A Look Back at the 2007 10,000 Lakes Festival

Hey kids! Sorry this review is so late, but life always gets in the way once you return from a fest huh? Anyway, I moved to another state so that was a bit disruptive, then I got almost entirely finished with this little piece here, and the house got struck by lightning! And wouldn't it just figure that the two things that got smoked were some files I had open on another computer (including this review) and my beloved stereo! Heartbreak all around. I digress. Hope everyone had a great summer and are finding some cool musical events for the upcoming lovely fall weather. I'll be heading to Vegoose myself for the third year in a row and strongly suggest you catch this year as it looks unbelievably promising! In the meantime…enjoy and respond. Cheers! amanda

Wednesday

That 1 Guy

I caught just a bit of his show @ Wakarusa this year, so I was uber-excited to get the chance to see some more here. You have to see That 1 Guy to understand what I'm talking about, and even then, I'm not sure. He plays this crazy-looking, homemade instrument that he calls the Magic Pipe…infer what you will.

He played a lot of food-related stuff from his new album "The Moon is Disgusting" such as "Oranges" and "Bananas" and "It's Raining Meat", which isn't from the current album but the first "Songs in the Key of Beotch," but he got the biggest laugh when he cranked out "Buttmachine."

Now lots of other reviewers have described his sound in odd little ways, so I'll let you look those up my Web-surfing friends, and I'll not try to trump those descriptions. He's awesome. That's all you need to know.

He's currently touring this fall, so look him up and see if he'll be in your area. Tickets seem to be pretty reasonable for the couple shows I'm catching so being broke isn't an excuse when you know you'll be going out and spending a few on drinks regardless…you might as well catch a good show instead.

WookieFoot

I had no idea what to expect going into this show except for some overheard conversations earlier in the day about some "craziness about to go down" @ the WookieFoot show that night. Considering the number of festivals I've been to, "craziness" can mean just about anything.

I knew the WookieFoot crew was camped up near my little neighborhood and I hadn't seen or heard anything out of the ordinary coming from their direction, so I was a bit skeptical that the rumors were true. Then I arrived to see one of the most excited and animated crowds I've witnessed in a long time. There was so much going on I didn't know what to watch and shoot first. There were @ least a half a dozen members on the stage including a bagpiper! (My mom loves bagpipes. They make her cry for some odd reason, but she swears they are happy tears…oh yeah, and we're not Scottish. Mom is German and a smidge of English, so who knows right?)

Anyway, the place was like a circus. The rotating cast of way to many band members to mention kept things wild and fun. Almost everybody wore face paint and an unusual outfit of some sort ranging from fuzzy pants in wild, day-glo patterns to super-hero outfits to short kimonos for the girls during a parasol dance. My favorite part of the stage had to be the garden gnome sitting near the front corner with an empty Frappuccino bottle next to him.  Then you've got jugglers and spinner and fire dancers coming out every so often. WookieFoot allows you to feast your ears and eyes and mind with their high-energy show and socially conscious and often story-telling lyrics. One of my top recs for the weekend!

Thursday

Hunab

My neighbors, Dave and Jill, recommended I go see Hunab, and of course I went. How could I pass up what Dave described as a "delicious combo of tasty tunes"? Besides, that's one of the best parts of festivals like this…going to see people you've never heard of solely on the recommendation of almost strangers/brand-spankin' new friends.

Hunab's out of Iowa City and started their musical relationship in high school, adding members along the way. These five guys have an infectious enthusiasm, but you'll mostly notice just how much fun their percussionist, Collin, is having. Just watching him brings a smile.  It's a shame they played early in the day and in the enclosed and often-crowded Saloon. I'm confident they would have drawn in tons of passers-by had they been on and open stage somewhere. They describe themselves as psychedelic/jam-band/fusion on their Myspace, but then again, who doesn't fit themselves into those categories these days? It's a catch-all. What I did see was pretty diverse though. Some reggae tunes moving into some more mellow instrumental pieces followed by some funkier stereotypical hippie jams. Worth checking out either way.

Dubconscious

This show opened with the normal "what's going on today" but with a special shout-out to whomever turned in the guy's wallet to VIP that morning.  I don't agree with his statement that he wouldn't have seen it again at any other festival, but the crowd was pretty kind overall that weekend.

They opened with "Wise Man Say" and moved into "Past Tense" which has a good message, but I can never decide for sure if I like the actual song or not. Solomon tearing it up on the trumpet on "Spell" is always nice to hear. They finished strong though mellow with "Mental Alcatraz."

Galactic & Particle

Deciding between Galactic and Particle becomes a ridiculous thing, so I just wandered back and forth between the two. I needed the exercise anyway, since I have a goal to lose at least five pounds per festival anyway.  It helped that Particle played on the Barn Stage which required a short-short walk up a hill. I've seen both multiple times in multiple kinds of venues, and I only like one better than the other depending on my mood. Particle seems to be more enjoyable as a "late-night" show for me, plus I'm a sucker for Zeppelin covers, so today I have to admit I favored Galactic. Either way, both bands played in good form. Wish I had a set list for both to pass on, so if anyone has one…

Zappa Plays Zappa

Dweezil and his crew looked so happy up there.  They've really done a fabulous job of recreating his dad's signature sound. I had never heard them before and left impressed.  So again, if anyone has a set list for this one, pass it on please?

