Wanee Festival 2014


Ahhh, Wanee is close, so close, 3 days close.  This year it is packed with great artists such as Lynard Skynard, Trey Anastasio Band, Gov’t Mule and Tedeschi Trucks Band.  Other incredible bands are: Umphree’s McGee, moe., Dumpstaphunk, Soulive  (see list below).  And yes, this is a Thursday to Saturday festival, where everyone leaves on Sunday and is good to go to work on a Monday, unlike most festivals that start on a Thursday and end late Sunday night.

However, this year will be different.

This is the 10th Anniversary.  It’s also the last year the Allman Brothers Band will be playing/on tour.  I have a feeling this will be one of the most special Wanee’s ever.  The anticipation is killing me.

IMG_2716Grab your tickets now!

For past recaps of Wanee Festival, check these stories out:

img_29052012, Wanee

Robert Plant & The Band of Joy, 2011

2010, Day 1

2010, Day 2

2010, Day 3

photo by View Skewed

2014 Wanee Lineup:

  • Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band
  • Umphrey’s McGee
  • Ziggy Marley
  • Blues Traveler
  • The Chris Robinson Brotherhood
  • Hot Tuna Electric
  • moe.
  • Umphree’s McGee
  • Rusted Root
  • Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk (Music of Led Zeppelin)
  • Soulive
  • Royal Southern Brotherhood
  • Walter Trout
  • Rob Garza (of Thievery Corporation)
  • Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Bobby Lee Rodgers
  • Melvin Seals & JGB
  • Futurebirds
  • Berry Oakley’s Skylab
  • Matt Schofield
  • Break Science
  • Pink Talking Fish
  • Sean Chambers
  • The Yeti Trio
  • The Hip Abduction



Wanee Festival, 10th Anniversary, 2014 Announcement


Not sure where to start – the last two weeks have been a flurry of festival announcements, even I can’t keep up. However, the first festival to start off my 2014 (besides Jam Cruise, which is another post altogether) is WANEE FESTIVAL.
If you know me, you know this is my staple festival, I go for the great southern guitar twangs, the southern hospitality of The Spirit of Suwanee Music Park, and the southern charm. Not to mention the Allman Brothers host this event every year.

This year is the 10th anniversary Wanee Festival (how did that happen already?) and promises to be a star studded event. The line up consists of:

The Allman Brothers Band * Trey Anastasio Band *  Lynyrd Skynyrd * Tedeschi Trucks Band * Gov’t Mule * Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band * Umphrey’s McGee * Ziggy Marley * Blues Traveler * The Chris Robinson Brotherhood * Hot Tuna Electric * Moe. * Rusted Root * Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk (Music of Led Zeppelin) * Soulive * Royal Southern Brotherhood * Walter Trout * Rob Garza (of Thievery Corporation) * Blind Boys of Alabama * Bobby Lee Rodgers * Melvin Seals & JGB * Futurebirds * Matt Schofield * Break Science * Sean Chambers * The Yeti Trio *

Advance and VIP Tickets On Sale Now

Yes, I’ll be there.  Yes, find me.  I’ll be the one smiling.  :-)

Bear Creek 2013, Spirit of the Suwanee Park

Bear Creek (or as some people call it Brrr Creek) was not cold at all. The weather was over cast at times, drizzling on and off, but the rain was not a bother, nor was it cold. It was a welcome change.

Bear Creek, like New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and Jam Cruise, is known for their sit-ins, a mash-up of artists from one band playing with another. Also, there are usually two sets per band, meaning that the band actually has some time to explore on stage. It makes for an incredibly intimate setting where the artists can get into a groove, an eclectic mixture of talent with lots of smiles and friendly vibe. This is the beauty of Bear Creek.

1475858_10153493931645103_1564893876_nThursday Highlights and Notable Moments
After setting up camp, and getting five jars of Suwannee Moonshine (apple pie moonshine to be exact) I could hear The Pimps of Joytime and The Motet from our campsite, literally shaking the funk off the moss of the oak trees. After many laughs with my camp family, we all wandered down to Uncle Charlie’s Porch Stage to see Kung Fu break it down in all its funky/jazzy/frenetic motion.

