Never miss a Werkout; after all, it’s for your health. The Werkout, a 3-day event filled with music, art, and all things silly, took place from August 7th-9th in Thornville, OH. An oasis of wonder and shenanigans, what more could one ask for?
After spending the time of our lives at Legends Valley, we set upon the task of reviewing the festival, recounting it for those who were there and recapping it for those who weren’t.
How to boil it down? Condensing 72 hours of bliss into simple text on a screen can be a challenge, but we’ve debated and discussed, recalled and reminisced, and this is the result. A list of 10 moments, bands, people, and situations to paint the picture of the Werkout.
10. The Comedy Stylings of Mr. Jesse Brown AKA The Blue Power Ranger
Amusing would be an understatement had you met this gentleman moseying through the grounds on Saturday night. This guy was the real deal from the costume to his swift reenactment of “It’s morphin time!” He was a true entertainer, as most witnesses would say. His comical gestures and witty dialogue were the perfect way to transition from one set to another. I walked out of the situation with stomach cramps because I was laughing so hard. Werkout citizen Kenny Beebe went on to describe him as “Eloquent. He just kept on going forever. I didn’t want him to stop talking. This guy had to be a professional; he really put on a show.”
Jesse, if you’re out there and ever decide to go on tour just know that you’ve got yourself plenty of fans.
9. El Fuego
A non-musical, yet integral, part of the festival were the performance artists throughout the weekend. Nestled near the stages was a performance area set up specifically for performance artists of all kinds: hoopers, poi spinners, fire breathers and more. Performances of this kind are not uncommon to festivals by any means; in fact, they’re almost as expected as music is. However, Saturday’s events were something special.
As nightfall came and Zoogma tore through their incendiary set, fire performers captivated throngs of audience members with their craft. The performers worked three at a time, joining forces to create choreographed masterpieces of movement and light. Bright flames circled around on smooth trajectories, tearing beautiful patterns into the cool night air. It was mesmerizing. It was unreal.
Honorable mention: Fire cannons. Specifying further, computer-controlled, propane-fueledfire-cannons… with whistles to boot! Who knows what to officially call these contraptions; they shot short blasts of gas through an exhaust whistle and past an igniter. Epic. But… why, you may ask? Because that shit is awesome.
8. Ultraviolet Hippopotamus’ Saturday Night Special
Making the list of incredible performances to hit The Werkout on Saturday night was UV Hippo’s groovy performance. Always blistering and always on point, the band set the evening vibe right with their second set of the extended weekend. Starting out with the soothing and surreal, “Medicine”, Hippo amped up the energy track after track for the duration of their hour-long set. Moving through a 6-song set bordering on an average of 10 minutes a song they jammed their way through as only Hippo can do. The result? A meandering trail of color-clad humanoids dancing their way throughout the venue.
Set List: Medicine > Verlander, Georgie (w/ Kenn Mogel on guitar), DNT, Tugboat, La Marea
7. The Werks’ Two Sets on Saturday
The Werks kept fans at attention with every beat of the night, hitting all of the right notes throughout both sets. They even brought the staff and production crew on stage for a solid moment of recognition; a grand round of applause. Zane Kesey and Derek Stevens from the Further bus did a narrative for the Anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. Dave Weissman, the festival’s media organizer, and his son even joined the stage; dressed in galactic space wear (complete with capes), they played air guitar during the last song.
Plain White Toast
Hard To Find Jam
The Other One
6. The Furthur Bus
Zane Kesey (the son of famed author Ken Kesey), Derek Stevens, and the next generation of pranksters made their way to The Werkout on their 50th anniversary tour. The bus, a beautiful piece of art and history on wheels was a one stop shop for fun, games, merch, and even a wedding! The Werk Out was the 6th official stop on their tour outside of their initial travels in Oregon in June. I had the pleasure of speaking to Derek over the phone to ask a few questions, detailing their experiences on the road.
How did the Werk Out become so lucky to be one of the stops of the tour?