Umphrey's McGee

Tonight's show moved around a lot and circled back on itself even more with "Divisions" making an early appearance in the set, and if I remember correctly, closing the set out before the encore. A couple other songs started in one place and finished in another as will happen during a good jam-band show.  One of my favorite Talking Heads' tunes "Making Flippy Floppy" turned into a huge jam and really brought the crowd alive, especially with the calliope-sounding riff.

I had a good time, but I'll admit to having heard some complaints about tonight's performance from those around me and again while heading up to later night shows. Basically, the consensus became that while it proved to be an "alright" show, it was a "bit too abstract and just didn't live up to expectations."  I've only seen Umphrey's a few times over the last couple of years so when one guy said they hadn't "played a decent show since '98." I almost stopped him to ask what he meant, but by that time he was arguing about his statement with a friend, and I wasn't about to get into the middle of that one!

Regardless, the encore began with the obligatory "you guys are the best" and "it's been great playing for y'all" to be followed by a split-up "Nemo" with a little "Wizard Burial Ground" thrown in the middle. Nice way to end an evening…except the Biscuits were up next, so it wasn't yet time for bed.

The Disco Biscuits

They are always a great late-night show. I had fun. I danced. I don't remember specific songs. :^) Everybody around me seemed to be having a fabulous time as well.

Friday

Everyone Orchestra

The chemistry for this EO show resided mostly on stage right where Shawn (who happened to be wearing a gorgeous pair of strappy, gold heels) from Madahoochi, Los Angeles, hip-hop artist Deploi and keyboardist Asher Fulero resided. The rest of the crew rocked as well, but these three looked like they were having such a fabulous time that it was hard to focus elsewhere. Though Levi Chen's playing of the guitar and Chinese harp on the opposite side of the stage prompted me to make the trip over to Lake Sallie Campground Stage the next night to see him on his own. Director Matt Butler and the constantly rotating cast of the EO make this a group worth seeing every time.

The String Cheese Incident

A lot of people will miss SCI which was apparent at this show. I caught the very beginning to go shoot then took the opportunity of what I knew was going to be a long set to go clean up and shower. Besides, you can hear the main stage wonderfully from the VIP shower area, so I knew I wasn't going to miss too much. Besides, these were some of the best showers at any festival I've ever been to. Nature's Gate provided their organic shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions in lovely scents such as Chamomile & Lemon Verbena or Grapefruit & Wild Ginger. Yum.

Got back to camp after, checked in with my neighbors to see where Dave and the girls were. Dennis gave me directions to where he's seen them last down in the VIP area, so I went off in search of them. I got down there and decided it was going to be near impossible to find them, so I just started taking some night pics of the crowd and messing with the shutter speed to see if I could get some cool light effects from all the glow sticks there. Somebody threw a whole ton of them out into the crowd so I turned my flash on and turned the camera off to the side just to see what I would get of people scrambling for them. Several minutes later, I scrolled through the batch I had just taken and totally flipped out when I saw the girls in one of the random pics I had taken of the crowd. I now knew exactly where they were! They couldn't believe that I had found them at all, let alone how it all occurred.

This slow-starting String Cheese show picked up, plus I had found my friends. Life was good. "Chameleon" into "Close Your Eyes" could have been a little louder and crisper, but I'm pretty sure that's a sound guy's fault and not that of the band. The drum/percussion jam right before frequent SCI guest Scott Law joined them for San Jose was awesome and really perked up the crowd.

The Tragically Hip

I'd randomly picked up a Tragically Hip CD from a recent eBay shopping spree and loved it, so imagine my pleasure at finding out they were going to be @ 10KLF.  Then I got down to the front and found out we weren't being allowed any photos, so that put me off as it always does. Despite this, this Ontario band put on a good show with a lot of energy and some kind of middle-aged-rocker angst going on from lead singer, Gordon Downie who I think kind of sounds like Michael Stipe from R.E.M. I know I'm not the only one to make that comparison, so I must be on the right track.  I would really like to see them in a different venue, something smaller and more intimate or maybe I just need to be nearer the front to appreciate it more.

Kinetix

Okay, so I honestly can't say that I paid much attention to this show from this Denver band, or that I was even there for very long. I'd just been down @ The Tragically Hip, which was a great show, but I was still a little peeved that they weren't allowing anyone to shoot the show. Not even the "three, no flash" we tend to get. Anyway, Kinetix played up in the Saloon, and they closed off the main door next to the stage to try and control crowd size and traffic flow, but those of us with press passes were allowed to enter there snap a few decent shots without having to fight the packed room to get to the front.

There are some tables and benches around the perimeter of the room which also had windows all the way around opening up onto a deck. I took the opportunity to stand on one of the benches to try and shoot over the crowd. No problem right? The kids around me were nice and let me up into their space even without the promise that I'd be quickly out of the way. Perfect…until I started shooting and doing my job and some freakin' juvenile dumb a#* on the deck decided it would be cute to reach in the window and grab a piece…if you know what I mean. Needless to say I whirled around to confront the creep only to find another guy who was either an exceptional actor or someone truly dumbfounded to have witnessed the grab and bolt. There's your odd little story for the day.

