Markham Moments: Rob’s ‘Rado Recap
My head was still swimming with joy in the afterglow of an astonishing late night show from “The New” Disco Biscuits at Ft. Lauderdale’s Revolution, and there I was taking them in at Langerado’s Swamp Stage. The ferocious late night Revolution show was the band’s southern debut with its new drummer, Allen Aucoin. Almost as if to leave no doubt that they were going to resume their reputation as a wildly compelling, and downright dangerous band, they had opened the show with a vicious take on “Spy,” and a version of “Caterpillar” that exemplified the true meaning of “Bisco” with the audience bathing in waves of creative energy as the band moved them through light and dark areas. Even the most scrutinizing tDB fan seemed joyous about the feeling in the air, and the potential in the future.
The version of “Astronaut,” in Langerado’s Swamp Tent the next day seemed a microcosm of where the band was at as of March of 2006. The composed sections were very strong. The band has been benefiting from a copious review of their material brought on by a need to present it to Aucoin, and the improvisation moved from moments of awkwardness, to others of discovery, “They’re teaching me the songs, yet I have free reign to join in the jams in my own way,” says the former drummer of Georgia’s Skydog, “It’s pretty much whatever happens, happens.” Impressive readings of “Digital Buddha,” (with some nice “Sci-Fi” work from their keyboardist Aron Magner, and an extended segment during which each member took a turn in guiding the music without really soloing) and “Shelby Rose” (although it stumbled out of the gate due to a vocal mike problem) each served to indicate that the quartet is settling into their new shoes quite well. The group has even found that elusive vehicle to properly fit the vocal style of said Magner, as his determined singing drove the success of their lively cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar,”
I didn’t want to leave the Swamp Tent.
But this is Langerado. And even though there was very little “sound bleed,” I did not have to walk far to return to the Sunrise Stage, where I had already caught the beginning of The Meters. (The band started late, at their 5:30 start time Art Neville was on stage alone looking around for his band mates). THE METERS. Sure, they’ve been doing some shows lately but it is still an immense treat to catch all of the original members on the same stage, and as I approached the Sunrise Stage the familiar strains of the classic “Africa,” gradually became clearer, as they were singing about their urge to be taken back, “to the motherland.” However, as they reached the chorus, they were altering the familiar “Af-ri-caaaah” portion, instead singing, “New Or-leeeeens,” in tribute to their home city in peril.
“Ain’t No Use” followed, during which guitarist Leo Nocentelli moved to the center of the stage, and his sharp, stinging lead guitar pierced through the deep groove. Art Neville’s gentle colorings gradually gained in intensity – eventually Nocentelli was compelled to move over to the keyboards where the two shared eye contact and peppered each other with flurries of funky, funky notes buoyed the rock solid rhythm section. Based on his lively inputs, you would never know that Neville had to be gingerly helped off the stage and over to the band’s tent after the set – due to his ailing back.
Side Note >> Later, when asked how long it took the band members to resume their musical chemistry when preparing to reunite, Nocentelli flatly stated, “about two minutes.”
Unfortunately, the “Ain’t No Use” marked the end of their set, but I simply had to make another teensy weensy walk, this time past the blue 3D triangle adorned with four sides of excellent, Langerado-style artwork, past the empty Sunset Stage, to the Everglades Stage (the latter two serve as the de facto “main stages,” alternating acts throughout the day). Here, Ben Harper was at the helm, mesmerizing the crowd with “Please Don’t Talk About Murder While I’m Eating” from the current Innocent Criminals release, Both Sides of the Gun. The cryptically admonishing lyrics of this haunting number found many staring intently at the stage. He is reaching people. This song, a defiant rebuke in defense of “this generation,” is followed by “Forgiven” with the lyric “These arms weren’t made for battle. But to share your warm embrace.”
Harper was exemplifying his ability to inject political messages with passion, cleverness and grace, and without compromising the mystique of his performance style. “Diamonds On The Inside” provided blessed relief, as he focused the spotlight on a woman with the most alluring quality of all inner beauty. Harper would end his set (and Saturday the first full day of the festival) by deftly working Bob Marley’s “War” into “With My Own Two Hands.”