“Actually, we were privileged enough to be invited by Rob Chafin of the Werks. I had the pleasure of talking to him over the phone a few times, and he said that they were trying to plan something special for us out there and said he’d appreciate it if we could make it.”
Is it safe to say that the Werks was probably your favorite gig out there?
“Without a doubt. The Werks were on top of it, it was a great gig across the board. They really stepped it up.”
Were there any other bands that caught your attention? “
Actually to be honest I didn’t make it out on the grounds to explore very much until late night but hands down Zach Deputy. We had him on the bus, a little private recording session, and he just blew us all away.”
Is there any advice that you want to share with the youth of America and next generation of merry panksters?
“Best thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay to think differently. It’s okay to express yourself with music and art. Whatever it is that brings up your passion…. We’re not saying to tune in, turn on and drop out by any means. We don’t even roll like that anymore, especially right now on tour. You can be high on the hill but you end up missing those little things, you know? Be you and have fun. It’s okay to be yourself. You don’t have to go down any set path to be free and have fun. It’s all about living in the moment and not missing those little things.”
He went on to share a few intimate moments they had along the tour and added, “It’s those stories that color what this entire experience is about. You know, we actually had an opportunity to get – and I’d hate to mention it – corporate sponsors, but we turned it down. It didn’t feel right not having the bus on the road interacting with people. That’s not what this bus was about and we’re glad that we didn’t. We’ve made so many friends – lifelong friends – along the way.”
Next stop on the Bus tour will be in Baltimore, MD at The 8×10 room with special guest John Kadlecik of Furthur this Tuesday, August 19.
5. The Werks’ Stripped Down VIP Set/Q&A Meet and Greet
This may have not been a part of the main festival, and it wasn’t accessible for everyone, but it definitely deserves to be on the list. As a part of the VIP ticket package for The Werkout, ticketholders were treated with a special set from The Werks in the VIP lounge. Relaxed and laid back, it gave audience members a chance to see the band and interact with them in an uncommonly intimate setting. The session started with a heartfelt thank you from The Werks, detailing how fans and supporters are truly the reason that events like The Werkout exist. It felt good.
Seated among a group of spectators, The Werks played several stripped down songs including a new and yet-to-be released tune. They told stories and joked around. It was comfortable and enjoyable. After the short performance, they moved on to a Q&A session with the audience, prompting us to ask anything about the band, the festival, or whatever else was on our mind.
The shining moment of the Q&A session, you ask? They announced that there were 7 cinematographers filming Thursday’s Dark Side performance. The kicker? The soundboard audio and video of the set will be edited and released, FOR FREE, in several weeks once the project is completed. Another tasty tidbit? Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio is mastering the audio. The days can’t tick by fast enough.
4. Everyone Orchestra
For those who don’t know, Everyone Orchestra is the ever changing, improvisational, brainchild of musician Matt Butler. Boiled down to its core, it’s a jam session, but not just any old jam. Featuring a rotating cast of some of the world’s top musicians (past participants have included members of The Grateful Dead, Phish, moe., String Cheese Incident, Taj Mahal, a presidential candidate and more).
For The Werkout’s incarnation, EO was a 14-piece band creating brass-laden funk fusion with Butler manning the helm as the Orchestra’s psychedelic conductor. He guided the group of musicians toward their auditory goal, creating and closing sonic space as he sees fit. As any musician will tell you, that’s easier said than done, especially with 14 people improvising at a time. Butler guided the group through the jam using vocal cues, hand gestures, and a little whiteboard that he feverishly scribbles directions to the musicians on. It truly is an awesome and silly sight of madness and music.
3. Zoogma’s Saturday Night Set
The 4-piece livetronica outfit hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, took no prisoners with Saturday’s set at The Werkout festival, their second overall performance of the weekend. Sandwiched between The Werks’ two sets that night, they had some big shoes to fill. Zoogma pulled through with what may have been the most talked about set of the weekend.
