter and he continues, “Why are you scared?  You know there is always someone out there uglier then you so don’t be afraid, do it – go after it – you have nothing to fear but fear itself”  The song was beautiful.  For some reason, I have “Animal Kingdom” in my notes??  And that I wanted more flute. I was becoming oblivious. Perhaps the song was Groove On, I think it was, the set list says so but I still can’t recall.  See, this is why I have to write the set list down as the show progresses or I just forget everything.

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Elephant was DEFINITELY next with Karl on the shaker and Chris Littlefield on the cowbell.  See, lots of time spent on these funny side instruments, but it was all part of the sound 🙂 What a great song. So heavy, so funky. The title evokes visions of elephants walking in a pack as soon as the tune begins.  Brian lays down the melody of the tune with his strings and Karl laces it out on the flute. Yes, a heady, herdy elephant song with flute!   There was major mouth action this time as he purposefully added in the sounds from his mouth as he blow the flute.  The sound emitted takes on an entirely different texture when the artists allow their mouth sounds to dominate the sounds of the instruments they are playing.  Some folks don’t care for it, but I do!!

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Here we got our first and only guest treat for the evening. Out walks this lovely female, in a black vest, black tee, black jeans, and boots that looks liked they were broken in years ago, the “oh so comfortable” kind.  Jessica Lurie, a female saxophone player currently transplanted from Seattle to Brooklyn was the special guest for the evening.  I bet she played with Skerik all the time while in Seattle. I would love to see that duo.  SHE RAGED IT!!   I actually would have liked to have seen her perform more but he song didn’t allow for it as Karl was on his sax having to lead the herd through the song.    At one point both saxophone payers were not playing, but instead using the shakers and graters to back up Brian on the guitar.  I wanted more from Lurie. I was intrigued. She is definitely on my radar and I hope to see her again soon!  Karl belts a solo on the flute and Jessica is on various percussion instruments. She definitely didn’t just stand there, which was great.  At the end, they were all on the horns, everyone was jamming but not melting our faces. I was longing for that energy from the last song of the first set.  And then Brian’s guitar was crying as Karl interjected with hoots and yelps reminiscent of tribal banter, spiritual chanting if you will.  HE SCREAMS! And the energy rose, oh so high.  Russ screamed back, completely overcome with emotion from the song, he just couldn’t help it.  Karl stomped this herd into the ground with Lurie at the end. Brian brought the funk and it was just killer.  And then everyone exits the stage except for John Staten who has picked up the song, and taken it as his own…it was his time to shine! Enjoy the video! I personally like Karl’s little jig at the end of the clip!  RAGE JOHN RAGE!

Might Mouse was slated on the set list but they choose to rage another.  At this point a fan had come up to Karl and shouted something, He said, “OK! SO then we will play that song next for you, Happy Birthday!”  So kind, so genuine Such a good man, on top of being a good musician.    Soul Drifting would be the song of choice and it was full of just more funk and fun. David Veith mouthing the “sounds” he was making on the keys.  I was so focused on the horns and the guitars that I lost track of the keys and for that I apologize.  The keys were light, shifty, breezy.  Everyone was smiling. Karl places the mouth piece on his sax again and it creates the low growl.  “I feel like talking tonight.” says Karl.  He doesn’t talk so much as he gives us such a pretty jazzy flute, like a humming birds wings, his fingers were flying.  I closed my eyes as the song willed me to.  It was such a slow jam at first and then he screamed so soulfully, so fast.  Brian picked up his pace and just let loose on the strings, Karl picks up percussion instruments, I danced so hard I fell over.  Yup!  Just fell over…I was out of my mind, as were the people surrounding me; the people up front, paying attention to the slaughter that was taking place.  “Thank you New York!  Thank You New York,” screams Karl to the beat of the song.  And that feeling of dread that floods over you when you know a show is ending immediately flooded in.  Had two nights of Karl Denson really just come and gone just like that?  Perhaps for many, if not most people, they can just go home having enjoyed the night, being able to move forward and immediately think of things on their to do lists the following day….moving forward.  Not me, I get stuck in the moments and I truly dislike being pulled out of them.  I truly is an addiction.  It makes me tankful for these opportunities to write for yall, and for myself, to relive the memories and have a record of them.  It allows me to release and move forward like the “regular” folks 🙂

