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Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Bowlive V: Night IV – Soulive feat. Jon Cleary and John Scofield @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.18.14)

As the members of Soulive settled in over the years, their Brooklyn Bowl based annual residency, Bowlive, has became as institutional as the music itself. During the first week, the audience was privileged enough to enjoy the musical styling of vocalists Nigel Hall and Nicki Bluhm, turntablist DJ Logic, rocking guitarists Warren Haynes and Eddie Roberts, legendary bassist George Porter, Jr., and house band, The Shady Horns. Full band performances and collaborations by Leroy Justice and The London Souls added to the marvel. Every song sailed down the middle of the stage, rolled by the trio with the consistency of a pro bowler. This consistency, of course, has been the key to Soulive’s longevity.

“When Soulive hit the stage, I was surprised at how they constantly matched the energy from the previous nights. I’m always reminded of the 80’s power trio bands that filled a room with just three musicians and am amazed how these guys do it. A modern day jazz/funk power trio like no other.” ~ R.G.

Commencing with their second week of Bowlive V, Neal Evans, Alan Evans and Eric Krasno have put together another long list of talented musicians to keep us satiated for the remaining five nights. Over the next few evenings our musical senses will be overloaded with the likes of Joe Russo, Susan Tedeschi, Jon Cleary, Bill Evans, Alan Evans Trio, DMC (of Run DMC), Marco Benevento, Sonya Kitchell, and WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger. You can also count on some surprise guests.

For night IV, Soulive made all the right moves, showering the audience in musical genius, making sure no one would regret coming out on a Tuesday night. With Jon Cleary and John Scofield as the special guests last night, it was the perfect kick-off for the second week. And what a kick-off it was. It was truly stimulating. Soulive and their guests performed one long extended set with Jon Cleary opening to a packed house at 8:30pm.

“Notes from the front line, my first encounter with Bowlive! Thank you Soulive and Brooklyn Bowl for making our first Brooklyn Bowl/Bowlive experience a very memorable one. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed by the staff and had a great pre-show dinner, followed by the acquisition of the highly coveted John Warner Bowlive poster, which are limited to 15 posters per evening. After seeing some fellow Pittsburghers and Jam Cruisers, we secured our spots on the platform area with a killer view of the stage.” ~ M.M & L.M.

Jon Cleary Set
Unknown
I Feel So Damn Good I’ll Be Glad When I Get the Blues
Cheating On You
When You Get Back, We Gonna Cha Cha All Night Long
The Crave (an emotionally complex piece.)
I Get The Blues When It Rains
Unknown (Boogie Woogie Tune)

Phone Capture Courtesy By Rob Mishaan

Phone Capture Courtesy By Rob Mishaan

The venue was packed with devoted music fans. This wasn’t your average audience who was there to drink and chat it up with their friends. Almost every eye was fixated on the stage as Jon Cleary opened the night with a solo piano set showcasing his vested studies in the music of New Orleans. Having moved from Kent, England to study the music of New Orleans, Jon Cleary is arguably the best out there right now. A disciple of Professor Long Hair and James Booker, Cleary’s voice is salty-sweet and he is a master of the piano, organ and guitar. You may know him best as a member of Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal‘s bands and his own group, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. With his blend of jazz, blues, soul, gospel, and honky-tonk, Cleary epitomizes New Orleans music. His set was evidence of his extreme caliber of musical knowledge.

Jon Cleary started the night of music off right, as I was immediately intrigued by his silky smooth voice and Deniro-esque looks. His “Big Easy” style was quite a cover for his British heritage. This new musical discovery for me had me Googling his discography this morning to see what else I could find out about this man!” ~ M.M. & L.M.

“Having just booked our trip to Nola for jazziest the night before I could not have asked for a better punctuation. Watching Jon Cleary play keys in such classic New Orleans style blew us away. I could only wonder if Neal Evans was peeking down the stairs to watch this guy.” ~ R.G.

