Catskill Chill Wednesday Jams: 8/1

On Jerry Garcia‘s 70th birthday, Sullivan Hall hosted the first of five weekly jam sessions, all leading up to the Catskill Chill Music Festival.  The lineups for each of the five nights feature house band FiKus along with a rotating cast of characters from all walks of the jam scene.  From September 7 through September 9th at Camp Minglewood up in Hancock, New York, dozens of top acts from Yonder Mountain String Band to Lotus to Lettuce will be coming through the festival as the homey environment created by the cabins and the summer camp feel provide one of the best festival atmospheres around.

Opening up the night was Derek Van Scoten, known as D.V.S*.  His hour long set showed off his unique ability to be both a DJ and a guitar player at the same time, alternating between triggering samples and runs on his thinline telecaster, his sound a unique blend of the eastern rhythms of Beats Antique and the mellow guitar driven rhythms of Lotus.  About halfway through his set, he took

Travis Paparoski of FiKus @ First Catskill Wednesday Jam Session at Sullivan Hall in NYC 2012

to the mic to proclaim that it was Jerry Garcia’s birthday, and added a special treat to the evening, a remix of the band’s “High Time.”  Van Scoten was not finished with the surprises, closing out his set with a pair of songs featuring a live drummer from Russia.

After a quick set break, FiKus came out and delivered an eighty minute set that featured a wide range of sounds, surprises, and flawless execution.  The five piece outfit from nearby Bergen County, New Jersey, is made up of an intriguing instrumental combination including a singing percussionist and a keyboard player that doubles on all sorts of horn duty.  Early on in their set, the band revealed their first treat, a quick segue into “Chariots of Fire” out of “Fanfare for the Common Man.”  The real fun began once the band invited Particle’s Steve Molitz, for “Jim Jones” which segued into “Superstition” with D.V.S* joining on guitar.  This fifteen minute jam featured all the elements one looks for when going to a jam session, as this simply featured professional musicians taking their hand at a classic cover.

Pete Kozak & Travis Paparoski of FiKus @ First Catskill Wednesday Jam Session at Sullivan Hall in NYC 2012

For the main event of the evening, the trio of DJ Logic on turntables, along with Particle bandmates Ben Combe and Steve Molitz on guitar and keys respectively, tore through a more than hour long set of straight jams.  Combe’s solos along with Molitz’s funky keys lines blended perfectly with DJ Logic’s percussive scratching and the steady drum beat he cued up.  About halfway through their set, Kito Bovenschulte and Jon Schmarak came out to fill out the trio’s sound.  A highlight of the set came when DJ Logic cued up a looped sample of “Morning Dew” a song made famous by the Grateful Dead in honor of Jerry.  Eventually, all of FiKus, along with D.V.S*, made their way to the stage to close out a phenomenal evening of music.  Be sure to check out the next four Wednesdays at Sullivan Hall including next week’s special guests ShwizZ, Tim Palmieri of The Breakfast and Kung Fu, with Steve Molitz.

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