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Summer Camp Music Festival Friday Recap

Friday festivities stretched out early with Om Yoga running from 10-11 a.m. around, and inside the Soulshine Tent. Old Shoe threw a hoedown on the Campfire Stage early, and guests slowly rose from their late slumber. The weather was beautiful all day Friday. Tractors transported guests around the festival grounds on hayrides all weekend. It creates a great vibe and tradition for Summer Campers to use during their stay at the festival.

Vanessa Robinson, volunteer coordinator for Summer Camp, discussed some of the benefits of participating and interacting with the Soulshine Tent. She explains how helping out can provide guests access to unique performances.

“It is very exciting. If you are not familiar with the concept of The Everyone Orchestra. Matt Butler conducts it, and he pulls in big artists from every headlining band that is basically playing here. It creates a big jam session, I get up there and talk a little bit about Make-A-Difference. It is an exciting and different experience that you will never see again, because you will never see these artists on the same stage again,” Robinson said.

Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band verbally put a foot to the Starshine Stage’s crowd during the early afternoon hours. The Reverend mentioned, “It’s never too early to rock n’ roll, now get up and dance.” RPBDB always puts on a great show. Their boot-stomping mix of the Delta Blues and uptempo Rock makes their performances easy to dance to live. After checking out their set, I made my way over to the Campfire Stage.

Reverend Peyton
Reverend Peyton

Brainchild, a band based out of Peoria, Ill, rocked the Campfire Stage on Friday. Chicago Farmer, based out of Bloomington, Ill performed the following day, but also represented the central Illinois music scene. It is interesting to me to be able to attend music festivals in different areas, and absorb different cultures when I am on site. After Brainchild wrapped their set, I worked in the media area for a bit before checking out Moe. on the Moonshine Stage and the Family Groove Company on the Starshine Stage.

Moe., co-hosts of the event, and Jamband icons to the music scene performed their annual Friday warm-up set on the Moonshine Stage. I consider an afternoon set to be a warm-up set, and a set later in the evening to be a little more filling to watch live. This set was my 28th Moe. performance that I experienced since 2001. If one watches Moe. enough times, one may begin to enjoy and notice the attention to detail that they give each song. Setlist provided by setlist.com.

05/24/13 (Friday)  Summer Camp @ Three Sisters Park (Moonshine) – Chillicothe, IL
Set 1: Captain America > Recreational Chemistry, Deep This Time > Downward Facing Dog, Puebla > Ricky Marten > Seat of my Pants, E: Okayalright

The Family Groove Company is from Chicago, and holds down a solid history with the Summer Camp Music Festival. This marks their 10th year performing at the festival. The band continuously finds new ways to make their Summer Camp sets unique and original. Each year they normally perform multiple sets with the idea in mind to make each one special. The attention to detail that this band puts into their craft can be extremely enticing for experienced festival goers. The band was playing a funk/rock track as I approached the Starshine area. Their next move was to pull up Roosevelt Collier, pedal steel guitarist for The Lee Boys, on stage to help give some soul to their set. During the weekend Collier jumped on stage with multiple acts, and showed no hesitation with Adam, Janis, Jordan and Mattias on drums.

John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood performed on the Moonshine Stage in sun just after 4 p.m. I enjoyed the set a great deal. It was my 17th time seeing the band live since 2002. The only thing I would change about their set is the early time slot. Their set on Friday was another above par performance that I hope to see at their live shows. The Wailers were also performing during this time on the Sunshine Stage.

Yonder Mountain String Band, Denver-based rock/bluegrass legends, whipped the crowd around the Moonshine Stage into a madhouse after the MMW performance let out on Friday. Their set reminded me why I will always make the time and effort to catch their live concerts at music festivals. The crowd was singing along; the band was in a vibrant mood, and the Moonshine Stage was rocking into the early evening hours of Friday.

YMSB Crowd at SCMF 2013
YMSB Crowd at SCMF 2013

YMSB and Moe. both shared the late night sets in the Redbarn late Friday/early Saturday morning. I was exhausted by the time these shows rolled around, but I am sure both bands produced filling late night performances in the Redbarn.

Keller Williams released a new project that he has been working on titled More Than A Little. The group is composed of some very talented musicians including Victor Wooten and a cast of other lively musicians. He ended his set with ‘This Must Be the Place’ by the Talking Heads. It was a sweet way to conclude the set, and to also show off the beauty of the Talking Heads.

EOTO, the Colorado/California improv duo made up of Jason Hann and Michael Travis sat down for a quick interview before their set on the Moonshine Stage. During the interview guests would approach the band members, and express their gratefulness to the guys. One fan since 2002 spoke up and talked about his relationship with the music that EOTO produces. “You guys having been doing great. The energy has put me in a really good place to do some art. I’ll send you a thread.” I asked the band a few questions on their style of music.

