High Sierra 2011: 5 Must-See Artists to Get It Started

Yeah! It’s finally time for this year’s High Sierra Music Festival up in Quincy, CA, and my crew in Camp Cock Awe has already secured a healthy chunk of Big Meadow to get ready for the music starting today at 12pm noon. My out-of-office is officially on and I’ll only get a minor chance to check in on what’s happening at Phish Super Ball IX (for coverage, stay up on the twitters and especially @YEMblog and @ohkeepahblog) because of the awesome disconnection factor that comes with a weekend away in the mountains. I like to take this festival easy, play the schedule by ear and mood, and enjoy a ton of time with my friends. This year, my band is also bringing their gear up to play a guerrilla style set at our camp (not to mention a potential kickball set if the mood is right). All in all, it’s once-again shaping up to me one of my favorite weekends of the year in Northern California and I’ll be tweeting as much as possible at @LiveMusicBlog if you’re interested in following along with my antics.

Here’s what I’m thinking I’ll hit in the next few days…

THURSDAY, June 30th

My ride leaves in an hour or so and I’ll be making it up there right in time for Zack Deputy on the Big Meadow stage, which will segue me nicely into my first time catching Big Gigantic. Their live electronica approach is going to be inspirational for me and they’re first on the my list of must-see’s this weekend.

Big Gigantic (Big Meadow Stage, 7:15pm)


From there, I move back to Camp Cock Awe, drink some whiskey, and move swiftly into the Vaudeville Tent to catch Beats Antique.

Beats Antique (Vaudeville Tent, 9:15pm)

I’ve only caught them once previously at last year’s festival, so I feel like I may need to spend time on this and get my groove on. Then I’m likely onto the late-nights or planning my own with NVO, my rad-ass electronic project that you’ll hear more about in the near future.

FRIDAY, July 1st

For Friday’s lineup, I’ll be sampling some of the artists I’m not familiar with like The Brothers Comatose, Mia Dyson and The Sweetback Sisters. The main stage catches my interest by the time The Travelin’ McCourys hit the stage at 2pm, but I’m really going to paying the most attention to the Dumpstaphunk slot on the Grandstand at 4pm.

Dumpstaphunk (Grandstand, 4pm)

Following this recent public spat, departure and replacement of drummer Raymond Weber with Nikki Glaspie (drummer for Beyonce), I’m not expecting them to be firing on all cylinders right away. That said, Glaspie can absolutely slam on the drums and I got to see her sit in over the course of a few different sets at this year’s Jazz Fest. I left thoroughly impressed each time and got to shake her hand at the Maple Leaf to tell her how awesome she is. I can’t miss this set at all.

Yonder Mountain String Band (Grandstand, 6:15pm)

Yonder Mountain String Band "Steep Grade Sharp Curves" @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass GGP San Francisco

I caught this set shown in the video above and I’ve seen YMSB a few times over the years; they’ve definitely become a festival must-see and always deliver a technically flawless set of amazing bluegrass tunes and some serious harmonies and melodies that always make me wish I gave bluegrass more of a chance over the years. Must. see.

My Morning Jacket (Grandstand, 9pm)

Wonderful, indeed. The obvious must-see for me is a band that needs no introduction or enhanced level of fluffing above and beyond what we’ve already put into this music blog; you know I love My Morning Jacket and Jim James, as you should also be loving this band. I can’t wait to see how they relate to the High Sierra audience.

Oh wait, do I choose the Big Gigantic and Beats Antique late night and completely change my schedule that I have planned for tonight? Uhm…maybe.

I’ll check back in from the festival and throw up a few choice picks for Saturday and Sunday…