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

The stage was empty, no one moved, and everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs.  Of course, we all wanted more.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe to the the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl one more time that weekend and gave us a hell of an encore: Bougainvillea! Of and older CD, The D Stands for Diesel, Karl says, I got an old skool song for ya.”  The flute goes right into it, light, jammy guitar, interesting sounds with the keys. I was really too busy dancing to worry about much else.  Then the flute is put down and replaced by the saxophone.  Jessica Lurie came out and joined the session.  “I’ll sing you a song all night long,” shout’s Karl.  And the horns ended the evening blasting into the night and off the stage.  You know how I said this wouldn’t be a long review? I lied 🙂  It was too good to summarize.  And  when this review completed….it’s off to the next adventure 🙂 because I have just released!!! 🙂

Set II: Steamed Water, Trampled Under Foot (Led Zeppelin Cover), The Grunt, Groove On, Elephants, Soul Drifting, Bougainvillea

Download: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Live at Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

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Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

There are certain artists, that when you say their name, you expect everyone in the vicinity to know that name.  You expect them to register your statement with a big bright smile on their face in recognition of the greatness of said name that just escaped your lips.  When I say Karl Denson, I immediately expect people to raise their heads, their glasses, and their hearts in salute to THE MAN who can manipulate a saxophone with the best of the best.  Often times, this doesn’t happen! Many of the greatest artists on the scene are, for lack of a better word, hidden, for those of us willing to seek them out.

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

On the other hand, if I were to say Lenny Kravitz, everyone would know that name.  He is plastered all over the radio and TV and I don’t ever turn those contraptions on.  What is a radio again?  But, saying Lenny Kravitz‘s name, it would register, even with the most uneducated of music lovers.  What a lot of people do not know is that Karl Denson was in Lenny Kravitz‘s band years ago and where his fame grew.  Now, not to knock him by any means, but I have and never will go to a Lenny Kravitz concert.  Karl on the other hand…I will NEVER EVER EVER miss a Karl Denson show.  This past weekend at the Brooklyn Bowl, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe brought THE HOUSE DOWN with funky goodness two nights in a row.  I honestly, don’t know where to being…

<3

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I arrived at the venue with my friend. We thought we were running late but there was not even a line at the ID check and it was already past 9pm. OK?  Again, my point being made that people don’t know good music when it come and hits them in the face.   But no worries, the slow start gave us plenty of time to talk with friends, maneuver to the front and lay down our belongings, setting up for the rager that was about to take place.  Standing around a little while longer, still nothing so we took a trip outside.  While hanging out in the fresh air, a taxi pulls up and chills by the stage door.  My friend and I continue our conversation and see Pete Shapiro, owner of the Brooklyn Bowl and in my opinion, probably the luckiest man on earth, come out talking to a roadie.  “I have to pay the taxi,” he says, as Karl Denson steps out of the taxi and into view.  “Hi Karl,” I say, “JAM CRUUUUISE!”  He turns and smiles 🙂 My friend and I quickly turn away to make our way inside because NOW the show can commence!