Set I
Shaheed
Come Together
One in 7
For Granted
Cannonball
What You See Is What You Get
Nealization
Something’s Got A Hold on Me
Motherless Child
Walk With Me
Don’t Need No Doctor
Turn It Out
Hottentot

Encore: Get Back

Last night, there wasn’t three sets or even two sets, there was one long extended set which ended promptly at midnight. Soulive, The Shady HornsJon Cleary and John Scofield would command the stage with various genres of blues and jazz, filling every second of the evening with prodigious music. The set started out with the members of Soulive performing “Shaheed,” The Beatles‘ tune, “Come Together,” and “One in 7.” During “Come Together,” the audience sang along with heads bobbing and the stage lights flashing, while “One in 7” was played with a delightful intro. It was also during this time that there was some malfunction with Neal’s keyboards. Times like these can break a musical moment but Alan Evans picked up the slack by drumming his heart out while the chords on his brother’s rig were being fixed. When the audience heard the rejuvenation of the bass keys, it was on!

“Upon completion of Jon Cleary‘s set, Soulive took the stage, embracing me with their soul soothing sounds and reminding me that Neal Evans is a true bad-ass! Watching him lay down those bass lines with his left hand as his right hand plays the Hammond chords was literal music to my ears! The Beatles‘ cover “Come Together” got the crowd singing along, but you could see the anxious anticipation for the arrival of John Scofield, who was the special guest of the evening. Having the pleasure of watching such musical prowess and interplay in such close proximity was truly a treat.” ~ M.M.

“For Granted” and “Cannonball” were both played with the help of The Shady Horns. Ryan Zoidis (baritone/alto saxophone), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet) and James Casey (alto saxophone/percussion) always bring a special vibe to the stage when they join Soulive. As much as they is a respected jazz trio, their vested interest in funk runs deep. The audience is blessed to have a horn ensemble in the mix of some of their favorite jazz tunes. “For Granted” was a wonderful showcase for the widely talented Ryan Zoidis, while James Casey absolutely stole the show with his performance on “Cannonball.” Eric Bloom took his liberties with his pedals and effects during his solo, as well.  These two songs were meant to showcase The Shady Horns and boy, did they deliver.

The Shady Horns were dead on, once again. Eric Bloom‘s effects-enhanced solos and James Casey killed it, as always, while Ryan continues to be the mainstay. Gonna get some more rest today so I can get back there tonight with Tedeschi!!!” ~ R.G.

The eyes say so much, and they speak even louder when a musician closes his eyes and is fully immersed in song. This happened to Krasno throughout the remainder of the set. When Scofield came on the stage, Krasno was in a blissed-out state of being, eyes closed, in total focus. “What You See Is What You Get,” a major hit for the Dramatics in 1971, is Scofield’s interpretation of Detroit soul music.  The beautiful thing about John Scofield is that even though he covers many old tunes, the arrangements are all his own. “Nealization,” obviously composed by Neal Evans, was a fantastic representation of his talent. Scofield played lead guitar while Krasno played rhythm. The entire crew on stage was grinning from ear to ear while the ax-men played off each other, trading delicious licks on their guitars.

“I have been a fan of John Scofield since the first time I saw him at The Bottom Line in NYC in 1980. I always mark this night as a must go. Even having stayed home from work sick, I got the energy up to get there. I was not disappointed!!! It is so obvious that Kraz uses Sco as a mentor and has used him as one of his many inspirations. As it is equally obvious how Sco is impressed with Kraz. There dueling solos blew the entire audience away. Sco has a way of making his guitar sing.” ~ R.G.

“Can someone explain to me how Neal Evans solos on keys with Soulive while also dropping funky bass? Meanwhile, I can’t even rub my tummy and tap my head at the same time…” ~ K.S.

“Neal Evans is the most underrated bass player in music. His right hand gets so funky, we forget his left is leading us to the promise land.” ~ J.S.

The next two songs were songs off John Scofield‘s latest album release, Piety Street. The Rev. James Cleveland cover, “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” was first but it was “Motherless Child,” a traditional negro spiritual born out of slavery and sung by Cleary with sharp new harmonies, that grabbed the audience’s attention. 

“When I heard “Motherless Child,” I almost didn’t recognize it. I recognized that I was hearing the words of a song I knew but the arrangement was so different from the versions I’d previously heard.  I am aging myself by saying this but I remember the first time I ever heard that song. I was just 15 years old. It is the hidden song within Track 11 off the Cracked Rear View album by Hootie and The Blowfish. Y’all remember that? Darius Rucker sings the song in it’s traditional A-Capella style. It was as beautiful to back then as it was now, hearing it in this new style and arrangement. I adore when modern musicians take classic songs and make them their own.” ~ K.D.

