August 5, 2016 Great South Bay Music Festival Lights Up The Night Patchogue, NY 7-16-16
If day two of the Great South Bay Music Festival turned Country, day three, on Saturday July 16th, was a bit more Jam and Funk leaning. After two previous evenings of great music, attendees were ready to take in the hot summer sun to enjoy a full day of music and the nice breeze off the bay, a breeze which was easing the present heat wave. Occasionally the clouds would provide a bit of nature’s shade, but as the day went on the humidity rose and the clouds had more than shade planned.
As lines of people were forming waiting for the festival to open, one could hear chatter of the excitement over about the lineup of musical acts on tap. Having a different theme than the previous two days, the Dream Stage, or main stage, provided several major acts, but there were two other stages for fans to catch some other quality acts playing Rock, Blues, Jam & lots of Funk. The Jambalaya Stage had Funked Up, Joni Project, Hopefully Forgiven, Reckoning, Quarter Horse, Ladies Drink Free, Noahs Arc and Funkin’ A. The Clamshell Bandshell had Count To Ten, Youth Be Told, Space Carnival, Robert Bruey, Urban Chancellor and Ancient Tongue.
Being a family friendly event, they also had a Kidzone with performers for the little and big kids alike. In addition, there was a Pirate Show and later a Pirate Treasure Hunt, Jungle Gym Jam, Cheryl The One Woman Circus, Erin Lee & The Up Past Bedtime Band, I Love Reading & Magic and the Hoopsie Daisies, to dazzle the audience with their fancy hoop skills and even teach them how it is done. There were not just human families on the grounds of the festival; there was also a pair of mating Osprey. All that in mind, it was shaping up to be a wonderful event, despite the heat.
The first group to take the main stage was Yonkers, NY natives, Spuyten Duyvil, a six-piece band lead by singing and songwriting couple, Mark Miller and Beth Kaufman. With their melding of traditional American Roots with Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, and even a little Funk, they offer a unique sound. This factor even makes it tough it classify them into one genre of music, but good music is good music. They proved that with nomination in 2015 by the International Folk Music Awards for the Album Of The Year and holding #1 and #2 songs on May’s Roots Music Report’s Contemporary Folk Chart.
With an intimate crowd before them, Spuyten Duyvil came out on stage with enthusiasm and wasted no time getting them to groove to their beat. Playing songs from their three albums, they showcased their uniquely blended style on such songs as “Keep Your Skillet Good And Greasy’” “Bitter,” “Everything I Am,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Complimenting it all, Kaufman and Miller took turns singing lead vocals, and harmonized beautifully when they would sing together. They had a lot of energy and as the crowd grew before them, and as their set went on, that energy became even more powerful. Expressing gratitude for all those who checked out their set, Spuyten Duyvil gave everyone something to cheer and clap about.
With the sun still shining bright, more people were getting ready to claim their spot by the main stage by setting up blankets and chairs. Children were having fun showing off their freshly painted faces to family members, as onlookers would also smile on behalf of their enjoyment. Then, there was also a lot to watch on stage as Miles To Dayton came next.
Locally based, Long Island natives, Miles To Dayton is led by the husband and wife team of Krista Preddice (vocals) and Jonathan Preddice (vocals/guitar/cello/accordion/trumpet) along with Krista’s brother Dave March (bass), Jonathan’s sister Alisa Rabbitt (violin/vocals) Leanne Strom (violin/vocals) and Brian Kroll (drums). With their acoustic folk and funky Rock sound they have recorded four full-length cd’s since 2005. Playing many of the tracks off of their previous and newest release, it was obvious by the crowds’ responses there were a lot of fans present and many were seen singing along to the songs. The very active band played some crowd favorites throughout their set, including several tracks from the latest cd, Forces Unknown, including the title track and a big favorite, “Great South Bay.” Appreciative of the audience’s overwhelmingly positive responses. Krista said, “Thank you all so much! And thank you for helping us succeed.” Be sure to check them out as they continue to grow with each passing gig.
As the crowd dissipated to freshen drinks and catch the other acts, they swiftly returned for the next act, Chicago natives, The Main Squeeze. In just a little over five short years the band has amassed a large and growing loyal fan base while releasing two full-length albums. For those unfamiliar with the band, they play an eclectic blend of Funk, Soul and good old Rock-n-Roll. That being said, their live shows are powerful and truly showcase a strong rhythm section of Rob Walker on bass and Reuben Gingrich on drums, along with the rocking guitar of Max Newman, the brilliantly sparkling keyboards of Ben “Smiley” Silverstein, as well as smooth vocals of Corey Frye.
Coming out strong with a thumping back-beat, the band had the crowd immediately up on their feet. Frye quickly took command of the stage, as more and more attendees were getting closer to see what all the excitement was about. Playing such favorites as “Dr. Funk,” “All In,” and “Love Yourself Somebody,” they had the full attention of the audience as they were jumping and dancing along. Before playing a newly written song Frye said, “Thank you so much! It’s nice to have fun on a Saturday with you. Take time to love and take less time to hate.” As he continued his dialog about the sad state of things in the world today, and how deeply effecting all of the shootings have been, he stressed how much we need to join together as a people and put petty differences aside. A feeling everyone can relate with, they segued into new song “Shot” which conveyed a message clearly understood and loved by fans.