There was so much incredible music in such an unobtrusive setting; I took to calling it the “Pocket Bonnaroo.” The festival benefited from near-perfect (mostly sunny but never obscenely hot) weather and offered a dazzling mix of music in close proximity. On one stage during Friday’s “sound check” the exceedingly lovely songstress Theresa Andersson was followed by the old time/bluegrass picking of Hot Buttered Rum, who was in turn followed by brilliant jazz and beyond from the Benevento/Russo Duo. Saturday, one could easily have stagehopped from the up-and-coming power rock trio of Rose Hill Drive, to RJD2 (the brilliant veteran of the underground hip/hop outfit Megahertz), and then over to hear reggae legend Burning Spear remind us that “Jah No Dead.” This made for a Halloweenesque weekend offering a palette-busting buffet of delicious musical treats for the music lover with eclectic taste.
Microbrews were available in tall cups for only five dollars. Although my favorite beer was not present, Shipyard and some Apricot and Blueberry Beers were among the available quality suds. There were plenty of healthy food options, a variety of tangy juices readily available to cool off from the Florida sun, even some tasty vegetarian offerings, all reasonably priced and with lines that were usually somewhat short and swiftly moving. There was also a fantastic “Shakedown Street” filled with a variety of vendors, buoyed by the casual nature of the festival. Jeff Wood, the absolutely brilliant artist from Drowning Creek Studios in Athens, GA, was quick to emphasize this, “This is different from a normal jamband festival of this size. Most have camping and the folks going at it’ 24/7 for three or four days. We get some breaks here at night, so we can shower and chill a little bit, rather than keep at it for 24 hours.”
Every festival has its share of discovery opportunities. My head was turned the most at this festival was The Secret Machines.
I had seen them briefly at a previous Bonnaroo but based on the ridiculous amount of recommendations from reliable music fans (members of Perpetual Groove are particularly enthusiastic their set the previous day opened with a Machines-influenced new song of theirs called “Crapshoot”) I made sure to situate myself in the center of the crowd in front of the soundboard and give them a good, hard look. The band proceeded to engulf me with their invigorating performance. The set was dynamic and visceral, with passionate performances from each band member, and a light show that completely drew the audience into the music. I was paralyzed past the point of having absolutely no ability to take notes, but I vividly remember their ethereal prelude jam setting the table gorgeously for the opening chords of “Alone, Jealous and Stoned.” With lyrics that often touched upon remoteness and arrangements that soared with a mystical grace the band was about as magnetic as one band could be. They galloped through “Lightning Blue Eyes” with incredible energy, with their relentless drummer Josh Garza pushing them along.
The Machines brought their set to close by following the gripping, emotional, slow-building “Chains” with the aggressive “Nowhere Again” and then the dynamic, “First Wave Intact.” Each was delivered with vigor, with the band completely immersed in their craft, and the intense light show seducing the crowd. Cascading chords drifted into delicious static to bring this momentous set to a close. Over the course of the set, they had recalled everyone from New Order to The Mars Volta yet they clearly maintained their own undeniably distinctive overall presentation.
Umphrey’s McGee must be credited for stepping up to the plate in grand fashion, as they had leveled a Chicago Theater crowd the previous evening, and taken a 6am flight to Florida to perform with little (and reportedly in some cases, no) sleep. Guitarist Jake Cinninger was particularly resilient, as his guitar had been the object of intense scrutiny from airport security. “It was an airport flaw,” Cinninger would explain after his band’s festival set, “They released all of the springs on the back of my guitar, and when I got it back, it looked like the neck had been broken so I spent the last ten minutes just before we started readjusting everything. I was hoping that the humidity and all of the factors that can happen to a guitar would treat me kindly and keep the guitar in tune, and miraculously it seemed to work.”