“One of my favorite moments of the evening, was when the stage was packed with everyone on the bill, Soulive, The Shady Horns, Scofield and Clearly as they played a tune that featured three part harmonies of Alan EvansJon Cleary and Eric “Benny” Bloom. I look forward to finding that show on Archive.org to relive that moment and sing along with them!” ~ M.M.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Then, the jazz/organ trio pulled a new maneuver out of their Bowlive bag of tricks. Jon Cleary and John Scofield remained on stage, while Soulive and The Shady Horns exited. This would be the first time in Bowlive history where the band allowed the stage to be commanded solely by the guests. It was not a coincidence that Jon Cleary and John Scofield were the two guests playing on the bill last night. Cleary is not only renowned for his ability to play the ivories, but he also composes music and went on to write and join John Scofield on the the road singing and playing with Scofield’s Piety Street Band. Needless to say, the combination of the two artists performing their song, “Walk With Me,” was electrifying and unique. Cleary sat back and watched as Scofield took a few measures for himself before joining in the song.

Through great applause, John Scofield leaned into the microphone. Referring to Cleary, he says, “This guy can play a mean piano but did you know he is an amazing guitarist, as well?” With that, Cleary jumped from the keys and moved to guitar while Krasno picked up the bass for “Don’t Need No Doctor.” Scofield continued, “John Mayer used to sing this song, but you should hear Cleary sing this song.” The audience laughed. The horns had left the stage but James Casey remained playing percussion. Casey is an amazing horn player but his talent by way of understanding sounds in percussion has grown exponentially since we saw him last year at Bowlive IV.  During the song, Scofield could be seen bouncing around, pointing to the next member on stage he wanted to pull a solo.

“I want to say that my highlight was “What You See Is What You Get,” “Nealization” or “Hottentot,” but honestly I had two highlights. (1) Cleary killing it on guitar with Kraz killing it on Bass, and (2) Scofield directing traffic. Maybe it’s an elder statesman thing, but the respect that guy engenders on stage is impressive. He was absolutely in charge and was clearly enjoying going tit for tat with everyone. I especially loved when [John Scofield] made a point to give Alan some play time, because, give the drummer some! Am I right? All in all, just a beast of a show. I fucking love Bowlive.”  ~ B.M.

Jon Cleary‘s turn was up and he retired backstage. The Shady Horns were also held back as Soulive and John Scofield played, “Turn It Out.” This was the time for all the jazz heads to revel in the genre. As much as Soulive likes to give us the funk, jazz is their priority and their growing reputation on this musical path is what has brought them this far. Scofield’s reputation in the Jazz community runs deeper and Krasno’s idolization of Scofield’s style is evident in how Krasno, himself, plays. So you can imagine how equally graceful and intense this part of the set was.

“Seeing two guitar gods trade licks was invigorating, and truly impressive at the same time, as you could see the admiration that Krasno has for Scofield as they both played their hearts out! It was ON, for sure!! “Turn It Out” brought back some great musical memories for me, as I harkened back to a January 2003 Soulive show that took place in an Italian restaurant in the tiny mountain town of Makawao, HI on the island of Maui. It reinforced the fact that we made a great decision to make the trek for our first Bowlive and it’s got me jazzed looking forward to what I’ll get to experience tonight! Thank you Eric, Alan and Neal!! You and your friends bring me musical delight!” ~ M.M.

We love you madly,” said Scofield, “This one is a groover, called ‘Hottentot,’ so let’s keep dancing.” And dance we did. The venue never emptied out like in previous nights and this was a true testament to the musicianship on stage. Like I mentioned previously, this wasn’t your average audience of bar goers. There were super fans in the audience for each of the artists on stage and they were there in full support all night. Alan Evans was featured on a rousing drum solo during “Hottentot.”  He is honestly one of the best jazz drummers around and the audience was overheard speaking on how they were looking forward to the Alan Evans Trio opening for Bowlive on night six.

