Friday Strangecreek 2018

Strangecreek Campout

Camp Kee Wanee, Greenfield, MA

Friday May 25, 2018

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Friday dawned bright and sunny at the Strangecreek Campout in Greenfield, MA.  Main stage music began at noon time with the first surprise of the day.  With nothing on the schedule at noon Brother Sal took the stage with his band Medicinal Purpose.  They supplied a full hour of hard rocking guitar, performing as a trio with Sal on guitar, Chris Ball on bass and Jimmy Robitaille on drums.  The material ranges in sound from Hendrix to Stevie Ray to Roy Buchanan with Sal not being afraid to embrace guitar distortion, and even his voice has a fuzzbox quality to it.  A nice start to the day, everyone was sufficiently warmed up to what would be a marathon of live music.

Full show audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs:
Video by Kelly D

Up next Worm regulars rice – an American Band took the stage in their full eight piece glory, guitars and singers everywhere.  They had played the night prior in the cabin for the first time and pledged that this main stage set would contain all different music- “A No Repeat Work Day!”  The one-hour set unfolded with the original Tom which featured guitar solos from Josh Leach, Brian DiMartino, pedal steel and mandolin man Steve Benson and even lead singer Phil Simon took a swipe.  Midway through the set Emily Jones took the lead vocals deftly handling the Cranberries Dreams to the joy of those assembled.

Video by Overtain Productions

The vast majority of the set though was original music and while the cabin set was more of a rocking affair, the daytime set seemed to focus more on material you might describe as Americana.  It was a nice match with the early afternoon sunshine.

Photo by Kelly D

Full Show Audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs:

Keepers of the Vibe took the stage, hailing from Connecticut.  They are a large band with a high energy sound ranging from funk to upbeat jazz explorations to rock.  Amanda Sloan is impressive on lead vocals and the band was able to stretch and explore in their one hour set.  The combination of energy and musical dexterity with a penchant toward technique is rare and welcome.  They called up Force from the Alchemystics at some point during their set and he took his turn as guest rapper, which would be a theme that continued throughout the weekend.

Full show audio:

For the first time on the main stage, Outer Stylie came next.  Nate Martel on guitar and vocals, Tom Schack on bass, John Duffy on guitar and Monte Arnstam on drums are always a super fun show.  They’ve long held a position at the Riverworm stage at night where they get huge crowds, and it was interesting to see them in the bright sunlight.  The band is unabashedly hard rock, with a sound that is their own but draws from influences ranging from Sabbath to Zeppelin to even ethereal Pink Floyd.  It is easy to love Outer Stylie, they are very polished and great at what they do, not attempting to be anyone they aren’t- showcasing their heavy style, Martel’s voice and songs, and a great vibe.

Full show audio:


Tennessee’s Backup Planet were up next, and it’s I think the third time I’ve seen them at a Worm festival…  The band is agile, ranging between rock, compositional rock, and a taste of the heavy that they access very briefly every now and again.   Their seventy five-minute set seemed to be mostly original music with one of the songs briefly referencing Dire Straits Money for Nothing and the set closer was the Beatles’ I’ve Got a Feeling.  This is that band that people in the know really love, their skills and energy are excellent and they noted that they drove nearly twenty hours to come and play at the festival.  The heat was starting to really build on the main concert field, approaching ninety degrees it seemed, but that didn’t slow down Backup Planet.  I look forward to the next time I have the opportunity to check them out:

Full show audio:

The Alchemystics took the stage as the mercury was continuing to rise.  The one drawback for musicians to this great conjoined main stage is that it faces the setting sun and late afternoon can be brutal.

Photo by Dave Hoffenberg

You could not design a better solar oven, and it seems as if the Alchemystics always seem to catch the heat of the day.  They are veterans, though, and didn’t hesitate to take the stage, and take it over!