While the last band was playing their show, the clouds slowly rolled in, getting thicker and heavier with each song they played. The clouds did cool the temperature down a bit, but during the intermission it felt as if it was about to rain. Just as Dopapod was about to start, the first raindrops began to fall from the sky, although the crowd did not seem to care one bit as they drew close to the stage. Rain aside, they were ready for the jamming Progressive Rock, with a hint of Dance.
Formed back in 2007 in the Boston area, Dopapod has released five studio albums, which has gained them a strong fanbase. Many of those fans were on hand cheering as Eli Winderman (keyboards/vocals), Rob Compa (guitar), Chuck Jones (bass) and Scotty Zwang (drums) came out on stage and kicked the show into high gear. With very little use of vocals, the audience was swaying and dancing to the jamming sounds. As the band played the rain got heavier and everyone danced more vigorously to the sounds of “Turning Knobs,” “Picture In Picture” and “Braindead.” With little conversation from the band between songs, they just kept the show moving along nice and smoothly. But before the end of their set, Winderman said, “Thanks for being here with us today, it has been great to be here.” Wet, but still happy, Dopapod supported agreed.
As the rain continued to fall, at times heavier than other times, but not a soaker, more attendees were wearing plastic rain ponchos or raising their umbrellas. Some did not seem to care at all as they were simply enjoying the cooler temperatures. With that said, the front of the stage was now visibly wet but multi-platinum recording artists Blues Traveler had plenty of shelter to keep them dry. Well-known, this band has a long rich history since forming back in 1987 in Princeton, NJ. Releasing twelve full-length studio albums since 1990, the album that introduced them to the mainstream audience was 1994’s, four, which had two chart topping singles, one of which awarded them a Grammy in 1995 for Best Rock Performance.
A burst of cheers erupted as John Popper (vocals/harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitar), Tad Kinchla (bass), Ben Wilson (keyboards) and Brendan Hill (drums) came out on stage as the largest crowd so far, gathered as close as they could to watch the set. Always changing things up, it has become a given amongst Blues Traveler fans that their live show weave in and out of segues of their songs as well as covers. Not to disappoint, they played fan-favorites “Hook,” hit single “Run Around, “Cara Let The Moon,” and “But Anyway.” They also treated the audience to songs from their 2015 release including the tile track, “Blow Up The Moon.”
In addition,Blues Traveler delighted fans with the cover of Charlie Daniel’s song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” where the fiddle was replaced with Popper’s amazing harmonica skills, as well as changing the lyric in the first line to “The Devil came down to Patchogue,” which had the crowd screaming. Midway through that song they took time to jam and solo before eventually returning to the original track, concluding it in epic fashion. At the end their set Popper said, “Thank you all so much!” and continued on with introducing the band and giving kudos to all the acts on stage before them this day. The audience was grateful Blues Traveler for such an amazing performance as they cheered on the band as they departed from the stage.
With a day filled with so much music, some rain, and heat, the main stage area looked as if it was filling to its capacity as everyone flocked to the area to see the final act of the night, Umphrey’s McGee. Forming in South Bend, Indiana in 1997, Progressive Rock Jam band, Umphrey’s McGee has released eight studio albums. Selling over 3.5 million songs online, this band has a deeply devoted following and their live shows are known to be something special, even electrifying, known for have one of the most impressive light shows around.
Now that it was completely dark of night, the stage lights went dim and the crowd went wild as only royal blue lights shined while Brendan Bayliss (guitar/vocals), Jake Cinninger (guitar/vocals), Joel Cummins (keyboards/vocals), Ryan Stasik (bass), Andy Farag (percussion) and Kris Myers (drums/vocals) entered. Quickly morphing into a full spectrum of color, the band went right into jamming to “Le Blitz.” Taking everyone in with the magnificent light show, the crowd was jumping to the beat, enjoying the sounds of “Bad Friday,” Day Nurse,” “Higgins” and “August.”
Continuing on, they played a fun version of the ZZ Top song, “Cheap Sunglasses,” a cover the audience could not get enough of it as they say and cheering. Playing more original tunes, “Until We Meet Again” and “The Linear’” closed out before a two song encore, with their last song being, “Hajimemashite.” Fans screamed and some hollered “One more!” even after the encore was over. This is not to say the collective of Umphrey’s McGee did not offer a full set, it just showed everyone did not want to show to end.
Ending day three of the festival on an electrifying high, attendees were still full of energy. The changing weather did not impact their enjoyment as the music on all three stages, the awesome food offerings the best craft beers, along with vendors made it a delightful event. As many were leaving the grounds, they were talking about how they were excited to return for Great South Bay Music Festival’s send off, less than 24 hours away on Sunday July 17th.