Words & Photos By J-man
Friday August 20th:
As many of our days often start, we were running behind. With the car loaded, we made the two and a half hour drive to Bond, CO. As we neared the venue we snaked along the beautiful Colorado River. The sun was high in the sky, and rafters and kayakers could be seen navigating this relatively slow moving stretch of river. Within’ about a half hour of the site, we completely lost all cellular service. Not even a text would be snuck through. We approached our destination and were greeted at Rancho Del Rio by a sign that said “welcome home!” pulling downward onto the property. There was little to no guidance as far as where to head for check-in, etc. However, passing the general store we were pointed towards cabin number five, to check in. My partner in crime, Murray and I obtained our credentials and transferred our plus ones into our guests names, as they would be arriving later.
We drove in to park our vehicle and were surprised to be asked for five dollars to park. We paid, parked, and began to unload making a short walk through about one hundred feet of camping, a small ditch, and towards the river to set up. We found a perfect spot along the river path, next to some interesting youngsters, across from some raging wooks and on the other side an older couple. We nicknamed the older gentleman next to us “The Hammer” as he spent a solid three hours hammering down/securing his camp, only to complain about how temporary the situation was.
Murray and I realized how essential it was to make a few last calls before our weekend of nonsense. So, we drove the half hour drive back towards town to make calls to our guests to inform them of the arrangements. Additionally I had to make a couple of calls regarding other festivals that were being covered for MusicMarauders that weekend. After the calls were made, it felt weird knowing that I would not be accessible in for the next three days…
Returning to the festival, we parked the car for the weekend, unloaded the remaining items and decided to space out. After a massive amount of space in our faces, we headed over to catch some of the wookery at the kickball game. This event did not disappoint. It was a mess of drunkenness, shenanigans, tomfoolery and wook-tactics. Some of the participants seemed to care WAY to much, where as others just seemed to be a long for the ride. Either way there were a hand full of arguments regarding the pitching as well as some solid wipe-outs. All in all… Pure nonsense.
Following the game we returned to camp to space out a little bit more. Upon our return, “The Hammer” was still at it. It was around this time that Murray and I had a chance to meet our young neighbors, who were sporting the largest bottle of Jack Daniels that I had ever seen. From the get go we dug these kids. We could tell that they appreciated a good time as well as a good laugh.
My thoughts were interrupted by the screeching and chugging of a train passing just across the river. The high pitch consistent hum seemed to embed itself in my brain. Never again did a passing train effect me in this regard, however in that moment I was fixed on the passing cars. Reality was bent.
The first music of the weekend for us, came in the form of The Contribution. I was looking forward to this project, as I had never seen them before and Tim Carbone had told me good things about them. You take it with a grain of salt when it’s a member of the band praising the project… Unless that member is Tim Carbone and he is praising Keith Mosley, Jason Hann, etc. I was impressed with the overall production value and sound of the music from the beginning. It sounded rehearsed, well produced and technically impressive. There were times where the band ventured into that cheesy rock mode, with Tim at the helm with an electric guitar and a smile. Other times it ventured out into Irish/Celtic sounding jams. It was a great start to the weekend and had me craving more music.
At some point during the Contribution set we were joined by our first guest “Spuckes” a gentleman who greatly appreciates getting schwilly. His smile and laughter brought some welcomed vibes and entertainment to the table for what would be and entertaining festival.
The next set of the evening was the biggest surprise of the weekend. It could have been my state of mind, or the fact that they are creating a truly talented, unique and powerful sound. Elephant Revival had my attention immediately. Vince Herman had recommended that I check them out and where as I respect Vince’s opinion, I did not see this coming. I was swept off of my feet by the powerful vocal exchanges, driving instrumental melodies and overpowering energy of Elephant Revival and their worldly/cultured sound. I was won over after the first song or two. At one point during their set Spuckes approached me and said “I fucking love these chicks… This band is fucking awesome.” I couldn’t disagree.
After the Elephant Revival set we started to get loose. The hoodies came off and the light up Frisbee came out. With a twist of the center compartment, the disc was illuminated in blue, leaving tracers as it flew through the cold night sky. The circle spread out as folks walked in and out of participating as they passed. It got to the point where I all I could see was darkness and I would just throw the Frisbee in the direction that felt the best. The majority of the times I would see the disc disappear into Murray’s arms. Murray was after it like a puppy. It was clear that he was genuinely happy chasing down and capturing the Frisbee in his grasp, only to turn around and toss it back for more.
Railroad Earth Live at Yarmony Grass, Rancho Del Rio on August 20, 2010.
The headlining set of the evening was Railroad Earth. I thought the set started off slowly, however we were pretty tied up in an intense game of Frisbee to mind. They created some interesting space and I felt more connected to the music than I have from past RRE experiences. As the set went on the intensity increased and energy increased. The concert field was as crowded as it would get for the day, with people weaving in and out of one and other. There were strangers sharing dances as well as smiles and a common taste in music, as shooting stars and clusters of galaxies could be seen in the night sky.
(Due to an excessive amount of moisture in the air, I was forced to holster my camera; thus getting not shots of the evening sets.)
The evening got really loose as Railroad Earth drove towards the end of their set. The Frisbee tossing continued until the music came to a close. The crowd seemed fulfilled and ready for following days Railroad set. Folks began to head back to their respective camps, leaving behind a massive amount of garbage. I like to think of our scene as conscious and environmentally friendly, but what I saw at the end of that night would have lead anyone to believe the opposite.
The last set of the evening/morning was the String Cheese side project EOTO. Having seen EOTO a number of times, I knew what to expect; “…dirty bass for everyone’s face.” As the set began, I cringed. It was the same abrupt start that I have heard before, and they were under way. The crowd ate it up like a big ol’ bag of shardz and out of no where came a plethora of dogs to wander through the crowd. The dogs seemed over stimulated as they ran through the crowd in a panic, chasing the lights and trembling from the bass. There is a time and a place for you to bring your pet. A late night EOTO set is not that place. Out of this experienced sparked one of our jokes for the weekend; “My dog loves EOTO!”…
All in all the first day at YarmonyGrass was nonsensical and extremely entertaining. I literally had a blast, however I knew the following day could only get better, with the arrival of my other guest, DJ Logic, and our composure.
The early morning air was cold and crisp. You could see your breath as you spoke. I looked over at Murray and Spuckes who were both sporting shorts and flip flops. I was dressed in long pants, long socks, and multiple layers of sweaters. With that, the late night wookery began…