As the last notes of The Werks’ first set tapered off, the bass took hold from the opposite stage… and so it began. Contrasting the stylings of the previous act’s more traditional sound, Zoogma was a swirling synthesis of organic and electronic instrumentation. Wasting no time and starting things off with a bang, they launched into what can only be described as an electro-blues banger. “Let My Shorty Ride (RL Burnside x Young Buck)”, a seamless blend of hip-hop and righteous gritty slide guitar, foreshadowed what was to come over the course of their set: an eclectic mix of originals and reworkings of a slew of other tracks.
Additional highlights of the set were the Michael Jackson and Eagles classics “Thriller” and “Hotel Crunkafornia (Notorious B.I.G. x The Eagles)”, respectively. For those of you who weren’t there, let’s get one thing straight: these were not simply covers, but incredibly solid and innovative rehashes of the original masterpieces. One has never heard such guitar playing like this during a “Thriller” performance, guaranteed.
As “Thriller” climaxed in one final intensifying crescendo, a surprise awaited, the opening notes to “Hotel California” rang out, soon to be layered in with some Biggie vocals. Intriguing? Damn straight. With dueling guitars and saw-bass low-end, Zoogma soared on this one; imagine Joe Walsh and Don Felder duking it out on the famous solo, but only that this time through they had discovered the glory of Ableton before writing the track. Hands. Down. Breathtaking.
Let My Shorty Ride
Starrey Eyed Thriller
2. Zach Deputy
The one-man-band from Savannah, GA that kept on keepin’ on! It was almost impossible to keep from ‘to his funky tunes, even if you were just passing through for that midafternoon delight. Had the dance floor not been made of rocks, people surely would have kicked off their boogie shoes! The guitar was funky with a few flicks of beat boxing here and there and Deputy laid down smooth, soulful, swingin’ vocals. This man would have you down in New Orleans one minute then out with island fever the next.
Deputy made sure to engage the audience throughout his set to enhance the vibe and step up the jive. He kept the loop train going all throughout Friday and Saturday night, even on into Sunday morning. Even the schedule didn’t know what time he would be done! Embracing his collaborative spirit, he also provided vocals during the Dark Side and Everyone Orchestra sets as well. What ‘chu know ‘bout The Deputy?!
1. And the downright obvious of the all things epic: Dark Side of the Werk Out set!
What an incredible way to bring in the first night of the festival. There was so much zest and excitement in the air leading up to this set of epic wonder. By the time The Werks ended their last song of their first set the crowd had swelled up. One could feel the intensity and the anticipation for what was about to take place – the fifteen minute set change seemed to take forever.
Finally, each band member took their place and the lights dimmed to their appropriate state. The crowd cheered louder with every pulse that lead into the sudden stroke of “Breathe”, and then the pack got wild! Chills are currently pacing their way up and down this writer’s spine just reliving that moment. And who better to open up the tribute other than the festival director and beat master of The Werks himself, Rob Chafin.
As if the Dark Side set wasn’t enough, more surprises made their way into this grand recital. Kevin Dumont laid down the smooth and saxxy melodies during “Money.” The enchanting vocals of Mr. Zach Deputy were brought in for “Great Gig in the Sky”, and, boy did that man bring a few people down to their knees! Making their way through the crowd at that moment was the full cast of Wizard of Oz, even the Lollipop Guild, as the movie played on the backdrop. Overall, it was an inspiring sight to behold.
There it is, the Werkout in review. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list or even the big picture of what went down that weekend, it’s our little version. Short and condensed, just add water – or beer – to reconstitute. Given the chance, would we go again? Yes. As for you, the reader, should you consider it next year? That’s not for us to say, but, if this article was met with intrigue and a peaked interest, you probably already know the answer to that question.
Running stronger than ever, the fifth annual Werk Out Music and Arts Festival will take place August 7-9 at Legend Valley Concert Venue & Campground in Thornville, OH.
