As sure as the sun rises, it sets. As sure as the summer warmth, the cool winds of autumn will blow, and the harsh frigidity of winter will follow. But just as surely the warmth and promise of spring. Just as surely as the spring requires planting, the fall yields the harvest. And just as sure as Strangecreek in May, Wormtown in September.
It is our twice yearly (semi annual or bi annual, depending on your preference) rite, the Wormtown music festival in Greenfield MA. We pack the vehicles, we hose the tents, we jam the coolers, and we hope to rest in anticipation when we know that our antsiness will prevent us from being properly rested when we arrive to Camp Keewanee. My wife departed our New England homestead 30 hours ahead of me, and I arrived shortly after dark on Thursday night. Before I could even inquire about the arrangements I needed, one of my good friends on the super helpful staff said “you’re already all set.” This is truly our event, whether you are a musician, vendor, reporter, staff member, attendee, or newbie. Welcome Home.
I settled into our home for the weekend (the Old 78 Clothing booth, home of recycled reclaimed and reused one of a kind fashions) and stretched, grabbed a beer and got ready to get down to some serious music business. I wandered over to the Keewanee cabin (the smaller of two late night cabins providing intimate shows produced in high quality with great sound and lights) and to my delight I saw the Marks brothers setting up. Mark Mercier (keys for Max Creek) and Mark Paradis (Dead show) have been raising the bar and the two shows I’ve seen with them this year have been stellar. This one truly cemented it, this is no longer a side project for anyone, this is a legit stand up band. Paradise excelled in his vocals and who could resist the magical music of Mark Mercier? I got to catch probably half of their set and they were producing a large club sound and had the audience in their palms. What a perfect way to start.
Next up in the larger Wormtown cabin was my old friend and the modern master of funk, Freekbass. This is his third trip to Wormtown and each one has been memorable. First time he played down at the Riverworm stage and had special guest Zach Deputy sit in on his set. The next time it was the Keewanee cabin and Scott Murawski of Max Creek sat in, then a whole host of rappers and funksters came through. This time he showed up with a much larger band with Rico Smoove on the drums, Sky on keys (RIP Razor Sharp Johnson), Freekbass on bass and vocals, Sammi Garett of Turkuaz on vocals and Greg Sanderson also of Turkuaz on sax. The results? A funk ensemble that was the perfect dance party to open up the weekend. Freekbass originals from the last decade or two morphed into funk classics, call and response funk chanting, break downs, build ups and a funk volcano that erupted over a couple of hundred revelers in the cabin. The band was on fire, the audience totally felt the heat and the energy was passed from the stage to the floor and back again in a cycle that had everyone jumping.