All Good Summer Festival & Camp Out, Marvin’s Mountaintop, Masontown, WV- 7/8-11
When my friends and I piled in to our Ford Excursion at 1 am to make the all night voyage to the All Good Music Fest at Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, W.V., I knew that a special weekend was in the mix. With arguably the festival's best lineup to date, Walther Productions has really flexed its muscle as one of the finest concert/festival promoters in the country. Walther does festivals the way they should be done; not overcrowded, a focus on waste and recycling management, beautiful locales, and most importantly, great people who care about good music. So, without further ado…
The opening act on Friday was The Assembly of Dust and they served up incendiary sounds to match the heat of the day. Reid Genauer's songwriting ability combined with the penetrating guitar sounds from Adam Terrell, and produces quite a force. Songs like "Man with a plan" and "Corpus Christi" really got the festival going, and as Genauer himself put it, "we are just the hors d'oeuvres for you guys."
Other day one highlights included the newly formed Stockholm Syndrome, a project put together by Dave Schools of Widespread Panic and Jerry Joseph of the Jackmormons. With almost a jammed out Dylanesque sound, Syndrome really played a "Holy Happy Hour" for the All Good audience. Plus, the funky grooves of The Greyboy Allstars were a real treat. It was my first time seeing the combo of Karl Denson and Robert Walter on stage together and they did not let anyone down. And just when you thought it was over, here comes Keller. The man plays music in a frenzy running here and there on stage like his pet dog Earl scampering after a Frisbee. His set on Friday night was no different with the crowd totally immersed in his looped out beats and bops.
Day two arrived with another stellar lineup. Jazz Mandolin Project took the stage right after lunchtime and delivered a sturdy set with John Fishman of Pork Tornado on lead percussion. They played some of their atypical approaches to jazz music as well as some interesting Led Zeppelin covers. Umphrey's McGee destroyed their set with face melting metal/funk fusion. I about crapped my pants when they covered "Waiting Room" by Fugazi for all you Indi-rockers out there. Soulive came correct with jazzy hip-hop sounds that literally had me sore after their set was complete. Now will somebody please call up Andre 3000 of Outkast so we can get the world's greatest collaboration in the works. MMW slowed it down with their legendary acid jazz sounds while cool mountain air laid a chill in to the crowd. And then the stage was set for the highlight of the weekend.
For what was to be their only show of the summer, The Disco Biscuits took the stage a little after 2 am for their "until dawn" show. Opening with their rendition of Edvard Grieg's classical piece "In the Hall of the Mountain King," they burst right in to set one with an overwhelming "Jigsaw Earth>Pilin' it High>Jigsaw." The second set was only comprised of two songs. "7-11" was the opener with Barber belting out the chorus "I'm gonna go out and jam! I'm gonna go out and party!" The segue from "7-11" was flawless which lead into "Helicopters" that had more ebbs and flows in it than a Russ Meyer film (sorry Seinfeld). As the sun came up while Bisco finished their set, things finally began to settle down on Marvin's Mountaintop and everyone tread back to their campsites for a little rest.
Sunday afternoon was a scorcher. The sun was blistering and the cool mountain air that we all celebrated the night before was still in bed trying to recover from the Bisco show. North Mississippi All Stars frontman Luther Dickinson put it best by saying "This next song is called Be So Glad' when the sun goes down. I'll bet you all are ready for that." The Allstars had John Medeski sit in for the set and even though the sun was pouring down, people still found away to shake their bones to the bluesy sounds of NMA.
Dark Star Orchestra came on as the festival closers. They chose a set from the late 80's highlighting Grateful Dead classics like "Ship of Fools" and "Cumberland>Samson." With audience energy levels deteriorating, DSO ripped a "Saturday Night>Black Muddy River" that gave the crowd that final boost it needed and then the music stopped.
One article does not do justice for all the musicianship and good vibes that occurred over the weekend at the All Good Music Fest. As people slowly crept down the mountain to head home, they knew they had witnessed a special event. Simply put, All Good had come full circle. And thank God I scored a copy of Police Academy to watch on the way home because it was going to be a long, strange trip.