Jamtastic June: Kicking Off Summer 2022

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Just like that, we’re already halfway through 2022. The year is flying by for us and the last month went by in the blink of an eye. That’s because we were doing what we do best – traveling for live music! Here’s a quick recap of what we’re calling our Jamtastic June. But before we get there, the end of May also deserves some recognition…

Hitting Double Digits at Summer Camp

Summer Camp holds a special place in my heart. It was the 2nd festival I went to way back in 2004. I actually skipped my senior prom to attend and convinced a few friends to join. My life would never be the same again.

After going to four in a row, I missed several years while we were living in China. I made my triumphant return in 2016 and brought Rachel to her first SCamp. The following year, I joined the Camp Counselor team. We’re basically a media and hype team for the festival throughout the year.

We’ve been to every Summer Camp since then, which means I hit double digits this year. I say this every year, but this really was the best SCamp ever. In addition to all the amazing music, I got to introduce several bands. It was fun being up on stage with my new friends Dogs in a Pile as well as my old homies in Cherub.

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We be Scampin’

I even got to introduce moe. this year, who was the first jamband I ever saw in concert twenty years ago. This is one of the many perks of being a Camp Counselor and I’m so honored to be a part of this incredible group of like-minded, music-loving, media-savvy people.

I could go on and on about Summer Camp, but I already did that on the festival’s Campfire Blog. Click here to check out my full recap from my 10th SCamp.

It should also be noted that after many years, I finally won the Rage Belt back at the festival this year! I didn’t have long to enjoy it, though, as the belt was on the line the very next weekend…

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The champ is here!

Phish at Deer Creek

Before I ever went to Summer Camp, I camped out among the cornfields of Indiana for three nights of Phish at Deer Creek. My buddy and I took a Greyhound to Indianapolis and an expensive taxi to the campground as two clueless high school newbs. Talk about a life-changing experience!

Over the years, I’ve seen Phish at Deer Creek time and time again. Rachel joined the party in 2009 and we’ve made some pretty incredible memories there. We were thrilled when the band decided to play another 3-night run there on their 2022 summer tour.

We barely had time to air out the camping gear from SCamp as we packed it back up and drove down to Noblesville. Our crew was much smaller at the campground this year, as only my brother joined us.

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Squad goals

As we typically do, we quickly made friends with the neighbors. While it was way more expensive than last year, we’re still so glad we stayed at Sleepy Bear Campground. It’s right across the street so you can walk to and from the show in minutes.

While it was just the three of us at the campsite, we ran into tons of friends over the weekend. Going to Phish shows is really like a family reunion for us at this point. Seeing our favorite band with our favorite people. This is what we live for!

As per usual, the band played some epic sets at the storied venue. It’s now the 4th most played venue in the band’s illustrious nearly 40-year career. We had an absolute blast and only wish they played three nights there every year!

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Dogs in a Pile late-night vibes

We typically just hit Shakedown and hang out at the campsite after Phish shows at Deer Creek, but we made an exception this time. Those same Dogs in a Pile I mentioned were nice enough to have us out for their late-night, and I even helped Jimmy’s mom sell t-shirts! We look forward to many more shows to come with these dudes.

In case you were wondering, Rachel once again de-throned me and won the Rage Belt on Sunday night. I try to keep up with her but it’s tough…

A Weekend Off (Sort Of)

The following weekend, we decided to stay put in my hometown. It was tempting to go to Legend Valley for two nights of Goose, but we decided to attend our friends’ wedding instead.

We’ve missed a lot of weddings over the years, especially when we lived in Asia. It was nice getting to spend time with my family and attend a fun wedding.

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We clean up good!

The reception was at a great venue in downtown Detroit with an excellent band and open bar. As you might expect, we didn’t exactly take it easy. What can we say – we like to party; sorry if you don’t.

Speaking of parties, we had a pretty awesome one in the backyard for my brother’s birthday. It was a sweltering hot Wednesday afternoon but a good group of friends still turned up to celebrate with us.

City Bisco in Philly

Next up was a flight to Philadelphia for City Bisco. It’s basically a 2-day music festival in the City of Brotherly Untz headlined by the Disco Biscuits. We went back in 2013 and figured it was time to return.

Some Summer Camp friends live nearby and were very nice to invite us to stay the weekend. They even picked us up from the airport as we headed straight downtown to the Brooklyn Bowl.