I am at the Brooklyn Bowl so often, it seems funny to have to describe it in every review.  All I am going to say this time is that it is the coolest venue in all of New York City.  Hands down. Period.  End of story.  Get your fannys there as soon as you can.  Members of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe took the stage sometime between 10:10pm and 10:30pm. OK, right up front, I am telling you this is a long review, even for my standards…the show was three hours of straight raging funk from one of my favorite artists…it’s a doozie and worth the read!  🙂  The stage was set up as follows, from left to right:

David Veith (keyboards)

Chris Littlefield (trumpet)

John Staten (drums)

Karl Denson (saxophone/flute)

Chris Stillwell (bass)

Brian Jordan (guitar)

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Oh man, what a line up.  Karl has put together a talented group of musicians who all deserve to be fronting their own bands.  I just truly love every single player in this group and I don’t say that often.  Karl came out in a jacket and slacks, Brian Jordan began strumming his guitar, Karl picked up the microphone and immediately blasted into Sister Jane. And at that point there was “nothing going on but a FUNKY SONG!!” Good lord!  He just slammed right into it.  The horns went at it.  He beckoned us to warm up our pipes and join the song.  There was shouts into the audience and we returned them.  “Ahh, Yaa, Yeah, Yoooo!!”  Karl fiercely laced into his saxophone, screaming at us with that blessed thing then throwing it down to pick up the tambourine.  First song into the night and I almost broke into tears!

Disclaimer:  If you truly read my blog, it becomes VERY CLEAR I am 11o% OBSESSED with Jam Cruise right off the bat!  Karl Denson is one of the few artists to have been blessed to be on all 8 of the cruises, in the various projects he works with.  He sounds threw me right back on to the boat and I got choked up for the first time of many that weekend.  I wish I could pass this happiness around in a bottle for yall to drink from.  I really do.  It would be priceless but I wouldn’t charge yall anyway 🙂

My fav shot of the night: Karl Denson

My fav shot of the night: Karl Denson

Karl adjusts his jacket as they move into Funky Song!  The horns blast off and the guitar picks it up.  A much more musically, specifically horn,  driven song then the lyrically charged songs that would follow throughout the night.  These are my favorite.  Just blow those horns.  There is some banter with the audience on Karl’s part.  Chris Littlefield gave us a hot trumpet solo and they move along into Family Tree.  Karl and Chris plugged their left ears as they sang their harmonies over each other.  Brian Jordan raged his guitar for this song and then it was David Veith showing us what he can do with his nimble fingers. For the first time, Karl places a contraption over his mouth piece, there is feedback before we hear this lovely sound coming from his horn. How does one describe the sound…a funky deep muffled sound. Karl picked up the flute and sang “just like the leaves of the family tree!!”  The song dipped into fingers into some nasty feisty jazz and Karl showed us his talents through the horn, ending with the screaming blast of Littlefield’s trumpet.

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Time for some interaction with the crowd.  Karl screams, “Happy spring!  The flowers are blooming.  I got my 1st artichoke the other day.”  He continued to talk about how he had left the plant in the ground after he thought he had killed it the previous season.  “Good thing I did, cause I got this artichoke!”  Right into The Clap, Jordan’s guitar beckoned us to dance with some help from the drums.  Karl joined in and then it was all about the “Soul Clap, Soul Clap,” as the venue joined together in unison, clapping, smiling, dancing.  All the while, Brian’s guitar gave us the prettiest melody amongst the horns sporadic honking.

With a menacing, funky assault from the horns, Grenadiers followed.  Karl Denson just brought his raging funky talent to the forefront for this solo. It was the grandest of the first set for sure.  The kind of solo that just stops you dead in your dancing tracks with your mouth hanging open.  SO MUCH TALENT!  Karl’s yummy muscles were bulging out of his as he brought it back to the dark, deep bassy on a tin can.  At this point, I am dancing around in the front row, trying to maintain my composure to take notes, and this guy gets all close to me.  Then a little closer.  And finally sticks his face in the side of my head and bolts away.  I turned around, confused.  “OMG!!,” he says.  “We thought your earrings were really giant gauges in your ear.  And we thought, HOLY SHIT! That is dedication!”  Oh people, if you could only see the earrings he was talking about.  And oh people, if you could understand how funny I would look with gauged ears that big.  Sorry, but its disgusting, eww! I can see why they were so intent on figuring it out or not!  Karl ended the song beating on a tin can and I was left smiling from another fun show interaction.

