Day 2 Equifunk 2013, Camp Equinunk, PA

Saturday Morning, Day 2

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I woke up hungry.  And worried that I was going to miss breakfast, or at least miss all the food.  And I needed coffee. Bad.  So I left my cabin mates and walked over the footbridge and wandered for the mess hall.  It was not where I thought it was – actually I had no idea where it was, but I needed coffee.  STAT.  There was a line for the food, but much to my welcome surprise there was food. The food was not going to run out.  The coffee was not running out.  They had bagels, eggs, bacon, waffles, coffee, tea, ice water and orange juice, fruit and cereal and milk.  It was a beautiful buffet.  I was happy. Sitting alone, eating my breakfast, finally having enough coffee in me to be able to focus on what was going on around me.  People looked about the way I felt.  I needed a shower.  Or a dip in the pool.  And I just needed more coffee.

I took a doggie bag back with me for my cabin-mates, and took the walk back to my camp, yes over the footbridge again, past the lake, through the woods, up the hill to my cabin.  My cabin-mates were waking and slowly getting motivated to go see Superhuman Happiness, a supergroup whose members are all key NYC players with a collective resume that stretches across a dizzying array of talent, including Antibalas, Phenomenal Handclap Band, TV on the Radio, Iron & Wine and Martha Wainwright among numerous others. They were formed in 2008 to seek joy and love through shared rhythm and melody, composed and improvised. Their mission is to pursue a happiness greater than that experienced by an individual mind.  I got my chair, and my towel and got my cocktails in order and went back through the woods, over the footbridge, through the Equinunk cabin quad, up the hill to the pool area where there was a stage playing music all day.

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photo by: Phrazz

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Day 1 Equifunk 2013: Camp Equinunk, PA

3442728_origPre-festival logistics

Oh the decisions!

After a long week, I had left the decision to leave after work on Friday or first thing on Saturday morning to a “game-time” decision.  I realized mid-day that I was going to trek up to the Poconos on Friday night – hoping to see some music, but really wanting to get settled in so I could have one full day of festie love, instead of getting up there on Saturday morning, rushing and getting settled, and then finding music just to pack up the next day.  I have to say, the decision to go on Friday night was the right one.

Driving close to 3 hours from NYC, I got up to the camp, and after a bit of confusion trying to find my bunk, passes and parking, I settled in, made our bed in our cabin, met my new cabin mates for the weekend, and tried to suss out the situation.

I pretty much just followed the music.  I took a walk past a gorgeous lake, where the full moon was bright and clear.  I walked over the footbridge into the other part of the camp – the Equinunk part of camp.  I passed the courtyard of cabins, found the beer, passed the pool and the slide, and walked up the hill to the “E-rena.”  (get it “E-rena” for “E-quifunk.”  Yes, very tongue-n-cheek.)

I had no paper to take notes.  I had no camera to take pictures.  I would have to experience and write that down.  Excuse me in advance if I forget anything.

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photo by: Dino Perrucci

Day 1 Highlights: Friday

I heard JJ Grey & Mofro while walking to the E-rena.  I got to see The New Mastersounds KILL IT on the stage on Friday night.  The scene, I have to say, was totally chill.  Crowd age ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, I’d guess.  People were friendly and nice, with an odd frat-boy overtone (due to free beer, I’d say), but none of the “frat boys” were rude, obnoxious or mean.  They were having just a great time with their buddies, listening to great music just like the rest of the hippies/festival freaks. Continue reading

Gathering of the Vibes 2013 – Highlights – Friday/Saturday

This year started with me having my first ten day vacation since I don’t know when, and we began at The Vibes.  After the usual “get here, find the tickets there, park here, walk there, grab the cooler, don’t forget the tapestry, find some ice, text your friends, get to the stage, find your place” shenanigans, we finally settled in.   We got in on Friday, and saw John Scofield’s Überjam at the smaller Green Vibes stage.  We also said hello to about a gazillion friends.  This festival is held in the beautiful Seaside Park, Bridgeport CT – and since CT is my hometown state, this truly was a gathering of friends and family far and wide.  But, I digress.

photo by: Dino Perrucci

photo by: Dino Perrucci

Scofield is one of my favorites, and he jammed with Andy Hess, John Medeski, drummer Tony Mason, and Avi Bortnick. This was a heavy jam, filled with that roundabout guitar virtuosity that Sco is known for.  Scofield just released a new album, Scofield’s Überjam Deux I was thrilled to be standing infront of Sco, with the water behind me on a gorgeous Friday afternoon.  This was a beautiful entry into The Vibes.

photo by: Dino Perrucci

photo by: Dino Perrucci

Another highlight was Tedeschi Trucks Band.  TTB is touring to promote their latest album to be released on August 20 – Made Up Mind – and we were treated to a few new songs mixed in with their usual southern style bluesy Janis Joplin, slide guitar heaven. I realized that today I was being treated to two of my all time favorite guitar players, Scofield and Trucks, combined with Saturday’s Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) and Steve Kimock which could easily put me in guitar hero overload.  This is what Vibes is for.

