There is a crisp, cool breeze in the air. Birds are chirping and fog starts crawling over the lake as the sun begins to rise. Slowly, people emerge from their tents and cabins and prepare to indulge in one of the best festivals every year, the Catskill Chill. Nestled in the picturesque Catskill Mountains of Hancock, NY at Camp Minglewood, the Chill gives music lovers an experience like none other.
The environment at the Chill is truly unique from any other festival. As the festival always says, the Catskill Chill is all about the fans and artists being as one. The Chill is truly #All Love, All the Time. Anyone who has been to this festival considers themselves a member of the #ChillFam and knows what a great time this festival is year after year.
This year was no different. Artists arrived in massive numbers as did the fans as the festival played host to 60 different bands this year on 5 different stages. In addition to the Main Stage, B Stage, and Club Chill, this year included an Acoustic Junction stage in the campgrounds as well as a DJ truck sponsored by Red Bull. Day 1 featured performances by Spiritual Rez, Particle, Jimkata, Lotus, The Alan Evans Trio, Lettuce, Orchard Lounge, and more including late night sets by Kung Fu and Higher Organix.
While every band that performs at the Catskill Chill always puts on a terrific show, there are a few bands each year that leave fans with their jaws on the floor. This year, there were more than a few bands that did that.
Starting with Day 1, Particle performed a rare daytime set that blew the roof off the main stage. Killer solos from Steve Molitz on keys, Ben Combe on guitar, Eric Gould on bass, and Darren Pujalet on drums had fans bouncing all over the dance floor. Including numerous originals, the band did a funky version of “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant, as well as their take on Paul Simon’s, “You Can All Me Al”.
CT based Kung Fu also killed it during the late night slot on the main stage. This supergroup featuring Tim Palmieri on guitar, Todd Stoops on keys, Robert Somerville on sax/vocals, Adrian Tramontano on drums, and Chris DeAngelis on bass, jams like no funk band I have ever seen.
Alternating solos and killer instrumental jams, the band pulls out surprises every single time they take the stage. Numerous Kung Fu staples were performed during their set including “Do the Right Thing,” “Scrabb,” “Samurai” and more.
There was one band on day 1 who truly stole the show and those of you at the B Stage at 10:00 know exactly who I am talking about. The Alan Evans Trio. This band features Alan Evans (of Soulive) on drums, Danny Mayer (of OTS Trio) on guitar, and Beau Sasser (of Akashic Record). This band does old school funk in a new era of music.
The trio, looking sharp and dressed to the nines, came onto the stage and left fans, myself included, at a loss for words. Danny, kicks his amp up to 11, and shreds from start to finish. Beau jams on his organ and keys better than any artist I’ve ever seen. And Al, I really don’t need to say anything more than, Wow! This man knows his music and has the Authoritay to put together a powerful band on stage night after night. Their set consisted of all originals including “Drop Hop” and “I’m Coming Home,” as well as a cover of “If You Want My Love” by Sly Stone.
Day 2 featured performances by Twiddle, The Z3, Mun, Yarn, Eric Krasno Band, ShwizZ, Brock Butler (acoustic), Tea Leaf Green, Shmeeans & Expanded Consciousness, Aqueous, Consider the Source (acoustic), Galactic, Headtronics, Fikus, Conspirator, Brothers Past, and more with late night sets by RAQ and Damn Right with DJ Logic.
Some highlighted performances from Day 2 came from Galactic, Eric Krasno Band, Aqueous and The Z3. Aqueous, for those who don’t know, is a young, jam band on the rise out of Buffalo, NY, and man can these guys play. Club Chill was shaking during their set as they played to a packed house.
The Eric Krasno Band features a number of artists from various bands and this set included a special sit in from the one and only George Porter Jr of The Meters. The band consists of Eric Krasno (of Soulive/Lettuce) on guitar, Alecia Chakour (of Warren Haynes Band) on vocals, Pete Levin (who has played with pretty much every band out there) on keys, plus members of the Dap Kings and Warren Haynes Band. When you put together a group with musicians of this caliber, you can only imagine what they bring to the stage. Then topping it off with a sit-in from George Porter Jr, it was truly perfect. On a side note, Alecia Chakour has one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard!
Galactic also blew the roof off the Main Stage during their set at the Chill. Galactic features Stanton Moore on drums, Robert Mercurio on bass, Jeff Raines on guitar, Ben Ellman on sax/harmonica, and Richard Vogel on keys. For their set at the Chill, they brought along vocalist Corey Glover (of Living Colour) who performs often with the group, but boy was that a treat.
Glover has an incredible vocal range and really brings out another side of Galactic. As Jeff Raines mentioned in our interview prior to the festival, the band has been around for a long time and really has created their own sound. He noted that “we will deliver a pretty kick ass festival set” and they truly lived up to it. Galactic performed a number of originals including “Hey Na NA,” “What Is Success,” and “Ooh Nah Nay” in addition to an encore cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones.
Day 3 featured performances by Cabinet, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Fundimensionals, McLovins, The Motet – Funk Is Dead, Ghost Owl, The Meter Men with Page McConnell from Phish, Turkuaz, Cosmic Dust Bunnies, and more with festival closing sets by Dopapod and Papadosio, followed by the debut of Dopadosio.