Friday Highlights and Notable Moments
I started the day with Ron Haynes Game Changers. Never hearing this band before, and considering Bear Creek was the first time this band had ever played, I was pleasantly surprised. For a band from Chicago, they play like they are from the south, with deep soul, and a plethora of horns. Then I grabbed my friends and made them go see The Revivalists. This band comes from NOLA, but doesn’t have the typical NOLA sound. My only description of them could be somewhere between a bit of reggae, a bit of funk, and smash it with some punk rock riffs. They have become one of my newest favorite bands. Mike Dillon, Roosevelt Collier joined in on drums and slide guitar respectively.

With my festival schizophrenia in full effect, I decided to sacrifice Lee Fields and the Expressionists for Jennifer Hartwick Band. Ms. Hartswick was joined by the MVP of the whole festival: Ms. Nikki Glaspie (drums) as well as, Nigel Hall (vocals), Skerik (sax), Natalie Cressman (trombone), Khris Royal (sax), Nick Cassarino (guitar) and Ivan Rosenberg (trumpet). Jen’s voice is electric, strong and sexy all at the same time. They crushed the Chicago cover “25 or 6 to 4” and I floated out of the music hall back to camp for a wardrobe change and a feed.

1469920_10153527651185103_966677816_nThe hour passed quickly before the Antibalas set. A scorching set, the Big IV Ampitheater stage was overflowing with musicians – five horn players, three percussionists, two guitarists, one bassist, one keyboardist – including special guests Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum and Skerik (sax), all bouncing to Antibalas’ distinct Afro-beat sound. This was the quickest 90 minutes of the weekend.

I did a drive-by to see The Motet at the Porch Stage, and got a glimpse of Jans Ingber and Nigel Hall getting dirty with the Parliament classic “Gettin’ to Know You.” The crowd was buzzing, the funk was deep, my head was spinning and I was off to go see some Galactic.

There isn’t anything better than a Galactic performance during Bear Creek – in my opinion – because of the potential of sit-ins. This set was no different. The new female lead, Maggie Koerner, absolutely held her own against all the men on the stage, a killer female vocalist. The guest sit-ins were head spinning: David Shaw (The Revivalists) sang on “Dolla Diva,” “Aint No Love,” “Nobody Knows,” “Daddy’s Song” and “Hey Na Na.” Corey Henry and Chali2na joined for “From the Corner to the Block.” Skerik and Roosevelt Collier joined for “Baby I Got Your Money.” The set ended with an amazing cover of Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks,” including Shaw back on vocals.


Just as the rain ended, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe commanded the main Purple Hat stage. Special guests included Mike Dillon on percussion and Zach Deputy for the last few songs of the set. I remember Karl introducing Zach to the crowd by saying something close to “Hey y’all this is Zach Deputy, I pretty much take care of him on Jam Cruise!”

ARM_2989-copySaturday Highlights and Notable Moments

George Porter Jr. and The Runnin Pardners hit the Purple Hat Stage on Saturday afternoon. It was not raining, the sun was trying to come out, and it was a beautiful mild afternoon. I slowly mosey’ed my way up to the VIP tent to sit down and the crowd for George was impressive. Highlights were, “Just Kissed My Baby,” with Roosevelt Collier shredding his pedal steel.


Galactic was next on my way to find some aspirin, water and food. They played my favorite, “Sunday Araq,” with Maggie Koerner killing it. I continued to hear Galactic from my campsite as I revived myself from the dead. My blood didn’t start really pumping though until I saw Mike Dillon Band. I can’t really describe why I love these guys, with the exception that I am an old punk rocker, and the screaming and loud crazy that Dillon and Carly Meyers put on is right up my alley. Meyers blows that trombone with a force of a 200lb man, and the girl is probably 5 foot nothing, just over 90lbs. Mike Dillon is a force to be reckoned with, on the xylophone and percussion. Stanton Moore and Nikki Glaspie joined the stage for a drum-off dream, and Roosevelt Collier got into the mix as well. I saw Carly and Dillon on with capes, reminding me of superheroes running around, and this set was one of my favorites on Saturday. Well, with the exception of Bootsy.

