Hidden Track Goes to Summer Camp

The big draws came as the sun went down. Cornmeal has come to be a definitive show in the Summer Camp experience, not just for their seven years of appearing there, but for the range, roots and power of their sound. Their name to the uninitiated can conjure images of a straight-up bluegrass band, and they’d be part right – there is a hoedown to be had here. But if they were around for last year’s Pre-Party treatment of Floyd’s Dogs, or had heard Cornmeal’s more progressive originals, they’d know this act can use their mastery of fiddle (Allie Kral), string bass (Chris Gangi) and banjo (Wavy Dave) to channel serious rock-god energy for all to bask in. Their take on When the Music’s Over tapped the source as the crowd soaked in the magic coming off the noticeably larger Starshine (Jager) Stage.

Releasing their album One Man Show earlier in May, 30db – which many have suggested owes its name to the “divorced by 30” friendship formed by Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin years prior – the duo seemed surprised to see many in the Campfire Stage crowd singing along to the new tunes at their midnight set. A fun set up close, but unfortunately the Campfire set doesn’t accommodate those further back as the reverse incline of the hill blocks much of the view and the sound for the crowd.

Time to learn how they do in New Orleans. You don’t learn just by watching Treme. You’ve got to get up in it, feel the double bass in your face, and get down to the extreme funked up sound of Dumpstaphunk. Ivan Neville tap danced with one hand and glided the other across the B3, while the dueling bass from Tony Hall and Nick Daniels dropped the syncopated beats. No broken AC this year meant the full barn could shake it off till 2AM and still leave some in the tank for the Future. Jake Cinninger dove in for one, going mono y mono with Tony Hall.

Future Rock. Don’t bother trying to figure out where it’s coming from: it’s really happening, there’s really only three of them, and it sounds that fucking awesome. Mickey Kellerman on keys is a mad scientist, synthesizing formulas that reveal the genius but mask the means. Felix Moreno’s presence on bass is dramatic – rock stars don’t come more visceral and passionate. And rounding out the live electronica trio on drums, Darren Heitz has tricks of his own that keep the most focused listener guessing. Their driving, maniacal sound kept Campers raging well past the scheduled 3:30AM rest.

Friday Moonshine Stage

Coined “moe.up” by many a moe.ron who bookend their summer with moe.down on Labor Day weekend, moe. officially opened the main stage at 1PM Friday. They wasted no time by smoking through tight versions of their huge favorite Rebubula and the popular She Sends Me. From there, they dipped to the slower All Roads Lead to Home and debuted Rob Derhak’s new original Day Dreaming, which meandered a bit and had a String Cheese flavor to it. Happy Hour Hero was spiced up with Ivan Neville on keys, otherwise the heat was front-loaded for their first set of the fest.

Part of the fun of Summer Camp is what you see on the way there. With all the events planned and great music conflicting, you were bound to miss most of them, but you may have seen Nick Harper taking pies in the face for charity, or Bayliss and Stasik sizing up the bags competition.

Dumpstaphunk brought it back for their day set, playing crowd favorites like Put It in the Dumpster and bringing out Jen Hartswick on horn for a spin. Their lyrics always seem poignant on a personal and collective level. Take all your stress and baggage and set it aside for the weekend, that’s why we do this. Living in a world gone mad, where oil flows into our sea. Meanwhile… you better have yourself a good time and shake that booty baby, ‘cause it just might be the last time!

Cornmeal, Yonder and Gov’t Mule all showed they were significant draws for the weekend. Missing Mule’s set hurt once word of the setlist hit me. With no additional appearances, it seems Warren Haynes left it all on the stage with his main gang before getting back on the road.

Friday Starshine Stage

Future Rock took 4AM late night madness and put it on the face of the sun. As Mickey raged left-side marveling in his own creation, Felix processed his voice through the boards while sweat burned his eyes shut. His grimacing face matched the cringing, pleasantly haunting vocals leaving the speakers. I’ve always loved that you can walk right up to the speaker stack on this stage and submerge yourself in the bass, to the point that it can digitize your vision with vibration.

You may want to think twice pulling that stunt with Bassnectar. His “omnitempo maximalism” drove a massive crowd to follow the heavy tempos to their beautifully lit source. Watching a sea of fans roll like a wave in unison was a powerful sight.