The band delivered a song-oriented set, veering away from its improvisational tendencies for the most part, perhaps because a somewhat lethargic jam out of an early set “Plunger” provided the only hint of sleep deprivation. A particularly strong version of “2X2” (with the situation-appropriate lyric “Could I leave it now, when so tired am I – what is suffering?”) fired the band members up enough to find them tearing through the power-charged, comical “(Got Your Milk) Right Here” – one of two songs offered from the pen of Mother Vinegar’s Karl Engelmann. Surprisingly, the only song from the (at festival time not yet released) latest UM disc Safety In Numbers, was “Women, Wine and Song,” which harkens back to The Band, and to a larger extent, Little Feat. Umphrey’s evening performance at Revolution was markedly more indicative of its ability to improvise and explode. “Push The Pig” moved to some spontaneous creativity (identified to me by savvy Umphans as “Jazz Odyssey”) during which Disco Biscuits’ bassist Marc Brownstein emerged, replacing UM bassist Ryan Stasik and the energy quickly began to pulsate violently as they tore through “Another Brick In The Wall.” Stasik would return and Biscuit guitarist Jon Gutwillig would then replace Brendan Bayliss and eventually engage in some tasty dueling with Cinninger. Bayliss would have to evidence his Ninja skills during a mock fight that resulted from Gutwillig not wanting to remove his iron from the McGee fire (he and Jake were visibly giddy about their “back and forth” section). “Resolution” at Revolution also received a full workout as the band moved through some stunning improvisation (including more than one reference to “Norwegian Wood”) before slicing its way into Cinninger’s challenging instrumental “Eat,” a newer member of the prog-rock side of UM’s repertoire.
The Drive-By Truckers were another band that delivered a full late night performance and a festival set. “It was a nice, packed, hot, sweaty, crazy show,” Bassist Shonna Tucker said of the evening performance, and multiple reports from fans the next day cited the show as extremely charged and whisky-soaked, even by Trucker standards. The band offered a short, but solid daytime set, which included a sneak peek at some material from their forthcoming CD with the set-opening “Feb. 14” and later in the set “Wednesday.” Jason Isbell was in fine guitar form for the entire set, ripping a particularly high-speed solo on Mike Cooley’s “Shut Up And Get On The Plane.” A member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd family that decided to get on the fateful plane at the last minute all those years ago was the inspiration for this song, so it was appropriate that they would follow with front man Patterson Hood’s anthem to how rock “saved him” in his teenage years, “Let There Be Rock” (which directly references Skynyrd). Hood alternated between making direct eye contact with audience members, and gesturing toward the sky like an enthusiastic minister as he thoroughly delivered his song’s lyric.
Even during a time-limited festival gig – the band never works with a setlist, “just because we’re lazy,” Isbell would tell me later. It does allow them to be flexible enough to spontaneously build on energy, as they did after Isbell commanded them through a powerful version of his “Goddamn Lonely Love.” Isbell explains, “Patterson came over, and was like, you want to do another one,” and I said yeah,’ so we did Outfit.’ Had I said no,’ he would have done one or Cooley would have done one sometimes I do say no – it’s just the way we work.” Their method paid off this time, resulting in a shamelessly rip-snorting take on Isbell’s, “Outfit.”
Antibalas’ front of stage conga player, Duke Amayo, at one point eyeballed crowd members with his war-painted face, leading them in a fist-pumping, anti-Bush sing-along, repeating the phrase “order in the court!” During the set, the eleven-piece orchestra moved through various horn and percussion textures with an effortlessness that would make Fela Kuti himself proud (they even closed with Fela’s “Gentleman”). The band has just completed a record with Tortoise’s John McEntire tweaking the knobs, and the first two songs of their Langerado set, “Beat Metal” (a fitting title as it featured some beautifully noisy, wildly metallic percussion) and “Filibuster” will each be included on the fall release. The band fit in perfectly with the Langerado vibe, “Our music is warm weather music,” said baritone saxophonist Martin Perna, “it sounds like it should down here.”
Perna hustled over to the Florida Native Stage immediately after Antibalas’ set to perform one number with the SPAM All-Stars (a new song by percussionist Tomas Diaz which featured a sea of seductive rhythms and chants of “Africa”), with whom he had recorded the previous day. “We’ve been cultivating a friendship and a musical relationship for two or three years now,” he said, “It was great to get down with them. Their music is unique, and it’s so much fun to be a part of their sound.” The rest of the SPAM set was invigorating. The most recent permanent SPAMmer, Chad Bernstein, demonstrated why the band is eager for him to hit the road with them (his studies at U of Miami have prevented him from gigging extensively out of state) as he drove the energy at times, blended beautifully with fellow horn/flute section members (and longtime SPAMmers) Mercedes Abal and AJ Hill at others, and even offered a conch solo. Kentucky musician Ben Hovey made the trip to add MiniMoog and trumpet to the fold, and as always, DJ Le SPAM made shrewd use of sounds from his extensive collection of (in many cases) bizarre albums “dropping” a variety of rhythms and spoken words. He was quiet for stretches, but when the moment was right he would feed the music from his rear stage pedestal, One instructional record on how to speak Indonesian (a language actually spoken fluently as a second language by most Indonesians) lent a bizarre feel, yet it worked.