1467342_10153527651970103_1448237085_nBootsy Collins and The Funk Unity Band
This set was the one that blew my head all over the Suwannee Music Park. To me, this was the Bear Creek Highlight of the Weekend. There had to be about a dozen players on the stage, all dressed up as astronauts. They all took off their helmets at the same time. There was a master of ceremonies to warm up the crowd before Bootsy took the stage. The press pit was filled with musicians and was cramped with excitement. Bootsy came out with his star bass, his blue sequined outfit, blue and white sequined top hat, blue sneakers, white sparked sunglasses with blue stars in them, complete with a gold microphone.

He played the PFunk staples, “Mothership Connection (Star Child).” Then Bernie Worrell joined him for the funkiest “Sweet Chariot” I have ever heard. The mere sight for me to realize that these two Funk Masters were on the same stage was too much for my poor head to comprehend and I lost it right there. I couldn’t do anything more than bounce and stomp my feet. I saw footage later that Bootsy actually jumped into the crowd and bounced up and down. Bootsy had at least three, if not four costume changes. This was only a 90 minute set and I had to sit down afterwards to compose myself. I missed Chali 2na and The New Mastersounds because I was picking up the pieces of my brain.

1495145_466541836798365_1269789960_o The Roots
This one also rocked my soul. Bee Getz introduced the band and highlights were “Jungle Boogie” as well as an incredible mash-up of songs ranging from Guns n Roses “Sweet Child of Mine” to George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” into “Who do you love?” to “You Got Me” into a tease of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jam Rock” to Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache” into “Seed” where they teased “Move on Up”. Sick, sick, show. We all wanted more.

So then I moved my weary bones to the Purple Hat Stage where Karl Denson and the Tiny Universe was playing a crazy Ray Charles set with special guests Skerik and George Porter Jr. played along with Roosevelt Collier, Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum, Khris Royal and Ryan Zoidis on horns.

1493375_466165453502670_1803722053_oAfter, we went back to the Big IV Ampitheater, for the Bear Creek Allstars set. This grouping of talent from Dumpstaphunk, Lettuce, and all the horns you could count, add George Porter Jr., Nigel Hall, Robert Walters, and you have a whole lot of sugar in a 90 minute funk jam.

The last show of the evening was The Nth Power, a new band with a brand new sound, consisting of Nikki Glaspie, Nigel Hall, Nick Cassarino, Nate Edgar and Weedie Braimah. The Nth Power is a powerhouse of vocals, funk, hard beats mixed with soft harmonies. Their album is good, but it did nothing to prepare me for what I was going to hear live. Their lyrics are soulful, but what really struck me were the sound of the harmonies and overall shred. Nick Cassarino blew me away, since I am not that familiar with his work. They have something really special here, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Sunday Highlights and Notable Moments


I ventured out for some food, walking past The Jennifer Hartswick Band. I did get myself down to the Ampitheater for Roosevelt Collier and Nigel Hall’s Gospel Surprise, which was a welcome sound to my ears. Special guests included Natalie Cressman, James Casey, Jennifer Hartswick, Alecia Chakour and a whole host of other people on the stage. The last two bands to play were Dumpstaphunk and Lettuce to close out this year’s Bear Creek. Dumpsta played their oldies plus a few new songs from their new album “Dirty Word.” Lettuce played also a few oldies but goodies as well as some newer ones (Madison Square). Nikki Glaspie sat in for Adam Deitch who couldn’t make it, although Deitch’s face was seen on a sign going through the crowd. There was also a huge ketchup bottle flying through the crowd as well as actual pieces of lettuce being thrown. Nigel Hall closed the set down and ended the 2013 Bear Creek Festival in festive form.

Until next year…

Dumpstaphunk, Brooklyn Bowl, March 23, 2013

579796_10151421223611575_2065743179_nHigh level notes:

  • The Bowl was packed – sold out, line out the door and holding because they were at capacity.
  • I did not have the fried chicken this time – I had the BBQ Wings. Still just as delicious.
  • I did not bowl this time. Last time I bowled a 43. I will not bowl there until I have practiced sufficiently to bowl over 43!
  • There was a bachelorette party in the crowd, I saw a blowup penis, bouncing up and down in the crowd. I tried to see if there was a reaction from Dumpstaphunk, but I think these guys have seen it all. No blow up penis is gonna change Dumpsta’s funk factor. Continue reading

Wanee Festival – Friday, April 20, 2012

I woke up and hung with my camp family while some people trekked up to the Peach Stage for Bruce Hornsby.  Even in camp I could hear Bruce playing a soulful tribute to Levon Helm with “The Night They Drove ‘Ole Dixie Down” and “Ride That Train”.  It gave me the chills and I wasn’t near the stage.  My friends told me it blew them away.