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If you haven’t heard of this venue, check it out. In addition to the original in NYC, they now have locations in Vegas, Nashville, and Philly. There’s bowling, a full bar, good food, and live music.

On this particular evening, we were seeing the New Deal with Mike Greenfield from Lotus on drums. It was their first show in the US since before COVID as the core members are from Toronto. We tore up the dance floor and had a great time at the show.

Some friends had an Airbnb in the city so we all went there for a little after-party. Next thing you know, it was around 4 AM. Whoops… What can I say, we get excited hanging out with friends when we’re all traveling for shows!

We’ve done the touristy thing in Philly so we just took it easy on Saturday afternoon. City Bisco was at the Mann, which is about a 40-minute drive from our friends’ place.

We headed in around 4 to catch moe. and managed to see about half of their set. Then the Biscuits came on and jammed so hard they blew the speakers up! It was a bummer, but that gave us some quality time to catch up with friends.

Shiba San played setbreak and got me moving with his dirty house beats. I had never listened to him but enjoyed his set. Of course, we were all stoked when the Biscuits came back on and picked up right where they left off.

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Untz untz untz.

They have a bunch of new songs and we heard them all over the weekend. We do want to step on the rocket ship. Click here to check out a clip from the show if you want to jam along!

The show ended at 11, which is pretty early for us. Cue another after-party at the Airbnb. It was our friend’s birthday, and they went all out and even hired a DJ to come to the place. How fun is that?!

Needless to say, it was another late night…

Thankfully, our friends had some pork roll and cheesesteak pizza to cure the hangover and fill our bellies for another night of music. We made it in to catch Bob Moses and had lots of fun during their set. And what do ya know – more friends showed up!

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Our City Bisco Crew

There was plenty of space to groove on this Sunday night show. Team Bisco showed up and brought their A-game to both sets. They nasty, but they good! It’s a good thing we both love this band, because they’re an acquired taste…

We also had a blast grooving with LP Giobbi. She’s an artist we’ll definitely be listening to moving forward. Overall it was an excellent weekend full of music and good times with friends old and new.

Downtime in New Jersey

With just a few days until our next shows in NYC, it didn’t make sense to go back to Detroit or Asheville. Instead, we decided to catch up with some more friends.

A few of our good friends we met in Beijing live in New Jersey and we rarely see them. While mid-week isn’t ideal, our friends are awesome. They hosted us for a few nights and even took us out for dinner. Seriously – we have the best friends.

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We lived in China together back in 2008!

We had to catch up on work, laundry, and sleep, so that’s mostly what we did. On Thursday, we took the ferry from Red Bank to Jersey City and basically had the boat to ourselves.

They took us up to Midtown first, so we actually got a really nice scenic tour of NYC in the process! It was only a few bucks more than taking two trains, so we definitely made the right call.

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Honk honk

Once in Jersey City, we headed to our friend’s place. They took us on a walk around town as we looked for a dinner spot. When we saw the Gypsy Grill, you know we had to stop there.

From there we hit up Surf City for some drinks and views of the water and NYC skyline. It was a chill night that we needed before another big weekend of music.

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Surf City

Goose at Radio City

I know we seem to have a lot of favorite bands here, but Goose is hands down our new fave. We absolutely love these guys and couldn’t miss out on their big Radio City debut.

They dropped a new album the day of the show, so the weekend was one big release party. And they really went all out for it, with a CBS Saturday Morning appearance, a Jim Pollock poster, and a pop-up merch stand at a hot dog cart. New York Freakin’ City!

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This was also my first time at the legendary venue. Rachel went there many years ago for a performance by the Rockettes. It’s such a historic building and an amazing place to catch a concert.

Goose played three sets each night, starting out with an “a-goose-tic” set before plugging in for a full two-set show. We loved our spot up in the second mezzanine and we had plenty of space to groove on Friday night.

In a city that loves baseball, Goose really knocked it out of the park with their debut. Friday night was a stellar show, even though it would get overshadowed by the following night. More on that in a minute…

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The Goose is loose

Before, during, and after the show, I passed out flyers for the Doom Flamingo late night. Just like the good ole’ days! I forgot how fun it can be doing promo work at shows.

Since we didn’t see much of the city that day, we opted to talk the 1.7 miles from venue to venue. It was an interesting walk to say the least, as we walked by a protest, the usual weirdness of Times Square, hammered people leaving karaoke bars in Koreatown, and more. Never a dull moment in NYC…

It felt like an eternity, but we finally made it to the late-night just in time. Doom Flamingo hit the stage at 1 AM and we grabbed some smooth drinkin’ beers. They played for a solid two hours, setting us out onto the NYC streets around 3.

