music / Columns

Jam Central Station 12.22.12: It’s Not The End Of The World

December 22, 2012 | Posted by Knight-of-God

If you are reading this, that means that the world didn’t end. Shocking, I know. With the end of the world apparently not on the radar, hopefully you used the (non)threat to turn over a new leaf somewhere. Kind of like a New Years Resolution, but instead it’s a New Mayan Calendar Great Cycle Resolution. A little more rare, right? Anyways, I’m glad we’re still all here, and I’ll get on with the show!

Merry Christmas everyone! Or Happy Holidays, or whatever. I’m not picky. Anyways, it’s almost the end of the year, everyone is busy as all hell, and as I’m writing this I don’t even know if the world will still be around for you to read it. But rather than assume that the end of the world is coming I figured I might as well cover all my bases and write something this week. At the end of the year I usually like to switch things up a bit, so I figured I’m just gonna free flow this week’s column a bit and write about a few of the things I’ve really enjoyed this past year. It’s been a great year, without a doubt, and the music has been a huge part of it.

First off, in an utter shock to me, I’ve been involved in a relatively successful local band. I’m sure you’ve seen me talk about The MuckleBuck here on numerous occasions, and it’s really been a highlight of this past year. When I joined the band last October, I really didn’t expect it to go anywhere, at least for me. I was brought into the fold mainly because I’ve been good friends with the guitarist/vocalist for most of our lives and because I had some knowledge of how to navigate the larger musical world. It was certainly not because of any great skill as a musician. In fact, prior to jamming with The MuckleBuck, I hadn’t really played percussion in years. Instead of hanging at a few practices and gracefully bowing out, however, I was able to hold onto a position in the band. I quickly got some chops back (and developed a wider range), I’ve been able to play a role in shaping and arranging songs, and I’ve been able to play a huge role in booking and promoting the band.

I’ve learned quite a bit as part of the band. First off, it’s freakin’ hard to write a good song. The band is definitely lucky to have a great songwriter, but Don never really brings a completed song to the band. He brings riffs, lyrics, and ideas. It’s then our job to shape that raw material into a song. The process is frustrating and amazing at the same time. Most of our members have full time jobs, so we don’t get to practice together more than once or twice a week. Because of that we work very hard to make our practices productive. I’ve learned pretty quickly that our practice schedule and ethic isn’t exactly typical, and frankly I credit that as a big reason we’ve been successful so far. We’ve played in front of hundreds of people on some of the best stages in the area, and we have every intention of branching out in the coming year. I’ve been lucky enough to open for bands that I have tons of respect for, something I never anticipated happening to me. So I have to say that this has been a great experience for me.

I’ve also been exposed to some great new music. Obviously a big part of the writing that I do forces me to look at new artists and new genres, but it’s been a pretty exceptional year for that. I had started to pay attention to modern folk and bluegrass music last year, but it’s really been kicked into a new gear this year. It all started with the Cornmeal show I attended back in February. I almost didn’t make the show, but I’m extremely glad that I did. The band absolutely lit the venue up with a tremendous set. Other bands that quickly popped up on my radar included Trampled by Turtles and The Devil Makes Three. Both of these bands are on the rise, with Trampled by Turtles going from playing the Beachland Tavern a year ago to selling out the Ballroom this year. That’s a huge jump.

Of course the one band that made the biggest impression for me was Elephant Revival. I didn’t know anything about the band until just before Summer Camp this year. They immediately jumped to the top of the list for me for both Summer Camp and Electric Forest. They absolutely did not disappoint. They were a highlight for both festivals, and their headlining show that I saw in September is without a doubt one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Their new EP holds up to everything else that I’ve heard from them. It’s amazing to see a band flying so far below the radar that is so talented. I’m hoping that they’re able to make that next jump to some bigger venues and more success. I can’t think of a band that deserves it more.

On the other end of the musical spectrum, I’ve started to jump a little more into the electronic scene as well. It started at the Werk Out Festival last year, but this year I’ve definitely jumped on board with a few bands. The Werks certainly have impressed me, and they look to be on track to become a major national band. Papadosio is right along with them. Their set at The Werk Out this year was probably the most impressive set of the weekend, as far as I’m concerned. Lotus has already been making their presence felt, and I’m enjoying them more than I have in the past. And both Big Gigantic and EOTO put on great sets at Electric Forest. While I’ll probably never be a huge EDM fan, all of these bands are moving the electronic genre in a direction that I certainly can enjoy.

That’s not to say there weren’t incidents this year. I took my boy to the Dark Star Jubilee festival, which, while it was a great time, ended with us getting flooded in our tent both nights. I had a friend get hit with a pretty substantial firework at Electric Forest, and heard stories of how both security and the medical team was unable to do anything about the situation. I had to deal with Bonnaroo-style temperatures at Summer Camp. I’m not complaining too much, but even with the positives there are always some negatives. My goal is always to accentuate the positives and overcome the negatives, which I think I was able to do.

So I suppose the question now is what does 2013 hold for Jam Central Station? Obviously there will be lots of new music. I’ve got a list of bands that I want to profile, concerts I want to review, festivals I want to attend, and that doesn’t even include the last minute stuff that I’m going to have to deal with. Personally, I’m looking forward to another great year playing music. The MuckleBuck is hoping to record an album in the early part of 2013 that will be ready for summer festival season. You may get to see us in venues all over Ohio and maybe into West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. But, more than anything, I’m hoping to continue to get the word out on some great musicians and expose folks to things they may not normally listen to. I love being a small cog in this 411mania machine and in the musical scene. I’ve been a part of 411mania for 10 years (with a little time off here and there) and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. June will be the 4th anniversary of this column, which is a pretty big accomplishment as far as I’m concerned. I’m looking forward to hitting some other great milestones this year.