It is a curious thing when one of the hottest sets are so under the radar, you incredulously look around you to notice that there is not enough people around you to witness what is happening on the stage in front of you.  This was Steve Kimock/Bernie Worrell’s set.  It was a hot day, no doubt about it, and there is hardly any shade, but it didn’t matter.   Continue reading

Lockn’ Festival – September 5-8, Arrington VA

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File this under RADAR ALERT: “Brand New Festival”  

What do you get when you cross the one of the Northeast’s biggest promoters, Peter Shapiro (Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theater, Wetlands) with H.O.R.D.E’s co-founder and longtime Blues Traveler manager Dave Frey?

They call it The Interlocken Festival.  The Lockn’ Festival Relix Magazine alerted me to Interlocken’s  Lockn’s Facebook page where I found this:

“When something ends, another begins”… Interlocken’s  Lockn’s two main stages will feature full (2-hour) sets and run seamlessly from one into another without breaks between performances, giving the audience a unique and singular experience. This passing of the baton will ensure that music on the two main states will be continuous or “interlocked” throughout the weekend.

The town of Arrington in Nelson County, VA , is 35 miles south of Charlottesville on Highway 29, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area is known for its local wineries, some dating back to Thomas Jefferson’s day, along with craft breweries and two new hard cider distilleries.

Oak Ridge is a 4,800 acre private estate, originally deeded to two Bristol merchants by the King of England. The concert area will feature food and vendor villages, maintaining an emphasis on locally sourced, sustainable fare. In addition to on-site camping options, we will offer packages at Charlottesville & Lynchburg hotels, local B&Bs, and the neighboring ski resort, Wintergreen Mountain Resort.

I look forward to the press release and finding out who is on the bill.  In the meantime, we can sit quietly and wait for them to figure out all the details, including an arrangement with Amtrak to bring festival goers into town.

“Hopefully, this will become the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival of Central Virginia,” Frey said. “That’s our goal.”

Jazz Fest in Virginia?  If there is a crawfish monica there, I’m so there….

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It went to 11 – Jam Cruise 11, Day 1-4, MSC Poesia

Screen Shot 2013-03-02 at 2.48.39 PMYou could feel the energy, even while we were still at port, with the crew still setting up the stage, and the MSC Poesia staff scraping off the stickers from Holy Ship! which still dressed the boat’s  elevators. I walked around the boat, giving the grand tour to my friends who had never boarded the boat: “virgins,” as they say.  We bought our drink tickets, and sat in the sun, with our drinks, on the pool deck watching people hugging other people, relaxing into the vibe that is Jam Cruise.  Finally.  We were here.

Back at the cabins we spent time decorating our hallway in a zebra theme, and then went up to the pool deck for the Sail Away Party.  Soul Rebels, a brass band from New Orleans, were playing loud and strong,, the wind in your hair was palpable, and we were about to leave the country.  This was a highly anticipated moment, for me, and about the other three thousand people on the MSC Poesia.

Day 1, All Aboard! Saturday, Jan 7 Highlights:

The monster set with Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood on the Pool Deck. They played experimental jazz at its finest.  I love these guys and this was an absolute treat as we sailed away from Florida. I was still feeling amped, excited to become totally decompressed and relaxed, my personal anticipation at its height, and  this set that made me think, “ahhh, we are here.  This is happening. I’m on vacation, I’m on the boat, I’m on the boat!  Ahhhh.”

Notes:

Timing/lack of timing:  Once we left the Port, my phone went into roaming mode, and automatically advanced 5 hours.  This wasn’t helpful trying to figure out the schedule/timing/what stage, etc.

Zebra night – I went back to the cabin after MSMW and put on my zebra pants and made our way down to the Theater for Steel Pulse, and on our way, while walking through the Zebra Room to get to the Theater was The Motet with Nigel Hall playing.  I took a double take.  And then remembered what life is like on the boat – a feeling of total  FOMS (Fear Of Missing Something) all day/every day, and you are ok with it.

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Day 2, At Sea, Tuesday, Jan 8 Highlights:

It was a full day on the seas packed with fun activities and music sets, to keep us busy and dancing well into the early morning hours.  I bought myself a poster and got on line for the Artist Autograph Signing.  I waited in line for about an hour.  In front of me was a seven-week old baby, who brought his parents along to take pictures.  I asked all the artists (Lettuce, MSMW, Dumpstaphunk, funky Meters, Galactic, Soul Rebels, Pimps of Joytime, Zoogma, Skerik, Mike Dillon, I’m sure I’m missing people.)  “Will you sign my poster?” in true dork form, and every one of the artists were gracious.  I shook Mr. Bernie Worrell’s hand.  I told Scofield he was my hero.  And I promptly lost that poster by the time I had left the boat.  :-(

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Wanee Festival 2013, Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park, Live Oak FL

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 12.19.49 AMAnd so it begins.  2012 out the door, and we look to a new year, new festivals, new line ups and more music!