With a weekend roster that’s slanted toward live electronica, but diverse enough to include bluegrass outliers like Rumpke Mountain Boys and one-man-band Zach Deputy, The Werk Out will be an energizing weekend of beats and groove.
Featuring three performances from The Werks and double sets from Papadosio, Future Rock, Zoogma, Dopapod, UV Hippo, and Jahman Brahman- The Werk Out offers both flexibility in scheduling your weekend, as well as opportunity to see your favorites twice.
Here are one late set and two early sets you might not know about, but definitely should add to your schedule at The Werk Out 2014.
Thursday August 7, midnight
Friday August 8, 2 pm, Main Stage
You’d be a fool not to catch Bloomington’s own funk-soul pride & joy-The Main Squeeze, who leave a strong impression on nearly every crowd they play for.
Saturday August 9, 2 pm, Main Stage
Shake off your day-three grogginess with an energizing Broccoli Samauri jam session.
The members of the Cleveland-based band brand their sound as livetronica, but their actual live performance at Hyperion was way more jammy than could have been predicted by any of their recorded material. Swift and agile spurts of drum’n’bass surfaced at all the right moments to keep the audience moving, but the ten-minute cover of “Axel-F” was surely what sealed the deal for any new Broccoli Samurai fan born at Hyperion. (via Hyperion 2013 recap)
What You Need To Know
- Gates open on Thursday, August 7th at 12:00 noon for those with full event passes. They will remain open until Sunday, August 10th at 12:00 noon.
- Music begins around 4:00 PM on Thursday, and Friday before Noon. The festival ends at 11:00 AM on Sunday.
- Please note that The Werk Out will not allow pets to enter the festival grounds and no single day passes will be sold.
- Patrons are encouraged to BYOB.
- Gate ticket prices are:
General Admission- $120 for 2-day / $140 for 3-day
VIP- $220 for 2-day / $240 for 3-day
- Visit the website to buy tickets and to view the full lineup and schedule.
Want to win tickets?
Leave a comment below telling us who you’re most excited to see at The Werk Out, then share this article on Facebook or Twitter and tag @indymojo so we can see your post.
The author of the winning comment will receive two non-transferable, general admission tickets. Winner will be announced Friday, August 1st.
Summer Camp Music Festival, Summer Camp, Scamp, the best freakin’ party in Illinois. Whatever you call it, it’s coming soon and firing on all cylinders. Taking place over four days (May 22nd – 25th) in Chillicothe, IL, it’s guaranteed to be hands down one of the best weekends of the summer. A days-long event of music, workshops, positivity, friends, and tomfoolery; in short, everything that a growing human needs.
If you don’t have your ticket yet get it soon because you don’t want to miss this. Keep in mind, though, that ticketing is slightly different here than at most festivals. A regular ticket will get you in for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Pre-Party passes can be purchased at an additional fee to get you in early for Thursday’s acts. Also, there are late night sets at the Red Barn for an additional cost. The other stages will still be in operation when it’s going down at the barn, so don’t fear. But, please remember that the barn shows that tickle your fancy will cost a little extra (for more on Summer Camp do’s, dont’s, and things to know, check out The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 1: In Our Own Backyard).
So, do you have your ticket(s)? The appropriate answer to this query is a proper, “No sh** dude, I’ve had my ticket since February.” Next is, “I just found a ride and snagged my ticket, catch you there!” The least appropriate… “Summer Camp?”
If you’re in the latter category or are just on the fence about shelling out the dough, let this article be an inspiration, if nothing else. Please come join the party. As a disclaimer, this writer does not make money from ticket sales nor will he if sales increase as a result of the statements contained herein, so please don’t treat this as a long-winded advertisement. Instead, please accept this as a friendly invitation to The Boogie.