Friday Sunshine Stage

Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band christened the Sunshine stage with some raunchy Americana and a call for early drunk appreciation. His wife Breezy looked as at home shredding her washboard as she would leading a wrecking crew at a roller derby. High energy throughout, their set carried on the theme of genres like country-blues being capable of fueling their sound with punk and rockabilly passions. Chicago’s Family Groove Company followed and the crowd swelled considerably as STS9 offered a daytime taste of what they’d deliver the following night in the Barn.

Umphrey’s McGee have grown as moe.’s younger brother on the scene to a true co-headliner with equal billing at Summer Camp this year. After throwing down the gauntlet last year with a fireworks display worthy of an Iron Maiden stadium tour and an impossible set to match, they now have a stage to call their own with five full sets to stretch out with. Their first set featured very patient improvisation, particularly through newer tune The Linear as it came out of Turn & Dub, and transitioned to the sublime Haji. The cover-masters busted out Lisztomania (Phoenix) for only the second time, with Bayliss remarkably strong on the vocals in a harsh (dusty) environment.

The second set saw continued patience to start through Ocean Billy into #5, before a spectacular In The Kitchen ascended to greatness. Paper lanterns were lifted up and away by the jam. Segueing into the classic Talking Heads tune Girlfriend Is Better, there was no looking back as the music never stopped. Also, played for only the second time since debuted at the first annual UMBowl a month earlier, one can’t help but imagine this gem is in their massive wheelhouse on the regular now. Booth Love may be the most promising of their new originals, a funky ’70s groove tune that the non-ADD fan could find a cozy place to get down with. They would soar high once more with Glory, the patriotic instrumental, before closing with Ocean Billy’s finish. Already about as danceable a set as UM delivers, they encored Cemetery Walk II to typical Waful brilliance on the MAC IIIs lighting up the party.

Saturday Sunshine Stage

If you weren’t kicking the ball around the park at 5AM with your favorite band members, you may have made it for the Backyard Tire Fire, or at least bass extraordinaire Victor Wooten as he closed with an impossible solo in the blazing sun. With Public Enemy off the bill, Slightly Stoopid’s West Coast Dub was as close to hip-hop as Camp would deliver, with plenty of punk/rock/ska in the mix.

UM gave no quarter to the heat and humidity, nailing three of their older tunes – Phil’s Farm, Syncopated Strangers and Tribute – with plenty of ‘improg’ in each. Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret on horns resulted in perhaps the band’s best version of Cemetery Walk, followed by a joyous Sledgehammer to end round three.

As many returned from moe. or Pretty Lights to join those who stayed, anticipation was high. The Triple Wide dance party opener got laced with Mantis (Ghetts?) teases, stopping for the proper Preamble>Mantis until Hangover broke out in the middle of the epic saga. Mad Dog came out to literally conduct the band, which was simultaneously amazing and a bit deflating all at once. UM had been listening to each other so well all weekend, creating fantastic pieces of improvisation. Mad Dog has done this before and knows their abilities well, and it truly showcases the talent of each performer to execute directions on the fly. It ended with an excellent climax, but never quite matched all that momentum they had coming into it. As Hangover came back to the completion of Mantis, fireworks started in the distance stage right. A Game 1 Stanley Cup Chicago victory resulted in a timely cover of the Hawks’ goal chant, followed by a remarkable Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. Nothing Too Fancy sent the mothership off to more fireworks, which lasted through the Mulche’s Odyssey encore.

Saturday Moonshine

Fans of vintage reggae got a double serving hot and early at the crack of noon with Rebulution (Cali) and the legendary Steel Pulse (UK). Rounding out the world influences was ALO, before Summer Camp staple Keller Williams did his thing.

Coming off a barn set the night before that treated moe. loyalists to a monster half-hour Brent Black, the boys donned new suits (which they’ve worn all year to honor their 20th together) to get back to business. Akimbo> Sensory Deprivation Bank was exactly what a crowd facing a long, hot, cloudless day needed to buy-in from the start. Al brought out his new song Haze that seemed written for the moment, and was well received. Wormwood>St. Augustine was a gorgeous way to put the sun to bed.