The Florida Native stage was nestled in a far corner of the festival. Although it was marred by the most sound bleed, one could move to the right side of the stage directly in front of the speaker to minimize the sonic overflow from the Sunset or Everglades stages. Rapidly ascending singer/songwriter Jesse Jackson, The Suenalo Sound System (an adventurous nine-piece Latin funk band), and the soul funk outfit The Legendary JC’s were among the artists that held court at this locally flavored stage.
I would be remiss if I did not touch on the sets from Wilco and the Black Crowes, given the fact that based on the people I spoke with, many came to see these two bands.
Wilco was in fine form. Their unpredictable front man Jeff Tweedy was in a very playful mood. He spoke with the audience frequently, offered occasional moments of scorching guitar and sang with an audible and visible zest (reaching to the sky with both hands while singing “A ghost is born, a ghost is born” during a charged “Theologians”). “Walken” was the only new song offered (possibly about someone attempting to look ahead in life as best (s)he can while a strong relationship memory lingers) but the band offered a generous four songs from Being There, a CD they released a decade ago. The energetic “Monday” was the most successful of these. It was certainly not surprising that the band’s German-techno influenced “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” would resonate the most with many in the crowd. Tweedy’s sharp blasts of distortion early in the song, and interplay with Nels Cline throughout surely made this a satisfying ten minutes for the “lovers of extended jamming” in the audience. One festival attendee, Sheila “Shine” McGwire, took particular inspiration, hula hooping in energetic unison with the band as it moved through this multi-sectioned song.
I would not get to catch the first half of the Black Crowes set (it was up against The Secret Machines), but my friends Rob Johnson, Matt Carlson and Erin Denatala all attended and each reported that it was one of the best performances they had ever seen from this Georgia band. Personally, I would very much have liked to have seen “Wiser Time” and “Sometimes Salvation” two of my favorite songs from this band, each of which were performed while TSM was inducing drool from my half-open mouth. When The Machines finished shortly after 8pm, I was tempted to go catch the last 45 minutes or so of The Crowes set. I had a long walk to my vehicle that I would eventually have to make, but I knew it was parked just across the water and behind the stage on which The Crowes were performing. Curious about what the sound would be like (and eager to get in my car and beat the traffic as I had to bolt back to my home in central Georgia), I decided to make the trek around the Intercoastal waterway tributary that wrapped behind four of the stages providing a natural barrier.
This ended up being a very surreal experience, as midway through the lengthy walk I began to hear the familiar strains of “Hard To Handle.” A sweet guitar solo was filling the air (making me assume it was Marc Ford) as scattered people, some Markham Park visitors with their families), were chillin’ or making their way off of the grounds. By the time I reached the area where my car was parked, the band had begun “She Talks To Angels.” I found a little waterside hut directly behind the stage, and enjoyed this, and the “Jealous Again” and “Twice As Hard” that followed from my own, cozy private Idaho. Then I said goodbye to this great festival, clicked on my Sirius Radio S50, and guided my car toward the Florida Turnpike to knock out the ten hour-ish trip back to Atlanta.
