Outdoors Rocks!

Outdoors Rocks!

Yikes!  Two weeks since my last post here!  I directed my writing energies last week to TriStateIndie.com and FigLancaster.com.  I did fulfill my Gigspots duties of attending and filming shows and posting the videos.  And now I’m back with plenty to say and HD evidence; great shows are happening all around us both indoors and out!

The first-ever Genesis Fest in York Haven, PA was a huge party with a kickin’ live soundtrack.  Mike  Males and MyRuralRadio.com staged bands outdoors from noon until 9pm on the seventeen acre property of The Boondocks/Halloween Park.  There were food and craft vendors, amusements/play areas for the kids and a booth run by Naylor Winery; their KeWe, a white table wine infused with kiwi, was lip-smacking good over ice!  The whole atmosphere reminded me of a family reunion at a rock-and-roll amusement park.  After dark, epic York jam-band Dr. Slothclaw played the day’s final set in the nightclub.

I arrived too late for many of my favorite MRR artists: Lone Wolf Project, J.D. Sage and The Dagnabbits, The High Point Ramblers to name a few.  I did get to see American Hollar, Darry Miller and The Veil, and Dr. Slothclaw.  I have videos posted from their sets.  Luckily, Elephant Shoes photographer Jodi Griffin agreed to share some of her work from the day.  Nice shooting, Jodi!

I left too early to really appreciate the 100+ campsites on the property’s island but I could see the bonfires the whole drive out of the valley.  Allegedly, one end of the island was up cooking until 4am.  And I don’t mean pancakes.

Sunday 6/3 was the kickoff event for Long’s Park Summer Concert Series and it was a humdinger!  Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds earned headlines, parted some stormy skies and rocked the park!  They played some scorching songs from their latest album Pound of Dirt and really owned the stage.  Don’t take my word for it; check out the videos or ask the 500+ people who were there!

It’s been two weeks since that show and it’s sticking with me.  Last night was another beauty: under the stars on the Long’s Park lawn with Mia Borders!  This coming Sunday, it’s a folkie double-header with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.

If live music is best (it is), then live music outdoors might be the best of the best.  So what’s to keep you from getting to an outdoor show while it’s fit to be outdoors?  There’s a FREE show at Long’s Park every Sunday evening from now until September; the same is probably true for some park in your vicinity.  If not, I guarantee there are some very fun and affordable festivals nearby.  Here are some that really stand out to me as remarkable artists gathered in memorable places.  Wanna live a little?

DNL’s Jam @ the Dam 2012 by DNL Entertainment: 35 bands, 10 acres, draft beer for $30. 6/7/12

MadSummer Meltdown3 (6/22-24) and Meeting of the Minds 5 by JibberJazz Productions in central PA.

Gathering of the Vibes July 19-22 in Bridgeport, CN. Wavy Gravy hosts; need I say more? MiZ is in!  This might be the most complete fest with every style of music and huge talent!

WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival (July 20-22).  The best fest for friends, neighbors and members like you.  Join the station, get discount passes and Wilco/Avett Bros/Dr/ Dog  tix included with your pass.  A no-brainer, must-go weekend that makes the world a better place!

SummerFest in Milwaukee is the nation’s oldest, biggest fest and July 4th concert. Our friends Lovebettie are playing the main stage this year!

All Good Festival July 19-22 in Thornville, OH: the complete and perfect hippie getaway!  Allman Bros, every living Dead member’s bands, DSO, even G. Love and Special Sauce!

BlockStock 4 July 29 in Ocean City, MD: 3 stages, 20+ bands, you’ll probably be in OCMD anyway. Guaranteed to be the biggest party there that night!

Silopanna Festival August 11 near Annapolis, MD at Anne Arundel County Fair Grounds

Hot August Blues Festival August 18 near Cockeysville/Hunt Valley MD

I like outdoor music so much, I throw a three-day party in the mountains just to have some.  We build a stage and everything.  The events I have listed here barely scratch the surface of what’s out there but you get the idea.  It’s summer!  Get outside and shake the dust off that thing!  Your soundtrack awaits!

Watching the Clothes Go Round

Watching the Clothes Go Round

So it’s Monday morning.  I’m doing laundry, uploading videos, blogging and remembering all the great moments I experienced this weekend.  As usual, there were some great events I had to miss, but I’m a “focus on the positive” kind of guy.  Also following a theme, my weekend started on Thursday!

Sara Watkins and Dawes at The Strand-Capitol Theater in York were exhilarating! Sara and her brother Shawn opened the show: she on fiddle and the occasional drum, he on guitar.  Their crystal-clear voices blend as only those of siblings can.  She joked about the awkwardness of singing love songs with her brother but shared being thrilled about touring behind her own music.  She was a strong current in Nickel Creek for years and recently spent seven months on tour with The Decemberists.  The theater was packed and a strong contingent of Sara Watkins fans made their presence felt.  It was beautiful to experience.

The GM crowed about selling out this Dawes show in four days and about how they sold out the last time they played there.  Hello?  You have a huge, beautiful room right next door.  Move Dawes to the big room!  Sell 500 more tickets and let the band and its fans really celebrate their next visit to York!

I have been chasing Dawes since their North Hills album and just kept missing them.  I know they are playing Long’s Park in Lancaster on July 22 but I wanted that intimate theater experience.  I got it!  They played a few from North Hills, many from the brilliant Nothing’s Wrong and even some new material from their upcoming project.  Songwriting and musicianship are back, jack!  Their music feels as genuine and accessible as sunlight.  They made the Strand-Capitol and its packed house glow in it!

I knew Friday night’s show would have to be a giant to overshadow Dawes.  Cabinet and The Kalob Griffin Band were a virtual eclipse!  Holy shit can these bands play!  Calling Cabinet a bluegrass band is like calling The Who a rock band; the label is too shallow for the depth of their work.  One minute they are relentlessly picking some bluegrass to pieces and in the next, they are soaring through some ethereal, sonic landscape like Weather Report, Return to Forever or Jean-Luc Ponty.  I think I have a clue about their name. They bring the medicine cabinet, the kitchen cabinet, the liquor cabinet, the gun cabinet and the whole pantry to the table when they come to play.  Who ever heard of a bluegrass/jazz/fusion/experimental rock band with gospel harmonies?  These fellas are a masterful invention and hot as lightning!  Bela Fleck and the Flecktones may have met their match!

I could gush about KGB all day.  The chants of their rabid fans are still ringing my ears.  With all the sadness in State College these days, these boys are bringing the happy back to Happy Valley.  For a lively review and stellar photo gallery, follow this link to TriState Indie and the posting by Autumn Walden.  I have TSI and Fryth at DipCo to thank for turning me on to this band and Autumn is now my official dance partner at KGB shows.  Their presence Friday let me go civilian, put down the camera and kick up my heels!  Kalob Griffin Band shows are a huge party and who wants to work through that?!

So 570 words and four loads of laundry later, I’ve still only told you about Thursday and Friday of my weekend: the indoor shows.  For today, I’ve been indoors enough.  It’s time to pull on a freshly-laundered Gigspots shirt and get back out there!  Tune in next post to see my review of Saturday’s and Sunday’s events, videos and all.