Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Summer Camp: Pre-Party & Day 1

"Welcome to Planet Summer Camp!"

Upon arriving on Thursday night to the 2007 Summer Camp festival two things stood out: it was raining; and there were way less people there than I expected. In fact, it took less total time to get off the highway, get in, and set up at Summer Camp than it did just to get to the Bonnaroo campsite from the highway.

Luckily the people we camped with got there before us, and so we only had to spend a few minutes setting up before running off to Thursday night's Tea Leaf Green show. I'm a big TLG fan and frankly, was a little underwhelmed by their late night set. They played well, threw in a nasty Pink Floyd cover, Bayliss sat in, and the Barn was out of the rain and not as poorly ventilated as I had feared; yet I just felt like there was something missing. Maybe the band was exhausted, but it just seemed like there was a lack of energy (and it wasn't a lack of energy from the crowd).

Set: The Devil's Pay, The Invasion, Don't Curse the Night, The Garden (Part I), The Garden (Part II) > The Garden (Part III), Wet Spot1, Young Lust2, Kali-Yuga, Panspermic De-evolution > If It Wasn't for the Money, Not Human > Dragonfly, Criminal Intent > Trouble > Criminal Intent, Have a Drink on Me3
Encore: Jackson Hole, Sex in the '70s
1w/ Brendan Bayliss (Umphrey's McGee) on guitar, 2Pink Floyd cover, 3AC/DC cover

Friday we awoke to a gorgeous day, (really, perfect festival weather) grabbed our chairs and headed out for ALO.
I've listened to a bunch of ALO but haven't gotten the chance to see them live. After the Tea Leaf show I was tired and my expectations weren't very high; then ALO blew my mind. We showed up around the end of Walls of Jericho, which had been seemingly uneventful. "Girl I Wanna Lay You Down" is an upbeat easy crowd pleaser, and although the majority of the folks at the show were laid back in their fold-up chairs, the song really got the crowd in front moving. "Plastic Bubble" and "BBQ" were fun, silly, and the perfect kind of music for a lazy Friday afternoon. ALO ended on a more serious song that really wrapped the show up nicely, "Maria"

Set: Roses & Clover, Empty Vessel, All Alone, Walls of Jericho, Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Try, Plastic Bubble, Barbeque, Lady Loop, Do You Like My Pecs?, Maria

We also checked out TLG periodically throughout the afternoon, but the guys were visibly (and understandably) exhausted and just didn't have the same energy as ALO.

Set: I've Got a Feeling1, One Reason, Piss It Away, Ride Together2, Planet of Green Love, Death Cake, Earth and Sky, Franz Hanzerbeak, Cops Took My Weed2, Georgie P, Emma Lee2 > Incandescent Devil2, Lil Hood, Red Ribbons
Encore: I've Got A Truck3, Bouncin' Betty, These Two Chairs
Notes: 1Beatles cover, 2w/ Trevor on harmonica, 3solo Trevor

Next up on the lineup were Keller Williams and his WMD'S. I basically had a mixed reaction: I think that Keller as an artist shines most brightly as a one-man band. Obviously having Droll on the guitar and Sipe on the drums goes a long way towards having a super group; but having a super group doesn't guarantee super music (Temple of the Dog anyone?). Overall it was a fun show; and while the addition of band-mates gives Keller's music more potential in theory, in reality I felt like a Keller solo show would have been a little but more entertaining (maybe I just wanted Keller's dog to come on stage again).

Keller Williams & the WMD'S

Set: Killer Waves, Got No Feathers, People Watching, Apparition, Kiwi and the Apricot, Still Wishing to Course, Pets, We Love You, Ground Score, Life, Santeria, Play This

After Keller we hung around, checked out the scenery, etc. until Umphrey's


Crowd Gathering for UM

Umphrey's show the first night was nothing short of fantastic. The show started out with a pretty hoppin' "Miss Tinkle's" and then simmered down before really picking up again with "The Bottom Half" and closing out with "Pay the Snucka". The second set was really where it was at for me. A great "JaJunk," a nasty "Plunger," a special guest appearance by Jennifer Hartswick for "No Ordinary Love," and then back into "JaJunk" to close it all. Sometimes bands end on a softer note (we'll call this the "Wading in the Velvet Sea approach") and sometimes they hold back that one song you've really been waiting to hear until the very end (the "Bruce Springsteen approach"); Umphrey's approach was just to throw every last ounce of themselves into their instruments, leaving the crowd with their jaws on the floor craving more. At the very end of the set Brendan and Jake stood up on something (speakers?) while they played those final riffs and I swear they looked like they were 20 feet tall hovering over the entire crowd; I was in complete awe.

Umphrey's McGee
Set I: Miss Tinkle's Overture, Ocean Billy> Hajimemashite> Eat> Jimmy Stewart> Hajimemashite> Eat, The Bottom Half, Pay the Snucka
Set II: JaJunk> Walletsworth, All Things Ninja, Alex's House> Plunger, Words, No Ordinary Love1> JaJunk
1 Jennifer Hartswick (Vocals) ; Last Played 8/7/2004 (373 Shows)

moe. was next and they were good; but I couldn't help but feel that they were outdone by the younger troubadors from South Bend. The set was one big "Rebubula" sandwich, "Not Coming Down" kept the energy going in the beginning, then I felt like the show lost a little but until "Seat of My Pants" and then picked up until ending back on "Rebubula" and a "Spine of a Dog" encore (the Assembly of Dust appearance was pretty underwhelming). Maybe I was just tired, but at times I really felt bored and like I had seen this show before (maybe because it was basically a combination of 11/24/06 Chicago and 03/01/07 Atlanta). Anyways, it was still entertaining, and moe.'s light show alone made this one worth going to (seriously, probably the best light show I have ever seen). Good show, but not great.

Set I: Rebubula> Not Coming Down> Wormwood> St. Augustine1> Westerly2> The Pit, Shoot First, Skrunk3, Seat Of My Pants> St. Augustine> Seat Of My Pants> Rebubula
Encore: Spine Of A Dog
1 Nate Wilson on keys
2 Assembly of Dust Band Switch/Segue (Strangefolk song)
3 New moe. song - First time played

(Special thanks to Burning Oak for a ton of good photos collecting and organizing the various 2007 Summer Camp Downloads. Most of these and many more are available to stream or download here. Also thanks to flickr users smittenkitten03, gordonjer, CB61550)

I'll be posting Days 2 & 3 sometime in the near future...

1 comment: said...

Word. Glad to find more SummerCampers on the music blog scene. It seemed to be just me... seeing as Justin at LiveMusicBlog is no longer attending anyways.