Gathering of the Vibes
Gathering of the vibes will return to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT for 2013. The festival will take place on July 25-28. They also announced a 5 year deal with the venue, so the festival won’t be moving anytime soon. Earlybird tickets are on sale now!

SnowBall announces lineup
This year’s Snowball festival confirmed their first round of artists this week. Pretty Lights, big Gigantic, Portugal. The Man, and Rubblebucket will all be on the lineup. The festival takes place in Winter Park, CO on March 8-10 next year.

Camp Railroad Music Camp
Railroad Earth are getting in on the music camp scene in 2013. The first Camp railroad will take place at the Full Moon resort in the Catskill Mountains in Big Indian, NY from June 10-14. This event will feature workshops, discussions, jam sessions, and other events to help musicians to increase their skills. The event also features a variety of amenities. There are a variety of packages, and you can register now if you’re interested.

Umphrey’s to stream NYE run
Umphrey’s McGee will be streaming all four nights of their New Years Eve run from Atlanta. The stream will include soundboard audio and a single camera. December 28-30 can be purchased for $6 each, while the three-set NYE show will be $8. Not a bad couch tour for those of us on a budget!

Summer Camp On The Road
Want your band to be a part of Summer Camp? All you have to do is participate in the From The Road tour! The tour will visit a variety of cities in the midwest, and local bands performing the various shows can win a spot at Summer Camp. Pretty cool, right? Hopefully The MuckleBuck will be able to get on this. If it runs through your town you should check it out!

1/19 : Wooly’s-Des Moines, IA
1/25 : The Bluebird-Bloomington, IN
2/01 : Old Rock House-St. Louis, MO
2/22 : The Woodlands Tavern-Columbus, OH
2/23 : The Yacht Club-Iowa City, IA
2/28 : Cervante’s Other Side-Denver, CO
3/01 : High Noon Saloon-Madison, WI
3/08 : The Abbey Pub-Chicago, IL
3/09 : The Abbey Pub-Chicago, IL
3/13 : The Blind Pig-Ann Arbor, MI
3/15 : Mojo’s-Columbia, MO
3/16 : The Mousetrap-Indianapolis, IN
TBA : Minneapolis, MN
TBA : Boulder, CO

S.S. Coachella
December 16-19, 2012 (Bahamas)
December 19-23, 2012 (Jamaica)
Departing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Performers include: Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, James Murphy, Sleigh Bells, and many others.

Jam Cruise
January 7-12, 2013
Performers include: moe., Medeski, Martin, Scofield & Wood, Funky Meters, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Univers, Big Gigantic, Lettuce, ALO, Tea Leaf Green, Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum, and many others.

Island Exodus IV
January 16-20, 2013
Negril, Jamaica
Gov’t Mule will host the event and perform multiple sets. No word on other performers.

Panic En La Playa Dos
January 27-31, 2013
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This event will be the return of Widespread Panic to the stage after a year-long hiatus. Tickets go on sale August 24.

Jam in the Sand
March 1-5, 2013
Breezes Grand Resort
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra’s first Jamaican event. This event will feature multiple DSO shows as well as three Keller Williams sets and other activities

Buku Music Project
March 8-9, 2013
Mardi Gras World Warehouse
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Kid Cudi, Calvin Harris, Primus, Passion Pit, STS9, Zedd, Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Datsik, Lettuce, and many others

SnowBall Music Festival
March 8-10, 2012
Winter Park, CO
Performers include:Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Portugal. The Man, Rubblebucket, and many others.

Suwannee Springfest
March 21-24, 2012
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Peter Rowan, Keller and the Keels, Leftover Salmon, Donna the Buffalo, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, Elephant Revival, and many others.

March 21-24, 2012
Killington Resort
Killington, VT

April 12-14, 2013
April 19-21, 2013

Wanee Festival
April 18-20, 2013
Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL

Hangout Music Festival
May 17-19, 2013
Gulf Shores, AL

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-36
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
Performers include: moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Thievery Corp., Big Gigantic, Lettuce, Cornmeal, Keller Williams, and many others.

May 23-26, 2013
Cumberland, MD

Mountain Jam
June 6-9, 2013
Hunter Mountain, NY

Governors Ball Music Festival
June 7-9, 2013
Randall’s Island
New York City, NY

Camp Railroad
June 10-14, 2012
Full Moon resort
Big Indian, NY
This 4-day music camp will feature members of Railroad Earth in an assortment of workshops, performances, discussions and other sessions to help aspiring musicians and those interested in the music industry to gain an insight into the inner workings of the band. A variety of accommodations are available, and musicians of all skill levels are accepted.
June 13-16
Manchester, TN

Solid Sound Festival
June 21-23, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams, MA
Hosted by Wilco

High Sierra Music Festival
July 4-7, 2013
Quincy, CA

All Good Music Festival
July 18-21, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH

Northwest String Summit
July 18-21, 2013
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR

Floyd Fest
July 25-28, 2013
Floyd, VA
Performers include: The Lumineers, John Butler Trio, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Blitzen Trapper, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 25-28, 2013
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT

Newport Folk Festival
July 27-28, 2013
Newport, RI

Newport Jazz Festival
August 2-4, 2013
Newport, RI

August 9-11, 2013
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY

Outside Lands
August 9-11
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

Catskill Chill
September 6-8, 2013
Camp Minglewood
Hancock, NY

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013

Once again thanks for stopping by. I’m always around with more Jam on Facebook Twitter. Until next week, Jam On!

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