Nightmares On Wax Takes Us Through 25 years of Music with New Tour, Interview

Standard

Nightmares On Wax, otherwise known as George Evelyn, is not your average DJ. Unlike most of the musicians you see in electronic music today, Evelyn has been a part of the industry for the last 25 years, and he’s celebrating with a massive European and U.S. tour that started earlier this year. Born in England but currently residing in Ibiza, Evelyn has seen the evolution of music into what we know and love (or hate) today. With such an expansive career, he has surely played a role in this progression.

Photo by Jake Pierce

Creativity spews out of every pore of his body every chance it gets. As one of the musical innovators of our time, Evelyn took a look on the past 25 years of making music, something he rarely does due to the fact that he is always looking forward, always looking to create something new.

“If you’re going to say something, say something good because you just don’t know how you are affecting people. And you are affecting people. For me, it’s not about preaching. It’s about putting good vibrations out into this world because the world needs it,” Evelyn said in a recent interview with Joonbug.com.

The N.O.W. is the Time tour gave the audience a taste of Evelyn’s musical past and present. Instead of performing solely as a DJ, he managed to effortlessly merge that with an intimate live performance. There was a drummer and two other live singers, including former Zero 7 vocalist Moses. Evelyn carefully divided his time between the decks and smoothly rapping along with his beats.
The band started the set with his more recent hits “Be, I Do” and “Now Is The Time,” but quickly, as he put it, transported the audience back to 1987.

“I’m performing songs I’ve never performed live before, performing songs that I haven’t performed for maybe 20 years. I’ve added an interesting twist to it because you can’t expect the same songs. It was a really long time ago, and I’m reliving it again,” Evelyn said about this most recent tour.

The large crowd started dancing immediately and didn’t stop until the very last song. The energy from the room radiated off every performer and attendee. The band made the performance personal and profound; it was almost like we were at a jam session in Evelyn’s Ibiza studio. “I feel it’s important to be connected to the people that support [the music],” Evelyn said. They were able to prove that you don’t need much more than a couple of singers, a drummer and a computer to make good music for a good time.

Evelyn’s mixture of infused funk, reggae and downtempo provided the chillest of vibes. The band knew when to bring high and low energy. You could sway to the rhythm of “Give Thx” and “You Wish” or rock out to “African Pirates” and “70s 80s.”

Musically, everyone one was on point throughout the entirety of the show. It was nothing short of soulful. Towards the end of the night, the band got the crowd to sing along with them for a couple of songs, including “Flip Ya Lid.” They played a five-song encore that went longer than expected, but nobody was complaining. This was the last stop on their North American tour, and no one wanted the night to end.

You can hear past and present influences in all aspects of Evelyn’s productions. He may be continuously looking forward, in life and his music, but he’s also building on top of his past to create new and interesting sounds.

 

Read the full interview below:

You’re smack dab in the middle of your “N.O.W. is the Time” tour. You’ve traveled Europe and the U.S. How has it been so far? Have there been any highlights?

I think every gig and every town has had a different edge to it. I’ve always felt really, really good and got wonderful customers come out, lots of fans and people who have been listening for the last 20 years. It’s been great. I can’t pick out one highlight, if you know what I’m saying.

 

Tell us a little bit about your new live show and how it compares to what you’ve done in the past.

I’m performing songs I’ve never performed live before, performing songs that I haven’t performed for maybe 20 years. I’ve added an interesting twist to it because you can’t expect the same songs. It was a really long time ago, and I’m reliving it again. When I pull them from the carton, it’s like, “Wow,” because most of my career is looking forward and going forward. This sheer good amount is definitely the journey.

 

Yeah, your sound is always progressing and evolving. How do you combine your past music with your present music in these shows?

The thing that we do that we highlight and also turns out to be awesome is the energy, the pocket of the energy field, good throughout the music. Also showing some of the stories that go with some of the songs to the audience as well because I think it’s kind of an important thing to bring to the picture. The people who just got into it [Evelyn’s music] don’t really know about the last 20-25 years, so there are some people who don’t really know the story to it. We kind of grew up with a bit of the story, but with the story there it won. Anything to escalate the bass really. So, it’s definitely a different way of doing a show than I’ve done before.

 

We’ve heard you do a lot of live rapping in this tour. What made you shift away from spinning records?

