Whether you are still on the fence about attending the 9th annual Camp Barefoot Music and Art Festival in Bartow WV, or you have your ticket and are examining the schedule closely, here are six suggestions — two each day — for bands you shouldn’t miss. The fest takes place next Thursday, August 20th through Saturday, August 22nd. The “Biggest Little Festival in America!” is calling you. Yes, YOU!
Orgōne is a funk juggernaut from Los Angeles, ready to blow your minds. Listening to this amazing band is a lot cheaper than building a time machine to go back to the early ‘70s at the real start of the funk movement. Fronted by guitarist Sergio Rios and Miss Adryon de León on vocals, Orgōne plays “Funk / Soul / Afro-Disco / Boogie / Afrobeat,” an excellent description of a typical show. Their great original compositions are interspersed with songs by Gwen McRae, Cameo, Booker T. & the MGs, the Beginning of the End and lots more.
The band’s new album, Beyond the Sun, is a superb recording and an accurate depiction of their live performance. Orgōne builds from the bottom up, on the rhythm section of Dale Jennings (bass), Sam Halterman (drums), and Will Phillips (percussion). Jennings will put you in the zone for certain. The punch of the brass is ever-present, courtesy of Paul Chandler’s trumpet and the trombone of Darren Cardoza. There is so much happening on stage you might miss Dan Hastie at first, except that his magic on the keyboards is intoxicating, especially on clavinet.
Deaf Scene hails from Baltimore, an experimental power trio without limits or restrictions. They have, in their words, “consciously embraced walking the musical road-less-traveled.” Their brand of psychedelic progressive rock immediately captivates you; there is no way for you to predict where the music will go next, but you know it will be awesome.
This all-instrumental band features Dave Fullerton on guitar and amazing sound effects, Eric Courtney on bass, and Brett Schatz on drums. It is so encouraging to see a young band play with reckless abandon and controlled fury, all at the same time. Their first full-length album, Three-Pound Universe, was released last year.
Chances are you’ve either seen or at least heard TAUK on the radio. This quartet brings its blend of “heavy instrumental rock fusion” every time they hit the stage. Think seminal ‘70s jazz fusion on steroids. Beautiful intricate passages might occur along with crushing funk… in the same song! TAUK has probably hit more festivals this year than any other band, and their brand new album Headroom is set for release September 3rd.
You notice Matt Jalbert first as he gyrates while blowing out monster guitar riffs. By contrast, Charlie Dolan seems calm, but you realize his bass lines are anything but calm. Isaac Teal, who famously said, “Music is a religion. You’ve got to practice every day,” is the band’s engine on drums. His power and style recall the very best fusion drummers, including Billy Cobham and Alphonse Mouzon. And every recording you hear and every song the band plays is colored completely by the amazing keyboard wizardry of Alric A.C. Carter.
Boston’s Spiritual Rez describes its genre as “reggae horn dance party,” but probably not in that order. This sextet can rock, break it down, play ska, and almost anything else. They have been moving audiences all over with music that just plain makes you feel good.
The band is solid throughout, but it would be a mistake to overlook the true power of vocalist Toft Willingham, who also plays guitar. His voice is remarkable, a truly beautiful instrument unlike most you have heard before. Rob O’Block rocks the guitar, and Mohamed Araki plays keyboards and the always-fun keytar. Spiritual Rez has a great rhythm section in Jesse Shaternick and Ian Miller, bass and drums. And Julian Dessler’s trumpet adds that just-right brass sound for the ska and reggae.
When you go to see Moon Hooch, close your eyes first. Try to guess where the bass player is standing. OH, SNAP! There is no bass player! How do they do that? This may be the first power trio with two saxophone players and a drummer. You will be amazed at the incredible power produced by this great band from Brooklyn who claim to play “cave music.”
There is certainly a primitive element to the music. Before discussing the various reeds played by the band, get a good look at drummer James Muschler; he will remind you of Ginger Baker. His propulsive style is a perfect fit for the band’s music. And then you have Wenzl McGowen (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, contrabass clarinet, tubes, EWI) and Mike Wilbur (tenor saxophone, vocals, synth). These boys are insane. Sometimes they play in unison, sometimes in harmony. One may play lead while the other provides bass via saxophone. McGowen stuffs huge cardboard and plastic tubes in his saxophone to create otherworldly sounds, and his contrabass clarinet is amazing to see and more amazing to hear.
A little live electronic rock and dance music is good for everyone’s soul, and Greensboro’s Imperial Blend is just the band to take you to that happy place. Their music can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, beautiful guitar riffs and layer upon layer of keyboards piled atop a great rhythm section. This quartet is roaring into the jamtronic scene.
Chris Teague delivers those great guitar riffs with real clarity, and Brennan Fowler mans the keyboards and synthesizer. And that solid rhythm section is Ethan Riffe on bass guitar and synth pad and drummer Dave Teague. They deserve your ears.
Sorry if we’ve just fouled up your Camp Barefoot schedule, but you need to check all of these bands out!