Friday, June 22, 2012

Summercamp 2 @ the Red Lion Hotel Canyon Springs in Twin Falls (6/16/12)

Being unemployed does have its advantages sometimes.  For instance, when I get invited to a mini-festival out in Twin Falls, there's nothing to keep me from hopping into my faithful Toyota Camry and heading out to the highway.  Of course, it helps to take along a couple of very good friends who are more than willing to chip in for gas.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours driving down I-84 and listening to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. and Leonard Cohen's Live in London.  We arrived with enough time to say hello to Cameron Andreas of CAMP, who organized this shindig, have a beer and then head over to the conference room.

Here's a picture of my companions.  The pretty lady is Keesha Renna of Vagabond Promotions.  The guy over to the right is Brent Massey.  He's a gentleman, a scholar and a fine judge of whiskey.  No, seriously, he is all of these things.

photo by Keesha Renna

photo by Keesha Renna

As the bands played, the projection on the wall seen above showed A Clockwork Orange, Night of the Living Dead, 2001 and some trippy, swirly stuff.  The crowd started off at about twenty and built as the evening progressed.  Not a huge audience (Cameron Andreas speculated that most of the folks who would've come were down in Utah at Warped Tour) but big enough and as enthusiastic as you would've liked.

First up was Bad Carb, a Twin Falls-based hardcore group.  A couple of folks in Boise recommended that I check these guys out.  Now that I have, I can understand why: they had solid tunes and guitar riffs, a sturdy rhythm section and effectively snide, Darby Crash-esque vocals.  Their G.G. Allin cover stood out, but only because it didn't sound as good as their originals.  Not bad at all.

After Badcarb came P36, a Boise-based, metallic punk band.  Their good arrangements and tight groove rendered their straightforward music worthy of the mosh circle that a couple of dudes in the audience formed.  I kinda wondered why they saved their most impressive soloing for the "Rock You Like a Hurricane" cover, but what the hell.  Stroke of genius: their cover of Pachelbel's "Canon in D major," into which they inserted quotations from Chumbawamba, Men at Work, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock and I can't remember who else.

After P36 came Third Base, which featured the bassist and drummer of P36 and Jason Rucker from the Boise punk band The Useless on guitar.  This set was just pure trashy fun: covers of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher," Peaches's "Fuck the Pain Away" and Danzig's "Mother," originals with titles like "WTF BFF" and "Sic Semper Tyrannosaurus."  Rucker's guitar playing sure wasn't no joke, though.

Next up was Boise-based hip-hop duo Dedicated Servers.  Their nerdy, geeky vibe reminded me a little of the Beastie Boys.  More importantly, so did their music: lyrics that didn't bother with any bling or gangsta b.s., steady flow, spartan but catchy beats.  They got the crowd chanting, dancing and clapping to the beat.  Word.

CAMP played after Dedicated Servers.  Between the dimmed lights, the cosmic projection show, the immensity of the sound and the smallness of the room, this was the most powerful set by this Twin Falls group that I've seen/heard so far.  The psychedelic distortion of Cameron Andreas's guitar washed over the crowd, the drums sounded downright thunderous, the bass rumbled underneath everything and the keyboard filled in what little sonic space that there was left.

The enraptured audience danced like maniacs.  The homecourt advantage undoubtedly helped, but really, the music was that good.

One-dog act Hedtriip closed out Summercamp 2 in fine fashion.  A strobe light flashed and the last 20 or so minutes of 2001 (basically, everything after Dave Bowman turns off Hal 9000) played as Hedtriip cranked out his industrial-strength dance rock.  The crowd went even wilder: they cheered, screamed, shouted, danced.

The only sour note of the night had nothing to do with the music.   When my friends and I went out to my car after the show, we found that it had been egged a little.  We stopped at a gas station a few blocks away and cleaned it up pretty well, though.  Yay teamwork!

photo by Keesha Renna

You can find info on all of these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Cameron Andreas for letting us come down and crash for the night.  Special thanks also to Keesha Renna and Brent Massey for the photos, snacks, gas money and wonderful company.

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