Scattered Other LANGERADO Happenings
Benevento/Russo Duo’s Friday set included not only staples like “Welcome Red,” and the delightfully lengthy “9×9” (during which Marco toyed with the opening notes of Wilco’s “At Least That’s What You Said”) but also at least two songs from their next release (due in July), including the ethereal “Memphis,”during their set many people were freaking out as word was going around that Keith Richards was in attendance. Unfortunately, it was merely a well-known, local Richards impersonator, playing up his li’l role to the hilt with bodyguards, appropriate attire and such..One duped security guard tried to sell me a beach ball signed by the faux Stones axe man after I had been leveled by The Secret Machines, eliciting an unstoppable giggle from your ace cub reporter.Perpetual Groove garnered a thunderous response from the crowd, as they offered a rare early set take on “Mr. Transistor” (generally a late showstopper selection) and covers of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade.” Guitarist Brock Butler would say the next day, “From the word go’ the energy was great. It wasn’t even particularly hot on stage, but I ended up soaked just from the intensity of what I was feeling”..Sharon Gilchrist joined Hot Buttered Rum (formerly Hot Buttered Rum String Band) on mandolin, and in turn HBR’s Zac Matthews moved from mandolin to join Aaron Redner on fiddle, and the band delivered a fiery, double-fiddle version of the instrumental “June Apple” with Bryan Horne offering a bowed bass solo. Gilchrist has toured with Peter Rowan, so it was only appropriate that they followed with “Wedding Day,” a song the band recorded with Rowan. Later in the set, the band concluded with a spirited, but respectful reading of The Grateful Dead’s “Cumberland Blues”.The New Mastersounds gained a slew of new fans, as their British slant on funk tickled many an ear. More reserved and measured, and less clichnd predictable than many young American funk bands, TNM recalled Jimmy Smith, Lou Donaldson and Jimmy McGriff, evidenced a youthful vigor, and displayed an aw-shucks spirit by taking pictures of the crowd from the stage. Guitarist Eddie Roberts was particularly stellar.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah offered their at times jangly Cure-influenced version of Indie Rock. Their third song (cleverly introduced by a band member stating, “this is our third song”) moved from a slow gentle rhythm to a hard-driving, almost grind-rock feel, to hand-clapping and finally some furious guitar strumming. The band displayed an ability to make seemingly disparate sections of music flow curiously well. I was ecstatic when one song (maybe their fifth?) harkened back to a personal favorite of mine, Robyn Hitchcock. The band clearly justified the shocking Internet-driven success of its self-titled debut release.The Langerado crowd reveled in the Flaming Lips’ sing-along cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and some of their more loyal fans told me that this version of “The W.A.N.D,” a call-to-arms plea for the country to “move on” from antiquated political thinking, was in fact a Lips debut.
Robert Randolph and The Family Band was joined by Daniel Sproul (the guitarist portion of the Rose Hill Drive’s “Sproul Brothers”) for an incredible version of “Nobody,” during which The Family Band gave Sproul more than a few moments to shine, and shine he did. G. Love then emerged to lend quirkily rhythmic harmonica (even recalling Van Morrison’s style a couple of times) and seemingly freestyle vocals to a hip hop-flavored song with which I was not familiarBoth The Lips and Randolph’s Family Band visited Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” late in their sets, although as you might imagine, in radically different fashionThe Disco Biscuits’ late night set featured a new Gutwillig composition called “Strawberry Girl,” and a new instrumental mostly from the Magner pen called, “The Great Abyss.” Magner indicated that the band has found new inspiration and old methods from their current situation, “What’s really cool about the amount that we’re practicing now, and this new studio we have as well is that we are starting to write as a band collectively again. Somebody will introduce an idea to the band, and then over the course of the week of practice it will kind of get life as a song, as opposed to a member of the band just bringing in a fully written composition (although that still does happen sometimes).”. Michael Franti and Spearhead offered a reggae-heavy set with many positive vibrations and danceable grooves. At one point they shared a version of “Roller Coaster.” Some of the banter sounded bit too familiar though – What is this whole “I like my bass loud-ee, loud-ee, louder” thing?.Wayne Coyne delighted the crowd by somehow getting himself into a giant, plastic bubble in which he surfed over the crowd at the beginning of their set. He smartly preluded this with cautionary instruction. Fred Durst could learn from this man.
“We have another new song so, bear with us. If you like it, scream. If not, I dunno, throw your shoes or something.”
Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips to crowd before “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”
“It’s very Dante-esque here for Northerners, just to let you know not that we’re all Northerners. I have nothing to say other than I want to scream at you and I want you to scream at us. And for some reason, it’s part of rock n’ roll, and I have no interest in changing it.”
Jeff Tweedy, Wilco, to crowd before the sing-along portion of “Kingpin”
“It’s like getting back on a bike that still has training wheels, but one is raised a little bit so we sort of rock to both sides every now and then. It does feel good though. We’re having fun. The more we get to play, the more it will be just as happy a situation as it was 30 years ago.”
George Porter Jr, The Meters bassist on returning with his original Meters band mates
“From one old guy to another, it feels good. It’s like getting in an old car with a fresh approach. Because all of us have matured musically over the years, so when you come back doing something old having matured, it’s gonna sound different, it’s gonna sound better. You make it sound like you want it to sound today. I think that is what’s happening with The Meters today.”
“If all goes well, and people continue to say they want to hire us, why not?”
