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High Sierra Music Fest | 07.02-07.05 | CA
nobodysjam
nobodysjam
7/13/2009 07:57 AM

Now this here is the style of festival review that keeps me coming back to Jambase. I've said it before, but at least 10 premier fests merit this exact type of accounting. Far to often we get a one-sided point of view for the big throw downs-which is a real bummer-since there is simply no way one person can cover it all. While this joint article had a few GLARING oversights (Ani, Crazy Engine to name two) my spirits are bouyed by such fine overall coverage. Next year its "HSMF or bust" for me and my peeps and I'd love to add my .02 as a newbie commited to crossing the country to be there, but alas, we all should know, you judge a fest by what you had to miss to see what you saw!

RedHeaven
RedHeaven
7/13/2009 10:31 AM

Devil Makes Three certainly deserved some Jambase love indeed, both sets were packed with sing along crowds, and they are really making their mark on the west coast music scene. I agree, next year, diversify, Jambase, and get out of your comfort zone a bit with High Sierra. Just a suggestion. Maybe for once skip a SMMD show to see something else that is very Hi Sierra, and review that.

clarkbar_12
clarkbar_12
7/13/2009 10:48 AM

Yip! Great article, I like this line the best "Apparently all the creative types who received their pro-status in doing a festival proper have transplanted out west." It's all about being professional, and there is no better state than California!

randomando
randomando
7/13/2009 11:23 AM

Did anybody else catch LUBRIPHONIC? Those guys (& girl) tore it right up. If you didn't hear em, make sure you do next time...nice studio CD too...

Overall, nice coverage. This article really drives home the point that there's no way one person (or 2 or 3) can really catch everything at High Sierra. It's kind of like a big musical swimming pool that you dive into, swim around for a couple days and then leave totally satisfied (at least till the next Festival somewhere) knowing you just saw a completely unique combination of things that you wouldn't see anywhere else.

RedHeaven
RedHeaven
7/13/2009 12:22 PM

to quote the ALO review:

"I'll be the first to admit, can turn some listeners off. The lyrics are up-beat and cheery (Lebo sang on Thursday, "We got to try just a little bit harder/ And let it shine just a little bit brighter/ We got to walk just a little bit taller") which almost seems to act as a disadvantage to the band. They rarely get serious with their lyrics and their vocal styles - it's Jam-Lite. There's nothing wrong with being happy all the time but if you're constantly laughing, smiling and singing about how good life can be there's really no room for the seriousness that's required if a band wants to be a well respected act that consistently manages to churn out well made albums and interesting live shows."

This listener doesn not understand ALO that well, and I didnt either when I had only seen them once or twice. ALO shines because of their pop sensibility, not because they are the best jam band. Calling them Jam band lite is a disservice to understanding bands for what they are. This isnt a jam competition, this is a palette of many aspects of jam music and music in general. UM, Bisco, and many more heavy jammers do not have the soulful vocals of Zach Gill, nor do they have the chiming warming melodies, and VERY thoughtful lyrics that dig deeper than the music suggests. Once you start really listening to ALO, the DEEP life oriented lyrics for EVERYONE to understand starts really blending with the groove to take you to a liberating place that is fresh and needed in this community. I am not the hugest ALO fan, but I do understand and love them, and are very thankful we have this out west, because theres just so many gimmicks and abstract stuff these days, sometimes ya just wanna come home.

boknows
boknows
7/13/2009 01:25 PM

Right on Redheavan. If ALO wanted to be "jammier" they are talented enough to be. Also think if they wanted to completely sell out they could also win Grammys and all that bull crap.

Were Phish's lyrics ever serious?

RedHeaven
RedHeaven
7/13/2009 01:55 PM

Funny, I find ALO's lyrics to be a nice balance of quirky and serious. "Nacho Monkey" might be one of the goofiest songs ever, but its almost punk rock in emotion: "Im Natcho Monkey anymore, you think I was but Im not Im notcher monkey anymore....Im going to BREAK the chains that bind meee!" I get super aggro in my head when I think of that song, its like, leave me the fck alone! :) LOVE IT....

MSSBFan
MSSBFan
7/13/2009 03:19 PM

What a wonderful article! I know it must be hard to talk about every band but I have got to put in some kudos for IZABELLA! I started seeing them because my friends said how great they where and how much fun a show is. Well they did not lie and I have become a huge fan. I will say this, after their two packed sets, if I wasn't a fan I sure would be now! I don't think I am alone in saying this by the size and love of the crowds! These guys where a huge reason I went this year along with CornMeal and Del McCory!