The set was mostly original tunes, including some new material.  Early in the show was a new song titled Let Go.  That song segued into their own take on Randy Newman’s Baltimore which is barely recognizable from the original and truly an Alchemystics classic at this point.  Ilana Morris took the microphone for her features including a reference of Beyonce/ Destiny Child’s Say My Name.  Force was rapping with everything he had, pulling together all the energy and feelings of the band and the crowd, bringing everyone together.  He reminded the crowd of those that came before and to remember their fallen band mates Ras Jahn, Demse, and Buddzy.  There’s something about the Alchemystics that just seems to feel like they are the home town heroes of Wormtown, and this day was no different.  It’s like a bout of self-care, a set that all of the Worms can use to touch base, get toghether, and to be Welcomed Home.


Full show audio:

After a short break to get Melvin Seals and JGB set up they took the stage with a smile opening with How Sweet It Is.  Melvin and company including Zach Nugent on guitar and Sunshine Becker now in on vocals were on point.  That song ended and the band turned on a dime, with not even a microsecond passing before they began Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come.  I mean it was tough to find the break in the song on the recording!

Check out our review of Thursday night’s events at StrangeCreek 2018 HERE.

Following that same theme without stopping at all they segued into the JGB classic Cats Under the Stars.  Over the first three song span which lasted almost a half an hour the band did not stop once, a display of their prowess with this songbook.  Next was a methodical Sugaree.  JGB laid down a slow pace that was purposeful, and the song took its time to reach a full twelve minutes in length, and featured an absolutely scorching guitar solo by Zach Nugent.

JGB’s first set ended with a trio of classics from Tore Up to another scorcher in the Beatle’s Dear Prudence and ending with the Grateful Dead’s Scarlet Begonias.  The band took a break but not the audience as the Worms in their infinite wisdom want no breaks!  A full set by favorite Zach Deputy came up next.

Full JGB set one:

After the first set by JGB Zach Deputy took the stage to perform for a solid seventy five minutes before JGB came back for a second set.  He was joined by a full band and raged both originals and a medley of covers that included How Sweet It Is (a seemingly odd choice because JGB had just played it, but the two versions were hardly recognizable as the same song as Zach really funked it up in his own inimitable way), Magic Carpet Ride, and a one minute extended tease of Shakedown Street.

The audience ate it up big time and were left chanting We Love Zach over and over again at the end of his set.  While the crowd was chanting for one more song festival promoter Mark took the mic and had the terrible job of denying another song and bringing JGB back on stage.  JGB fired up another great set of JGB material, but alas, I did not catch it on recording as my batteries finally crapped out after nearly 10 hours of duty that day.

After a day full of raging I was hard pressed to hang in the late night cabins.  Northeast Traffic was in the Wormtown cabin and were jamming their hearts out.  I only got a few minutes recorded.  The band hails from RI, and won the Strangecreek Battle of the Bands to earn their slot.

Video by Kelly D

The late night late night band was Llama Lasagne, a collective of musicians from throughout the area and comprising members of all of the area bands, doing thematic sets.  This was their first time in the cabin and they had a Space theme, replete with costumes and songs that fit that theme. 

In the video below alone I see Anders Waringer, Courtney Parker (Rodd Cummings, rice – an American Band, John Caroll, Spinelli), Woody from Rebel Alliance, Chris Ball (Medicinal Purpose, the Alchemystics) and I know that Brian DiMarino (rice, formerly of Rhythm Inc), Dan Thomas (the Mary Jane Jones, the Alchemystics, JoyStick), Emily Jones (rice, Rodd), Jason Metcalf (Denroy Morgan, formerly of the Alchemystics, etc) Ilana Morris (The Alchemystics, Wurliday), Nate Martel (Outer Stylie), Kristian St John, Joshua Leach (rice, Rodd), Force (the Alchemystics, Problem Addicts) are all participants. Given the dozens of people who appear in this band I know I’m missing more performers than I am listing.

Video by Kelly D

Lasagne did a bunch of crazy tunes including Time Warp, Mr Roboto, Mothership Connection, Black Hole Sun, Dancing in Heaven and the above Space Jam.  Anders handling of the vocals for Mr Roboto was exemplary, and that song is far more complicated and intricate than you may remember.

Video by Kelly D

To submit a review for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.