George Porter Jr., bassist The Meters when asked if the band plans on embarking on a full tour
“There are similarities between Skydog (Georgia based band with whom he performed before joining tDB) and The Biscuits. We rocked pretty hard in Skydog at times, but The Biscuits definitely get more trancey, and I’m enjoying that.”
Allen Aucoin, new drummer for The Disco Biscuits
“I know Allen (Aucoin) from the Skydog days, so seeing him play with them was a real treat, I’m really excited for him. I congratulated him a bunch last night..probably one time too many.”
Brock Butler, Perpetual Groove guitarist on newest member of The Disco Biscuits
“I think playing with another musician definitely brings out your creative energy. That’s why I like doing side projects. I love with all my heart playing with the Disco Biscuits. I think it was what I was meant to do. There are no other musicians in the world that I would rather play with than the members of this band. However, there is something to say for playing with other musicians. Take playing tennis. When you play with someone for a while, you get to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. The game stops being fun after a while because you get to a point where you can anticipate their every move. It’s not a direct analogy because I can’t imagine it not being incredibly fun playing with The Biscuits, but now that we’ve added a fresh element to it, we find we are experimenting around the tricks that he is starting to throw into the mix. We’re having a lot of fun out there.”
Aron Magner, Disco Biscuits keyboardist on Aucoin addition influence
“We really enjoy the south; people are real kind and receptive. I feel like people are more unbiased, more apt to check it out and get into it if it’s their first time checking us out. This is the big, big southern, southern fest of the season I believe.”
Jake Cinninger, Umphrey’s McGee guitarist
“Langerado is special because we’ve never had an annual festival with this kind of aesthetic in South Florida since I’ve been here (16 years)”
DJ Le Spam, SPAM ALLSTARS
“I really like the lineup for this Langerado. It’s a nice cross-section of what’s going on in a lot of different music styles right now. When you throw a festival I think that is what you should try to do bring together a bunch of different types of groups. You got Michael Franti over here doin’ reggae and some power rock later on over there with Secret Machines. With The Machines, Wilco and the Flaming Lips, I get to enjoy three of my top ten favorite bands.”
Adam Perry, Perpetual Groove bassist
“It is very laid back, nobody seems to be freaking out backstage, everyone is just enjoying the breeze.”
Shonna Tucker, Drive-By Truckers bassist on Langerado vibe
““I came to get out of the New York cold, and to see great music, especially the Disco Biscuits. I get down here to find out this festival is awesome! It is set up so well, it’s very clean here and there is lots of great food and I’ve met great people and a lot of diversity in the music. I’m very pleased!!”
Chrissy Lucchesi-Leon, Queens, NY
“It felt magical on stage. We’ve been on tour for month and tonight was the best sound yet. This was the highlight of our run.”
Jacob Sproul, Rose Hill Drive bassist
“We played here the year before last and it was lame, but now it is definitely good. This festival has grown really quickly. The first time we played here it was in a different location and it was a lot smaller, and there were some good bands like Cracker and Cake, but for the most part it was a lot of stuff that wasn’t very good, but now you got like The Lips and Wilco and a bunch of other really cool bands and of course the weather is really very perfect.”
Jason Isbell, Drive-By Truckers guitarist
“I’ve watched Langerado grow from the tiny little festival that could, to a festival that brought bands to a part of Florida they usually would not get to, to now where their bringing in national acts. It was once just a local thing with regional acts, and now there’s about 15,000 people here having a great time.”
Jeff Wood, Drowning Creek Studios Athens, GA
“The crowds are completely different. These sorts of festivals in Europe are pretty loose, but there is a general openness that you find in American people, I think. Especially when you give them some form of good music everybody goes crazy. The weather here is great that’s a big part of it if you’re gonna be outside. There’s very friendly people and great bands and this is our first trip to Florida. I can’t wait to come back, I hope we come back.”
Robert John “Bob” Birch, The New Mastersounds keyboardist comparing European and American outdoor festivals
“This is my second year at the festival. I love it. We (the band) came down here and handed out about 500 CDs. It was the first festival where we promoted the band, and now we get to play it.”
Alex Botwin, Pnuma Trio bassist
“Langerado is such a great collaboration of different musicians in styles of music that are not done justice without live performance.”
Chad Bernstein, SPAM ALL-STARS, Suenalo Sound System
“I came for music, good times and MOFRO and Keller Williams. We don’t get anything in Mississippi, so I’m used to traveling. All the people here to have fun, it’s great. Robert Randolph is the shit; they put on such a great show. They jammed out and had a good-ass time, every one of them.”