When I started out years ago, I was MCing and DJing, break dancing and everything. The more I got into producing and things like that, I kind of took a backseat from the microphone and worked with singers and all kinds of musicians. I’ve been working to cop up feelings of my past that I’ve kind of gone back there again. This is my foundation. This is where I’m from. It’s been a gift in doing it. It’s felt great doing it. There’s a song I perform that I wrote when I was 18, which was back 1988. To be performing a song from when I was 18 is kind of surreal.

 

We like how you are still able to maintain your own signature sound, but also make it something new as your career moves on.

I’ve always got ideas. That’s why this kind of journey has been different because it’s the first time anybody has really been able to look back. I’ve spent so much time thinking of new ideas and stuff that looking back, it’s the first time you go, “Oh, actually yeah, I think I did it.” [Laughs] And I spent most of the time thinking that it’s not been enough. For me, that, musically, and going to new places was exciting because there’s always stuff I want to do. There’s always something else, somewhere I want to go. I think it’s that fact that I’m like that and the fact that this journey has been like that is a testament to what matters most about me.

 

Has it been a challenge to work with vinyl in this modern music world?

Eh, It is challenging. I have to buy vinyls at that concert to DJ with, just so I can cleverly do the show that day. Unless I’m on the island of Ibiza where I live, and I’m going to DJ somewhere locally and I’ve got an opportunity to take a box seven inch vinyls up just like that, then I’ll do that. But traveling with them in public transport creates all forms of concerns. It’s just a no-no in the vinyl community. I’ve just really never took the risk and ever felt comfortable doing that nowadays anyways.

 

With streaming and downloading being the main medium for people to listen to music now, what do you think the future of vinyl recording is?

I think the future of vinyl recording is strong. I think we’ve been going through this phase of going, “Oh, vinyl is over. I’m not interested anymore.” But that’s not true. Even at my concerts, the majority of merchandise that is selling is vinyl. Everybody wants vinyl. I think it’s the fact that it’s something tangible. The fact that we do have streaming and the fact that we do have downloadable things; they’re just other options. They might be good, and for some people, it could complete their lifestyles. Then, you have to buy a record that compensates well. Those kind of deep collections, likes to have a record collection, likes to have a library of music. I think it’s coffees for coffees really.

 

You’re doing a free DJ set at Sweat Records before your performance at Grand Central. Is this something you’ve been doing on every stop of your tour?

No, I don’t think so. I think it was something like eight record stores on the whole tour. There’s only a select few stores that I’m doing it in. I would advise everybody to come down because there’s a little surprise there when I’m DJing I’ve fixed up. Come and join me.

 

Why did you decide to do this? Was this another chance for people to see you in a different environment? What was the driving force behind this decision?

There are a number of reasons. One is we got to get close to these fans, the people who go out of their way and actually go to a record store to buy our music, who show the respect to the record stores that are supporting that music. I feel it’s important to be connected to the people that support. There are record stores that have been selling my music for years that I’ve never been to. I think it’s good to connect to those people as well because these are the people that are supporting our music. Whether it’s a concert, whether it’s a festival, whether it’s in-store, whether it’s a DJ or a live show, I think they’re all really relevant and really important because all of these elements are what is important in my music. When I was anxious to go be in a store and do a record store, but I was like, “Yes. Yes,” because I knew that was closer to the point, the real outlet of where my music was going.

 

We think it’s a great idea. You’ve just been nominated in the electronica category for the 2014 DJ Awards that is held in Ibiza. You won the downtempo category in 2011 and 2012, and you’ve been nominated since 2009. How does that feel? Has it become a commonplace thing for you, or is this a validation of making good music?

I appreciate that at least I’ve been recognized for all the hard work I’m doing. That’s how I feel. It’s not just about winning. I do what I do because I love it. From another arena, the recognition comes for what you’re doing, especially when it comes to DJing because that’s the backbone of what I do and what really got me into making music. I’m just grateful that people are listening and really, really recognizing me as a DJ, especially in the mix of the DJs I’m in the category with, which we can go into all types of subjects on that one. Just to be recognized as a DJ is a great honor.

 

You’ve lived in Ibiza for over seven years now. How has your environment there, especially your Wax Da Jam party, influenced your sound?