Chris Stillwell @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Can You Feel It was led in by some lovely humming, the “oohs” and “ahhs.”  Karl on the sax and the keys sounded like a flute.  I felt like the keys sound like the flute a lot of the time throughout the weekend.  Karl, with sweat dripping off his brow, gave us a jazz infused solo as Littlefield shook the shaker.  His eyes popped open with the blasts of the horn and he was bouncing all over.  The sound changed drastically with the bass leading the way.  Chris Stillwell is a monster, a technical genius.  My friend would later say:

“Stillwell is the consummate professional. As well as he is known, he’s still underrated. I don’t think there is a band or style of music he couldn’t fill in with on five minutes notice if needed.”

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I agree 110%, I just wish I could have heard the bass a little louder for the position I was dancing in.  Karl breaks out the cheese grater with scratcher?? Haha.  They just had an arsenal of side toys to play with and make sounds, Karl almost always changing up the beat of his respective instrument throughout each measure.  And whenever they were done with their items, be it a water bottle or percussion instrument, they would throw it to the ground before picking up their horns! “Everybody on the street wants to make the night complete.” I was wanting more horns.  I look over and see my beautiful friend in the crowd.  She was new to Karl Denson as of that night and with her eyes closed, she was swaying and smiling.  I smiled wide as I knew she was soaking it all in.  I imagined what she must be feeling in the moment.  Hearing new music, especially new AMAZING music that you end up LOVING, is just the greatest swelling of a feeling.  It’s the establishment of a whole new relationship in your life.  For me, it’s religious.  “Let’s sing a little bit! It’s good for your soul,” shout’s Karl.  The crowd’s response was weak.  Karl places his hands behind his ears and the crowd peeks!  “Very nicely done NYC!” he says and that was the end of that.

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Easily one of my top 10 favorite Karl song’s, Shake It Out makes you feel like you are straight up in church about to fall into the isle shaking like a crazy person.  There is not a lot of horn play during this song.  Littlefield with the tambourine and Karl with the shaker, they started to dance together and pretty soon, in unison, they danced out a funky little beat together across the stage.  The crowd loved it!  Brian raged through at the forefront of the song.  John Staten gave us a short but sweet drummer’s rage to close it out.

After this song, all my notes and memories get jumbled cause I had just danced all the blood out of my brain to my legs to try to keep up.  I think the last song of the set played was Brother’s Keeper, from their new CD “Brother’s Keeper.” Very little horn action and lots of lyrics in the beginning, somewhat making me long for Grey Boy Allstars…overall less lyrics.  But Karl did grab the flute for this one which is always beautiful.  John Staten gave us another MASSIVE drummer solo while Brian and the David laid out the background rhythm.  There was another slight unison dance between Karl and Littlefield.  Karl fitted the sound modifier over his mouth piece and closed out the set screaming his sax/guitar at the tops of its….lungs? I swelled up for the second time that night.  And now it was time for some fresh air with friends to discuss 🙂

NYC 04-23-10

Set 1

  1. Sister Jane
  2. Funky Song
  3. Family Tree
  4. The Clap
  5. Grenadiers
  6. Can You Feel It
  7. Shake It Out
  8. Brother’s

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell and Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Stillwell and Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

This was a great night of music, but I also meet some great music lovin fools who I feel will become wonderful additions to my life.  Tiny Universe took the stage for the second set and it was a full steam ahead blast of energy.  I am a little fuzzy at this point because I had to make my way through everyone and make a few pit stops before getting back to the stage.  I heard Oranges playing and knew I was missing the beginning. Bad Karen! But fun adventures are half the fun of live shows 🙂  As I made my way through the crowd, I realized that the venue was a lot more empty then I thought it would be, but by GOD it was full of energy. People were raging.  It was wonderful 🙂

Karl Denson @ the Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ the Brooklyn Bowl