Maryann Calmuth, Meridian, MS
“This is the first time The Biscuits have played Langerado. Moshi-Moshi played here a couple of years ago. It is really the first festival that kicks off festival season and it reminds you how great the summer is. You know, if you haven’t had sex in a while and then you have sex again, you’re like, this is fucking awesome,’ Langerado is like that.”
Aron Magner, Disco Biscuits keyboardist
“I think Joe and I are in love with all of you people. There’s something there, there’s something out there that I want to be a part of.”
Marco Benevento, Benevento/Russo Duo to roaring crowd after a particularly raucous version of their, dare I say, hit, “Becky.”
“We have pretty much been up for the last 27 hours because we played at the Chicago Theater last night, and all of our friends we’re out. Then we jumped on a plane and got here with just enough time to get onstage, make sure all the shit is working and hit the show running. Once you get up there and there are that many folks out there digging what you’re doing, then all the little Diva-esque things that rockers tend to get into, especially Brendan Bayliss, (he shoves his band mate playfully) – they all just go away.”
Jake Cinninger, Umphrey’s McGee guitarist
“I have one record from the Atomic scare of the early sixties. “Secrets of Successful Varmint Calling” is a real good one. It is basically a Texan guy talking about how to hide in the bushes and make foxes, coyotes and bobcats come to you. He has a really strong accent, but then you hear the sounds he uses and they’re like, that one is ranking. There are also X-Rated Spanish Erotic ones that work really well. There’s no end to weird, man.”
DJ LeSpam, SPAM ALLSTARS, on the most bizarre records he spins on stage
“We’re really lucky and have been continuously. It has finally gotten to the point where we are all sure that we are able to have this as our stable career. We’re taking full advantage of it, and we plan to do what we do for a long, long time. We’re really excited about recording a new album at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta. We have recorded two albums before, but now we are no longer just a group of guys getting together and playing. That family unit and structure is coming into play, so we’re gonna make, I think, our first real’ album. It’s gonna be a lot edgier than anything we’ve done before.”
Matt McDonald, Perpetual Groove keyboardist on the state of his band
“Sometimes when we get drunk we play longer, but that didn’t used to be called jamband’ that used to be just called drunk redneck rock.’ It’s totally different now, before there were no flutes.”
Jason Isbell, Drive-By Truckers guitarist when asked if he ever gets an urge to play longer solos
“I was the one who told Marc to follow his dream. In his second semester of his senior year, when he told me he wasn’t gonna graduate, and I asked him if this is really his dream, and he said yes’ and I said then go for it. I said Penn (University of Pennsylvania) will always be there, but this is your one opportunity to see if you can really follow your dream, and everybody should have that opportunity.”
Marge “Bisco Mom” Brownstein, mother of Disco Biscuits’ bassist, Marc Brownstein
“I was still in high school and we saw them open for Blues Traveler, and then we went to see them at The Fox in Boulder and they just blew my hair back. it just blew me away. They were older dudes, but the energy was so intense and everything was so loud, but good that I was literally shocked and in awe and even a little scared – as you should be at a rock show. That should be everything.”
Jacob Sproul, Rose Hill Drive bassist on the first times he and his brother saw their principal influence, Gov’t Mule.
“I hope not. We went through this phase during which a lot of shit happened. When you’re writing, it is relative to what you’re going through. It was a long year, but now everything is starting to turn around, so I think we will be a little more celebratory. I hope. We don’t need any more tragedy.”
Brendan Bayliss, Umphrey’s McGee guitarist, when asked if we may see more of the introspective side of the band’s songwriting as we have recently in songs such as “Higgins” and “Morning Song.”
“I don’t think about these’ jambands.’ They are nice people and they are usually good musicians, and that is about all I have to say about that.”
Jason Isbell, Drive-By Truckers guitarist – answering the question, “What do you think of all these “jambands.”
“I know I speak a lot about individual responsibility and the horribleness of going with the crowd’ but this is the time that you don’t have to worry about any responsibility and you just go with the fucking crowd here, Ok?!?”
Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips, attempting to encourage the crowd to sing along with the final verse of “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.”
Rob Turner would like to thank Carrie Lombardi, Larry Sanders, Dave Vann and Syd Atkinson for their assistance with this story.