Published on August 23rd, 2010 | by dizzurt3
Colossal Rising – The BIG UP Festival 2010
Reaching Ghent, NY and immediately being welcomed with helping hands, power drills, and cheery vibes on a beautiful summer day was one of my top experiences of Summer 2010 (a summer that one hippie proclaimed “was bringing it back to The Summer of Love”). The LostinSoundcrew was up there early to set up our Dome, so the Lost Tribe could resume it’s shenanigans once again. Shireworks Productions had already been hard at work on the festival grounds for many months and it showed. The forest was cleared for camping, a barn & horse stable were in the process of being decorated to psychedelic proportions, and woodwork (fencing, fire pits, and installments) filled the estate. Clearly, keeping intimacy and the pure homegrown feel was their top priority.
Once the Dome had been constructed, it was time for the members of The Lost Tribe (who were fortunate enough to arrive early) to explore the new surroundings that we would call home for the next 4-5 days. Beautiful and quaint is an understatement. Upstate New York is a place where you can really get in touch with yourself and your surroundings. The scenery is fantastic; family owned estates and farms with miles of rolling hills, deep woods filled with pleasant trees, and small ponds that accompanied us through our Cosmic Journey around the Sunnyview Farm & Estate. The two areas designated for all the prestidigitation were directly adjacent to the campgrounds and pathway (created by the DOME). Most of what I will be featuring occurred in the horse stables, aka the late-night arena & art sphere. The art sphere (as LiS likes to call it) was a circular building forged into a full-on visual spectacle, featuring [at least] 4 projectors, 2 live artists toying with their works in progress, and tons of finished pieces. This experience elevated this festival past many others that claim they are a dual purpose “Music & Arts” gathering.
Emancipator soothes the soul. Therefore, I already knew he was going to be a perfect match for the Shangri-La Stage on Thursday night, given the timing, location, and atmosphere. Many tracks started out with cheesy hip hop samples like “If I Ruled the World” and “No Scrubs”, which seemed corny at first, but somehow seamlessly flowed into his piece “Soon it Will be Cold Enough to Build Fires”. The crowd was really feeling his grooves, keeping their soft yet elegant rage-sway in motion the entire time. His music was peaceful yet energizing, in a way that kept the crowd dancing while they cleared their minds of all the worries in the world. A couple of times I thought he was concluding his set and saying goodnight, but then he kept the loops and samples coming. One thing I feel an Emancipator show could use more of is live guitar. If you listen to his tracks, almost every one of them has some type of guitar riff. Hopefully, that is something that will continue to grow as Emancipator starts to reach his full potential. Nonetheless, at any given point Pharaoh and his clan could be seen flapping the sides of his headdress and doing the King Tut dance throughout the crowd. What a beginning to a magical adventure.
Friday is the typical day to Keep it Mooovin’ and a full day of jam bands, funk, blue skies and cheery smiles made it that much easier. Pnuma Trio closing out the main stage didn’t hurt either. With classics like “Bufkins” and “DAB”, the setlist heavily contributed to the show. The most popular man on festival grounds these days, Dom Lalli, even came out for a song with the Trio. He played his sax to the degree we have all grown to expect from the Big Gigantour himself. However, it appeared as though the group wasn’t as into the entire performance as one might think they would be. For such a great production, keyboardist Ben Hazlegrove hardly seemed into it, and from what I hear Lane Shaw has thoughts pointed West-bound. This certifies in the minds of their fans that they might have to be okay with letting go of Pnuma (just as they potentially hit their stride). But I must say, thanks for a solid performance at The BIG UP!
Saturday night also proved nothing short of amazing. Freakbass, DJ Logic, and Bernie Worrell (of Talking Heads and P Funk fame) started the late-night off with their unique version of a no-holds-barred dance party. Headtronics busted out Talking Heads jams along with a bunch of old school Jackson 5 type disco dance beats. Worrell had the same gawky smile as usual as he slapped at the keys. Normally Molitz is on keys, but it was a pleasant surprise to witness such greatness in such an intimate setting. This is a supergroup that is starting to take things seriously, after initially kicking off with an impromptu jam at The Church of Universal Love & Music. Keep your eye out for their name to start popping up on bills all over the country.
[flashvideo file="http://firstname.lastname@example.org/wp-content/videos/Big%20Up%202010/Headtronics.flv" /]
Through the mist and smoke rose the tribal warrior known as Ott, whose set put me in a place I can hardly do justice describing. He went through a solid list of songs, bumping all of his classics. It got especially rowdy when out of nowhere the shaman twisted through some Drum ‘N Bass, and then later with serious wompage on a track I had only heard once before (earlier this summer at Wakarusa). I got a sick view from behind of Ott doing serious work, switching back-and-forth between his Kaossilator & Kaoss Pad. Some pretty cool shit if you consider the state that music is in today. He brought it down real slow right in the middle, which helps the crowd appreciate an Ott set. It’s all about the builds and breaks, one of the main things Mr. Ott tweaks with during his performance. Being the last night of the festival, the crowd was in top notch rage form, and I’m sure he felt the appreciation.
[flashvideo file="http://email@example.com/wp-content/videos/Big%20Up%202010/Ott_Cut_Edit.flv" /]
Eskmo is making Big Up type strides in a career that is ever-blossoming; recently signing with Ninja Tune, collaborating with Amon Tobin, preparing for his new album release on Oct. 4, and playing festivals all summer including Camp Bisco and The Big Up. Upon asking a co-rager his thoughts, he said “The set was tight, from what I can remember…” It was perfectly timed (in the sense of scheduling) and perfectly executed, and Eskmo is just one of those guys you can’t help but watch. Incorporating more live singing, constantly clicking all types of loops and triggers, and thick dripping heavy bass help create a unique mind melting experience every time. We were stomping so hard that the dirt became mud, and when he cut into the “My Name is Mud” Primus remix, it solidified our thoughts. It was a perfect way to lose my hearing and bring the live music for the weekend to a rest.
Pnuma Trio – “Bufkins”
[flashvideo file="http://firstname.lastname@example.org/wp-content/videos/Big%20Up%202010/Pnuma%20Trio.flv" /]
Emancipator – Mini Medley
[flashvideo file="http://email@example.com/wp-content/videos/Big%20Up%202010/Emancipator.flv" /]
*Keep checking back for Ranch’s take, which includes reviews of every other solid performance from the weekend. Get excited, we’ve got more pictures and videos too!