Oh yeah, so I liked what I heard. If I didn't already have plans to see That 1 Guy on the 21st of October, I'd totally go catch their show in Normal, IL on that same night.

Trampled by Turtles

If you missed this show, there's a great recording of it @ archive.org. Actually there's a few shows from this weekend up there which is immeasurably helpful to me when I'm checking to make sure the songs I've written down as ones I've liked are actually correct. Anyway, these guys were so on that night and definitely needed to be put on a bigger stage. Ryan Young from Pert Near Sandstone joined them on fiddle for the entire set which was a great addition and a nice surprise. It's honestly hard to pick out favorites but "Sleep Soundly" followed by an encore of "Whisky" and "Sloop John B" would be right up there.

Pnuma Trio

Would have enjoyed actually getting to see Pnuma tonight, though it was back up in the Saloon and we already know how I felt about that particular venue on this fine evening…though it does bring me to another story. I'll keep it to myself, though if you're reading this and "baby powder" means anything to you, you're welcome. Glad I could make the rest of your evening more enjoyable. Don't let your friends make fun too much.

There must be something about it up there…regardless, the place was packed to the point that no one was going in or out for the duration of the show. Not without considerable effort and probably upsetting some people. No matter, it was a perfectly lovely evening for sitting on a nearby wall and listening from the outside. Unfortunately I left a tad earlier than planned to escort two young ladies who happened to be my neighbors safely back to camp after they ingested a few acquired party favors. My complete sober state entitled me to be their chaperone for the end of the evening. Nighty night kids

Saturday

Keller Williams

Johnny had been talking about Keller all morning, so I knew we'd be heading down to this show for sure. This gorgeous, last afternoon had just the right combo of sun and breeze. His impressive guitar collection filled the stage.  My favorite part had to be his cover of the Butthole Surfer's "Pepper." I think everyone around me burst out laughing at the same time I did. There were also a couple really impressive jams tossed in throughout the show.

Toubab Krewe

The Wizard advised the Barn Stage's crowd that if they weren't already on their feet, they probably should get there 'cause he knew they were going to want to dance once the show got started. This is another show on archive.org that you should check out. The set list is missing but it's well worth listening to. The music began and the crowd danced as much, if not more, than the Wizard had estimated.

Gov't Mule

This show lacked fans and while more wandered in a bit later, it still seemed to be a rather sad turnout. They performed a good "Patchwork Quilt" which was written by Warren in memory of Jerry and ended with a welcome, but not nearly as good as the original, "Soulshine."

Bob Weir & Ratdog

Stone me if you will, but I can't say that I'm all that fond of Bobby and Ratdog. They're talented, don't get me wrong, but if there weren't quite so many rumors of this being the end, or very near it, I might have chosen to listen from my campsite. (Plus there's something a little weird to me about guys who wear capris.) The set started out with a nice, mellow jam with lots of sax from Kenny. He's so fun to watch and obviously my favorite of the group. Despite my initial lack of excitement, this was a greatly performed show, and I'm so glad I made the point to see it instead of passively listening from afar. Loved hearing "Tennessee Jed" and "Cassidy" in the first set. The second set featured an enjoyable run starting off with "Come Together" and ending in "One More Saturday Night" before the encore.  - Editor's Note... I LOVE Bobby!! -  :)

Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk

Honestly, I needed to go to bed. I had such a long drive in front of me that I didn't stay here nearly as long as I wanted to. Besides, my neighbors were there to represent. Jill was there with Dave and his infamous, but popular, plant…if you were @ the show, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. What I heard, I loved. I'll have to make sure I pick up another show sometime in the near future.

10klf Rundown

For the fifth year now, the almost 8,000 residents of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota prepared themselves for the arrival of approximately 20,000 10K festival-goers to converge on their community. Not to mention the WE Fest, which has about double the attendees of 10KLF, coming just several weeks later (this year WE Fest had its 25th anniversary).  Soo Pass Ranch becomes the party place for two totally different types of musical events. Even Detroit Lakes Sheriff Tim Gordon said in an online article that comparing the two events is like "apples and oranges."

That same article, found on the Detroit Lakes Sheriff site, stated that while there were only 18 arrests at 10KLF, compared to WE Fest's 87, most of those at 10KLF were for felony offenses.  Unfortunately, two deaths occurred at this year's festival. Both were cited as being drug-related. Rumors of the deaths spread quickly through the festival grounds and seemed to be a catalyst for some intense conversations including one in my own neighborhood about the need for moderation, knowing your limits, and the importance of all of us looking out for one another regardless of how well we know each other.  I saw multiple instances of just that kind of love and responsibility for one another that weekend. Kind of gives me hope that the world isn't as horrible as it appears to be so often.

Overall, I think 10KLF pulled off a very successful "weekend." Thanks to all of my great neighbors on the hill for helping me have a fabulous weekend!  Click here to see more photos from the 2007 10KLF.