Given five words, what is the best way to describe Summer Camp? How would one provide the utmost meaning and deepest imagery, without losing meaning on useless prepositions? How would one convey the feeling of Scamp, without wasting a single breath? In an attempt to provide the supreme explanation, the greatest rationalization, and the most scintillating justification, these words have been chosen wisely:
Alright, so 5 words may have been a lie. But, technically, they’re hyphenated, so it kind of counts. Regardless, and without opening an English book, one thing can be agreed upon. THERE WILL NOT BE A SINGLE MOMENT WITHOUT GOOD MUSIC.
To support this statement, here is a sample schedule to give an idea of what the weekend could be like. It isn’t an ultimate schedule for everyone or even anyone for that matter. It is just a possibility. And, as every soul is different, there is no right or wrong way to Scamp it, unless you don’t see who you truly want to. The sample schedule reads:
Thursday, May 22nd:
Blue Fruit Snacks (1:30p)
Cosby Sweater (6:30p)
Funky Junk (7:00p)
Future Rock (9:30p)
Manic Focus (11:00p)
Digital Tape Machine (12:45a)
Friday, May 23rd:
The Diggity (12:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (1:30p)
Victor Wooten Band (3:45p)
Slightly Stoopid (5:30p)
Robotic Pirate Monkey (6:00p)
Blues Traveler (7:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (7:45p)
Beats Antique (9:00p)
UV Hippo (10:00p)
The Motet (2:00a)
Saturday, May 24th:
The Floozies (12:00p)
Future Rock (2:00p)
Greensky Bluegrass (3:45p)
The Devil Makes Three (4:45p)
Keller Williams (5:30p)
G. Love & Special Sauce (6:45p)
Break Science (8:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (9:00p)
The Werks (10:00p)
Umphrey’s McGee (11:00p)
Sunday, May 25th:
Umphrey’s McGee (1:00p)
Yonder Mountain String Band (2:30p)
Zac Brown Band (4:30p)
Trey Anastasio Band (7:00p)
Wolfgang Gartner (8:15p)
Trey Anastasio Band (9:00p)
Russ Liquid (3:00a)
To repeat again, THERE WILL NOT BE A MOMENT WITHOUT GOOD MUSIC.
How can one truly say that there will be no moment without good tunes when the stages will inevitably come to a close each night as the microphones and amplifiers are eventually turned off? Quite easily, actually, because Summer Camp curiously happens to be populated by people like… you. Guitarists, percussionists, singers, and composers. Producers, DJ’s, songwriters, and storytellers. Artists, hoopers, contortionists, and dancers. In sum, all of the ingredients needed for a “let’s-keep-this-sh**-raging-‘till-the-sun-comes-up” gumbo that just refuses to quit. Need some examples of how this could play out?
Exhibit A: The Dub Wagon. If you are reading this and the mythical wonder of The Dub Wagon is your creation, please accept sincere apologies for the impromptu name given to the beautiful beast that you’ve wholeheartedly unleashed upon us in years past. No offense is meant by the nickname if any is taken. Essentially, The Dub Wagon is a cart of sorts, piled high with speakers, lights, and all things that glow in the night. It has been known to walk the grounds, late at night, once the grip of darkness has taken over the campground. Growls, womps, and sub-bass can be heard emanating from within its depths. And, if you’re in the right place at the right time, it will come and catch you.
Described in a more straightforward manner, The Dub Wagon is a pushcart that wanders Summer Camp, blasting beats from the late night until the early morning buzz of chatter. Processions have formed, as they will again, wandering slowly behind like zombies, unwilling to give up on the night as they make their way through the camps.
Exhibit B: Jam sessions. Acoustics will be strummed and djembes will be played, hopefully to the accompaniment of a drunken poet and the occasional smiling soul. If you’re lucky enough, you might come across a DJ SOLO/Fresh Hops percussionist tag team jam. It’s happened before, and who’s to say that history won’t repeat itself?
All in all, Summer Camp is a tasty smorgasbord of music, workshops, and more. Whether is jam, folk, rock, house, dubstep, or bluegrass that gets your dance juice flowing, you’ll find it in Chillicothe. It will be a weekend tunes, dancing, singing, and drinking. A weekend of smiling, laughing, and love. Hugs will be had and good times felt. In short, it will be an unforgettable weekend, if only we can remember it.
