10KLF: GOLD FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY

 
I was talking to Trey about all of this stuff... Frog Brigade came about because Primus quit playing, and I'm not going to sit around. It was like a crisis band — pile everyone into the RV and let's go.

--Les Claypool at 10KLF

 
Photo by Chris Monson

SUNDAY, JULY 24 - LES, LA LA & CYRO

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals graced the Barn Stage with a bag full of soul and a heart entrenched in blues rock. Her voice curled around my mind in a great performance that nodded to the past with a clear vision of the future. Green Lemon hit the Field Stage with a cosmic sequence that continued to increase their near-mythic status — rhythms played upon melodies like haphazard railroad tracks. Gabby La La in Northern Minnesota. Read that sentence again and try not to think of some bizarre Monty Python skit. She excelled on a toy guitar, Theremin, and sitar. "This saloon is the coolest spot in all of 10,000 Lakes," said La La, "because maybe it is the 10,000th Lake."


Gabby La La & Les Claypool :: 10KLF by John Crouch
Perpetual Groove on the Field Stage hit their stride as we danced in furious little pockets while they funked hard with a mighty techno wallop that left everyone drenched in sweat. Les Claypool had his great band with him that also included Gabby La La. As usual, pretty much the whole set smoked from the Sausage picks to the Primus curio "Tom the Cat." Dressed in military garb, a boot perched on a monitor, Claypool sang while bursting through many elastic bass notes. He had a bit of fun with La La in a crowd 'sing-a-long' as he tried to teach her how to roar like a Viking. "She's a good friend - a talented person," offered Claypool to me. "I was talking to Trey about all of this stuff. I stumble across things like Bucket of Bernie Brains and Oysterhead. Frog Brigade came about because Primus quit playing, and I'm not going to sit around. It was like a crisis band — pile everyone into the RV and let's go."


Mike Dillon (Claypool's Band) :: 10KLF by John Crouch
Cyro Baptista and Beat the Donkey closed the festival late Sunday night with an incredibly wild display of imaginative percussion work as the stage was filled with costumes, harps, electronic washboards, keyboards, tap dancers, a drum kit, a guitarist, African drums, and some sort of massive contraption that housed various wooden pipes. Baptista roared throughout the set on a bullhorn and a mic in-between segments of percussion mastery. "You know," he told me earlier in the day, "I'm known as the Frank Sinatra of Brazil." Pause. Loud laughter. "I'm kidding!"

SUNDAY, JULY 24 - RETURN OF THE KING


Trey Anastasio :: 10KLF by Chris Monson
A clean-shaven Trey Anastasio played a surprise 75-minute set to help his new young band through a batch of fresh numbers. "This is the first time I've ever held a band practice in front of audience," laughed Anastasio. "I hope you don't mind — we'll be repeating a few songs so we can work them out." Mind? This little set was all goose bumps and massive grins as the crowd grew larger. I was one of the lucky rail rats as memories of 1997 flooded my brain. When the set ended, I wandered backstage and struck up a conversation with the band's new bass player, Tony Hall, who has played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Dave Matthews to the Neville Brothers. Then, I turned and there he was... "18 years of church wiped out in one quick swoop," I joked. Trey laughed. "Cool — we should play 'Ether Sunday' for you."


