PGROOVE: AMBERLAND | 05.25-05.27 | GA

Words by: Brian Bavosa :: Images by: James Harris

Perpetual Groove :: 05.25.07 – 05.27.07
Amberland VIII :: Cherokee Farms :: Lafayette, GA


Amberland 2007
Ah, Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of so many wonderful things - summertime, hot dogs, Bar-B-Q-ing, the universal acceptance of white pants (only until Labor Day, of course) and Perpetual Groove's annual festival, Amberland.

Named after the piece of property the festival originated on, this holiday weekend saw the locale change to Cherokee Farms but the spirit of the event held true to the original formula. Amberland VIII officially began Friday night in a tiny, open-faced barn with PGroove guitarist Brock Butler on stage. Opening with solo acoustic versions of The Secret Machines' "Alone, Jealous, and Stoned" and Paul Simon's "Graceland," everyone quickly realized it was not if you would hear your favorite song, but rather when. The next day, the barn would become the festival's general store, but for this opening night, it represented a comfortable, southern welcome to one of the most laidback festivals I have ever attended. The true spirit of Amberland lay in the fact that there was exactly one band on the bill - an ambitious task for any act in the gigantic, superstar cornucopia of festivals, where everyone seems to want to outdo one another.


PGroove with SuperDee :: Amberland
Friday night slowly rolled along with Butler being joined by members of one of his side projects, The Ruins, for a four-song mini-set. That line-up is comprised of Butler (guitar, vocals), fellow PGroove bandmates Adam Perry (bass), John Hruby (keys, vocals) and drummer Travis Cline (Captain Soularcat).

Later on, Albert Suttle and Matt McDonald of the host band took the stage for a very enjoyable, fluid, and inspired set which included the rare "Andromeda" and a guest appearance by JamBase's own Deanne "SuperDee" Herman on violin, Adam's brother, Damien Perry (Red Giant) and longtime friend Michael Blair on guitar. There were no breaks, but rather a constant coming-and-going of anyone who pleased, something that seemed not the least bit out of the ordinary. With on-site camping and a modest number of attendees, the overall vibe was very small and comfortable, and it was not uncommon to see the band or crew hanging out a one of the large, late night tents the extremely dedicated fans had set up, where seemingly everyone gathered once the music on the main stage concluded.


Amberland 2007

Saturday signaled the first official day, and Perpetual Groove opened with "53 Things to Do in Zero Gravity." To further the relaxed vibe, all we knew was there were approximate times when the band would hit the stage and there would be three full sets each day. Saturday's first set was about two hours, and filled with many of the band's lighter, fluffier tunes including "Sundog," "TSMM," "La Casa Bien" and "Sweet Oblivious Antidote."


Adam Perry - Amberland
After sunset my vote for MVP at Amberland got his chance to "shine," literally. Lighting designer Jason Huffer is integral to the band and their music, and he brings it every single time. On Saturday night he consistently added new dimensions to the music. His rich color schemes and textures are so original and inventive that I am absolutely shocked he had no prior experience before working with PGroove. To be completely honest, I feel he is the best lighting designer around right now. You can check out some of his videos on YouTube here).

Huffer's sensory overloading lights and the return of Damien Perry saw the night session open with the band's first run through "When You're Hear," and a third time ever version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar," a song only previously played with Perry present. It was nothing short of monstrous, and saw Perry absolutely shred. His baldhead and beard were a perfect accompaniment to his head-banging, heavy metal flavor, the equivalent of adding hot sauce to PGroove's usually plain vanilla look. Set Two included "Occam's Blazer," a song not unlike an onion with many layers to peel, often leading to tears in its wake. McDonald later told me, "From 15 minutes out it's the sickest jamming we have probably ever done." The set was rounded out with a Carnegie Deli size sandwich of "Decepticon Structure" > "Breeze" > "Orange Wedge" > "Breeze" > "Decepticon Structure" and I could have gone to bed with a full belly.


