My time a Camp Equifunk is going swimmingly! I just wanted to let you know that the best kept secret in music festivals this summer was Equifunk. Held annually in late August at a summer camp in the Pocono’s, this sucker went off like part Jam cruise, part Wet Hot American Summer. Done as an all-inclusive festival for a few bills you get all you can eat and drink and a cabin to drop in when the days over. Friday evening was packed with some hard hitting funk from a super group comprised of Robert Walter, Eddie Roberts and Adam Deitch. These three slayed a two hour set and filled it with goodies from the 20th Congress, the New Mastersounds and some straight up jamming that sent our heads spinning and feet on fire. Bottles of panty dropper (aka sweet tea vodka) went dry early due to this hot arrangement and their wild golf-cart ride through the dark woods brand of funk. Karl Denson and his Tiny Universe was no stranger to the late night and Karl was quick to notice that many of the attendees were past campers here. He blew apart his set with some nasty funky flute work and a stellar cover of the Cold War Kid’s “Hang Me out to Dry”. Before we called it a night we felt it fitting to run a pair of underwear up the flag pole in a salute to all great camp antics.
Saturday started with a hearty breakfast in the mess hall and a rousing round of morning activities. Then it was off to the E-Quatics pool complete with a stage and a massive water slide. Saturday’s are meant for pool parties and this one was no slouch with music by Turquaz and The Big Dirty. The party went off for 6 rowdy hours of beach balls flying, bikinis, beer, and one massive splashing finale featuring a raucous cover of The Isley Brothers Shout! The evening brought on a lazy atmosphere and the 400 or so funk campers hung on the ball field and hills for a ribs and chicken BBQ complete with a tub of the coldest vanilla ice-cream this side of Vermont. The evening was a blur as we polished off the remaining rum, sweat
tea vodka and some wild concoction made with Port and an unknown substance called the Brooklyn Yipper. By the time The New Deal took the stage, the crowd and our mangy pack had collided on the dance floor and it was an all-out assault on the floor boards as we danced our way into the late-night. When it was over we ran into Stan, a lifer at camp Equinunk who pulled us into his art studio for a late-night session with clay and his own Zen philosophy. Thanks Stan you placed the proverbial cherry on the sundae of a perfect weekend. So folks I am off to color war. Please send more fresh underwear!
P.S. Below is a video of that crazy Saturday Pool Party
Scattered Trees is touring in support of their new album, Sympathy. This new album offers a selection of songs penned by lead singer-songwriter Nate Eiesland as an emotional release to the passing of his father several years ago. Yes it’s moody and sensitive, but there are also holes with bright shiny light spilling through. As a whole it’s pretty highly listenable with several twists and turns that you may not expect. Their set in Philadelphia at the Kung-Fu necktie was short, but powerful as they expanded on several of the albums softer delivered songs. Their live versions of “Sympathy”, “Love and Leave” and “Four Days Straight” were quite stimulating.
Peep “Four Days Straight” live from the Kung-Fu Necktie below.
Philadelphia’s Orbit to Leslie is a mix of musicians playing Surf and Garage rock mixed with a heafty dose of Afro-beat. The question is does their drumming singing beast of a front man Chris Wood from Grimace Federation realize that this side-project may be just the slice of chocolete cake needed to save the world.
So a few weeks ago a wonderful new music service from Europe landed in the good ole’ USA called Spotify. Since that evil corp. Apple killed Lala I had really missed the access to everything my heart desired musically. Now thanks to Spotify I am back to discovering bands daily. One of the best new discoveries I made in the past week is a band from Brooklyn called Country Mice. To my luck they played their first show this past week in Philadelphia.
Peep the video below to see and hear their brand of Rock filled with plenty of harmonies, distortion and heart.
The electronic showcase known as the Identity Festival tour is headed our way, hitting the PNC Bank Arts Center in Camden on August 14th. The festival features a stellar line-up (see all of ‘em here). Beat Of My Strut had a quick Q & A with two hot acts at the festival musical pioneers Holy Ghost!, and Miami’s funky duo Afrobeta!
Holy Ghost! Q&A
BOMS: In terms of music how would you describe what you play?
HG: The songs we write and play live usually live in the dance-pop-sans-irony tent at the theoretical festival of music. The music we DJ and that we make as remixers of other artists, tends to veere slightly left of that tent, into the smaller, more intimate house/disco tent.