Set II saw another sure-fire combo deployed, Dr. Graffenburg>Buster, followed by a 32 Things with Bayliss joining the monkey suits for a psychedelic trip. Rob served up his new diddy Billy Goat, slaptastic on first listen, and had me considering Ralph’s Mom at first. Farmer Ben was brought back by fan decree last Halloween, and features Jim on vox with a Primus-like vibe. Lazarus, resurrected a couple years prior, made a perfect compliment to the lights in the sky as an encore. Jason Huffer, moe.’s light man, knocked it out of the park all weekend with lasers painting the ceiling and LED cannons blasting from the stage.

Sunday Sunshine

Umphrey’s stepped up for the 5th and final Sunshine round, with temps in the high 80s but a slight breeze helping the cause a bit. Mike Rackey sat in on steel pedal for We’re Going to War, and Seven Bridges Road. Bridgeless> August> Bridgeless was the highlight, with Kris Myers leading a shocking, blistering assault at the end just when you’d assume any mortal would be spent from the heat. The New Mastersounds then made their second appearance and left no doubt that real funk is in the soul.

Zappa Plays Zappa has seen many faces change since they formed a few years ago, but Dweezil still plays great homage with this cast to his father’s masterpieces. It’s clear looking out to this crowd and then hearing the setlist progress, his focus is never on connecting with the audience, but rather honoring the songs themselves with precision and allowing the crowd to take from it what they will. Far from pretentious though, DZ could be seen making time for many a rabid fan and their autograph requests afterwards.

Sunday Moonshine

I wasn’t there, but I’d be remiss not to note how many people raved about The Avett Brothers after their set. That said, I had only moe. on the mind for the next few hours. Chuck mentioned how they always felt they had something to prove at Summer Camp, and whether you read into that their brotherly rivalry with UM, or simply their desire to earn the respect of the Midwest Peeps that have yielded these huge crowds over time, it’s clear they never take Camp for granted. With that Chuck debuted his One Life, a soulful and reflective piece. Dweezil apparently was saving the crowd pleasers for the moe. set, as he joined them for a rousing San Ber’dino, which segued into a massive full band switch with ZPZ resulting in a Muffin Man finale. Huge smiles across the stage.

Last set from moe., last chance to fight exhaustion and rock to those amazing lights and get lost in their layered segues. Al busted out the 5th and final new tune, Puebla; but the highlight of the set was the phenomenal transition from The Road into The Pit. Going to hell never felt so good, bucket be damned. Happy Anniversary Summer Camp!

SELECT SUMMER CAMP SETLISTS

moe.

Friday

Set 1: Rebubula, She Sends Me, All Roads Lead to Home, Day Dreaming*, Zed Nought Z, Rise> Happy Hour Hero**, Mexico

Set 2: George, Cissy Strut, Big World> Ricky Marten> Recreational Chemistry, Brent Black> Interstellar Overdrive> Brent Black
Encore: Johnny Lineup

Notes: * – First Time Played (FTP) Rob Original **with Ivan Neville on keys

Saturday

Set 1: Akimbo > Sensory Deprivation Bank, Haze# > Wormwood > St Augustine, McBain > Skrunk, Waiting For The Punchline*

Set 2: Dr. Graffenberg > Buster, 32 Things**, Billy Goat## >(nh) Moth > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys JAM > Farmer Ben
Encore: Lazarus

# FTP – new al. song
* w/ Danny Barnes
** w/ Brendan Bayliss
## FTP – new rob. song

Sunday

Set 1: Bearsong >(nh) Timmy Tucker, One Life#, Deep This Time, Not Coming Down, Wind It Up, San Berdino* > {moe. / ZPZ bandswitch} > Muffin Man

Set 2: Crab Eyes > Threw It All Away > Crab Eyes, Okayalright, Blue Jeans Pizza**, Puebla## >(nh) The Road > The Pit > The Road
Encore: Down Boy > Seat Of My Pants

{# FTP – new chuck. song
* w/ Dweezil Zappa
** w/ Kyle Hollingsworth
## FTP – new al. song}

[moe. setlists via Kahlil Katool]