Massively, massively. I moved to Ibiza for the quality of life. I wanted to get out of the UK just for a bit of a newer life. Living in Ibiza, for me, was not based on the music industry at all. That’s the first point. The second point was that once I got to Ibiza, my life had changed. My environment had changed, and there was one person to look at, which was me, looking at me. I had to look at my music. I had to look at my DJing. I had to really get back to the blank canvas of what that was about.  Then I developed a platform called Wax Da Jam and Wax Da Beach, which then really opened me back up to how I interact with music, how I interact with making beats. I think it really gave me a blank canvas, a fresh look at myself – I don’t want to say reinvent myself. I would say really reconnect with myself. The island has been really special for me in that way. Being able to do Wax Da Jam and incorporate live musicians, which when your jamming and playing together, you realize ideas come about, which includes coming up with new songs. That’s how it started out. Back in the day when I was making my first demo, I was playing at my own crib, packing demos down there. I always had a residency. Once I started touring and releasing albums, I didn’t have a residency for years because I was always touring all over the world, always playing different venues. Now I have Wax Da Jam that is my home base. This is our sixth season this year. This is how I started, so it feels like it’s gone full circle, and I got all this welcome experience and longevity along the way. But I’ve gone back to the essence of me DJing my own night. DJing that night not only just to be sure of those tracks, but also to get the inspiration and the influence into the studio to make new songs.

Would you say that Ibiza has been the biggest influence on your music thus far?

I would say the biggest influence on my music has definitely been my lifting up and where I come from in my hometown, Leeds. The last eight years have been massive for me. It’s not just a massive change in music as it were. I would say it’s a massive change in me personally, as a person, how interact with my music, how I interact with the world, everything really. It’s been an amazing gift in my life.

Definitely. Ibiza is paradise.

It is. I can’t wait to get back there. I’ve been enjoying the tour as well, but I’ve got that to look forward to at the end of the tour.

Exactly. New influences on the road and then you can go back to a great influence in your life. You said that “Smoker’s Delight” is your baby, the album that changed your life. Has your latest album, “N.O.W. Is The Time,” changed your life in any way?

I think that’s a question you would have to ask me at the end of the year. Every day there’s something happening with this journey. From being at some of these shows and hearing some of the testaments of some of the fans – People that have heard my baby or people that watch the show and then listened to my album or my album reminded them of something. You know? These really big and meaningful testaments that come from fans are really, really affecting me right now. People are telling me that this album has been the soundtrack to their life. It’s been a page in their life, whether it’s helped them through troubles or dark notes or whether it’s helped them through beaten counts, all kinds of crazy stories. And I’m like, “Shit, you don’t really know what you’re doing,” until you get these testaments and connections to people. I would say my answer to that question is this is ongoing right now. It’s still like I don’t know what the next testament is going to be. Right now, I’m really, really humbled by it. I’m really, really blown away by it. As musicians, I don’t think we really, really know what we’re doing as far as thinking about fans until you get that kind of testament. That, to me, has been really, like I said, humbling.

It’s that feeling that artists feel when their art affects other people.

Yes, especially when you unearth new music. You’re not making it with any conscious. I’m not making it with any condition. I’m making it because I’m expressing myself. But once that expression is put out for the world, you don’t know how that perception can be related. This is why music matters. If you’re going to say something, say something good because you just don’t know how you are affecting people. And you are affecting people. For me, it’s not about preaching. It’s about putting good vibrations out into this world because the world needs it.

Definitely, especially now. So you’re primarily known for Nightmares On Wax, but can you tell us a little more about your alter ego DJ E.A.S.E and why that was created?

Just because I come from a hip-hop and a B-boy background. When you’re trying to start out as a DJ, you always have a DJ name. The actual name, that’s been around for years, since 1985. It’s just that cool thing; you always have a DJ name or a producer name. Originally, my name was DJ EZE (pronounced Easy E). And then N.W.A. came about. I think that was at the end of 1988. There’s an Eazy-E in N.W.A. and I was like, “I can’t be EZE.” A good friend of mine said, “You should just call yourself Ease, just like that.” I was like, “Yeah, but what could that mean?” He came up with the actual meaning of the name and it stood for “experience a sample expert.” I said I would go with that because it was something that was easy sounding and what I was going for. I’ve gone under that name ever since and used it as a DJ name. It’s all connected really. It’s all the same thing, but that comes from more of a hip-hop background that what I grew up on.

 

Yeah. You have a huge catalog. What has been the one track that you’ve made that has personally influenced you the most?