Albert Suttle - Amberland
However, this was Amberland, where no rules applied, and we still had another set ahead. Set Three offered no signs of letting up, which I thought impossible at the time. "Mr. Transistor" > "Space Paranoids" > "Mr. Transistor" was daring and explosive, while the hip-hop fueled "Macumba" featured a long freestyle of Kanye West's "We Don't Care" in the middle. "Mayday" with Damien Perry will be talked about as the version that changed the song forever - deep, dark, and razor sharp. "Walking in Place" usually features Butler serenading a lucky lady on a chair in the middle of stage. This particular version did in fact include that, but with a proposal by her boyfriend! Congratulations to Jen and Todd. The theme of the night was a pajama party, and watching Butler conduct the proposal in a giant hooded onesie was nothing short of hysterical.


Brock Butler - Amberland
After the show, Butler remarked, "Tonight had a little bit of everything - a little comedy, a little fun and a whole lot of music." A scorching version of "Three Weeks" concluded the evening. That is if you don't count the all-night rendezvous at the disco tent, and Butler offering an impromptu acoustic performance at a fan's campsite that was still nowhere near completed when I decided to call it a "night" just after 6 a.m.

Whoever said sleep is for the weary must have been from Georgia or directly related to Butler. Sunday kicked off with his annual "Brockfest" set, starting at 10:30 a.m. For anyone not familiar with Butler, he is a musician's musician. Constantly with guitar in tow - as witnessed on this past year's Jam Cruise - he battled the likes of Steve Kimock and George Porter, Jr. for most time logged in the infamous Jam Room.

His set featured old friend Tye Munn on "Boston Rag," as well as loopy renditions of "The Super Mario Bros." and "Sopranos" themes. The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" and Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" could not have captured the lazy morning vibe any better. He concluded the set on a comedic note with Dennis Leary's "Asshole," complete with vocals by McDonald, who kept pestering Butler to play it from backstage, much to the amusement of fans. If PGroove's career ever ended, McDonald need not worry. He could make a successful go of it as a comedian.


Amberland
Sunday's afternoon set had a loose, soaring vibe featuring perfect "daytime" songs like "Tu Seven" and "Left To Drifting." Closing the set with the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)," Perpetual Groove had solidified in my mind that the long, hot trip to an unknown farm in Georgia most certainly was the best kept secret on earth at that moment.

Between the day and evening sets, it was interesting to take a load off and watch the grounds constantly evolve, mostly due to the devoutly loyal, fun loving PGroove fans that changed into costumes for the final blowout. So, on top of everything else, I was now enjoying the final night session of the weekend with the Senior girls from Dazed and Confused, "Alice in Amberland," two American Gladiators and the Beatles in their finest Sgt. Pepper attire.

Set Two was mostly a jam-filled blur due to my lack of sleep and Huffer's retina blinding, mind expanding visual art. The final set included my personal highlight of "Green Tea" > "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" > "Green Tea." During the first jam, our crew danced harder than I thought humanly possible, especially at this point. It was truly an inspired, funkified dance party led by four guys who'd kicked the Energizer Bunny's ass over the course of the past few days.


Amberland 2007
The only blemish on the weekend was local law enforcement forcing than band to stop playing at midnight, a full hour or so before their setlist dictated. To be honest, I think that may have been the only way Butler and company would have gotten off the stage. In the end, the band obliged, much to the dismay of the fans who began chanting The Who's "We're Not Gonna Take It."

Still, Amberland was the purest sense of everything Perpetual Groove represents: friends, family, a blazing light show, a top-notch crew and an absolute onslaught of seemingly non-stop music. In a span of just over 48 hours, one band managed to play almost half of that time - an absolutely unheard of feat (except perhaps for that little band from Vermont). Add to that a near flawless performances, surprises, an engagement, being serenaded for Sunday morning brunch, a pajama party, sit-ins galore and Amberland proved that Perpetual Groove are the real deal. Amberland showed they have the potential and personnel to make the leap into a larger rock or jam band world. In a time when one-band festivals are all but extinct, PGroove is the exception to the rule.


