Big Summer Classic Brings the Sumo-Chop to Schaumburg

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[edit: Sumo-Chop is my homage to the Chop imortalized by Atlanta Braves fans. I’ve always just found the chop to be hugely humorous.]

After a debate over whether or not I’d drive or take the train there, Katie and I agreed that travel to Schaumburg from our north-side villa would be much easier by car. We arrived shortly after 1:30, and New Monsoon had been warming up the crowd for a small time. I was thoroughly impressed by the fullness of their sound–I don’t really think it has come through in any of the recordings I’ve heard. I was enjoying the heat, the sun (with SPF 48 on), my sweat (a lot of it), and the $5 Coronas (with two limes, please). Michael Franti came out and did a couple little freestyles over some good New Monsoon jammin’, so it was a great little warmup before we got situated for the Keller Williams set at 2:00 p.m.

I GOTTA HAVE MORE COWBELL! How You FEELIN'?!@?!?!?!?!@#?!!???$?!@#?


Keller came out and starting tuning up right when Katie and I arrived at our spot up front. It was unbelievably easy to walk right up. I was so easily pleased with the amount of room that we had while Keller was warming up. My highlight was easily his cover of Gin and Juice ; it was just hilarious. Hilarious, yet musically friggin’ AMAZING! Billy Nershi came out and sat it on one tune and the boys from New Monsoon came out for another tune. It is very obvious that the collaborations were flowing.

Keller and Sunglasses Keller and Hair Billy Nershi!!!@!@!#!$! and Keller Keller and New Monsoon Dudes

We decided to hang back for the Michael Franti and Spearhead set. I had just seen them at Summercamp, and judging from what we heard from our seats in the shade, it was an identical set. When I say identical, I really mean it, too. He even had his “anti-war” speech intro that he gave at Summercamp, so Katie and I were pretty sure we weren’t missing much in that department. I mean, I really dig Michael Franti’s high spirit, energy, and attitude. But this HOW YOU FEELIN’!? can get a little ridiculous. How many friggin’ times does he have to say it? I should have counted, but either way, I’m confident that he said HOW YOU FEELIN’?! at least twenty-five times during his set. That does NOT include his collaboration with New Monsoon either.

We also decided to hang back slightly for Yonder Mountain String Band, but we moseyed up at the perfect time. They have a great set closing jam on The Beatles’ Come Together featuring Brendan Bayliss and Keller Williams. We snapped a couple hard to get shots and moved to stage right for our Umphrey’s McGee spot. Again, we were up front for some serious Umphrey’s McGee carnage.

Come Together Yoda Joel Playin' Stasik isn't looking...

Now, when I say Umphrey’s McGee carnage, it’s exactly what I thought it was going to be. They open with Pay the Snucka and the place goes nuts. I thought I was in for some seriously wild Umphrey’s McGee, and their set just seemed to lose momentum after that. The sun was setting and they were sporting their very smooth-looking jerseys with the name of their favorite bar right on front. It was a very cool time to see Umphrey’s, but I have to say that their set was much more watered-down than I would have wanted to see. I think it might have something to do with the fact that we just saw them at Summercamp (read above about Michael Franti), but it just seemed like they kept trying to find the jam and it never really got locked.

SCI in the dark... SCI from Afar

We decided to hang back once String Cheese Incident went on, as well. Honestly, I still can’t completely get into this band. Their show was tight, I’m sure, but I just can’t get into a fast bluegrass version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire . It just sounds hokey to me. I know that’s part of their schtick anyways, so I won’t bore you all with my SCI rant. I’m sure I’ll like them more one day and I’ll regret not staying for the entire set, but whatever. We left a little early fully satisfied with the amount of music we got hit with during the day. It was an amazing festival. I would easily go next year, probably no matter what the lineup is.