The track that has influenced or changed my life – I would say it had a massive influence on my life because it changed my life and also because I’m still amazed how it came about when the song was made and what I cover originally with Kevin Harper and a guy called Robin Taylor-Firth. It was a song called “Nights Interlude.” I remember writing that song and coming out of the studio that day thinking, “Wow. We just made a baby. I don’t know where that baby came from, but we made a baby.” That song grew and I did a rendition on it. That’s when I got the song “Les Nuits,” which you get with a 52-piece orchestra. That was when my whole world opened up to production. My whole world opened up to what was possible. To this day, performing that song, I still can’t believe it. I still don’t know where it came from. There are two versions of the song. On the first album, “A Word of Science,” there’s a song called “Nights Interlude.” On the “Smoker’s Delight” album, there’s “Night Introlude.” Then when I did the “Carboot Soul” album, becuase of the success of “Smoker’s Delight,” we were able to invest in the 52-piece orchestra and perform that song. What stemmed from “Nights Interlude” to “Les Nuits,” there’s a clear connection. That was the song that really, really changed my life.

 

It’s probably one of your most famous songs too. Do you prefer producing or performing?

You can’t have one without the other. I produce first. If I don’t produce, I can’t perform. [Laughs]

 

Finish this sentence: “Now is the time to…”

Live your life to the highest point possible because you have the right to.

 

http://joonbug.com/miami/frequency/Nightmares-On-Wax-Takes-Us-Through-25-years-of-Music-with-New-Tour-Interview/qSjLWHoglSx

Cut Copy Brings Indie Rock to Miami with Phenomenal Performace

Standard

From beginning to end, Cut Copy put on an intense and compelling show that had the attendees hooked from the very start.

Photography by Jake Pierce

There’s nothing quite like a sold-out show at an intimate venue. The ambiance, the sheer mass of people, almost everything is different than just any normal concert. The sold-out Cut Copy and Classixx show on Wednesday night at Grand Central was no exception. The night was a magical one filled with die-hard fans and extraordinary music. It wasn’t a typical Miami show with phones constantly in the air and underage kids rudely bumping into you. Instead, the only bumping that was going down was by people dancing the night away.

A larger-than-life retro TV set filled the middle of the stage. Michael David and Tyler Blake stood on each side of it with their respectable instruments. Classixx had recently performed at Sasquatch, Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo, and now Grand Central was lucky enough to be graced with their presence.

The duo gained notable attention with their debut album “Hanging Gardens” and played most of their original songs throughout the night.  They started with one of their biggest hits “I’ll Get You,” but it was the live performance of their iconic remixes, like Yacht’s “Psychic City,” that got the crowd moving. The combination of live instrumentation and heavy usage of synthesizers made for an interesting outcome. Most of the vocals were pre-recorded, but when the duo did live singing, it was like experiencing bliss. They played an extremely short set, only about 40 minutes, and they should’ve been given at least an hour due to their talent and up-and-coming status.

From beginning to end, Cut Copy put on an intense and compelling show that had the attendees hooked from the very start. The four-piece band started with “We Are Explorers” and included songs not only from their latest album but classic favorites from previous albums that made the crowd move as one entity, a sign that true fans filled the space.

The band put on an amazing display of talent with each and every song, seamlessly going from one to the next. As the show went on, the music seemed to get louder and more intimate, and the bass seemed to get deeper, further drawing you into their music and simplistic psychedelic visuals. Lead Dan Whitford’s voice is constantly studio quality and extremely unique, making it associable with the band, but he tends to stay in one tone and pitch. The singing and songwriting take over the range. It works and everyone loved it.

Cut Copy went on to play crowd favorites like “Hearts On Fire,” “Let Me Show You Love”  and “Lights and Music.” They waited a good five minutes to come back for a two-song encore that included “Walking in the Sky” and “Need You Now.” The encore was lighter-in-the-air worthy, but not one lighter was raised.

Towards the end of the show, Whitford proclaimed that the Grand Central show was the best of the tour thus far, but that leaves many wondering if bands say that at every show. Whether that be the case or not, it was excellent night for music in Miami. This city doesn’t have a big electronic indie rock scene, but Cut Copy proved that it can. Since this exciting show, lights and music have been on our minds.

 

http://joonbug.com/miami/frequency/Cut-Copy-Brings-Indie-Rock-to-Miami-with-Phenomenal-Performace/n5ohJJA6TD6

Handbraekes Surprise and Tantalize with New EP, #2

Standard

Released on May 5th, the EP merges the unique styles of both members of the duo.