The final day of the festival featured many of our favorite artists so narrowing down the highlights of the day was difficult. The Motet performed their final tribute to the Grateful Dead known as Funk Is Dead.
The Motet has done this funkified Dead tribute before, most notably on Jam Cruise last year. They band paid tribute to the Dead and performed classics including “The Music Never Stops,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “Speedway Boogie,” “Fire On the Mountain,” “Stella Blue,” “Playing in the Band,” “Shakedown Street” and more.
The Motet features Dave Watts on drums, Joey Porter on keys, Garrett Sayers on bass, Ryan Jalbert on guitar, Gabe Mervine on trumpet, Matt Pitts on sax, Dan Schwindt on guitar, and Jans Ingber on vocals.
All weekend, fans anxiously awaited The Meter Men set which featured George Porter Jr on bass/vocals, Leo Nocentelli on guitar/vocals, Zigaboo Modeliste on drums/vocals and special guest Page McConnell (of Phish) on keys/vocals.
This group has 3 of the 4 original members of the legendary funk group The Meters and wow, what a set they performed! The band performed “Cissy Strut,” “What’Cha Say,” “Ain’t No Use,” “People Say” and many more.
The band also had a sit-in with rising star Bobby Paltauf, a 14-year old guitar prodigy out of CT who sat in with numerous other bands during the festival. Keep your eyes on this kid as he will surely be a big name in the industry in the coming years.
Brooklyn power funk group Turkuaz took the B Stage on Sunday night to a very packed house and did what they do best, lay down the funk. Turkuaz is a large band which features Dave Brandwein on guitar/vocals, Taylor Shell on bass, Craig Brodhead on guitar/synths, Michael Carubba on drums, Greg Sanderson on sax, Josh Schwartz on sax/vocals, Chris Brouwers on trumpet/keys, Geneva Williams on vocals, and Sammi Garrett on vocals.
This band has become great friends of mine as well as one of my favorite bands on the music scene right now. They put on a show that is truly one of a kind. It is tough for 9 people to be on stage all performing at once and for the audience to clearly hear the music, but Turkuaz nails it. I guess that’s what happens when you all attend Berklee College of Music where they met.
Their set featured many originals including “20 Dollar Bill,” “Lookin’ Tough, Feeling Good,” “Chatte Lunatique,” “Coast to Coast,” “It’s Hard,” “Monkey Fingers,” and a cover of “The Shape I’m In” by The Band. Turkuaz recently performed Joe Cocker’s Mad Dog and Englishmen at the Brooklyn Bowl with Dopapod on 9/25 and will be on tour through the end of November. Be sure to catch them soon! I’ve seen them 5 times since the Chill and every show gets better and better!
To close the festival, Dopapod and Papadosio performed individual sets followed by the debut of a collaboration at the end called Dopadosio. Dopapod features Rob Compa on guitar/vocals, Eli Winderman on keys/vocals, Chuck Jones on bass, and Neal Evans on drums.
Their set featured “#86,” “Nuggy Jawson,” “Priorities,” “Cloud World,” “Bubble Brain,” “Upside Down,” and “Weird Charlie.” It was nice to see the shift from last year to this year. Last year Dopapod played Day 1 on the B stage and this year they closed the festival on the main stage. Talk about a band that has truly blown up in the last year.
Up next was Papadosio which features Anthony Thogmartin, Mike Healy, Robert McConnell, Billy Brouse, and Sam Brouse. The band is a mix of electronica and rock, fused with improv jams to create a unique sound of their own.
Their set included “Hippie Babysitter,” “Method of Control,” “Cue,” “Geoglyph,” “If It Wasn’t For You,” “Improbability Blotter,” and “New Love.”
The debut of Dopapdosio featured 3 covers by Radiohead including “Airbag,” “Paranoid Android” and “Optimistic.” The group also performed “Find Your Cloud” by Papadosio, and “Faba” by Dopapod before ending the set with an improvised jam. It was a real treat seeing the Radiohead covers as no one in the crowd knew what to expect from this set other than improvised jams.
As many of the bands that performed at the Chill, the festival continues getting better and better every year. The environment is full of love and good vibes all focused around the music and the fans being around each other. The artists mingle in the crowd, drinks are cheap, everyone is smiling and having fun. It truly is the place to be.
I’ve spent my last two birthday’s there shooting photos and plan to spend my birthday there for years to come. The Catskill Chill is one of my favorite places on this planet. It’s one of the few festivals that is still 100% about the music and togetherness. There are no police officers arresting people at the gate, there is no line of ambulances to take people to the hospital, there are no problems. Everyone is there for the right reasons and that is what makes the Catskill Chill so magical. We can’t wait to see what is in store next year.
Special thanks to Destiny and Becca of Brotherly Love Productions, all the staff and volunteers at the Catskill Chill, and the Hancock House for their hospitality throughout the weekend. We’ll see everyone in September for the 6th annual Catskill Chill Music Festival!
View more photos of each band’s set from the festival by clicking on the links below! All photos by Greg Horowitz of Creative Solutions Music Promotions.
Particle — Jimkata — Alan Evans Trio — Lotus — Lettuce — Kung Fu — Conspirator — Eric Krasno Band — Galactic — Shmeeans & Expanded Consciousness — Tea Leaf Green — The Z3 — Yarn — Turkuaz — The Motet — The Meter Men w/ Page — Dopadosio — Fans & Festival Shots