Everyone was brought back on stage for the single-song encore, “Get Back.” A Beatles‘ tune, it was expertly played by the musicians on stage, having all worshiped the Beatles at some point in their musical careers.  The audience was invested as well and sang along with bodies bouncing. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful collaboration of musicians.

——————————

Tonight, Jon Cleary will return with special guests jazz saxophonist Bill Evans, acclaimed Brooklyn drummer Joe Russo and southern vocalist and guitarist Susan Tedeschi. 

——————————

List of Special Guests and Openers:

THURSDAY MARCH 13 – Special Guest: NIGEL HALL, EDDIE ROBERTS, more TBA

FRIDAY MARCH 14 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. & SPECIAL GUESTS TBA
Opener: LEROY JUSTICE

SATURDAY MARCH 15 – Special Guest: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special LONDON SOULIVE joint set
Opener: THE LONDON SOULS

TUESDAY MARCH 18 – Special Guest: JOHN SCOFIELD
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

WEDNESAY MARCH 19 – Special Guests: JOE RUSSO & SUSAN TEDESCHI
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC) and TALIB KWELI
Opener: ALAN EVANS TRIO

FRIDAY MARCH 21 – Special Guest: Marco Benevento, Sonya Kitchell, Roosevelt Collier, Felix Pastorius, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, and Brandon Niederauer
Opener: SONYA KITCHELL

SATURDAY MARCH 22 – Special Guest: Bill Evans and more TBA
Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Bowlive V: Night I – Soulive feat. DJ Logic, Nigel Hall, The Shady Horns, Eddie Roberts, Adam Smirnoff and Questlove (03.13.14)

Hitting a milestone fifth year, Soulive is back for their annual “Bowlive” residency at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, New York.

This is an outstanding achievement for Eric Krasno (guitar), Neal Evans (drums), and Alan Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet), who, over the past four years, have performed 40 nights of strong, energetic, exciting shows including musical collaborations with artists from all genres.  The jazz/funk trio’s “Bowlive” event is now  solidified as a staple in the land of famous musical NYC residencies. You can be certain that this year will not disappoint.

For a recording of the evening’s music, click here!

Photo Courtesy of Andrew H. WalkerNeilson BarnardRick Diamond, Getty Images

DMC, Talib Kweli, George Porter, Jr.: Photo Courtesy of Andrew H. Walker/Neilson Barnard/Rick Diamond, Getty Images

DJ Logic, Leroy Justice, Jon Cleary, Alan Evans Trio, The London Souls, WOLF! and Sonya Kitchell will open for Soulive over the eight night run. Special guests include Bowlive DMC (of Run DMC), Susan Tedeschi, John Scofield, Talib Kweli, Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, George Porter Jr., Bill Evans and more. All the while, the Shady Horns will be on point each night rounding out Soulive’s house band.

“Thank you Soulive. Thank you Brooklyn Bowl. Thank you Madison House. Thank you Peter Shapiro. Thank you Royal Family Records. Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.”  ~ K.D.

“There’s just something about Soulive at the Bowl that is so amazing. It’s like the old school Knicks at the Garden, with Nigel playing, John Starks firing up the crowd, and everyone just relaxed and amped at the same time.” ~ B.M.

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Opener

For the opening night of Bowlive V, turntablist DJ Logic (Project Logic, Zen of Logic, For No One in Particular, The Anomaly), was on hand spinning upbeat grooving, funky, soulful tunes. Logic is a standout DJ in the jam band scene and electronic jazz community. Working with latter-day jazz saints such as Vernon Reid and Medeski, Martin and Wood, Logic shares the same musical passion as the jamming musicians that he began performing with many moons ago. He relishes in the improvisational spirit of jazz and makes you want to shake your ass.

Set  1
So Live
Uncle Junior
Rudy’s Way
Cash’s Dream
Turn It Out
Brother Soul
Right On

Neal Evans: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Neal Evans: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Our favorite power trio took the stage at 9:30 pm. In previous years, there have been Mod dancers in the bowling lanes and other visually stimulating nuggets to aid the group in the residency kick-off. This year, there was no fanfare; nothing to distract the audience from what was truly important: the music.  The members of Soulive, dressed in their signature black suits, simply walked out on stage, smiles on their faces and after a few seconds of checking their instruments, went right into “SO LIVE!”