Photo from we-are-awesome.com

Appropriately titled #2, the second release from the duo beautifully merges the individual styles of both members while creating a sound that is unique and completely their own. Unlike the first EP, where you could distinguish who influenced each song, #2 completely immerses you in an impeccable union of French and German electro.

“Bravo,” the first and longest of the four songs, represents the classic style that Handbraekes achieves with their sound. While it still is distinguishable from modern electronic music, the track has a traditional house music vibe that at points seems monotonous but prepares you for the rest of the EP.

“Paroat” starts with an industrial beat and a laser that sounds like it came right out of Star Wars. From the beginning of the song, you’re hit with a heavy, in-your-face synth that might turn some people away from listening to the rest of the EP. However, the drawn-out build up that starts mid-song captivates and lures you in to see where they will go with this obscure and Oizo-like sound.

As the next song, “Chyna,” begins, you are led to believe that normalcy will finally take hold. Conversely, a fast-paced and erratic beat takes over the calming sounds that start the song.  The best part of this particular track is the snippets of vocals inserted in just the right places. The fusion of Boys Noize and Mr. Oizo is most evident in this song, as you can hear both of their styles clashing to create an instant dance floor hit.

Differentiating from any other sound presented on the EP, “Grind Go” will likely be the most popular song due to it being the most relatable to anything in electronic music today. The slowed-down disco tune soothes the soul, almost as if they knew how jarring and chaotic the rest of the EP was. The final track is their remedy and smooth transition back into reality.  “Grind Go” is a perfect way to end this musical adventure, even if it does end abruptly.

#2 is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is willing to churn out whatever will make money. Handbraekes is able to establish themselves with a sound different from anything you’ll find anywhere, and different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Even if you’re not hooked with the first couple of tracks, don’t slam on the brakes for this EP.

 

http://joonbug.com/national/frequency/Handbraekes-Surprise-and-Tantalize-with-New-EP-2/zsa7cUd4n80

Sold out Disclosure performances a sign of Miami refining its taste in electronic music

Standard

Disclosure sold out The Fillmore on Saturday night, but the music was hardly close to over after their live show at the iconic venue came to an end. To keep the party going through the night, Grand Central held the official Disclosure after party with special guest Samo Sound Boy, which sold out as well. The night was an intimate and sultry adventure that packed Grand Central to the brims and gave a listen into Disclosure’s musical discourse.

Photo by Jake Pierce

There was already a good amount of people at the venue when I arrived. Different groups scattered the floor; some were at the bar, some were on the dance floor and some lingered on the couches and in the shadows of the dark corners. Santiago Caballero was able to get the crowd going with some disco, deep house and even some electro house.

One of Grand Central’s greatest features is the back patio. Not many clubs have an outdoor area, and Grand Central perfects this space with the booths, bar, pool table and ample standing room. Other groups gathered outside for the more intimate space, but it wasn’t long before they quickly ushered in as soon as the faint sounds of Disclosure seeped to the patio.

Fresh off their newest release, a rework of “F for You” featuring Mary J. Blige, and the release of the music video for “Grab Her,” the anticipation and expectations for this performance were so high that it would’ve become overrated if the duo wasn’t so talented.

They played most of their debut album Settle throughout the night, and every time they dropped a popular song, the crowd went crazy. They also played a remix of “Renegade Master” that enjoyably, but strangely transitioned into a remixed version of “Latch.” Todd Terje‘s “Inspector Norse” was a nice surprise. What was interesting about Disclosure’s hour-and-a-half set was the select unidentifiable tracks. I found myself wondering what was coming through the speakers multiple times and not even Shazam could tell me what it was.

Looking around, the audience was young and full of energy. I was surprised by how many people were two-stepping. The dance floor stayed packed for the entirety of the set, and it was refreshing to see a Miami crowd so heavily invested into the music, even if they didn’t appreciate the lesser-known songs that were played.