Trey Anastasio :: 10KLF by John Crouch
"We're incredibly happy to be here. Thank you for having us," said Anastasio before completely obliterating any notion that the Jam King had abdicated his throne. His band included Tony Hall (bass), Les Hall (guitar, keys, synths), Skeeto Valdez (drums), Ray Paczkowski (drums), and Jennifer Hartswick and Christina Durfee (vocals). When the band wasn't piling legions of chords into our ears, they were flipping between new melodies that had classic Trey elements mixed with some very warm hooks. Bad vibes about Mr. Anastasio? Well, Sunday, July 24th changed all of that. "Drifting" featured Hartswick on soulful vocals as Anastasio played an epic solo incorporating every aspect of his guitar work — multiple peaks, tension and release, and ecstatic ROCK. Multi-colored balloons replaced the long out-of-fashion glow sticks as the current ritual during "Drifting" as I watched the band gawk in awe at the crowd. "Invisible" and "Tuesday" were played for the second time (if you include the afternoon warm-up set), and they produced a hell of a lot of redemptive joy while Anastasio whipped through another rocker, hitting all of the notes while the crowd roared in tandem. "Burlap Sack and Pumps" changed the pace of the set and foreshadowed the monumental explorations of the second set by laying down a patient groove—good bass bottom, strong clavinet, and the entire band feelin' it out before a tempo shift bled into the coda. "Night Speaks to a Woman" was played at a very fast pace, and the crowd went absolutely bonkers. Trey's guitar notes were completely engulfed in flames as the band returned to the main theme. At one point, I looked around at everyone, and the place was going berserk: dancing maniacs, heads rocking back and forth, 100% pure grade Ape Shit. This was the highest peak possible, and then, the song climaxed with a huge bang.


Les Claypool with Trey Anastasio :: 10KLF by John Crouch
And that's when Les Claypool came out to play Oysterhead's "Oz Is Ever Floating" with Trey as they both laughed and smiled at each other. There were dueling rhythms and solos racing left and right, back and forth, ending a beautifully emotional set played by a man who just doesn't know how to give up or break under the microscope of intense speculation. Backstage at setbreak, I ran into Trey heading to his trailer. "I just lost five pounds during that set," I said. "You'll lose ten pounds in the second set," he cracked back.


Trey Anastasio :: 10KLF by John Crouch
The closing set began with the debut of "Spin" — a crafty rocker with strong keys and background vocals. "46 Days" would be a rare Phish number on this evening, but it roared from start to finish and rested very comfortably next to a very heavy "Money, Love, and Change." "Goodbye Head" and "The Way I Feel" shot me into an intimate section of deep space. The latter number stretched out far and long into the night and reached some fairly vast terrain as the band explored countless variations of a very difficult motif, which somehow echoed early Phish and the "Starless" era of King Crimson as Trey got down close to the stage in a classic gunslinger pose. "Mr. Completely" began, and away we went — again rocking out as Valdez pushed everyone to get as tight and funky as possible with a massive pile-driving drumbeat. When they waltzed into "Ether Sunday," I had to ignore the childish thought that, "Hey — Trey is playing this for me!" "Come As Melody" was a fantastic set ender with its good rolling hard-rock riff as Trey cranked up the volume. Next, Trey hugged Tony Hall, and we started yelling for more. "First Tube" stomped forward as the lone encore, and Trey really hammered the point home as if he never wanted this moment to end. Chris Kuroda was back with Trey, and the lights were blazing in fifty different directions. It was blissful insanity with glowsticks everywhere. Trey caught one, and the screen faded to black. FINIS.

AFTERMATH

There are many talented people who went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed to complete my JamBase 10KLF article. I'd like to thank them for their generosity: Aaron Kayce, Dave Weissman, Chris Monson, John Crouch, Lee Crumpton, Jesse Jarnow, Trey Anastasio, Tony Hall, Paul Languedoc, Les Claypool, Darren Pujalet, Steve Molitz, Tim Palmieri, Matt Butler, Steve Kimock, Jamie Janover, Marc Ross, Cyro Baptista, Clay Ross, Reed Mathis, Jason Smart, Michael Glabicki, Gabby La La, Jeffrey Lerner, Bockman, The Breakfast, HMHR, Delta Nove, Bump, Wendy Weisberg, Ami Heinrich, Laura Cohen, Wilton Elder, Maija Ray, and one of the best festival crowds I've ever seen.

Randy Ray
JamBase | Worldwide
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http://www.10klf.com

[Published on: 7/29/05]

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