While at The Allman Brothers Band residency the previous night, Eric Krasno shared with me that they would be playing their first album, “Get Down” in its entirety. It took everything in my power not to blast this news out over the world wide web at that moment. However, yesterday, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and spread the word to as many friends as I could because I knew that dropping this knowledge on them would draw those who were on the fence to the venue.

"Get Down!" Album Cover

“Get Down!” Album Cover

“Get Down” was recorded in 1998-99 and released in 2002. For many of us in the audience, we were transported to a time in our own musical history, when this CD was instrumental and meaningful in our daily lives. I was surrounded by friends and Soulive enthusiasts who couldn’t stop commenting on the power this album had on them when it was released. Having listened to the album for over a decade myself, nothing compared to the live musical experience we were about to be delivered.

The trio finished their first tune and Krasno took to the microphone. “We truly appreciate you guys being here,” he proclaimed as he began clapping, getting the audience involved. As we all clapped along to the beat, Alan Evan gave his first drum solo of the night, leading the boys into “Uncle Junior,” a major staple and fan favorite of the Soulive catalog. Neal Evans was on fire during this organ-driven tune.

“Cliff Robinson turned to me as Neal was grooving and said, “No matter how many times I hear these guys, it feels like the first time.” ~ G.F.

Only two songs into the set and it was outstanding. The animation of the guys on stage was infectious and it was evident that they were feeling great and on point. We would have been satisfied if it had remained just the three of them on stage but it wouldn’t be BOWLIVE without a certain someone. That someone was Mr. Nigel Hall, soul singer and keyboardist extraordinaire.

Alan Evans and Nigel Hall: Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Alan Evans and Nigel Hall: Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

During the first Bowlive in 2010, The Nigel Hall Band opened for Soulive every single night. He is the one Bowlive veteran to play as a guest every year.  As the audience hollered, Alan Evans introduced Nigel Hall and shouted excitedly, “Get Down, Brother Nigel! Get Down!” It was now Nigel’s turn to shine, and while Krasno was twinkling away at the strings,  Nigel grabbed the microphone and said, “You guys just keep doing that while I tell a story.”  And with that he recalled his childhood memories of listening to “Get Down!” with his mother, while sitting on their porch in Washington DC, smoking weed. He continued on:

“The song I am about to play on has meant something to me for many years. I used to live in Bangor, Maine and I played in a band there. One time, we had a gig in Portland and while we drove from Bangor to Portland, we listened to this one song the entire two hour trip. When the gig was over, we drove back, listening to the same song for another two hours. We listened to that song for four hours. I have asked the guys (Soulive) to let me play it with them and they said, “No! No! No!,” until now. Do you know what this means to me, to my soul?” ~ Nigel Hall

Soulive & Nigel Hall: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Soulive & Nigel Hall: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

And with that, Nigel Hall put his hand over his heart and then crushed “Cash’s Dream.” I don’t know where to begin praising Nigel Hall for his performance during this song. Having transplanted to New Orleans from New York City since Bowlive IV, Nigel Hall has clearly fine-tuned his talent on the keyboards. The speed at which he played; the precision on his runs over the keys. It was an outstanding solo and performance. The camaraderie on stage was ignited.

“The musical moment I enjoyed most was Soulive playing Cash’s Dream. Nigel sat in on this tune and told a touching introduction about listening to this tune in 1999 with his since deceased mother. They went on to play an amazing rendition of this song which I have never heard live with an awesome piano solo by Nigel.” ~ A.S.

“Five years ago when we saw Nigel Hall playing, he was good. He has always been good. But this performance…something has changed. He is AMAZING now.” ~ R.A.

After the song, Nigel high-fived his way off the stage as Alan spoke on how it was true that Soulive hasn’t played that song in a while and how playing these songs now brought back cherished memories.

My favorite part…is that they’re playing 15 year old songs for the nth time and Kraz is still marveling at how Neal is crushing the hand bass and Hammond. I just fucking love Bowlive. ~ B.M.

“Brother Soul” was next, bringing out DJ Logic and The Shady Horns, consisting of Eric Bloom (trumpet), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and James Casey (saxophone/percussion). Each of the horns took their turn soloing while DJ Logic scratched his turn tables, adding a great texture to the remaining songs.

Eddie Roberts and Eric Krasno: Photo Courtesy of TinyRager's phone!