While I believe that the two brothers are musical geniuses, I also think that their specialties thrive in their live shows where they are able to display their talents to the fullest. This is not to say their DJ sets are not good, but that they are not as emotional and intricate as the live version. I’ve been impressed every time I’ve seen Disclosure. They are talented regardless if they are playing live or not. I believe that if they put as much work into their DJ set as they did for their live show, they would be even more appreciated than they are today.

via Bionic Beatlab

Bear Creek 2013: Experience the magic of FUNK

Standard

Bear Creek is not just a music and art festival. It’s more of a way of life. Year after year, music lovers of all kinds make their way to the enchanting Suwannee Music Park for five days of live music. For some, Bear Creek has become a ritual, a tradition, a promise to return the following year. For some, like myself, it is the first time experiencing the tight-knit family of the Creek. After seeing Bear Creek for myself, I can see why they would want to come back.

The drive to Bear Creek Music and Arts Festival was bleak. It was raining and foggy. You could barely see 50 yards ahead of you. I expected the weekend to be the same. People who have been to festivals all over the country and the world and have been to Bear Creek have said it is the best. I was hoping the weather wouldn’t interrupt my first experience of this magical festival.

The weather turned out to be OK for the majority of the weekend. The overcast atmosphere allowed for a cool wind and for it to not be too hot or too cold. We arrived on Friday in the early afternoon and set up camp. After getting settled in, we started the weekend with Antibalas. They brought an intense energy that matched the crowds. In every direction, people were dancing. Bear Creek was in full swing.

 

The Motet was up next. If anyone can make funk intense, it’s these guys. The soothing voice of Jans Ingber compliments all of the instruments so well. Drummer Dave Watts, founder of the band, has made the cohesiveness of the members one of the main components, and it shows. Roosevelt Collier and Nigel Hall made “artist at large” appearances, and all around, this was one of the more fun and powerful sets of the weekend.

 

We headed to Galactic for a set full of diverse covers expanding from hip-hop to rock. There were guest appearances by David Shaw, Maggie Koerner, Chali 2na and Roosevelt Collier. We, then, decided to split up the time between Greenhouse Lounge and Kung Fu. It ended up being a wise choice. While I’ll always love Greenhouse Lounge, going to the Music Hall for Kung Fu worked out well. The building was heated, it wasn’t too packed, the bathrooms had lights, and KungFu rocked. The lead singer from the Motet, Inger, stopped in for a song or two. But Todd Stoops from Kung Fu playing four keyboards at once will forever amaze me.

 

As we made our way back to the Amphitheater Stage, I started getting jittery and more excited. Bonobo was up next. It’s hard to describe this set because, for me, it’s indescribable. The mood, ambiance and sheer brilliance of the music took me by surprise. We engrossed ourselves in the middle of the crowd while Simon Green took us to far-away places with his soulful and emotional songs.

Immersed in the forest, the Amphitheater Stage was the perfect place for a Bonobo performance. Szjerdene was even more intriguing with her outstandingly warm and beautiful voice. The production, particularly the visuals and lighting, were top quality. From ambient to funk to tribal drums, Bonobo and his band made you want to jump up and down, stand still with your eyes closed, and gently sway with the rhythm all at the same time. He played for an extra 20 minutes, and when he finally did end his set, Green mentioned that he had been looking forward to performing at Suwannee again. This was definitely my favorite set of the weekend and I would recommend his music to anyone.

After such a mind-altering performance, I went back to my campsite and got a good night’s rest. I knew I was going to need it for Saturday.

 

I awoke to the chatter of the early risers and a trumpet. The Campground Stage was having a sound check, and after, I cooked lunch to the sounds of Lucky Costello. Their remixed Star Wars soundtrack was a perfect way to start the day.

If I had to describe Saturday of Bear Creek in one word, I would call it “funky.” Bootsy Collins and the Funk Unity Band transported all of Bear Creek back to the 1970s. Sporting multiple outfits and instruments, including a star-shaped bass that lit up, Bootsy Collins was a sight to see, if not, a spectacle.

If you look up “funk” in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure a picture of Bootsy Collins will be there. With more than enough sexual references to make your grandmother uncomfortable, Bootsy had everyone poppin’ their thangs. Fully engaged with the audience, Bootsy started several chants and even attempted to make his way through a gap that the audience formed, but ultimately, didn’t make it 10 feet because the crowd swarmed him. His alter ego “Casper, the friendly ghost” made an appearance, along with long-time partner George Clinton and Bernie Worrell. Bootsy showed a modern-day crowd what funk is really all about.

