Catskill Chill 2014: This Is Just a Tribute
Believe it or not, merely two short weeks stand between now and the 5th annual Catskill Chill. The full schedule was announced last weekend and the anticipation is reaching a fever pitch. One thing that characterizes the jam scene is a healthy appreciation for great artists that impart inspiration and templates upon which to vamp. As a result, most festivals nowadays have some sort of a nod to the Grateful Dead and often include a sprinkling of other tributes. Catskill Chill is arguably at the forefront of the tribute set, with slots dedicated in past years to everyone from Frank Zappa to Radiohead. This year’s festival is no different, with bands paying their musical respects to heavy hitters from the realms of classic rock, psychedelica and funk. Here at Sensible Reason, we’ve created a guide to help bring you up to speed on the many acts who will be emulating their heroes at this year’s Chill.
Cabinet and Twiddle (Grateful Dead)
If it weren’t for the Dead, this fest stuff would probably never have gotten off the ground. If you’re at the Chill and you’re not well-versed in the extensive mythology and music of the Grateful Dead, then you’re doing it wrong. This year’s festival will feature not one, but two tributes to the quintessential American rock band. Cabinet are seasoned vets of the Dead tribute game, having turned in a solid Dead set at last year’s festival that focused primarily on the Americana aspect of the group – country, bluegrass and blues. Twiddle is part of a new breed of jam bands, drawing influence from the electronic side of the spectrum. As the Disco Biscuits taught us earlier this summer, dabbling in the fusion of electronic music and rock does not necessarily preclude tackling the Dead’s expansive catalog. Both sets should be festival highlights.
Alan Evans’ Playonbrother (Cream)
Alan Evans knows a little something about power trios, having come to fame as the drummer for versatile organ trio Soulive. These days the Royal Family member can be found fronting his own trio, which leans more towards old school rock than Soulive’s palatable mix of funk, soul and jazz. Of course, as far as rock trios go, Cream is the cream of the crop. The psychedelic blues rockers – Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums – burned fast and bright for a brief period in the late ’60s, giving us classics like “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room” in the process. Evans and company will have their hands full replicating Cream’s heavy rock sound, but should be up to the task.
Shwizz (Parliament Funkadelic)
George Clinton, the Godfather of Funk himself, piloted the mothership through an intergalactic psychedelic funky R&B solar system before touching down on our own funk-deprived planet. If you like it funking spacey, then Parliament Funkadelic is what you crave. Shwizz is all over the festival lineup with a Club Chill set and innumerable late night cabin sessions, but this P-Funk set may be the best showcase for the Hudson Valley collective’s precise instrumental onslaught.
Turkuaz (Sly & The Family Stone)
Perhaps no band is better suited to their chosen tribute set than Turkuaz. The enigmatic funk prodigy to which the Brooklyn funk nonet will pay respect literally sits at the top of the band’s list of influences, as it should for any funk nonet. Sly released a slew of stone cold funk classics in a brief shining period from the late ’60s to the early ’70s before becoming somewhat of an eccentric recluse, emerging only sporadically over the ensuing decades. Iconic hits like “Dance To the Music” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” are still considered the gold standard of the genre. It will be interesting to see what kind of modern spin Turkuaz puts on these old goodies.
Pink Talking Fish (Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Phish)
Not content paying tribute to a single band for a single set, Pink Talking Fish has dedicated itself to tackling the music of a festival-friendly triumvirate – Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish. Bassist Eric Gould, inspired by his former band Particle’s Floyd-heavy set at the 2012 edition of the Chill, compiled a revolving cast of seasoned musicians and hit the road and the festival circuit. Set lists feature segues like “Run Like Hell > Making Flippy Floppy > Piper > Run Like Hell” and “Mike’s Song > Have A Cigar > Once In A Lifetime > Weekapaug Groove.” Dance parties ensue almost every time.
Catskill Chill will take place September 5-7. Tickets are available HERE.