Continuing on with our Gathering of the Vibes 2012 recap…
Saturday was a much better day but brought a new challenge for me: I was to attend a wedding ceremony at 1pm and the reception later at 6pm. Did that stop me? Not at all! The sun was out and I was packed for camping and a wedding! As I drove down Route 8 towards the wedding (pretty convenient location), Ryan Montbleau Band was on the main stage and I was not all the way missing out. Local radio station 89.5 WPKN let the vibes take over the air waves as they streamed the main stage live throughout the weekend. As Ryan led the band into his closing song, he says, “If you find me face down in a field somewhere later, pick me up. Maybe give me some water. Maybe a chicken wing!”
After the “I Do’s,” I booked over to the media tent to check in still donned in wedding attire. I could hear Zappa Plays Zappa off in the distance. Was time to find me my friends, cover some music, eat some festival lunch and get my day-buzz on. Local legends Deep Banana Blackout have been a band for almost as long as The Vibes has been a festival and for the last 5 years, they have blessed the crowd with their performance. Rob Sommerville, also of Kung Fu, stands center killing it on the sax. To the left on guitar was James “Fuzz” Sangiovanni, also of local band Caravan of Thieves. Led by Jen Durkin, the band projected their funk and soul outward for all to hear. The sights go hand and hand with the sounds. There were parades of puppets marching around, men on stilts dancing and towering over the rest of us, girls in body paint hula hooping and children dancing around their moms and dads. The afternoon was a complete thrill and success!
Superman style, I made my way into a port-o-potty and came out dressed for a formal! Ok, maybe I changed back at my car but the time had come for me to make my way to part 2 of the wedding while listening to the Mickey Hart Band in the car. I was expecting more of the traditional jams with an occasional Grateful Dead original. While you can sense his jam-roots, he lead his band and us down a more trance-like path with subtle political quips and strong lyrics. It was arguably the best evening of the festival…what I (sadly) missed:
1) Dopapod completely thrashing the afternoon:
2) Strangefolk returned to The Vibes for the first time since 2000. For many, this is the first time they have seen the band since their reunion tour began back at the onset of spring. Via their Facebook page you can hear the whole set free! “Thanks to taper Ted Gakidis for the vibes tape.“
By the time I re-parked in the camping grounds and made my way into the stage area, Primus was just closing up shop and STS9 was up next. That began what I will call “Dana-time.” Camera was away, spirits were high and energy was still with me! STS9 was my soundtrack until my body started to call for the water. It is an amazing amenity to be dancing stageside one minute and sitting seaside with the ocean breeze cooling you down the next. The Green Vibes stage was soon to be home to The Machine. A little Pink Floyd interlude to unwind my body and put my mind to rest was the icing on the cake. “Shine On” and “Time” were the highlights of the set for me. A gentleman in about his mid-forties (if I had to guess) turned to me and said, “I am so glad the music of my time lives on for your generation to hear and appreciate.” I wonder if when I am nearing fifty, there will be a moe. or Phish cover band headlining late night stages across the festival circuit? As I pondered the thought en route back to camp, a fresh set of folks were making their way in to watch the late night/sunrise performance of Papadosio. Lucky for me, I could hear it from my camp.
At approximately 7:53AM the sun reached the top of my tent turning it into somewhat of an oven. Time for breakfast by the water! The food at this festival was nothing short of amazing. Thai, Chinese, burgers, pizza, mini cinnamon dusted donuts, breakfast burritos (available from sun-up to sun-down) and THE JERRY ROLL! It was my goal on this day to eat like it was my last day on earth. I started my morning by interviewing CT-born The McLovins. In 2008, the founding members went viral with a video of them covering “You Enjoy Myself” by Phish. A little regrouping of the band and 4 years later, they return to The Vibes for the third year in a row. This year it was a first for new-comers Atticus and Justin.
The afternoon began with a World Peace Ceremony that took place off of the main stage. Just after our thoughts and vibes were all offered up, with a guitar pick between his teeth, Keller Williams started in on the music-front. He never ceases to astonish me with his ability to take the simple sounds of objects like tubing, chimes and bells to create a loop track and make it sound as if he was backed by a full band; a true one man band! Children and adults alike look on in awe as he dances barefoot on stage moving from instrument, to soundboard and back to instrument again.
On the other side of the festival, the School of Rock Stage was putting down a little “Funky Bitch” cover; a stage set for up and coming rock stars of CT. A grouping of young lads, led by Jeff Howard (McLovins former guitarist) provided us with jaw-dropping guitar, keyboard and drum solos alike. Jeff is one of the most talented young musicians I have ever had the privilege of seeing perform multiple times over. Without a doubt in my mind, this 18 year old prodigy and his guitar will soar to great heights. This was his third year performing at The Vibes, and first time as a NonLovin (if you will.)
After a pretty lengthy sound-check, The McLovins hit the ground running on The Green Vibes stage. It was the first time I had seen the group perform as a quad. The element of having the keys was a touch that was long overdue. The played a full set to include some originals, their infamous “YEM” cover and, of course, “Playing in the Band” by Grateful Dead in keeping with the vibe of the weekend! These young college lads pulled in quite a decent size afternoon crowd and amid all of it was former member, Jeff, looking on with a smile. That made me smile. Dancing green beans, sun-bathers, boats lining the shore, rock-art and a thin taste of exhaustion filled the air. Many still going strong, a few ready to pack it in. I was on the fence and said that I would see how I felt after lunch and a long walk; I walked down the coast line on towards the beach sand. I was able to devour a dozen of those cinnamon donuts I had talked about and dipped my toes into the sand.
As the sun set over the festival, I instantly regretted my decision to pack up camp before the music. It would have been nice to have a lay down. The music was still cranking out, and as I sat in the shade during the ALO set on the green vibes stage, it was there that I caved to exhaustion. Steel Pulse was on the air during my drive home to Hartford. What I missed were Toubab Krewe and the amazing Avett Brothers. A beautiful ending, I heard, to an overall beautiful weekend…despite the back and forth and the rain!