Eddie Roberts and Eric Krasno: Photo Courtesy of TinyRager’s phone!

The big surprise for the end of the first set was the arrival of Eddie Roberts, guitarist for the supremely funky British band The New Mastersounds. His soaring hard-bop guitar playing complemented Soulive’s final tune of the set and the last track off the album, “Right On.”

The Shady Horns never seize to amaze me. I think this trio of Zoidis, Bloom and Casey may be my favorite. Special love for James because he was at our wedding and seems to be blowing up!!! ~ R.G.

“My favorite moment and also one of my favorite 2 Soulive songs ever is “Right On,” which I’m not sure I’ve ever heard them play. We watched Eddie staring at Krasno’s fingers for the first part of the song, and then both followed with dueling solos that crushed the crowd. As good as all that is, I’m reminded if what a genius Neal is holding bass line down with the left (hand) while soloing or laying down melodies with his right (hand).” ~ R.G.

Eddie Roberts: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Eddie Roberts: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

The only song that wasn’t played from the album was Track 6, titled “Bitch-Ass Ho.” Considering that it’s a 23 minute track, that is probably why it was left off the first set.

“Bowlive kinda kicks of the festival season and spring off for us for the past 5 years. Watching them, I’m reminded of what truly gifted musicians they all are. The choice to play their first album was perfect and a punctuation to the obvious synergy these guys must have had since day one.” ~ R.G.

 Set Break

DJ Logic returned to the tables during set break and kept the energy level high for the audience. During this time, I generally like to take a walk around the venue and listen to the reactions of the audience. The buzz over the album was prevalent while many people were speaking individually about each artist or their favorite song. The Eddie Roberts sit-in had some audience members inquiring about the New Mastersounds. It was clear to me that the people in the audience were true fans, Soulive lovers and most of them men with bro-crushes on the band. Jen Durkin from Deep Banana Blackout was standing 20 feet away from me on the right while Basketball All-Star Cliff Robinson towered behind me most of the evening.

 Set II
Tuesday Night Squad
Don’t Change For Me
Gimmie A Sign
Layaway
Leave Me Alone

The second set started as simply as the first and with just as much energy. Eric, Neal and Alan took to the stage, joined by the Shady Horns and Nigel Hall for a fantastic rendition of “Tuesday Night Squad.” At one point during the song, Nigel got up from his keyboards, ran across the stage and jumped on the Clavinet with Neal Evans for a good 20 measures of excellent showmanship and musicianship. Talk about a highlight of the evening. The crowd went wild.

“I was mesmerized watching Neal and Nigel play the Hammond/bass keys together last night…they were having so much fun!! and the antics/keyboard trickery it was like a choreographed dance between two ridiculously amazing boards men – ducking under each other’s arm, jumping back and forth with their hands. Yeah, it was something fierce.” ~ A.R.

“Nigel getting up from the keyboard second set to lead the crowd was awesome.” ~ L.H.

“The hottest moment if the night was Neal and Nigel switching positions on the keys while never missing a note in the bass line!!! SUPER HOT AND ENTERTAINING!!!!” ~ R.G.

Eddie Roberts: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Eddie Roberts: Photo Courtesy of Dani Barbieri

Nigel’s smooth voice overtook us with “Don’t Change For Me,” a bluesy tune that had Krasno’s guitar strumming along sweetly in our ears. At one point, Nigel was on the ground, on his knees, singing directly to the lucky folks in the front row. His signature soulful scream resonating throughout the crowd, as we all melted into his vibe.

Nigel Hall’s original tune, “Gimmie A Sign” was next. He spoke about the new Brooklyn Bowl Vegas and how much he loved it there but how the original Brooklyn Bowl will always be home. This proclamation extended to Soulive as they have played The Brooklyn Bowl more times then any other group, while Krasno has played the Bowl more then any other artist.

When The Root’s drummer, Questlove, walked on stage for “Layaway,” Nigel’s latest musical creation, the audience went wild. Alan Evans moved to vocals while Questlove added his signature groove to the song. Questlove has a standing DJ gig every Thursday at the Brooklyn Bowl. If you are ever in the area, bring your dancing shoes because his long-standing set is one of the hottest dance parties in the city.