With the shake of his tambourine, Soul Shifting & S&G would be the first song of the second set I would see.  FUNK, FUNK, FUUUUNK.  Say it with me now!  A lovely guitar by Brian Jordan with jaaazzzy horns.  I mean, the the Funk strings and drums clearly stood out, the Jazz horns clearly stood out yet they were so tight that it was just one insane song.  So good!  Emotional for the third time that night.  The keys were holding it down throughout the funky beat. Brian Jordan moved his hands up the neck of his guitar to create his desired sound! Ahh!  I can clearly hear the bass.  It was definitely louder second set, perhaps it wasn’t my location after all.   There was a beautiful moment between the drums and the flute. And odd lovely combination. They go to end the song in a blast. Not one, not two, but three.  Karl changes instruments, and then Blast! Blast. Now he was done. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to end a song 🙂

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl smiles and that trademark beard moves with his face.  The keys light up the stage and to me, again, sound like a flute is being played.  Slowly up the scale he ran his fingers and the horns jumped in at the top. Explosions would be next.   This song is always so damn fierce.  FIERCE.  I started to pick the band apart, focusing on them individually. Littlefield pick up his water bottle and shakes it into the microphone, I tried desperately to hear it, but alas…  it was a funky dance party at this point and they chose to slow it down.  It got VERY low and VERY slow.  A lot of drag on the notes with a stormy echo of the guitar.  My notes say: “Trippy ass shit right here, man!” I was happy:) THEN FREAKING SMACK YOU IN YOUR FACE FANTASTIC RAGE!!!  Chris SLAMMED his drums, the horns screamed, the strings raged and the keys sang as they brought some FUNKY jazz flying to our ears and people SCREAMED!!!  Everyone was taken off guard!

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan comes out and is on the synthesizer while Chris Stillwell moves to the guitar.  I got so very happy because I was finally able to hear Stillwell in all his glory. Damn man.  His face never changes, he sometimes looks half asleep…he makes it looks effortless.  Karl talks about April 20th having just come and gone.  It had been his 20th anniversary.  MAJOR Happy Anniversary Karl!!  It was time for some songs off the new album.  Where It Counts brought some sick synthesizer funk!!  I mean…come on! Just go get the cd, immediately.  Chris Stillwell was SHINING!!  This song had a rock infused vibe to it.  “Sometimes you have to act like a fool!” sings Karl.  Karl starts talking about Bruce Lee and Coltrane and I lose track of what is going on.  Just out of my mind with energy.  The bass of the synth was so intense that I could hardly dance. It shook my legs so severely I just stood there and let the music quite literally massage me.  Karl announced that they were recording that night.  The venue screamed in unison.

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Cosmopolitan was next.  I think.  They didn’t go by their set list and these songs were new.  Karl and Chris funked their horns in unison for a while.  I mean what can I say.  It was just rage after rage after rage  after rage and I didn’t want to think anymore. I didn’t want to take notes any more. I didn’t want to worry about set lists or anything. I just wanted to dance. Down went the pen, down went the camera and a few feet away from me down went someone’s beer…and they just left it.  It made it’s way all the way to me before I finally went and got some napkins to get the mess that was making its way to the speakers and wires the entire time.  Frustrated, I let the music sweep over me and bring me back to my happy place.  The flute came in and out, the horns blasted….it was just one thing after another and it was so intense and full of funky energy. I think there was a song called Soul Satisfied in there?  There is just something about FUNK energy, am I right?  Different music has different energies for sure!  MMMMM, JAZZY FUNK!!!

We left the venue sweating ourt butts off.  We made it a few blocks away before crashing in our spot to recover.  For another 40 minutes we contemplated not moving from that spot and just waiting for the doors to open for the following nights performance.  It was that good.  We were that addicted.  Thank you Karl, Happy Anniversary and see ya again tomorrow 🙂

NYC 04-23-10

Set II

  1. Oranges
  2. S&G
  3. Soul Driftin
  4. Expressions
  5. Where It Counts
  6. Cosmopolitan
  7. Apparently or Soul Satisfied? (unsure)

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