Larry David does an outline during production for Curb Your Enthusiasm. Do you guys do any outlining to your sets? “We like Curb. That is a great show, but we don’t make plans. It’s %100 improvisation ,” Travis said.
Do you guys surprise each other on stage often? “We just had three weeks off, probably the longest time every off with no gigs. We came back, Travis was working on his rig. I was working on mine, and we were surprising the hell out of each other last night. It was like little kids again with new toys,” Hann said.

The EOTO set was my third time seeing them live in concert. The first time I saw them was at the 2009 Summer Camp Music Festival during the day on the Moonshine Stage. I normally prefer electronic sets at night, but EOTO is one of the few bands that I can dance to in the day or night. The EOTO performance in Chillicothe this year was literally body rocking bass for over an hour. As I would walk in front of the main speaker in the pit area, my camera equipment, and my entire body would shake and rattle from the bass coming out of the speakers. It was off the charts, but amusing to the bassheads in the crowd. The full moon over the Moonshine Stage was a fitting way to gear up for the STS9 performance set to follow EOTO’s Grande set.

Umphrey’s McGee, Chicago’s rock music landlords, performed two solid sets of high energy improvisational music for the Sunshine Stage crowd in the later hours of Friday evening. They reprised ‘Nothing Too Fancy’ during the first set, and ‘Puppet String’ during the second set. One of the highlights of the weekend was having Moe. and Umphrey’s McGee exchange songs between bands. Umphrey’s McGee covered ‘Rebubula’ and Moe. covered ‘In the Kitchen’ during their Saturday night set. Another layer of depth to the story includes a passage that Al Schnier, guitarist for Moe., said during a live version of ‘Rebubula’ in a 2002 performance. “That’s Brendan from Umphrey’s McGee. About 18 years ago, when Moe. was playing in St. Louis someone gave us a tape of Umphrey’s McGee covering ‘Rebubula’. It was one of the first things that they learned how to do, and it is awesome to see it in the first place, and it is really great to have them here at this event,” Schnier said. I think he may have overinflated the 18 years that had pasted in the story, but the part about it being one of the first things that Umphrey’s McGee learned to do together was probably was not too far off. It was during the middle of Moe. performing ‘Rebubula’ when Al made that comment in 2002. Around eleven years later that musical bond was celebrated at the Summer Camp Music Festival.

The interaction between both bands has created a tight bond and a better understanding of how each of the musicians works together on and off stage. Umphrey’s McGee is hitting the road this summer with STS9 to embark on creating similar musical moments happen across the country with the fusion between the two bands. It reminds me of the magic that happens during live performances by The Everyone Orchestra.

Umphrey’s McGee busted out a special version of ‘Bright Lights’ with Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic during their second set on Friday. There was high level of energy during both Umphrey’s McGee sets, and the Big Gigantic set following them on the Sunshine Stage.

STS9 blasted off into outer space with their headlining set on the Moonshine Stage Friday night. Russ Liquid & Horns joined the band live on stage for a few tracks Friday night. This was my fourth STS9 show that I have experienced, and it was by far the best. It is hard to pick a best set of the weekend, but the STS9 set on the Moonshine Stage was everything a music fan could want, plus a dialed in horn section.

When I arrived they were just finishing ‘Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist’ and the band was getting into ‘2001’ on a high note. The crowd was jumping out of their clothes during that song. It is an unforgettable moment. Another big moment that occurred that night was when Victor Wooten joined Dumpstaphunk live on stage.

Dumpstaphunk, New Orleans is a set of music pioneers continue to strive for new possibilities that positivity can create in funk music. They have a new album dropping this July 30th titled “Dirty Word.” Their live show was a funky way to end my stretched out Friday at Summer Camp. Earlier in the day the band hosted a small press conference in the Church to discuss their upcoming album. The Neville’s and a group of the press hung out before the press conference took place outside the Church.

Ivan Neville spoke about acquiring talent for the record.

“Most of it was not really planned. We would always like to have friends that are cool and can add to the project. It is always cool to have people guest on the record. Ani was a straight up shock. We had no idea. I was mixing the record, she heard some ‘Human Being’ and she has a studio in her house. She just happened to go and write something for the song. It was appropriate, so Ani is on the record now. The same thing happened when Flea was in New Orleans for a few days. We were hanging out, went and got some food, did a few things and we worked in the studio. We got him to play on the track. Trombone Shorty was the same thing. He came over and worked on a track together. Rebirth we kind of had a song that we wrote. Tony had a song that he had written and kind of knew that we wanted Rebirth on the song. That was probably only the real plan that we did on the project,” Neville said.

Continue reading with Saturday’s recap. [Web Link].