Amberland 2007

5/25/07: Amberland VIII, Cherokee Farms, Lafayette, GA

Brock Solo

Alone Jealous and Stoned, Graceland, Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes, Jesus, etc.*, I Go Home**

Ruins Mini-Set***

Standing Outside a Broken Telephone Booth with Money in my Hand***, Drink then Fill***, Eminence Front***, Cold Beaches***

Brock Solo

Girl on LSD

Perpetual Groove and Friends

Bobblehead Funk^, Can You Get to That%, Level^#, To Shed Light or Cast Shadows/Dust, Andromeda, For Now Forget$

* w/ Deanne "SuperDee" Herman-Violin
** w/ Matt McDonald (Perpetual Groove)-Rhodes
*** The Ruins (See Line-up Below) ^ w/ John Hruby (The Ruins, Guest)-Keys
% w/ John Post-Rhodes
# w/ Damien Perry-Guitar
$ w/ Michael F. Blair-Guitar
The Ruins Line-up: Brock Butler (Perpetual Groove, The Ruins, etc)-Guitar and Vocals
Adam Perry (Perpetual Groove, The Ruins)-Bass
John Hruby (The Ruins, Guest)-Keys and Vocals
Travis Cline-(Captain Soularcat, The Ruins)-Drums

05/26/2007, Amberland-Cherokee Farms: Lafayette, GA

Set I: 53 More Things to do in Zero Gravity, Crowded Tub, Long Past Settled In, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Free Ride to the Show, Beyond The Veil, Sundog, TSMM, La Casa Bien, Sweet Oblivious Antidote

Set II: Obscured by Clouds*> When You're In*> Have a Cigar**, Suburban Speedball, Save For One, Occam's Blazer, Too Close to the Sun*, Glock Jam, Decepticon Structure> Breeze> Orange Wedge> Breeze> Decepticon Structure Set III: Mr. Transistor> Space Paranoids> Mr. Transistor, Two Shores, A Day the Way, Out Here^, Mayday, Macumba> We Don't Care*> Macumba, Walking in Place, Three Weeks

*First time played
**With Damien Perry on guitar
^With Deanne "Super Dee" Herman on violin

5/27/2007, Amberland-Cherokee Farms: Lafayette, GA

Set I: Astromonkey, The Golden Path, Scooter, Left to Drifting, Echo, Tu Sevun, Playground, Cabulo Monstosity, Naive Melody

Set II: All This Everything, pt. 1*, Crockett & Tubbs> Robot Waltz> Crockett & Tubbs, Crapshoot, Drums> Stealy Man> MOTA> Gratitude**, It Starts Where It Ends> All This Everything, pt. II

Set III: No Decorations, The March of Gibbles Army, Green Tea> Hard Time Killing Floor Blues> Green Tea, AIM, Under Lock & Key^

*With Deanne "Super Dee" Herman on violin
**With Damien Perry on guitar
^First time played

JamBase | Georgia
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[Published on: 6/7/07]

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Comments

Natasha starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/7/2007 07:15PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Natasha

couldn't describe it any better. simply amazing.

Tan starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/7/2007 08:06PM
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Tan

Amberland just feels like home. GREAT hang.

andbuffalobill starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/7/2007 08:57PM
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this was my second amberland and it proved to me again why I will never ever be anywhere else on memorial day weekend

bavosa is pretty cool too ;)

gregray1 starstarstarstar Thu 6/7/2007 09:10PM
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Best time camping I've ever had. Thanks for putting into words what I could not.

Jhudson844 starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/7/2007 10:18PM
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Jhudson844

Well done!

BlewW044 Thu 6/7/2007 11:00PM
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Sounds FUCKING AWESOME, congrats to everyone who got to be there. I'm jealous....

cliffcliffordjr Fri 6/8/2007 04:18AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 05:06AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

paying the price they wanted for surprise guest artists was not something I could handle. Next time, TELL ME what else I can expect besides the pgroove sets. Im not gonna pay for a surprise, I want to know what I am getting. sorry I missed this, the setlists look really cool. If anyone can hook me up with copies I will be more than happy to B and P for them. I need some live pgroove shows, someone be kind to me please!!!! Peace. PS>> great article!!

