Camp Kee Wanee Greenfield MA Ma 25 2023

The early worm gets more tunes! I headed into Greenfield to get some final supplies, and then up to Camp Keewanee for the early Worm entry at Strangecreek Campout. In no time I had entered, gotten everything settled and made it to our vending booth/camping area. Our military truck turned bus turned camper turned Mad Max festival adventure mobile was nestled between other campers and vending tents, and we were set and ready.

While I was getting situated the first cabin set started while I was inhaling some food. Keep hyrdrated and fed people! It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Phil Adams and the Oblivious Fools started in the Kee Wanee cabin. Their set seemed to be mostly Phish tunes, played with spirit and energy- though I did also hear Prince’s 1999, too. ‘Twas a lively way to begin the weekend’s music!

The first band to start the Wormtown cabin was Gratefully Yours out of Albany NY. They did well, and continued the upbeat pace and high energy through a long set of good ol Grateful Dead. I noticed some tasty jams, and the band seemed to stick to the more high tempo songs, fitting their slot as festival fire starters.

Up next after dark back in the Kee Wanee cabin was Arukah. The band is a power trio shredding their way through technical jams. I was attracted to them because my ol friend Brian O’Connell is the bassist and is very excited about the band. The guitar player, also named Brian I guess, was a total shredder and just exuded positive vibes. The drummer was able to both lead and follow, an essential quality in a trio as nimble as this one. The tunes and jams traversed the plain between Phishy in style and more proggy at some moments- but always retained a speed shred mission. I was super happy to hear an old Uncle Sammy tune Superman grace the set toward the end. I’ll be looking forward to seeing Aruka again. I caught about an hour of their set on audio recording:

The final performance of the night was Cabinet in the Wormtown cabin. I recognized some old friends in the band and it was good to see them for the first time in a while. I saw Cabinet a lot five to ten years and it was fun to hear their updated sound. I recognized Jami Novak on drums, Dylan Skursky on bass, and the Biondo boys, JP on mandolin and Papi on guitar and banjo and vocals. They had added a percussionist and on this night Lee Ross was sitting in on sax. It was a fun big jam party band and I totally dug it. I feel like the twenty or so minutes I was inside the cabin they were on the same song. Papi played guitar and had created a really cool theme that wove the jam, and to me it felt like he had applied banjo concepts to a guitar line that laid the groundwork for the whole piece that seemed both structured and exploratory at the same time.

The rest of their set seemed to drift back toward the bluegrass rock band vibe for which they are known. M’lady and I retired to our bus snuggled in and were able to stave off the chill of an early spring night. We drifted into slumber to Cabinet’s dulcet tones, digging their set as we rested toward a long weekend.

Keep your eyes here, we’ll get you a bunch of reports and recordings as the weekend unfolds.

Friday Strangecreek review including audio of The Machine, Duppy Conquerors, Roots of Creation, Shira Elias, and more is here.

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