Saturday Strangecreek

Strangecreek Campout

Camp Kee Wanee, Greenfield MA

May 26 2018


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Saturday dawned hot and sunny and was already the third day that I was on site for the 16th Strangecreek in Greenfield, MA.   I spent a lot of my day inside the Old 78 Clothing booth, networking with friends and bringing people amazing fashion for sale, but luckily my trusty recorder was parked at main stage and caught nearly ten hours of music!

The day started with August and Alden, a brother sister combo who combined with a drummer were seemingly making their Worm debuts.  August I think was the young lady who played bass quite well, Alden played guitar and they harmonized with all of the beauty that you would imagine from a brother sister combo.  They did some originals and some covers (Tom Petty comes to mind) and were a good mellow started to the day.

Up next was Legion of Jerry and they were decent, covering material from the Jerry Garcia Band.  They run the risk of being lost in the cornucopia of bands of this type from JGB to every Dead tribute on the planet, but they are proficient and were a fun time.

Photo by Vinny Natale

The first recording I got to on that day was Big Mean Sound Machine from Ithaca NY.  I have seen them a time or two before and this was not their first Worm appearance.  They played a lot of material from a forthcoming album.  The band is Afrobeat for sure, full of horns and rhythm performing mostly instrumental music.  I’m not sure whether or not it was a ‘early afternoon’ vibe for them, but it was on the mellower side for sure.  I’ve seen more than my fair share of Afrobeat over the years (Chicago Afrobeat Project many times, Aphrodesia, aLBINO!, even local reggae Afro crossover Shakazoba) and I am well versed in the style.  I was not fully gripped by their performance but appreciate the education and skill that goes into achieving that sound.  If you’re into Afrobeat, BMSM is likely the most authentic and advanced band of that type in the northeast:

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

Up next on the main stage was Hayley Jane and the Primates.  She took the stage with her full band and the Interstellar Dancers and continue the slow and steady march that they have been conducting on the festival season the last year or two.  At one point she declared “Festival Season is Here!” and you could see that she shared the exuberance of the whole crowd.  She is a bright and shiny presence and her music and artistry are continuously developing.

They played originals and were very well received.  Hayley’s voice is boisterous and evocative, and a tad unusual.  The band is doing a great job supporting her, and the resultant show is an artistic piece, you can tell she’s trying to do more than just throw down a set.  The interaction between Hayley and the audience is palpable.  I am interested to see how her artistry and song writing develop, the performances she has down pat, and I think the more critical of us in the crowd anticipate that she will grow significantly as an artist and songwriter and we look forward to what she can produce.  In the meantime, it’s a great show and well worth your attention and concert ticket money!

Full Show Audio:

Up next was the band Passafire from Virginia.  I have been hearing about them for a long time and this was the first time I heard them live.  The band consists of Ted Bowne – Guitar/Lead Vox, Will Kubley – Bass/Vox, Mike DeGuzman – Keys/Guitar, Nick Kubley – Drums and have a reputation for being in the progressive reggae scene that contains many bands in the scene right now.  I was expecting a very reggae show but I have to say that they were more oriented toward vocals, songs and delivery than I expected.  Sure there was plenty of reggae but it wasn’t over the top and it would be easy to see how fans could dig them and not be into other reggae but into Passafire.

Full show audio:

Up next was jamtronic pioneers Particle.  The band has been along for around as long as Strangecreek, predating the majority of their jamtronic brethren.  The band unfurled ins

Photo by Vinny Natale

trumental music for the next ninety minutes or so with pieces that ranged from three minute rockers to twenty minute exploratory jams.  Elements of video game music, beeps and bongs, raging drum rhythms and trippy journeys sprinkled throughout the jams.  I have not seen them since an appearance at the Jammy awards sometime in the early 2000s and it was cool to hear how their progressive music has, well..  progressed!  They played a bunch of material off of a new album that should be released here soon.

Full show audio:

Photo by Vinny Natale

I was able to wander away from the booth a few times during this sunny Saturday.  We took a stroll around this time, late afternoon and caught Washington DC’s ethnofunk crusaders Black Masala at the Vernville stage.  My recorder didn’t make the trip with me but I’ll post something here if and when I find it.

The band is great, and they were featuring material off of a new album that is to be released this Fall.  The band consisted of drums, bass, horns, vocals and lead guitar.  I’d like to take this moment to talk about their lead guitar player, Chris Lee.  This dude is seriously awesome.  With the right recognition and stage and crowds, he will be able to stand toe to toe with the greats in the scene, from Derek Trucks to Trey or Kimock.  His solos were patient, sweet, and driven.  During I think it was the Not Fade Away that they were playing, which was a departure from their ethnic sound and was NOLA level funky, he morphed from a progressive Garcia solo, straight into a Mountain Jam Allman Brothers reference, out into outer space, and back again for a NOLA take on Garcia.  I was blown away and this cat needs to be seen to be believed.

Photo by Vinny Natale

From there we ventured through the woods to catch Flux Capacitor on the Riverworm stage.  I saw a bunch of my Old 78 Farm Fall Festival peeps there, who have caught Flux out in Warwick and Greenfield when they’ve played there and the trio of brothers delivered as always.  It’s been a few years since they’ve been visiting their Worm family, and it was good to see them.

Taper John D caught their set:

Back to the main stage Pink Talking Fish took over.  They mashed up Talking Heads, Phish, and Pink Floyd and through a few choice weird teases including a crazy Midnight Rider during Phish’s Free.  The crowd loves them and it’s easy to see why.  They are fun and a bit free wheelin, and who doesn’t love those three bands?

Photo by Vinny Natale

The band consists of Dave Brunyak on guitar, Richard James on keys, Eric Gould on bass and Zack Burwick on drums.  One thing I always enjoy about running into them is chatting with Eric Gould as he and I are both fathers, and we talk about parenting, the festival scene and just have a real good time talking.  We run in the same circles, know tons of the same people and he’s a good dude.  This is one of the great things about the Worm scene, and the greater festival scene, the ability to share experiences and to connect with friends who you may never see outside of Camp Kee Wanee.

While Creek was playing the main stage on SAT night Bella’s Bartok came back for their first show in about a month after many of their shows have been canceled due to band illness.  They played at Vernville and Kelly Drew captured this video:

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

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