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Doom Flamingo

We thought we had 30 minutes to kill before the train back to Jersey City. Turns out Google Maps doesn’t know about random closures, so we ended up missing that 3:30 train.

With Uber fares at around $60 with a wait time, we just walked the nine blocks to the next station. It was another half hour ’til the next train and we were really hungry at this point. Our only options were McDonald’s and Taco Bell…

And that’s how we ended up eating Taco Bell at 4 AM on a train platform that was at least 120 degrees. With no napkins.

Savage.

It sure was glorious when that air-conditioned train finally pulled up! We had a hilarious ride back talking to a few local rappers. The banter on NYC trains at 4 AM on a Saturday morning sure is funny.

Not surprisingly, we didn’t do much that day. We lounged around, ordered pizza, and finally caught the train back to the city around 5. My aunt and uncle live in NYC so we made plans to grab drinks with them before the show.

One bar turned into two as we were having a good time catching up. That caused us to miss a bit of the first set, but the free beers sure beat the $20 ones at the show! It’s so nice of them to take us out when we come to town to visit.

Now back to the music… a picture was circulating all day that showed a box with the Phish logo in front of Radio City. I thought it was a giant troll job and didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but the excitement was palpable at the show.

Goose played a great first set that included a sit-in from Father John Misty. We weren’t too familiar with him beforehand but are definitely fans now! He’s a great songwriter if you haven’t checked him out yet.

We were feeling great and vibing at the start of the third set. After playing one song on their own, Goose welcomed none other than Trey Anastasio of Phish to the stage! The crowd erupted and the hairs stood straight up on my arms. What a moment!

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Trey sitting in with Goose

We’re going to be watching this video of Trey playing “Hungersite” and “Arcadia” with Goose for years to come, and you should watch it too! Click here to check it out.

Trey proceeded to play the entire set with them. They even went over the curfew by a whole hour to really soak it in. Those guys are all Phish fans too and this was clearly a dream come true for them.

It’s moments like these that remind us why we do what we do. It was such a special evening to be a part of. We’re so grateful for the lifestyle we’ve built that allows us to travel for shows when and where we want, and for the friends and family who help us along the way.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Goose, Trey, Father John Misty, the crew, and the venue staff! What a magical weekend in the Big Apple.

One Nation Under a Groove

You’d think I would have been happy to rest for the last few days of the month. You would, of course, be wrong. I decided to send it for one more show on June 30th.

Another perk of being a Summer Camp Counselor is getting to cover shows for the festival throughout the year. When I saw the One Nation Under a Groove tour was rolling into Asheville, I had to put in a request.

The show featured legend George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic along with The Motet and Dopapod. I put on the disco suit on a Thursday afternoon in 85-degree Asheville humidity and headed to Salvage Station.

Now is a good time to mention I rocked that disco suit every single Saturday for four weeks in a row. And yes, it was washed at least once…

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Disco suit up!

It was a pretty packed house at the show as people turned out to see the funkmaster himself again on what might really be his farewell tour. I went on a solo mission but turned out to have a +1, so I gave a girl waiting in line a miracle.

She was very thankful and it was nice being able to get someone into an expensive show. What goes around comes around. She proceeded to buy me a beer and tequila shot as a sign of appreciation. It was party time for P-Funk!

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We want the funk!

While it wasn’t the best show musically by any stretch of the imagination, their set sure was interesting. The real fun for me started when the party moved inside for Dopapod to play a 90-minute set. These dudes can really jam. Check them out if you haven’t yet!

I decided to hang out with some new Asheville friends for a while after the show. I told them tales of the Jamtastic June that we just had and we looked forward to more shows on the horizon. As Macho Man once said, “And the beat goes on, yeah…”

Final Thoughts

It was a busy month full of all the things we love – traveling, going to shows, and spending quality time with friends and family. We’re a bit tired after all that, but it was worth all the effort, time, and money we put into it.

This Jamtastic June we just had will go down as one of the best months ever. We have no doubt about that. For now, we’re happy to have a relatively mellow July on the calendar.

Of course, we can’t really sit still. Nor can we say no to live music. Up next is Rage Against the Machine (!!!) in Chicago followed by a ridiculous August full of shows and festivals.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for your support. We hope you have a great summer doing what you love and hope to see you out there!

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