I do finally motivate around 1:30 to go see Buddy Guy.  On a hot afternoon, the sun beams down on the field and my notes go something like this:  playing with one had, keyboardist explosion, deep southern groove, Buddy is BAD.

Yes, Buddy is bad singing “Nobody Loves Me but my Guitar,” and then he stops and banters with the crowd.  “Wait a minute, wait a minute.  Ya’ll brought me here to sing the blues, we will not disappoint!”  He goes into “Hoochie Coochie Man” and then stops again to scream at the crowd.  “I was in India, and even they didn’t f*ck up the words like yall have.”  Yep, Buddy Guy is a character – but can belt the blues like nobody’s business.

Then he does this bit where he leans on the speaker, turns the guitar around and sings this song where he plays a lick with his belly – or more to the point – his man parts.  Uh huh.  Seriously.

Then I move over to the mushroom stage to hear Mickey Hart’s new band that I had been hearing really great things about.  I wanted to hear it for myself.  The crowd goes wild on the first song, Not Fade Away, and the female singer, Crystal Monee Hall, brings a nice feminine voice to the mix.  Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) is on base and then we go into some of Mickey’s new songs from his latest album, Mysterium Tremendum.  I can honestly say this was the set that blew me away with new sounds, great jams and hard hitting percussion and bass.  Some new music that really blew me away with its experimental groovy danceable jams.  The third song began sounding reminiscent of early Pink Floyd with a bit of space and drums mixed in.  The jams were hot and new and fresh.  I can’t wait to see them again.

SET LIST:  Not Fade Away >, Let There Be Light, Time Never Ends > Who Stole The Show?, Starlight Starbright, Cut The Deck > Bertha >, Supersonic > jam >, Fire on the Mountain

photo by: Shelly Smith

I then move back to the Peach Stage to see Tedeschi Trucks Band.  If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge Derek Trucks fan.  No, I was not disappointed at this set.  They are greeted by a loving crowd.  Tedeschi sings the first note of the first song and the audience is captivated.  The sun beams down on the field, Susan Tedeschi banters with Derek Trucks’ guitar.  The horn section is tight and sharp.

A few songs from Trucks’ old band, Derek Trucks Band were dusted off with “I Know” with Matt Mattson singing.  It was a strong rendition, with a B3 keys explosion from Kofi Burbridge, and a just a tiny bit of shredding from Derek Trucks.

“Love Has Something Else to Say” was changed up a bit, there was a sick trumpet groove by DeShawn Ross, Oteil Burbridge, bass, was squirming in the background, hitting the sickest bass groove.

I then found some food while they played “Midnight in Harlem.”  Derek noodled for a bit while I was on the ticket line, and then they began the song. Derek and Kofi start off the song sultry and soft.  It is a beautiful song, Susan sings it perfectly – there is no one else out there with her type of voice.  It was chillingly beautiful.  And it was silent during Trucks’ solo.  A field of 20,000 people, silent.  He shreds that guitar to a silent crowd.  Wow.

The second DTB song was Majoun, with its soft and dreamy bantering flute and guitar also kept me swaying in the crowd.  Full set list below:

Don’t Let Me Slide, I Know, Love Has Something Else To Say, Midnight In Harlem, Down Don’t Bother Me / Band intros, Lord Protect My Child, Nobody’s Free, That Did It, Mahjoun > bass > drums, Darlin’ Be Home Soon >, Bound For Glory

I needed a break after that one; needed some food, more drink, and a rest back at camp.  On the way back to the site I heard Bonerama from the Mushroom stage.  A little bit later I heard Furthur begin to play. I sat in a chair at camp (home), and listened to both bands play. Continue reading

2011 Catskill Chill Festival, Camp Minglewood, Fri & Sat

The Scene:  Talk about a Chill Festival.  This small little festival was tucked away far into the Catskill Mountains, at a summer camp called Camp Minglewood.  It had all the makings of a lovely summer camp; cabins for campers to sleep, docks and a lake for swimming, halls for eating and gathering.  This weekend, Camp Minglewood was transformed into a vendor filled, camping, music loving extravaganza.  Tents were mixed with the cabins, electricity was available for coffee percolators in the morning, hot showers (yes, I said HOT showers in the cabins) and the people were friendly.  So friendly.  Did I mention friendly?  Hugs and good mornings from strangers and friends alike.  It felt like one large big happy family, who were all floating on air from music overload, shared experiences and dancing hard.

