My second day at Summer Camp started out by meeting up with some great friends and checking out ALO. This is just an all out fun band. The music is a little on the bubblegum pop side, but they make it work in such a good way with deliciously witty lyrics and a whole slew of instruments. I believe during a few songs there might have been a kid’s plastic keyboard that was being used. If you want to dance and have a good time, this is your band. The California laid back attitude was radiating off of the entire crowd while we were kicking up dust and getting down.
I took a breather during Common which I am kind of kicking myself for now. I could still hear pretty well from the campsite, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t miss that set. I was able to get up and check out G. Love though. Again, kind of on the bubblegum side, but very fun. If I had to describe a typical summer day in college it would be like a G. Love song. Just kickin’ back, ice cold brews, shooting the shit with the crew… it’s all wrapped up in those songs. What college kid hasn’t listened to “I Like Cold Beverages” on a Saturday afternoon? What made the set for me was when Warren Haynes joined the stage. Festivals are a fantastic place for artists to sit in, and the most fun are the unexpected ones. I honestly didn’t expect Warren to come out for G. Love. He brought their set from good to great. I could listen to Warren just play his guitar for hours and hours.
Because of my love for Warren, I was pumped for Gov’t Mule to play next. It was such a bummer that they were playing at the hottest and most dusty stage at Summer Camp. By this time I was so sweaty and tired and burned out, I could do nothing but just sit and try to absorb the music to find any sort of relief. Unfortunately, not even the music could save me at that point.
Once the sun started to go down, I think we were all able to find some relief. I spent the rest of the night with two sets of Umphrey’s McGee. I have fallen out of love with Umph’s over the past few years, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. The last show that I saw was in Des Moines probably about two years ago, and I just don’t think they played to their usual insanity. I’m not sure if that kind of turned me off a bit or because I felt all of my love being pulled towards Phish. Regardless, the band restored my faith in them on this night. It was a beautiful moment to be surrounded by such amazing friends who were loving life. I am not going to dissect the sets as there are far better people that can do that. What I will say is that it was evident that the energy the crowd was radiating was being fully penetrated by the band. As the night went on they seemed to strip away all control and throw caution into the dust we were kicking up. The sound was raw and powerful and full of life. I need to listen to these sets again and really dig deep to find the magic I once heard.