Umphrey’s McGee


Friday

Set 1: Rocker (part II), Walletsworth, Turn & Dub -> The Linear* > Hajimemashite > Plunger, Gulf Stream, Lisztomania

Set 2: 40’s Theme, Ocean Billy > #5, In the Kitchen** -> Girlfriend is Better > “Jimmy Stewart” -> Booth Love -> Glory > Ocean Billy
Encore: Cemetery Walk II

*w/ Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ teases
**w/ Much Obliged jam; unfinished

Saturday

Set 1: Phil’s Farm, Syncopated Strangers, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft, Conduit, All in Time, Cemetery Walk*, Sledgehammer*

Set 2: The Triple Wide**, Preamble > Mantis > Hangover > “Jimmy Stewart”^ > Hangover > Mantis^^, Women Wine & Song*, Chelsea Dagger***, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough*, Nothing Too Fancy^^
Encore: Mulche’s Odyssey^^

*w/ Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret on horns
**w/ Mantis tease
*** – First Time Played, by The Fratellis
^w/ Mike “Mad Dog” conducting
^^w/ fireworks

Sunday

Afternoon Set: JaJunk, Much Obliged -> Partyin’ Peeps, The Fussy Dutchman, We’re Going to War*, Seven Bridges Road**, Bridgeless > August > Bridgeless

*w/ Mike Rackey on steel pedal guitar
**first time played in full; last played 10.9.04

Late Night Set: Pay the Snucka > Bright Lights, Resolution*, Wappy Sprayberry** > Slacker -> I’m On Fire# > Slacker^, Voices Inside My Head -> 1348, The Floor, ^^Pay the Snucka

*w/ Roy Ponce (Brainchild) on guitar
**w/ 25 or 6 to 4 jam
#no lyrics
^w/ Jesse (The Macpodz) on keys
^^w/ Rain Song intro

[all UM setlists via Umphreak007]


Gov’t Mule


Friday

Set: Out Front Jam* > Thorazine Shuffle, Railroad Boy > Trane** > Eternity’s Breath > St. Stephen Jam > The Shape I’m In > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys^ Steppin’ Lightly, Broke Down On The Brazos, Loser^^ Wild Horses$, Mule > Whole Lotta Love > Mule

Notes: * With Unring The Bell Tease. ** With 3rd Stone From The Sun and Norwegian Wood Teases. ^With Chuck Garvey. ^^With Al Schnier. $ With Danny Barnes & Jeff Austin

[via Jambands.com Box Scores]

STS9

Friday

Day Set: Really Wut?, Kamuy, Tooth, BRN, Instantly, Equinox, ISB, Aimlessly, Lo Schwagga

Saturday

Late Night Set: This, Us, EHM, Rent, Move My Peeps, Wut is Luv?, One a Day, Hi-Key, 118, Somesing, HHHF, Moonsocket, Unq ?
Encore: Twilight, Monkey Music

[STS9 Setlists via The Lowdown]

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10 Responses

  1. Tammy, this is an amazing article, wonderful pictures and a really well rounded sum-up of s-camp10..wheres the rest of your pictures? facebook me the link

  2. Really great overall review. Summer Camp was such an experience!

    I think it’s also worthwhile to point out that while Dweezil isn’t directly reaching out to the audience, his overwhelming happiness and connection to the band members who are so plugged into the music with him in turn acts as a bridge to the audience. He just didn’t wipe this grin off his face the entire time: http://flic.kr/p/86XsXQ It was an amazing vibe!

  3. That’s my cousin..!! Nice review Ryan..!!! and Tammy, wow, what great pics..!!! Come out west i miss ya buddy

    ——-You cousin……..Andrew

  4. Couldn’t agree more about Dweezil and the music Sandi. The music connects, and their joy in playing it well definitely carries to the audience. Nice pics!

  5. Absolutely great festival! My favorite band here was definitely Slightly Stoopid though, who never ever disappoint me. Their energy is always top notch and their music sounded spot on! Can’t wait to see them again soon!

  6. Summer Camp was awesome! Loved seeing all of the artists, especially Slightly Stoopid! They always put on the best show and top my chart!

  7. easy star all stars, steel pulse, and SLIGHTLY STOOPID!!! Saw Stoopid jam out with Ivan Neville in New Orleans once…it was amazing…..

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