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Published: 2008/05/27

Letters Home from Summer Camp

The Midwest festival season kicked off over the weekend with the 8th annual Summer Camp. As in years past, the event took place in Chillicothe, IL, featuring multiple sets from both moe. and Umphreys McGee, though for the first time since the festivals sophomore year Keller Williams sat out the weekends festivities. Like many jam-centric gatherings, Summer Camp expanded a bit stylistically this spring, boasting performances by live hip-hop crew The Roots, jam-pop band O.A.R., funk-legends George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, indie-sensations the New Pornographers and rising hard-rock stars Clutch, who earned some of the weekends biggest buzz. Summer Camp also served as the launching pod for The Flaming Lips summer show, which features a cover of Led Zeppelins Song Remains the Same.

moe. offered five sets over the course of the weekend, many of which featured guest performers. On Saturday, the quintet brought out first time guest G. Love to play harmonica on St. Augustine, Cornmeals Allie Kral to add fiddle to both Cathedral and Conviction Song and Umphreys McGees Jake Cinninger to lay down some extra axe on Meat. On Sunday, moe invited put U-Melts Zac Lasher to play keyboards on ‘Recreational Chemistry’ and Umphreys McGees Kris Myers to participate in one of the groups drum segments. moe. also debuted some new covers, including Peter Gabriels Solsbury Hill on Saturday and The Polices Synchronicity Part 2 on Sunday.
The group stepped things up on a production level as well, placing giant towers on either side of the stage. On Saturday, during ‘George’ giant disco balls ascended up on genie lifts on both towers and were illuminated more than 50 feet up in the air. According to former News Editor, and current moe. lighting designer, on Sunday, during ‘Meat’ guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey climbed up in each tower and played during the jam from the tops of the towers (all the way up at the same height as the roof of the stage), engulfed in way fog machine chaos, while the rest of the group held down the rhythm section.
The members of moe. also performed with a number of other groups: drummers Jim Loughlin and Vinnie Amico sat in with Macpodz, Loughlin played with his other group Lynch and Amico sat in with U-Melt, while drummer George Miller stepped out front to sing lead on a cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Kid Charlemagne.’ In addition, Schnier joined Hot Buttered Rum on electric guitar for Beneath The Blossoms, (You Make Me) Feel Like Dancin’ and Honkytonk Tequila, while Cornmeals Kris Nowak played with the group on Be Kind Boys, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, Satisfy My Soul, Copenhagen, Jackmormon Mother and Firefly.
Ha Ha the Moose, the moe. offshoot featuring Loughlin, Garvery and moe. bassist Rob Derhak, also played a late-night show that culminated with a naked women dancing on stage and the members of the band being pulled offstage. In the theatrics disarmament, former New Groove of the Month Family Groove Company offered its rendition of the Eminem hit ‘Without Me’ with bassist Janis Wallin rapping, while organist Jordan Wilkow held down the low end with his keyboard. According to reports, Wallin brought the house down when she emerged in full super hero costume (as Eminem does in the songs music video), complete with green tights, black cape and a mask.

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