On Saturday morning, the rain came, which had me chilling at camp for most of the day. All of the music was shut down for a couple of hours. But it didn’t ruin our good time.
The drive in to Legend Valley was much less scenic, as expected, than the drive up Marvin’s Mountain. I entered the line around 2 p.m. (gates opened at 11 a.m.) and spent about two hours in line. After a scorching hot set up that required parking in The Bronze Lot and carrying gear across the dirt road to a tent-only area, I headed to the concert bowl for my inaugural visit inside of Legend Valley. Initial thoughts about the new home of All Good:
- The layout is a little odd, requiring festival-goers to cross a street from the campgrounds to the two main stages. Security and police did a nice job of directing the bumbling hoards of hippies through the bottleneck, but they did have a tendency to mean-mug the weary ragers on their final trek home at the end of the night.
- Speaking of security, the campgrounds were not friendly and security was more strict than usual. I personally witnessed hired help (with no real authority) approach a campsite to break up a friendly circle of toking friends who were minding their own business. Standard protocol has always been to look the other way if the party is not making a scene or blatantly dealing; this was not the case at All Good 2012.
- Once inside, the concert bowl looked and felt very much like the arena from All Good’s previous location on Marvin’s Mountaintop in West Virginia. The singular gathering spot is one of All Good’s best qualities; knowing that everyone enjoying the festival is in the same place to hear the same music at the same time creates a special bond amongst the listeners.
- Also, have no fear- All Good may not be on a mountain any longer, but there are still plenty of hills to be climbed!
Rain was off and on all day on Thursday, so trails were muddy and grass was damp. Temperatures dropped after the moderate morning rain, but eventually rose in the afternoon.
During the Bob Weir set, the crowd was large and filled the bottom level of the arena. The hill at the back of the venue was populous, but not compact or impossible to navigate though. The Werk’s played a short 45-minute set, but received much applause and enthusiasm from the Thursday night crowd. A team of six people carried totems across the front of the audience that together spelled WERK IT. The band made several references to their upcoming festival, The Werk Out, which is also relocating to Legend Valley this year. Before concluding, they gave a shout out to Lotus and Greensky Bluegrass, suggesting everyone catch their sets later in the weekend.
Phil Lesh & Friends was a great headlining set for Thursday night after a long day of travel and camp set-up. Hardcore fans easily took a front seat for the show right in front of the stage, while the rest of the fatigued festival-goers sprawled across the back hill to rest and relax during the easy-listening jams.
Shpongle brought a party for those who were ready to get down, but his trancy, tribal sounds were a bit too much for the majority of All Good’s heady attendees. Friday morning, discussions of the previous night’s adventures suggested most hippies stuck around long enough to check him out, then headed back to the home base for the night. Those who did stay were fortunate enough to behold Shpongle’s asthetic smorgasboard of lights and thumping beats.
Shpongle photos by B. Hockensmith Photography
As early as Friday morning, the giant “WELCOME TO ALL GOOD” letters had already been rearranged to read “COME TO LOVE ALL”; I don’t know who was frisky enough to make such a bold move so early in the weekend, but it’s an All Good tradition that an AG OG made sure to carry on from previous years.
Long before I made it to the concert bowl on Friday afternoon, however, I managed to find my way to The Grassroots stage tucked into the thick of the campgrounds- yet another nod to All Good traditions. Customarily used to host early morning shows (and now also used for late night DJ sets), The Grassroots audience is a special one- comprised of the ragiest of the ragers who have yet to find their bed from the day before mingling with early risers who most likely skipped out on the previous night’s festivities altogether.
It was still raining hard enough on Friday morning to necessitate rain boots and an umbrella, but not enough to deter this Dirtfoot fan from catching the band’s 9:30 a.m. set. With no chance of waking fellow campers at my site to accompany me, I draped my Dirtfoot flag around my shoulders (made for my inaugural trip to Wakarusa last year) and set off to find my favorite gypsy punk country grumble boogie band.