The entire night, Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (Lettuce) had been hanging in the wings, looking sharp in his suit. We all wondered when we would get a chance to hear this amazing guitarist and “Leave Me Alone” gave us that chance. We now had a slew of amazing musicians on stage and the sound was so tight. Nigel asked Shmeens to “tell us a little bit about yourself” and with that, Schmeens went into a disgustingly rich, hearty guitar solo. Eric Krasno beamed at Schmeens as he played, recognizing the hotness we were being delivered through his strings.

“Any night that you get to see Shmeeans, Kraz and Eddie Roberts play together in a show is funk guitar at its best. All three are so amazing in their own way. Kras crushing leads, Shmeeans playing rhythm guitar timed to the perfection of a Swiss watch, and Eddie Roberts who swings back and forth between amazing leads and perfect rhythm. For us guitar heads, it was a night to remember.” ~ J.R.

Encore: James Brown Medley
Lickin Stick
There Was A Time

For the encore, Soulive, Nigel Hall, The Shady Horns and DJ Logic delivered a rousing James Brown medley of “Lickin Stick” into “There Was A Time.” Alan Evans continued holding down the beat on the drums while his brother, Neal, slayed the keys. This brotherly duo demonstrates quality, seasoned musicianship with every note they drop.

“The James Brown Medley was this band at its finest. So good, so tight and they played so well with each other.” ~ G.F.

“Last night was one of my most favorite Bowlive ever. The vibe in the bowl was magical and everybody was really into it. I can’t wait for tonight!! Always great to hang! George matters and bring Nigel back on stage!! He was so happy last night!” ~ L.H.

With out a doubt, Neal Evans, Alan Evans and Eric Krasno enjoyed the first night of their milestone fifth year of Bowlive. We all did. I pray every year that they will come out with a DVD of these adventurous nights of music simply because no words do justice to the energy and animation of these three wonderful men. Three wonderful men who have created a treasured event based around love, music and friendship.

Tonight’s Special Guests will be the famous funky bassist from The Meters, Mr. George Porter, Jr. and Leroy Justice will open at 8:30 pm

On to the next one….. 🙂

List of Special Guests and Openers:

THURSDAY MARCH 13 – Special Guest: NIGEL HALL

FRIDAY MARCH 14 – Special Guests: GEORGE PORTER JR. & SPECIAL GUESTS TBA
Opener: LEROY JUSTICE

SATURDAY MARCH 15 – Special Guest: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special LONDON SOULIVE joint set
Opener: THE LONDON SOULS

TUESDAY MARCH 18 – Special Guest: JOHN SCOFIELD
Opener: & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

WEDNESAY MARCH 19 – Special Guests: JOE RUSSO & BILL EVANS
Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY MARCH 20 – Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)
Opener: ALAN EVANS TRIO

FRIDAY MARCH 21 – Special Guest: MARCO BENEVENTO
Opener: SONYA KITCHELL

SATURDAY MARCH 22 – Special Guest: BILL EVANS
Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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Last Saturday, The Brooklyn Bowl played host to the 12th Annual Freaks Ball, a high-energy party hosted by the deeply-rooted, music-loving Yahoo! Group the NYC Freaks. With access to so much music, New Yorkers are privileged to see any act of their choice. In some cases, multiple times a year. However, it’s a show like The Freaks Ball that we wait for as music lovers in New York City.

A wonderful part of NYC’s underground musical culture, the NYC Freaks have been around as long as anyone can remember. After inquiring to a few members, many couldn’t recall when they were invited to join NYC’s hottest music list, but noted that they were happy members and the list was their main access to music knowledge and insight. This party would be for the Freaks. Seeing the collection of hugging friends as the city’s heaviest music-loving hitters entered the Brooklyn Bowl was inspirational. The pockets of positivity around me were wonderful. This wasn’t your typical gathering for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl. Freaks had taken over.

Over the years, this friendly, musical party has included musicians and projects that eventually went on to hit the national jam-band scene, including The Duo (Marco Benevento and Joe Russo), Robert Randolph, Apollo Sunshine, RANA, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, New Mastersounds and members of the extended Daptone family.