Summary:
New Monsoon – More impressive than I thought they would be. I’m interested in hearing more…
Keller Williams – Impressive as always, and hopefully most certainly not a novelty act.
Michael Franti and Spearhead – HOW YOU FEELIN’?!?
Yonder Mountain String Band – Bluegrassy as all others surely enjoy a lot more than me
Umphrey’s McGee – A very festival-friendly set (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and some fun jamming towards the end (including the jazz hands clap).
String Cheese Incident – Very dark ¡Bam! to get the set going, but Ring of Fire sealed it for me.

See you there next year!

  • http://slacklalane.blogspot.com Ace Cowboy

    Glad you had a good time…sucks about Umphrey’s, I figured they would have ROCKED their near hometown.

  • http://slacklalane.blogspot.com Ace Cowboy

    Glad you had a good time…sucks about Umphrey’s, I figured they would have ROCKED their near hometown.

  • katie

    They definitely rocked-out for the first half of the set. It just seemed like they lost their momentum toward the end in favor of crowd-pleasers such as Black Water and In the Kitchen (I’m not a fan of crowd sing-alongs). Plus, Michael Kang’s fiddle contribution during The Triple Wide was just plain weird. The last thing that song needs is old-timey bluegrass undertones. I guess you could say simply that the 2nd half of the Umphrey’s set was a little too “cheezy” for my liking.

  • katie

    They definitely rocked-out for the first half of the set. It just seemed like they lost their momentum toward the end in favor of crowd-pleasers such as Black Water and In the Kitchen (I’m not a fan of crowd sing-alongs). Plus, Michael Kang’s fiddle contribution during The Triple Wide was just plain weird. The last thing that song needs is old-timey bluegrass undertones. I guess you could say simply that the 2nd half of the Umphrey’s set was a little too “cheezy” for my liking.

  • http://slacklalane.blogspot.com Ace Cowboy

    Fair enough, Katie…but I’d think any time any band covers Black Water it should be awesome. Too bad, really.

  • http://slacklalane.blogspot.com Ace Cowboy

    Fair enough, Katie…but I’d think any time any band covers Black Water it should be awesome. Too bad, really.

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com justin

    Katie’s a Black Wata’ Hata’!

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com justin

    Katie’s a Black Wata’ Hata’!

  • katie

    Yeah, it’s not my favorite song. BUT, I don’t think it would have bothered me as much if they hadn’t just played it at Summercamp. I like to hear a song and go, “No way!” instead of thinking “Oh, this again?” Damn you Umphrey’s! WHY WON’T YOU PLEASE ME???

  • katie

    Yeah, it’s not my favorite song. BUT, I don’t think it would have bothered me as much if they hadn’t just played it at Summercamp. I like to hear a song and go, “No way!” instead of thinking “Oh, this again?” Damn you Umphrey’s! WHY WON’T YOU PLEASE ME???

  • http://www.burningoak.com BurningOak.com

    AHHHH!!! That Ring Of Fire is one of my absolute favorite live SCI tracks, lol. But after seeing SCI live and Umph’s live, I on the other hand am a tried and true cheese fan first. BTW, if you’re into the Talking Heads covers like in your Yonder review, check out the mp3 on archive.org of SCI doing “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” at their Vegoose late night. Maybe that’ll do it for you haha.

    Also, search google video for Umphrey’s doing Black Water, you’ll see my footage from this exact show as the result. Pretty sweet. Video’s not the best, but pretty darn good audio I feel.

  • http://www.burningoak.com BurningOak.com

    AHHHH!!! That Ring Of Fire is one of my absolute favorite live SCI tracks, lol. But after seeing SCI live and Umph’s live, I on the other hand am a tried and true cheese fan first. BTW, if you’re into the Talking Heads covers like in your Yonder review, check out the mp3 on archive.org of SCI doing “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” at their Vegoose late night. Maybe that’ll do it for you haha.

    Also, search google video for Umphrey’s doing Black Water, you’ll see my footage from this exact show as the result. Pretty sweet. Video’s not the best, but pretty darn good audio I feel.