HSMF 09" WOOHOO.................

tylerderdan
tylerderdan
7/13/2009 04:27 PM

I can't believe there was no mention of John Butler! He was by far the most amazing breathtaking musician I witnessed at High Sierra in 2009

RedHeaven
RedHeaven
7/13/2009 05:28 PM

Wish I could of caught some John Butler. Cant do it all thats for sure, but you actually CAN TRY at High Sierra, because of the layout, you can really run around and make a plan for yourself without getting exhausted. A little java gogo and Im running round the valley of the full moon with a special kind of attention span that only HSMF can provide with its ambiance, layout, line up and stages.

Great to see some Izabella love! Man, did they ever sound refreshing on that Sunday night. ONe of my top 3 performances of the weekend. I think if I had to choose three sets, it would go like this in no particular order:

1. Umphreys late nite

2. Cornmeal late nite

3. Izabella Vaudevillle

4. Leftover Salmon main stage

Woops, four, sorry ;)

RedHeaven
RedHeaven
7/13/2009 05:32 PM

Runners up: Vieux Farka Toure, Del McCoury

I am sure Nathan Moore would be on that list if I would of just made the time for him. One of my biggest HSMF regrets this year. Glad I really felt his energy at Bobolink Fest in May. My 10th HSMF and I am still trying to do it perfectly. HA!

Please excuse my profuseness in commenting, but HSMF is my favorite thing in the whole world! More comments, people! WOOHOOO Already planning 20th anniversary!

BoboJeffie
BoboJeffie
7/14/2009 03:17 PM

HSMF 09 was MOST EXCELLENT! This is the best festival I have ever attended and there is no other I would rather be at. Decent review, great photos. Although the nation probably thinks its some sort of Slip Cult festival. These artists are deserving, but so are many others out there on the line up. Maybe next year, take a break from over-reviewing the whole Slip/SMMD outfit (Nathan Moore should be nationally recognized I agree, BUT) there needs to be room for all of the other offerings this festival has, on a more detailed basis. The Slip, etc, reviews are always really well thought out, but the other reviews are decent, but fall a little short of their impact on the festival in general. Just suggesting that the jambase writers get outside their comfort zone next year a bit and do some more extended coverage on other types of HSMF music, and maybe a little less on the whole Slip deal. I know that that is what makes some of these writers festival, but maybe share the love a bit.

Too bad Jambase wasnt around for Izabella's Vaudeville Sunday night set. Its not all indie rock and electro on the new scene, these guys ROCKED it fresh stylieeee!

aavocado
aavocado
7/14/2009 03:34 PM

One serious, unforgivable oversight: Fareed Haque and the Flat Earth Ensemble. They were the best group I saw all weekend. Fareed Haque's amazing guitar skills with sitar, tablas, rhodes, bass, and Jason Smart on the drums. Their late night set was transcendental. I'm not sure why they were opening for Steve Kimock's Crazy Engine; should be the other way around if you ask me. I absolutely LOVED Kimock's band with Reed Mathis, Robert Walter, and Rodney Holmes. I must say that the Crazy Engine was rather disappointing - I thought I had heard that he had two female singers in the band... His son is VERY good at drums I must say but still too young to have his own voice on the instrument.

I missed the Slip and SMMD but I agree the the Jambase article leaned to heavily towards these two groups.

In summary, HIGH SIERRA IS THE BEST FESTIVAL! I made tons of awesome friends and everyone is so laid back (nothing like East Coasts sketch-fests). I will definitely be going back next year for my 5th time.

jasonthehead
jasonthehead
7/14/2009 03:45 PM

Decent review, a little scattered with a lot of ground previously covered in years past, with some beautiful photographs. It's nice that they were able to get a good rounded perspective from some of the artists, promoters and behind the scenes folks. Not sure how you can allow some of the factual errors into the review, not knowing who played with a band (Leftover Salmon) is one thing, but naming the wrong people? Inexcusable.

ALO is indeed one of my favorite bands and some comments here have covered some serious inaccuracies in the portion of the review that covered their sets. I couldn't tell if the writer was talking about the Grandstand set or late night show, and with only 2 new tunes played by ALO, the statement "ALO treated the High Sierra crowd to many new songs that still seemed a bit unorganized and in need of more road testing," is an odd criticism.

As is describing ALO as jam -lite and following with "one thing that I will say about ALO is that they have always managed to impress me with their jam abilities. For a band that is known for their pop tendencies and studio refined sound, the ALO guys really can crank out some crunchy jams."

jasonthehead
jasonthehead
7/14/2009 03:55 PM

where was Dennis Cook this year? Ha ha ha, I know, I kid, I kid

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