The Roots were another notable act from Saturday. Probably the most anticipated set by the festivalgoers, I hadn’t seen the Amphitheater Stage that packed throughout the entire weekend. Seamlessly merging one song into the next, hip-hops only band put on a performance that had the crowd dancing the entire time. They played some of their classics, like “Table of Contents” and “The Seed (2.0),” and live reworks of classics, like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Welcome To Jamrock.” Questlove and Black Thought proved their talents, each through their respectable skill. Questlove’s drumming was a prominent presence, as always, and Black Thought’s rapping was smooth as butter.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe was a nice surprise. I, coincidentally, ran into a group of my friends, and for a second, I felt like it was fate that brought me to this set. As the “unofficial eighth member” of Slightly Stoopid, Karl provides a driving saxophone and flute line, but it is reminiscent of the older James Bond movies. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has a jazzy feel, but puts a modern twist on psychedelic funk and rock.

 

The Bear Creek All-stars were up next. This was a collaboration set featuring LettuceDumpstaphunk and almost every other artist at Bear Creek. They slowly introduced one, two, three musicians until the stage was completely full. Alecia ChakourNigel Hall, Neal Evans, George Porter Jr., Nikki Glaspie, the list goes on. The audience witnessed a mass of contributions to produce one sound; it was beautiful. There were so many instruments being played and so many voices singing, my ears felt overwhelmed with musical delight.

Instead of going to the silent disco, we decided to check out Zach Deputy’s late-night set at a random campground. It had started raining, but the tree canopy was protecting us for the most part. By the time we got to the front of the crowd, it had doubled in size and there was no telling how many people were behind us. A fog machine engulfed the crowd, making people disappear into the clouds and rain. It got so rowdy, the cops had to shut it down.

 

On Sunday, the festival cut back to only two stages, the Porch Stage and the Amphitheater Stage with no conflictions. To my surprise, a lot of people decided to pack up and leave, missing some of the best music of the weekend.

 

The Jennifer Hartswick Band featured many sit-ins, including Jans Ingber, Natalie Cressman, George Porter Jr. and more. My favorite part of this set was Hartswick’s take on Janis Joplin’s “Little Piece of My Heart.” She almost made it sound better than the Queen of Psychedelic Soul herself. Jennifer Hartswick voice is so emotional and soulful that it’s hard to not listen to her when she sings.

However, the most moving performance of the day, possibly the festival, was Roosevelt Collier and Nigel Hall’s Gospel Surprise. For a lot of musicians, religion plays a major role in developing a style, and that proves to be extremely true for Collier and Hall. Their Sunday mass was something I had never seen before. Gospel music rung through the trees as musicians took their turn belting into the microphone, singing hymns and traditional church songs. Alecia Chakour, Natalie Cressman, Erin Boyd and Jennifer Hartswick took the role of the choir, and their voices merged together to create a sweet and angelic sound. Collier’s steel guitar and Hall’s piano resonated throughout the amphitheater. It was a religious experience, even for those who are not religious. Some were brought to tears and some danced joyfully.

After church, Zach Deputy served us some good ol’ chicken pot pie – well sort of. He was about to close his set with one of his most beloved songs, “Chicken Pot Pie,” when he was cut short because of time restrictions. Festival favorite and Bear Creek veteran, Zach Deputy is a “ one-man army, fighting for yo groove.” His Caribbean-infused, island style music instantly got the crowd to move their feet. He proceeded to display his talents in bluegrass, the blues, gospel and soul, live looping, guitars and harmonicas. Everyone I saw at this Zach Deputy set had a smile on his or her face.

As the festival started winding down, the crowd size was noticeably smaller. Dumpstaphunk was the second-to-last-performer, but they energized and brought all of the patrons to the Amphitheater Stage for the last magical moments of the weekend. The bittersweet end came with Lettuce. They brought out the stars of Bear Creek to perform one more time until next year. When they exited the stage, the crowd erupted with, “We want the funk! Gotta have that funk!” Lettuce came back for an epic encore with “Madison Square.”

 

And just like that, it was over. It seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, but as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Until next time, Bear Creek.

 

via Bionic Beatlab

 

Food Review: Chocolate Night

Standard

Samantha Doucette,

Contributing Writer

Dark chocolate pomegranate, white chocolate pumpkin swirl, chocolate maple bacon pecan – the choices seem almost endless. Where, in Gainesville, can you find ice cream flavors like this?

Tucked in the corner of the shopping center on West University Ave. and Southwest 34th Street is Sweet Dreams of Gainesville, the first local ice cream shop in Gainesville to not bear a franchise name.

