Strangecreek Campout Camp Kee-wanee, Greenfield, MA May 25, 2017 To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements. Early Thursday morning my lovely wife packed up her gear and headed off for Greenfield to set up her vending booth, Old 78 Clothing, before gates opened to the public. I myself was able to dine with the family Thursday evening and headed out around dark for the first night of Strangecreek Campout. This festival marks a bit of the start of festival season, for while there certainly are festivals that precede it on the calendar, this tends to be the first large festival of the year. The forecast was for some real rain but it held off while I was pulling into the parking fields and I was able to get my pillows and clothes to our booth prior to the rain really starting. I got settled in and the phrase “Welcome Home” was being frequently uttered by joyful festivarians as they arrived to one of their favorite places. On Thursday night only the cabins are going, and Keepers of the Vibe were playing in the Wormtown cabin. Word was that perhaps they had won the Battle of the Bands contest, and there was a pretty good buzz going on them. I only was able to listen from the booth as I was getting settled, and they sounded good. But I was able to quickly down a beverage or four and was getting comfortable with our crew of friends who were settling in also. I noticed the band setting up in the other cabin, and sauntered over to see them. Black Masala came up from Washington DC for their first ever appearance in Massachusetts and they were weary from the road- more anxious from being cooped up than actually fatigued. They took the stage with a ferocity, and people quickly filled the cabin. It was packed before you knew it, and the Worms were eating up what Black Masala was serving. The band is on the larger end of the scale, with drums, bass, guitar, lead vocals, trombone, trumpet and saxophone. This fairly standard band lineup, one that is repeated by NOLA bands and funk bands all over the country will deceive you into thinking that this is a band that has a common sound. Nothing could be further from the truth. https://www.facebook.com/livemusicnewsandreview/videos/1686015528094215/ Black Masala is a melting pot, a mosaic of musical sound and culture from all over the world. You can definitely hear a New Orleans sound, as if perhaps a NOLA or funk concept is their foundation. But the rest of their sound is so diverse including elements of Roma, Bhangra, Klezmer, Greek, Russian and more thrown together with precision and care. The sound is infectious and while it varies quite a bit from song to song in terms of the culture from which it is derived, the resulting sound is distinctly consistent and distinctly their own. The comparison to Bella’s Bartok would be easy to make, particularly due to that band’s presence on Worm festivals of late, and certainly Gogol Bordello is an obvious comparison. But these guys (and gal) are their own mix for sure. They do a cover of Gogol’s Start Wearing Purple and do a fun version of Not Fade Away that is more NOLA second line than it is the Dead. I particularly like their song Bhangra Ramo which combines elements of Indian Bhangra with elements of Eastern European sounds. Afterward it was raining pretty hard, I mean like, really hard. I wandered over to the Wormtown cabin where Adam Ezra Group were well into their show. I noticed someone different on bass than I normally see with them, and the band was a basic five-piece (no percussion) with drums, bass, keys, Adam on gtr and vocals and fiddle. The crowd was digging them but I was tired and had seen the band a bunch of times on the Sounds of the Sea boat cruise so I headed back to the booth. In the time that I was in the two cabins, the rain had turned everything into a puddle, like a serious puddle. In places it was two inches deep. But as it was turning into, I dunno, 3 AM or something, I just hauled myself into the van, snuggled up and turned in highly anticipating Friday and all that it brings at Strangecreek. To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.