A small handful of people peppered the otherwise desolate Grassroots Stage as Dirtfoot kicked off the morning with “Rest My Head”, a classic from their 2006 album Entertain Me. Diehard fans clung to the gate in front of the stage and shouted the chorus with the band, “We don’t want your bullshit, oh no! (oh no!)” Front man Matt Hazelton immediately thanked those in attendance for “being out in the rain” and swiftly moved into “Gonna Get Ya”, featuring a banjo/saxophone interlude. Three songs in, Dirtfoot finally warmed up (and the audience finally woke up) during the ultra-funky crowd pleaser “Rhinestone Ring”.
The audience was verbally thanked at least two more times for getting out of bed so early to come jam with them, but Dirtfoot also showed their appreciation by an engaging, robust show that included a lengthy version of “Back of a Stranger”, requested whistling assistance from the crowd on “My Girl” (not to be confused with The Temptations classic), and special jig by acoustic bassist Nathan Woods that involved straddling his instrument.
The rain eventually stopped (for the rest of the day) and people began to show up in record time, as if they had been huddled up in their tents listening from afar wishing the rain would stop so they could come see what the ruckus was all about. Admittedly, the Grassroots Stage isn’t entirely convenient to get to (the main venue is on the opposite end of the festival grounds) but it does have one perk: it’s totally BYOB with no security gates to pass through.
That’s right; I had a Sun King Cream Ale for breakfast on Friday morning at All Good.
The simplicity of The Wood Brothers set made it one of the standout performances of the weekend. With just three members and four instruments (Oliver Wood on vocals and guitar; Chris Wood on vocals and bass; Jano Rix on vocals, drums, and shuitar) the emphasis of their show was purely songwriting and instrumentation.
They began with “Up Above My Head” and followed with the endearing “Liza Jane” during which Oliver Wood bore a facetious face as he sang the opening lines “When I was a little boy I like to goin’ swimming, but now I am a bigger boy and I like to go with women”.
“We’re honored to be here on a great weekend of music,” Oliver paused to speak to the crowd that had assembled and then added with a burst of enthusiasm, “The suns poking out!”
The satisfying set moved along swiftly with more audience pleasers including the celebrated “Luckiest Man Alive”, which featured Rix on the melodica. “One More Day”, a song from The Wood Brothers’ new live record, incorporated a twangy interlude that completely stoped for several seconds of hesitated silence until it kicked back in for another run of the chorus and an extended jammy breakdown.
“We’re gonna play a tune from our first record; it’s a true story,” Oliver announced as Chris snuck a drink of water, to which a fan shouted out, “Coconut water!” Oliver replied, “Who likes coconut water? You like that?”
The song was “Spirit”, immediately followed by another heartfelt introduction from Oliver. “This is a song that goes out to all the fantastic musicians playing this weekend. It’s another true story. It’s about a guy who plays music ‘cause he’s gotta play music. I bet you if you asked anybody- Elephant Revival, The Wood Brothers, any of these folks playing- if there were no lights and no stages and no fans, we’d still be playing. That’s what this song is about. And a little bit of this goes out to the fans who appreciate it and who come to listen. It’s a song called ‘Postcards From Hell.’”
The song was met with cheers of joy and fervent singing from fans. Jammy, bassey “Shoofly Pie” sustained the excitement well into a guest appearance by “artist at large” Roosevelt Collier of the Lee Boys who also sat in with Galactic, ALO, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Tea Leaf Green, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Rex Jam, and Lettuce over the course of the weekend.
Moon Hooch, personally recommended by All Good founder Tim Walther, did not disappoint at their first major festival performance. The young band from New York, comprised of only two saxophonists (and all variations of the instrument) and a drummer, gave All Good a polished show that was well-received. With only one album of released music (and another one, called This Is Cave Music, in the works), the set remained true to their written songs but ventured into experimental, electronic territory.