Opening the show was a quartet consisting of Eric Deutsch on keys, Joe Russo on drums, Scott Metzger (Wolf!) on guitar and Hagar Ben-Ari (Dap Kings) on bass. They played a tight set consisting of the Beatle’s “Day Tripper,” Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie,” a ‘Wolf!’ tune called “Get in The Van,” Erik Deutsch’s original “Funky Digits,” Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” and an Ike Willis tune to close the set called “Funky Mule.” If one didn’t know any better, one might have thought that this was a polished group who rehearsed regularly. In reality, the set exposed four accomplished musicians with great talent coming together for a unique super jam that was solid, full of varying styles of music and fully preparing us for the main event that was about to hit the stage.

After a short intermission, we were delivered a Super Jam of E-P-I-C proportions with the Freaks Ball AllStars that included Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers), Eric Krasno (Soulive), Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Joe Russo (Furthur), Marco Benevento (Surprise Me Mr. Davis), Ron Johnson and Alecia Chakour (Warren Haynes Band).

The collection of musical talent on stage was staggering. Over the course of the night, each musician rotated on and off the stage providing for a rare night of music. Each guitarist was distinctly different in sound covering songs like Sly Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song,” Howard Tate’s “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love” and The Meter’s “Funky Miracle.” Bassist Ron Johnson held it down for the entire set with the biggest smile, killing it during “Windjammer.”

The Brooklyn Bowl audience stood in a pile of their own tears as the super group displayed their love for the magnificent Etta James, who died just days earlier. Alecia Chakour’s voice shook the rafter’s as she and Warren Haynes shared a duet on “Little Wings” while Eric Krasno’s guitar gently wept through “I’d Rather Go Blind.”

 

The lights this evening were above par, complimenting Marco Benevento’s unique sound as he performed his original “Mephisto” and the Benevento/Russo Duo’s “Scratchitti.” Everyone joined the stage to close with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” A completely wonderful, ripping spectacle.

The Freaks Ball kicked off a trend of many more magical nights at the Brooklyn Bowl and raised the bar so high that it will be a long time before this night of music is topped. I look forward to running into more Freaks when that time comes.

www.brooklynbowl.com

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

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Atmosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kids #2

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

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

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

Vending Area Art Peice

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

The Dog Element

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

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

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

Puppy Love!!

Puppy Love!!

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

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

Rolling Stream Rage

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

Activism

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

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

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

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

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

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

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

Rager...
Precious Rager…

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

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

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

Weather

Clothes Line

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

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

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

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

Vendor Row Shot From Hill

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

Specific Highlights of the Weekend

DESISEL MEAL!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuddle Puddles Puffathons ~ Lil B

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

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

Time Machine...

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

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

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

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

Night Lights

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

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

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

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

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

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

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

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

Music, Sweet Music

Rage!

Musical Mustache Rage!

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

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

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

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

Sol Flo

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

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

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

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

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

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

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crucial Elements

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

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements:

Crucial Elements: Greg Haynes

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

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

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

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

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

Kings of Belmont's Drummer

Kings of Belmont's Sam Cushman

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

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

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

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

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

Click HERE for Kings of Belmont Live @ Camp Barefoot 5

The Mantras

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

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

The Mantra's Keith Allen

The Mantra's Keith Allen

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

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

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

The Mantra's Justin Powell

The Mantra's Justin Powell

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

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

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

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

Showing that Mantra Love!

Showing that Mantra Love!

Former Champions

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

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

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

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

Roberts, Walter and Deitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth’s Talking Heads Set

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

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

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

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

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

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

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

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

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

Thank You Camp Barefoot

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

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

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

Tons of live video of CB5

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Big Something

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

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Brothers Past

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

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

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DJ Williams Projekt

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

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

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Down Home Country Band

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

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

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

Future Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jesse Chong Band

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

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Kyle Hollingsworth

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The New Deal

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal I

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal II

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Papadosio

Papadosio – Method of Control – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Curve – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Find Your Cloud – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Cue – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Advocate of Change – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

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

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

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People’s Blues of Richmond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pimps of Joytime

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

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

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

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

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Perpetual Groove

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

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

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Segway

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

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

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

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

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Zach Deputy

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

Encore: Twisty Twisty & Headed Home

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Zoogma

Zoogma at Camp Barefoot – M-10

Zoogma Camp Barefoot – New Luxury

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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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