SuperDee starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 05:56AM
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SuperDee

awesome review brian! brought me right back... oh wait... i never really left! amberland = a state of mind.

Triggin starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 07:49AM
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great article, i wish i could of made it. hope to see this next year, until then, i'll see ya at the next pgroove show! great article.

Lord_Nikon starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 08:04AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Lord_Nikon

My second Amberland and it was amazing. THe only thing left out in the review above is that everyone knows everyone else. So it is a big PGroove family reunion with folks coming from Washington state, California, Florida, Colorado, several from Boston, and all over the South.

More pictures here:

http://jambandfan.smugmug.com/Music/235846

Chris

moejoerisin Fri 6/8/2007 09:25AM
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moejoerisin

looks like it was a grand time, great pics and nice article. seems like it actually stayed dry for you guys too. seems to be rare these days.

hnkscrpio starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 01:46PM
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hnkscrpio

This is a great review, makes me wish I was there. Amberland looks like a great intimate chance to get down to P Groove. Awesome pics too.

Lamest comment ever "If you weren't there, you weren't invited". I'm sure P Groove wants to share their music with as many fans as possible.

hnkscrpio starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 01:54PM
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hnkscrpio

This is a great review, makes me wish I was there. Amberland looks like a great intimate chance to get down to P Groove. Awesome pics too.

Lamest comment ever "If you weren't there, you weren't invited". I'm sure P Groove wants to share their music with as many fans as possible.

kfish starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/8/2007 01:55PM
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kfish

milesgone - paying the price they wanted and only knowing there would be pgroove sets should have been enough. the guest artists were only a bonus.

it was a great time had by all, and I will never miss another one.

cliffcliffordjr Fri 6/8/2007 11:24PM
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cliffcliffordjr

hnkscrpio - the comment, as you called it, "if you weren't there, you weren't invited," as well as "it's a state of mind," refers to the festivals origins. I go way back with Pgroove. My fourth Amberland. So I have the cred and knowledge to use such a comment. . Check out some Drowning Creek Studios http://www.drowningcreek.com/ posters of amberland's past - it's in there. That's where those sayings come from.

Yes indeed, Pgroove wants to ultimately share its music, and Amberland, with as many fans as possible, and they will. Certainly you’re new to the pgroove family, and welcome. But know that my use of that phrase was anything but an insult to the band or its fans. Those who've been around long enough do know it.

ToddStewart starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/9/2007 06:24AM
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Brian,

Thanks so much for including Jen and I in your article. It was an amazing weekend and you captured it so well.

Amberland is the best weekend festival on the planet and the PGroove phamily are some of the greatest people on the planet. Thanks again to the band for allowing us to share our moment.

Todd (double d)

KyleMMATL starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/9/2007 01:09PM
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thats sweet. I am in the very front of the Amberland group picture. Amberland was one of the best, most laid back weekends of my life. It will continue to grow, but Amberland will always be a state of mind with your friends and pgroove family

lovemusicfood starstarstarstar Sun 6/10/2007 08:31AM
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Really nice pics! Light show looked amazing!

scooter6 starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/10/2007 10:35AM
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scooter6

great review

dedliug Tue 6/12/2007 09:10AM
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huffer
huffer
and

more

huffer

dude is a genius

ckwho? just kidding

redredwine starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/12/2007 10:51AM
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Great to see Hruby back in action. I miss GUEST, and Hruby is the MAN. Props to Pgroove for getting him on stage again.

ringo starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/18/2007 05:17AM
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for those who were not there...I'm sorry. You have a year to make sure it doesn't happen again.

HarlandEast starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/19/2007 10:52AM
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pgroove best get a good timeslot at all good.. and i'd love to see butler on stage for the all good superjam gig
gotta love the groove