BOMS: You have a sound that is similar to Steely Dan mixed with some pretty thumping beats. How much are you influenced by pop rock music from the 70’s and 80’s vs. the music of today? ∙
HG: yes, we grew up in the 80′s/90′s so the records of that time period, and of our parents heyday (the 70′s) hold a special place in our own discovery of music and enjoyment of it. Of course we also listen to current music, or some, but we’re not the type of guys who have 15 terragigas of mp3s. We don’t know how to use torrent. We still buy vinyl. I barely use my ipod. We like to discover hidden and forgotten gems from other times, like antique dealers, upper west side moms, and hip hop heads do.
BOMS: I know you utilize a lot of different synthesizers – do you have a favorite?
HG: The yamaha cs 80, hands down.
BOMS: And is there a holy grail of synths that you may be on the hunt for?
HG: 10 years we looked, 10 years we searched the digital and physical marketplaces…then we found and bought a cs 80. Well nick did, but I helped carry it.
BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of show around the globe – could you pick and describe one of your favorites and why?
HG: Primavera festival 2011, barcelona spain: its 3.30am, our stage capacity Is about 8k people, barcelona has just defeated manchester united, we are the last act of the festival on that stage…..amazing. Probably more to do with soccer than our performance though!
BOMS: If you could invite any musician(s) to join you in the band (alive or dead) who would you pick?
HG: Ooohwee . Tony thompson from chic on bass, Bernard Edwards from chic on bass, Nile Rodgers from Chic on guitar, Brian Eno on synths, Bernie Worrell on keys + percussion…so basically Talking Heads + Chic. We’d just watch.
BOMS: What inspires you away from music – art, food, play, etc?
HG: Right now we’re really into coconut water, with pulp, from Thailand.
BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see Holy Ghosts sound going 5 years from now?∙
HG: No idea, honestly
BOMS: (Tongue and cheek Q) Does the genre Yacht Rock or Yacht House come with recommend attire best suited for listening?
HG: Gold necklace with Jewish star, faded blue Levis, open button down, moustache, boat shoes. Or I guess that’s any dude from Williamsburg as well….
Afrobeta Q & A
BOMS: For people unfamiliar with your music – What can people expect when coming out to an Afrobeta show?
Cuci: Lots of energy and a good time!
BOMS: How much is having a stage presence important to the style of electro-pop that you play? And how have you developed your stage presence?
Cuci: I think what is described as presence is just communicating the songs. We take our time crafting the songs and working on the live show.
Smurphio: Playing in front of a live audience, practicing and always working on new synth sounds.
BOMS: When you two pen a song who writes more for the band – Cuci Amador or Smurphio? And what influences what you write/sing about? Are there topics that are off limits?
Cuci: I’m guessing you are asking about lyrics more than music. We share the duties of writing lyrics. We like to write about real experiences. No topic is off limits!
BOMS: Do you feel more comfortable playing in a live setting or in the studio? And why is there a comfort level difference – if there is one?
Smurphio: There is a difference to playing in front of an audience as opposed to the studio. In a live situation, it feels like a give and take with the audience. In the studio we rely on each other to get the creativity flowing.
BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of shows– could you pick and describe one of your favorites and why or pick a moment that stands out to you?
Smurphio: We played this little festival at Jimbo’s in Virginia Key called Swamp Stomp. The stage was all rickety and not much more than some wooden boards set up haphazardly. But the energy was incredible! The crowd was all around us, behind and in front and singing the songs. Amazing.
BOMS: Your video for “Play House” is ridiculously creative – what inspired this video? And how much were you involved in its creation / direction?
Cuci: The video was inspired by the director, Ruben Van Leer’s interpretation of the song. We collaborated remotely on Dropbox.com for a month before the shoot. It was important to share ideas beforehand because we flew all the way into Ruben’s hometown, Amsterdam, for the shoot.
BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see the Afrobeta sound going 5 years from now? And where do you see the genre of Electro-pop going in the next 5 years?
Cuci: We do believe music evolves over time. Our sound will incorporate more exotic instrumentation. Electro is pop right now and in 5 years it’s gonna not going to be called electro anymore.
BOMS: What inspires you away from music – travel,art,sport, etc?
Smurphio: zoos, super bounce balls and furry animals
Cuci: nature! We are lucky to have a lot of that here in Miami. The summer has been so fun for kayaking, paddleboarding and biking.
