Furthurmore Festival | 05.31 | California

By: Sam Martin

Furthurmore Festival :: 05.31.10 :: River Ranch Campground :: Tuolumne, CA

The Furthurmore Festival, held in the Stanislaus National Forest, down a long, single lane winding road, deep in a valley covered with the green foliage of pine and deciduous trees, there's a campground where two rivers cross; a deep in there, very well hidden backwoods campground nestled amongst the trees. Those two rivers, or streams as they were this day, formed an island, and on it was the stage with a wood arched bridge that allowed patrons to cross safely from the campground to island and back.

Opening the festivities, The Jug Dealers and The Grasshoppers put on mostly past-by sets. People weren't settled in yet, and were unaware that the music had started, so the bulk of the campers had yet to come across the bridge. L'Fiasco also played, but about an hour behind schedule and to a small crowd.

Zane Kesey and the pranksters brought the historic, beautiful Further Bus in for the show and some pranks. Kesey is a man who really pays tribute to the past and adds to the scene in a light and magical way. There were also a small number of vendors and good beer on tap, or you could bring your own.

Kreutzmann, 7 Walkers and Papa Mali concert photo 7 Walkers
About twenty minutes before darkness, Bill Kreutzmann's super-group 7 Walkers - made up of Kreutzmann (drums), George Porter Jr. (bass, vocals), Papa Mali (guitar, vocals) and Matt Hubbard (keys) - came up on the small stage. The vibe was exciting, but it didn't feel like a festival; it felt like a family gathering, and in many ways it was. Some people had the look of utter exhaustion on their face coming directly from the Furthur Festival at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds (see JamBase review here), yet still they couldn't help smiling when 7 Walkers opened with "Deal" with Papa on lead vocals. They played to cheers and applause all the while showcasing new songs from their upcoming debut album, co-written by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Papa Mali. George Porter Jr. took the microphone for the Grateful Dead's blues tune "Sugaree." Mixing up the songs, with amazing solos by Mali, the tight drumming that Kreutzmann is known for, Porter's incredibly funky bass lines, and soulful keys from Hubbard, it was am amazing show.

Kimock & Lebo
By the time they were finished the evening chill had settled into the small valley, and the projector light show by liquid lights was accompanied by a green laser being shot at the trees from behind the stage. To add to carnival-like atmosphere, fire dancers came out and belly danced while Matt Butler and Everyone Orchestra set up their numerous instruments. This night's lineup included Dan Lebowitz (guitar), Steve Kimock (lead guitar and slide), Melvin Seals (organ), George Porter Jr. (bass), Dave Brogan (drums), Nat Keefe (mandolin, guitar), Aaron Redner (fiddle), and three amazing vocalist, one of which was a flautist. The set that followed could only be described as mind-blowing, complementing the venue's outdoor feel, and the jams were intricate and lengthy. The members of the Orchestra read each other with a keen sense of precision. Lebo really shined on this evening, and Kimock gave his usual speechless performance, but in this instance it was a lot of great music being made up there, without any ego - the best way. Butler's amazing ability to conduct and feel out what each musician is capable of allows him to act as a musical conduit between the crowd and the stage. He doesn't lead but rather points the Orchestra in a certain direction and let's them decide how to get there.

Holy Kimoto
With the show now piercing into morning, the crowd wearing sweatshirts, the last main act came out. Holy Kimoto, the live-tronica trio from The String Cheese Incident with Steve Kimock rounding out the sound with his improvisational guitar skills. They performed a number of tracks as the crowd danced under the trees with green lasers shooting overhead. The show was amazing, with the drumming of Michael Travis and bass playing of Jason Hann complemented by Kyle Hollingsworth tearing it up on multiple keyboards and an organ. Hann also used a synth and other electronic equipment.

There was a moment as the birds began to wake, sometime around 4 am, when Kimock, eyes closed engaged in an intricate jam, broke out into a great smile that said it all. It felt sacred. And in that moment it was.

The show came to a beautiful end sometime around 4:30 am, with people still dancing, playing their guitars and drums at their tents. It was an all-nighter and one that was worth every moment. As the corners of the horizon started to turn blue with laughter in the air, one couldn't help but hear "'Til The Morning Comes" somewhere in the distance.

JamBase | Deep Woods
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[Published on: 6/9/10]

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