I realize more and more every day since the summer of 2008 started, that a sizeable number of people have never been to the Mishawaka Amphitheater, and a good portion of those that have never visited have never even heard about it. Gasp! It is becoming unfathomable to me that people have never heard of what most affectionately call The Mish.
So before I continue, just go. Here is the link to the Mishawaka Amphitheater: Plenty of good music to kick off Fall. Links to camping in the area are also available on their website; I highly recommend camping at the Ansel Watrous campground.
When it rains in Boulder in the summer, I am overjoyed. I realize some who had diligently made plans for the weekend might be more than disappointed with the moisture. The entire drive from Boulder to Fort Collins was a bit wet, but mainly just from sprinkles. When we arrived at the Mishawaka Amphitheater it was noticeably cooler and as I parked the car it started to rain a bit heavier. Boo for me who didn't bring a rain jacket.
Arriving at roughly 6pm, I thought we would have been greeted by a slew of attendees already in the parking lot. Or my other thought was that because of YarmonyGrass Festival that same weekend the size of the crowd might be smaller than what would generally attend. The second thought was true. For my first time, I saw music inside the restaurant/bar. Sure, it's small. Sure, it's dark. Sure, it's not made to handle live music. But they have Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man, sit down style, arcade machines! Really, that was the only upside. The inside really just is a room off of the bar where they have a small stage and they can set up music. No fancy shmancy lights either. Most of the lights inside came from the three artists who were in attendance. Vort, Chris and M. Garfield. All three of whom I have admired their work for some time. Chris and Vort were working on collaborations. If I remember correctly Vort would lay down the background and Chris would add images in the foreground. I fell in love with an original that had a totem idea behind it.
After a nice quick sound check, Alex B. from Pnuma Trio played a DJ set. From second one he seemed relaxed and very comfortable behind his laptop and mixer. Working hard to fix any audio issues was first and foremost but eventually he caught his groove and the usual influx of bodies hearing the music from outside started to flood in. The whole set I really enjouyed and did not leave once to go outside on the patio. I really like Pnuma Trio, and really love Pnuma Duo and now think Alex B.'s DJ sets will only get sicker. He has a knack for picking interesting combinations of beats and sounds that don't sound familiar. I like that, I like that a lot. All too often DJ's get repetitive and it comes out sounding stale. Only twice he dropped a few beats into accidental silence for a second, but he'd smile and get everyone going even more.
After Alex B. was EOTO, Michael Travis and Jason Hann. As they are fine tuning their instruments I decide to head outside to the car. To my dismay of course it's freaking raining. Finally I borrow a far too oversized waterproof ski jacket so that I can spend time with my friends down by the river. The river at The Mish is quite something else, this time was especially distinct because of the music being inside you could hear the river rippling by much more clearly.
EOTO has worked tirelessly on the road this past year playing a huge variety of festivals. Previously, I've felt as though many EOTO shows sound too similar. For live music, again, what I enjoy is not the same show over and over just slightly reworked; I enjoy a show where it is completely different from the time before. Within five minutes of EOTO starting two friends both came up to me and asked "Is this what EOTO sounds like now?" Both were pleased that EOTO sounded different, liked what they were hearing and stayed inside to listen to the show for the majority of set. Great crowd that was getting down every second. Overall, very good EOTO show, I thought Michael Travis did an amazing job switching between the keyboards, laptop samples, loops, and guitar/bass. What struck me the most was the live recorded audio he would use. Most of the samples sounded as if he were doing what I know to be a sort of tabla language. And as always Jason Hann is just a machine! Albeit machine that constantly finds smiles and laughs onstage.
Vibesquad, aka Aaron Holstein, was last to go on to close the night out. I've not seen Vibesquad for what I believe to be quite some time so was really looking forward to this set. He takes the stage with a huge smile, hugs Travis and Hann and gets busy working people into a funk. I'll admit I listened to the majority of his set from outside, it drizzled off and on but was just so beautiful and being I could still hear the music I kept rotating spots on the patio and then down under by the rocks. There is absolutely something to be said, at least in my view, for nice, wet, damp moisture filled nights. I guess that is something I miss living in dry Boulder! What struck me is how Vibesquad really had the crowd into the show. He was participating more than any other artist getting down himself behind his table. It's really a treat to see this man perform, he exudes bliss!
The night ends a bit abruptly and a few head down to the island, where there is once in awhile camping available after concerts. I say goodbye to a close friend who is moving to the Dominican Republic in a few short days and then settle in on the rocks down against the riverbanks to waste the hours, appreciating how much I love The Mish.