Read my full interview with Moon Hooch here.
Rubblebucket came straight from their west coast performance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show to their interactive, spirited show at The All Good Festival in Ohio. They’re currently promoting an EP that’s set to release in September and their schedule is consequently packed with very little wiggle room.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about their live show- because that’s filled with plenty of wiggle room. The eight-piece band lived up to their reputation as an “indie dance jazz” band complete with trumpet, saxophones, trombone, synths, organ, drums, percussion, electric guitar, and bass guitar. Leading lady Kalmia Traver is quite wicked and very out-there, channeling the late, great, psychedelic Janis Joplin- both in personal and musical style.
Trumpeter Alex Toth was equally as entertaining; throughout the show he danced in step with trombone player Adam Dotson as they waved their horns back and forth in the air. Later, nearing the end of the set, Toth exited the stage to catch a ride through the crowd on the shoulders of one unsuspecting spectator. By the show’s conclusion he had donned a blue vest equipped with Christmas lights and tied a neon scarf horizontally around his forehead.
To top of the sporadic and wonderfully chaotic set, two gargantuan robots named Bert and Sam wobbled into the audience from side stage to dance and play with fans in the last moments of Rubblebucket’s show.
The Yonder Mountain String Band played an energetic show, as was expected. Although their set was scheduled to end at 9:30, the festival’s emcee confessed All Good’s love for the rowdy bluegrass band (remember when they played the late-night set last year in West Virginia?) and admitted that they would break the rules for Yonder and permit an encore to appease the audience.
The Flaming Lips’ Friday night headlining set was as untamed and disorderly as I expected it to be. It began slow and stately but quickly transformed into an explosion of confetti, lights, streamers, large balloons and people dancing on stage. From my vantage point on the field, a loudspeaker was affixed to a tall pole several rows back and blasted a siren at my back as one early song faded out, sparking a moment of panic; “Is an emergency evacuation about to unfold?” I wondered to myself, but quickly returned to a state of blissful awe when the show’s theatrics continued. The highly anticipated “crowd ball” also came early in the evening and lived up to its expectations as a clumsy Wayne Coyne struggled to walk across the sea of people from inside the giant, see-through ball.
To continue the sensory overload, the show proceeded with lasers and fog and rapidly flashing projections of wild animals snarling their teeth. Coyne proclaimed his visit to All Good as “the best festival all summer” as he stared into a camera hanging obnoxiously close to his face from the microphone stand. In one of the calmer, but most revered, moments of the night, The Flaming Lips performed “Ego Trpping At The Gates of Hell”. The encore brought Coyne to the stage with a bullhorn in his hands from which he gave a speech about the necessity for the world to be full of “people like you guys”.
Flaming Lips photos by C-Style Photography
The announcement of All Good’s relocation months ago sparked a wildfire of complaints and concerns about leaving behind the breath-taking West Virginia mountaintop that has been the festival’s home for so many years. Indeed, the beauty of Marvin’s Mountaintop cannot be matched- not on a plateaued mountain in Arkansas, in a forest of lazers and lights in Michigan, or even in the hills of southeastern Ohio. The sights I saw and the vibes I felt in the mountains of West Virgina will forever rest in my heart.
BUT, as the Rolling Stones once sang, you can’t always get what you want. And while I would gladly tack back on the extra five hours of travel time to return to Marvin’s stunning Mountaintop, I believe that All Good has made the right decision in moving to a safer, more accessible venue. Legend Valley’s concert bowl- lined with trees at the top of the hill illuminated by colorful lights and flanked on either side with the famous “Welcome to All Good” letters and a huge Buddha statue- did the best it could possibly do at living up to the teenaged festival’s previous home. Matched with an equally impressive lineup rooted in the rock and roll of classic festival forefathers, there’s no way any one couldn’t have had a memorable time during their stay at Legend Valley.
Like the bumper sticker said that was being sold in the merchandise tent: it’s ALL GOOD.