From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Sweet Dreams held its Chocolate Night, an event that happens only twice a year. This special day is when Sweet Dreams clears out the ice cream cases of all the regular flavors and showcases 36 different kinds of chocolate ice cream.

“We start making the ice cream weeks in advance,” Michael Manfredi, owner and founder of Sweet Dreams, said. “Thirty-six flavors, 72 boxes of ice cream, almost 200 gallons.”

The event started two years ago and has become more successful every time they do it, Manfredi said. On Chocolate Night, the shop sells anywhere from 800 to 1,100 bowls of ice cream and those are sometimes shared between multiple people.

For the event, they use mini scoops that are the size of golf balls so you can get an assortment of flavors. You can get anywhere from two to 30 mini scoops, ranging from the prices of $3.50 to $25.

“We don’t miss this if we can help it. You can’t go wrong,” Anthony Newsholme, a self-claimed chocoholic, said. “We’re probably going to go to a movie and come back for more.”

Manfredi said that he had a hard time keeping up with all the different chocolate flavors, like rocky road and heavenly hash, because all of the ice cream and waffle cones are homemade in the shop. He decided to only have a regular house chocolate and nothing else.

The idea came to Manfredi when he wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day. He featured a raspberry chocolate flavor and a spicy Mayan chocolate that is made with chilies and cinnamon. Before the event could even take place, the spicy Mayan chocolate sold out and another batch had to be made.

Manfredi started adding more and more chocolate flavors until a night completely dedicated to chocolate was created.

Chocolate Night rarely features the same chocolate ice creams. Manfredi and his wife, Lisa, always introduce new flavors and tweak the recipes of old ones. They only keep customer favorites, like the spicy Mayan chocolate, continuously on the Chocolate Night menu.

“They let you taste everything first, which is nice. They’re actually very efficient even though there are so many people,” Dixie Lee, a patron of Chocolate Night, said.

If you missed this fall’s Chocolate Night, you still have spring to look forward to where a whole new set of chocolate flavors will be available.

Spirit Guide and Every release EP on NYC label Ounce.

Standard

New York City-based label Ounce. has done it again. May 1 marks the release of the3×3 EP by Spirit Guide and Every, available on the label’s bandcamp. The six-song collaboration is a beautiful combination of dreamy-like beats and ambient melodies that has the ability to mesmerize and whisk you away into another world.

Spirit Guide and Every live several states apart, making the collab more interesting than most.

“I’ve really started to enjoy this way of working — sending sketches back and forth instead of sitting down and trying to make something solid on the first go. It’s kind of showed me that if you think of everything as a sketch or idea, then there’s a lot less pressure,” Spirit Guide said. “I don’t think it’s really realistic to just sit down and put on your stern face and write your opus. It’s so much more pleasant when you say, ‘I’m just gonna mess around for a while.'”

“Collar,” the opening track, is a thoughtful mixture of layered effects that has distinct sections, but fluently and masterfully transcends from each portion of the song to the next. Never chaotic or confusing, but still somewhat upbeat, this song is easily the track of the EP that has the potential to become the most popular and is one of the best of the six songs.

“Motivation” heavily samples the Kelly Rowland single, but the duo makes it their own with the deep basslines and downtempo beats. The decision to leave out the original lyrics was a smart move by the two musicians.

This isn’t the first time that the two have worked together. Back in late 2012, the Intel and Vice collective network The Creator’s Project released an in-depth look, in the musicians own words, at how the duo made the song “Union,” which is also featured on the new EP. They go into who was responsible for specific parts of the song and why certain decisions were made. Getting a different perspective on how two artists come together to create a flowing song is very interesting.

In my opinion, “Union” is possibly the best track of the EP. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve heard this song before or because I’ve read the break down of how the song was made, but there’s just something about it that grabs my attention for the whole 5 minutes. It’s a low-key song that has the potential to be a  huge hit.

The second half of the EP seems somewhat different compared to the first half. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are of very high quality and stature, but for some reason, they don’t seem to be cohesive with the first half. It’s almost as if the first three songs and the last three songs can be their own separate EPs.

All in all, this EP holds an enjoyable listening experience. Released just in time for summer, you can easily listen to this lounging by the pool on a hot summer day or curled up inside when those treacherous Florida thunderstorms hit.