Friday:  So, after a long day at work, and a longer ride up to the Catskills, getting our wristbands, parking the car, finding the cabin, and unloading, we were able to catch the evening’s last set.  My friend and I found our friends and I was jonesing for some music already.  We bolted from our posse and went to find the music.  We made the last set of the night, Break Science.  I remember there were about 300-400 people, and some very heavy beats from Mr. Adam Deitch.  After I got my fill from head nodding, and some hip shaking, we went to check out the fire drum circle. Jumping through mud puddles, we checked it out, and was treated to a fire dancer twirl right next to us.  I put my toes near the fire, got warmer (thankfully!) and wandered around.  We went back to the cabins to chill out with my posse, check out the vendors, understand the lay of the land, and think I passed out at 3.  Oh – we had bunkbeds, typical for a summer camp.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve slept in bunkbeds.  (side note: bring padding for bunkbeds).

Photo by: Josh Raskin/Tiny Rager

Saturday:  Ok, so I was hurting this morning.  Between the crazy long week, the dancing and wandering till 3am, the bunk beds and waking up to the sound of the drum circle still going on, I have to admit… I was kind of hurting.  If you know me, you know I am not the most lively, cordial, talkative person in the morning, and my new cabin mates learned that quickly.  I found the coffee truck, bought three cups, gave one to my friend and drank the other two quickly.  It helped…  It was beginning to help.

The day was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, the sun was out, the weather was a perfect 80 degrees.  It was spectacular.  And perfect.  And very Catskill Chilling.

The Heavy Pets: I gathered myself together, took a shower, ate a bit of food (don’t remember what it was), and got myself down to the stage for The Heavy Pets.  It was a really nice way to start the day.  The Main Stage wasn’t packed at all – probably under 400 people.  The Pets jammed, crazy guitar licks, heavy groovy bass drum, bouncy, trippy kind of music.  There was room to bounce.  There was room to jam.  I was relaxing into the vibe of the festival – the Chill.

Photo by: Josh Raskin/tinyrager

There was a surprise birthday party for me and a few other Virgo babies, that was completely a surprise for me.  The coordination to get at least 20 people together, at a certain time at a festival is a feat in itself, but to have candles and goodie bags for the birthday boys and girls, well… all I can say is I am grateful.  (And thank you, Karen.)


Photo by: Phrazz

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds:  Wow.  Hello there.  I’d never seen these guys before and… wow.  Rage-o-rama.  Horns galore, incredible harp player, and the chick that sings – WOW.  I was impressed.  We had trombone, trumpet, sax, bass sax, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, drums, singer.  The horns do a great dance in sync, Sister Sparrow sings it hard – full Aretha/Whitney/Janis in your face (the chick is about 5 feet nothing and maybe weighs 25 pounds.  How does that work?!?)  This band is on my highlights list.  They are fun.  They are funky.  And I danced my butt off.

Photo by: Robyn Gould

Continue reading

Steve Molitz Talks Catskill Chill, Sept. 6, 2011

Catskill Chill Music Festival, Hancock NY

September 9 – 11th.

My buddies are putting on this great festival and it will be my first year attending.  Travelling north a few hours into the woods of Upstate NY, near the town of Bethel, NY close to the infamous Woodstock of ’69, the lineup touts such great acts as:

  • Umphree’s McGee
  • Conspirator
  • 7 Walkers featuring Bill Kreutzmann
  • Dumpstaphunk
  • JGB w/ Melvin Seals
  • Perpetual Groove
  • Particle
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation
  • Zach Deputy
  • Pimps of Joytime
  • The Heavy Pets
  • …and more.

I was lucky to get an interview with the keyboardist from Particle, Steve Molitz, and Jambands.com picked it up before I could get it on View Skewed.

Check it out here:  http://www.jambands.com/the-loop/2011/09/06/steve-molitz-talks-catskill-chill/

I’ll be covering the Chill for View Skewed, so stay tuned.  This should be a great end of the summer festival!