Wanee comes this year on April 18-20.  Mark your calendars, and don’t miss out.  If you like the Allman Brothers, and all their other iterations of family bands (Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks) and throw in some funk from NOLA – well, there you have it – the Wanee Festival.

http://waneefestival.com/

Catskill Chill – 2012 – REPOST

Photo by: Phrazz

Relix.com published my review of this year’s magical Catskill Chill.  Check it out here!

Visions of Catskill Chill (Gallery and Review)

Upstate, tucked away on a lake in the Catskill Mountains, a band camp called Camp Minglewood hosted this year’s Catskill Chill Music Festival: a three-day, three-night music extravaganza with some of today’s hottest funk and jambands with a side of some hot DJ’ing and electronic beats.

First impressions? As we ran from our campsite to the Lettuce show, missing everything but the encore, I rounded the hill and was taken back by the sight of about 5,000 people at the main stage. In 2011, there were 3,000 people, this year, 5,000 members of the ChillFam had arrived. Regardless, this is still one of the most friendly, down to earth, outgoing and caring festivals I’ve been to.

Once we got our bearings around the camping area and found our way to Club Chill, where Wyllys was spinning, we made it to the main stage where EOTO was jamming, and ended the night with Jeff Bujak’s trippy intimate set on keyboards. On my way back to the cabin, I ran into the FiKus/Schwizz house (which was a cabin in the camping area) and watched Shwizz jam out. At this point I thought that if this was just the late night lineup of the first night, we were in for a fine weekend.

Saturday

I woke up on Saturday morning and heard about “The Big Storm.” Everyone was talking about it, and since no one at Camp Minglewood had any cell service, I was out of the loop. Later on, I learned that there were tornado watches, there was no live music on the stages, and all the campers should seek shelter from the covered stages. In the end it rained, it was windy, and it lasted less than an hour. Shortly after the rain ended, there were friendly Catskill Chill Staff members walking around with updated schedules. The hospitality rocked for us all, and the staff was able to still fit in all the scheduled artists.

We went to see the Alan Evans Trio, who offered an extended set of raw beats and deep grooved funk, then caught Rubblebucket. Rubblebucket’s singer sounds like a mix between Bjork and Sinead O’Connor. When I got to there I saw these women on the stage dancing in sheets, doing hippie twirls. Then came out the Rubblebucket Robots who traversed through the crowd. I saw lots of happy, dancing faces all around me as I made my way out to go to Stage B.

This set happened to be to be my favorite jam of the weekend. This iteration of Headtronics was a mash up of some of today’s most talented musicians on the scene: Steve Molitz (Particle), Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Freekbass, DJ Logic, Tim Palmeri (Kung Fu) and Jules Jenssen (Indoboxx) . They played no more than 5 songs in their 90 minute set, and it was powerful, it was tough, and it felt like sweet thick jam all over the Chill.

Stumbling out of Stage B, I went back down to the Main Stage to see Yonder Mountain String Band. They were gracious to our hosts at the Catskill Chill, and they were gracious to the crowds with their great string lineup. All 5,000 or more Chill Fam campers packed into the stage area, and did a few fun jigs with the Yonder Mountain String Band until it all exploded into a wild dance party during the encore.

Saturday night’s headliners raised the roof once again to a slamming Soulive show with The Shady Horns playing amped up renditions of “Eleanor Rigby,” “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” “El Ron” and “Too Much” with Nigel Hall wailing on the vocals.

Stage B was reverberating with Break Science: Adam Deitch (Drums) and Borahm Lee. The livetronica set had Lee spinning incredible tunes while Deitch hit the beats perfectly in union to create great dance tunes. Deitch is a monster on the drums, he played technically perfect and moved with Lee’s programmed beats to enhance the music and amp the energy.

Sunday

It was a slow moving Sunday, and bringing back our gear to the car took up most the morning, but we were treated to a raging show with the Jen Hartswick Band, with TAB singer/trumpetist Jen Hartswick and Dumpstaphunk drummer Nikki Glaspie. The McLovins played an awesome set with Grateful Dead classics such as “Samson” and “Shakedown Street,” a nod to Levon with a rousing “Cripple Creek” and later ended the set with Dylan’s “Mighty Quinn.”

Cornmeal played the main stage as more slow to rise campers made it in to see their Sunday start with some more bluegrass. More jigging was to be had, square dancing aside for an hour and a half until we broke to take the rest of the gear to the car so not to miss Lotus and then Yarn plays Dead. There was also a main sewer pipe broken throughout the evening, so we made sure we walked around some suspicious puddles on our way up and down to the main road.

Once back to the stages, we were treated to Lotus, who never disappoint with their electronica jams and impressive light show. For me, the last set of the weekend was Yarn plays Dead, a set of all Dead tunes by Yarn. I loved this set, the encore was “Fare Thee Well,” perfect enough to send me back on the road, traveling far from Camp Minglewood. Fare thee well indeed.