StrangeCreek 2017 lineup
StrangeCreek 2017 lineup

StrangeCreek Campout Camp Kee-wanee, Greenfield, MA May 26, 2017 Story, photos, and video by Kelly D, Kara Kharmah, and LMNR Audio by LMNR To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements. This is the second in a four-part recap of StrangeCreek 2017. You can read the LMNR’s mastermind’s review of Thursday night at Strangecreek HERE. LMNR: The main stage opened with a set by Leon Trout, hailing from Boston and busting into the New England jamband scene.  Their set was spirited for sure, and I could have sworn that the last song had a tease of the theme song from Friends?  I don’t know, you be the judge: We caught up with the Trouters and asked them what they thought of playing Strangecreek. “When we started as a band we had the dream of playing StrangeCreek, and that dream came true. We will take this momentum and use it to continue playing in the New England jam scene!” Kelly: I must start my review by saying how nifty it is to have a fairly big festival right smack in the woods of my hometown. This was my first Strangecreek where I went all four days (including getting access to the Thursday nightlife in the cabins) and it was a treat to not only experience the festival as a participant but also as a documentarian, journalist, and a local. My Friday at Strangecreek began more delayed than anticipated, but for good reason. I had done a favor for one of Thursday’s bands, Washington D.C.’s Black Masala, that ended with me going to bed at 4:30 AM, a good three hours later than I had

rice: an American Band performs at StrangeCreek 2017. Photo by Kelly D
hoped. You know the saying about best laid plans. . . However, I was able to run into the campground to see rice: an American Band shortly after their set began on the Main Stage. Full disclosure: friends and coworkers (and my boss) comprise rice, but they’re a great time even without my bias. Pals Courtney Parker and Emily Jones provide vocals and theirs is a mix between soulful and sweet. Since its inception, the band’s “JAMericana” sound has gotten more and more honed with each performance. I particularly loved frontman Phil’s paean to his wife Angel, “Just a Name,” featuring an evocative guitar solo by Brian DiMartino, and the last song of the set, Chuck Berry’s “Johnnie B. Goode,” that made everyone onstage whip themselves, not to mention the crowd, into a frenzy. As it had started raining fairly hard during their time onstage, it was good to warm up. Have you ever skank-danced with an umbrella in hand? Welcome to StrangeCreek. Kara: Courtney’s voice and presence commanded the stage, especially on the original song “I’ll Be Fine” that she co-wrote with Brian. She and Emily as the group’s female duo adds a special polish to the vox. Rice is full of seasoned musicians from the Valley- the sum of which makes for a sound that is “full”: interesting, upbeat, and poignant. Audio of rice’s set on After rice acoustic set ended their set and the rain started to come down harder, I listened to Relative Souls from the Old 78 clothing booth. I was happily surprised; they put on a great set. Their sound is a combo of funk, rock, and jam and they’re fairly local: they hail from Bridgeport, CT so we could definitely check them out again easily. LMNR: Directly after rice – an American Band finished their set on the main stage, the adjacent stage (there is a conjoined main stage allowing for literally non stop music as one band sets up while the other band is playing) began with Jahman Brahman.  The band hails from Asheville NC and has been playing up and down the east coast for the last year or two.  I saw them in Worcester at Electric Haze with Bella’s Bartok not long ago, and they brought the same feel good jams and rich compositions to Greenfield that they had that night. Kelly: I was plied with some refreshments in the Old 78 booth, including a rice: an American Band acoustic jam amidst the festival wear. I met up with a couple friends in the Llama Lasagne collective (more on them in Saturday’s review) and a few of us jogged over to the Main Stage to catch Rebel Alliance. Again, full disclosure: I do publicity work for this band out of the Berkshires but it was my first time seeing them in person. They were incredible! They bill their sound as “Rock, Reggae, and Revolution” and their set delivered exactly that. Woodie, the frontman of the band, had organized a small group of female singers dressed up as a gospel choir to sing with the band for a song. Much of their set was a tribute to a friend of theirs who had passed away suddenly at a young age. And there was Courtney again, wearing a flowery headdress that made her look like Carmen Miranda, performing a lovely and unexpected cover of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. In an interlude, Woodie preached kindness and compassion, alluding to our fraught political climate, and the drenched crowd roared in approval. It’s great to be amongst like-minded people who have the same goal in mind: spread love. I then slogged through the muddy paths down to the Vernville Stage to catch some of Whiskey Treaty Roadshow‘s set. With a name like that, I was expecting more of a foot-stompin’ bluegrass hoedown- those who watched and listened instead received a more “pleasantly poppy yet twangy” sound. When their time onstage ended, I backtracked and found Creamery Station, a jammy, reggae-ish group, performing at the Riverworm Stage to a crowd who had no problem dancing and grooving in the mud. At this point, I was feeling the collective vibe of the whole festival (overwhelmingly positive, like I was amongst old friends instead a crowd of complete strangers) and I almost regretted the fact that I had to leave to see Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (review to come) in Shirley. But responsibility prevailed and off I trucked down Route 2. Kara: I saw Whiskey Treaty as well. They have an array of instruments not usually seen on a stage at a jam band music festival: an upright bass, a banjo, and three acoustic guitars. To keep the sound balanced, they also had drums and an electric guitar. I liked that they play with the format of what it means to play rock and roll.
The “First Lady of the Alchemystics,” Ilana J. Morris, performs at StrangeCreek 2017. Photo by Kara Kharmah
As for the Alchemystics, West End Blend, and Bella’s Bartok? Damn near unanimous reports have come in that they all killed their respective sets on the Vernville stage and the Wormtown cabin. The Alchemystics set was throbbing and I was simply too busy having a blast dancing to take any real notes, but suffice it to say it was a exhilarating experience to see these StrangeCreek favorites out in the woods. The set was packed and pulsating, as were the others.  It was a fitting end to the first official night of what was to be a sublime, if not a bit wet, weekend. That wraps up Friday- stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday’s reports, including Bella’s Bartok featuring Force from the Alchemystics on the Main Stage Sunday afternoon! You can read the LMNR’s mastermind’s review of Thursday night at Strangecreek HERE. To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected] Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.