I was at a show the other night and spent some time considering a bit of technology that I’m anxious to watch evolve: Continuous Video Capture. Whenever I’m at a concert that I’m enjoying, I find myself wanting to snap a video of it so that I can relive that moment in the future. Whipping out your camera can sometimes spoil the first version of the moment as you fumble for the right button, etc. Without reinforcement, the brain spends less and less effort trying to remember events that are not actively recalled from time to time.
Would this technology be useful and desirable? Earlier today my son was playing peek-a-boo with my wife and I. It was the sort of moment that makes life worth living. I had a camera nearby. What to do? I enjoyed the moment for a very long time, but finally caved and reached for the camera. Of course he stopped as soon as I turned it on. Is that moment gone forever? No. I will remember it, but it will fade. Was it worth grabbing the camera for?
What if you had a camera technology that was so small and efficient that you were effectively
outsourcing your best memories? It’s not hard to imagine a time when we are using more than just our iPhone cameras and film grade DSLR to shoot video to supplement our memories. Whether it’s something like the technology in Strange Days or miniaturized cameras implanted onto your head something is coming. Heck, it may become fashionable like animatronic pink fuzzy bunny ears. I was at a different show recently where the venue announced that anyone taking photo or video would be kicked out. Not an easy proposition in another 10 years.
The show was by James Farm (led by saxophonist Joshua Redmen) and it was unlike any jazz concert I have seen or heard. They claim to be influenced by electronica and rock, and they arrange songs structured in a way that will be familiar to fans of those genre. Worth checking out. http://www.myspace.com/jamesfarmband
When you think you’ve heard just about enough about Ratko Mladick ( too many consonants ), President Ahmadinajad ( too many liesure suits ), Moamar Kadaffi ( too many pairs of bad sunglasses ) and Osama Bin Laden ( too many poor quality amateur videos )…..When you find it impossible to leave your home for fear of being swept away by flooding rivers, sucked-up by whirring tornados, shaken by earthquakes or consumed by rogue waves…..If you’ve ever felt as if the world is going totally mad anytime the likes of Casey Anthony, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck so much as open their mouths or if you feel your once secure future slipping away because of bankrupt Social Security, Wall Street greed, unfunded Medicare programs and a general loss of Faith…..
Then soothe yourself with a little selection from Doc Rock’s Mad Mad Mad World playlist:
” Blah, Blah, Blah ” by Iggy Pop
” Won’t get fooled again ” by The Who
” Living in the past ” by Jethro Tull
” Open Letter to a Landlord ” by Living Colour
“Revolution ” by The Beatles
” Change ” by Fishbone
” Rise ” by Bad Brains
” We care alot ” by Faith no More
” War Pigs ” by Black Sabbath
” Zoo Station ” by U2
” Zombie ” by The Cranberries
” Killing in the Name ” by Rage Against the Machine
Refill this prescription often. Doctor’s orders…….
Marco Benevento ‘s Trio dropped by Philadelphia’s up and coming Blockley on Friday evening for a rousing two and a half hour set of music. It would seem that Mr. Benevento has finally found a venue suitable for his spirited work on piano and effects. The set was stacked with highlights including an early “Atari” done with a dainty touch on the keys and then beefed up at the end with by Benevento adding plenty of pepper and kung-fu hand action. Dave Dreiwitz held down a pumping low-end pocket with a smile and bounce adding in a chugging rumble when cued by Benevento. Back on the kit sat drummer Andrew Borger who was no stranger to the jazzy flow erupting from
Benevento’s musical whims. He connected beautifully with both Marco and Dreiwitz throughout the long and winding set with some exceptional standout snare work on “Greenpoint,” the first track off Marco’s new album Between the Needles & Nightfall. Borger, who was comfortable with the jazzier numbers, lacked some of Andrew Barr’s punch on “Heartbeats” leaving room for Dreiwitz to bounce in the open holes. Benevento turned up the juice towards the end of the set as he dropped a cheery and upbeat booty shaking version of “Fearless” on us that carried directly into Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.” Benevento
had been probing all evening for singers to step up from the crowd. Since no one had obliged his earlier requests, he turned the rocketman’s tune into a sing-along. With the crowd all properly loosened up on sauce, plenty of shenanigans ensued as Benevento got his wish with a majority of the “spirited” crowd singing the highs on the repeating lyric “Bene! Bene! Bene!” By two am with several versions of the “Real Morning Party” under our belts the show concluded. Learn more about Marco Benevento here and Peep the Benevento Trio in action in the video below.