Photos by Daniel Ziemann
Over the weekend, EOTO, Tipper, RAQ, Big Gigantic, Marco Benevento Trio and several other electronic and jam musicians performed at Ghent, NY’s The Big Up at Sunnyview Farm. The three-day event was run by Higher Organix and Shireworks Productions with the goal of bringing “friends and family together to support the local scene where Higher Organix started their musical career.” The Indobox took the main stage early in the festival, performing covers of MGMT’s “Kids,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback,” as well as their new single “Dig Safe.”
Marco Benvento was the first headlining act to play, backed by Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz and drummer Andy Borger. Benevento offered alcohol-fueled versions of “The Real Morning Party,” the theme from “Tetris” and a surprise cover of Elton John’s “Benny and The Jets,” which turned into a crowd sing-along as Benevento climbed to the edge of the stage. Papadosio was a late night highlight on Thursday, hitting the barn stage at midnight to a crowd of fans covered in glowsticks and waving poles with inflatable animals taped to the top of them. The set was mostly electronic and dance oriented, with some standout moments by keyboardist Anthony Thogmartin. The show was projected on large screens on the side of the barn for those who couldn’t make it inside the barn, which featured a floor that was completely covered in moon mats. By the end of Papadosio’s set and up until The Polish Ambassador’s 4 A.M. set, the entire barn was shaking.
Friday night was heavy on dubstep and electronic music, as Higher Organix played an all-improv set that was heavy on the wobble and distorted bass, and could be heard across the campsite. Big Gigantic played one of the most hyped sets of the weekend on the main stage, featuring hip-hop and breakbeat-heavy setlist which included songs like “I Need A Dolla,” “Black and Yellow” and “Get ‘Em High.” Rain broke out during the dubstep breakdown of one of their new songs, which left the entire crowd soaked and screaming for more. English DJ Ott then took the late night barn stage, playing a mostly downtempo ambient set which was perfect for the wet crowd to nod their heads and dry off to. However, the quiet didn’t last long, as Digital Tape Machine—made up of Umphrey’s McGee members Kris Myers and Joel Cummins as well as Joe Hettinga, Kevin Barry, David Arrendondo, Marcus Rezak and Dan Rucinski. The music sounded almost like a Nintendo soundtrack at points, mixed with shredding guitar and upbeat dance grooves led by Myers. Rogue Chimp put on an extremely interesting set hidden away in the newly added woods stage, which was lit up by blacklights and fluorescent stage decorations. The crowd clapped and screamed throughout the performance, which featured a mix of improvisation and violin-led compositions. True to their name, at the end of the set violinist Mark Woodyatt donned a monkey mask and beat his chest as the show winded down and the sun began to rise.
New York City based band Consider The Source kicked off the final day of the festival with their first show on the main stage, playing their own special blend of “Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Funk.” The setlist included crowd favorites such as “Ol’ Chomper” and “Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong,” which were played with such brutality that the normally peaceful jamtronica crowd started headbanging and throwing up devil horns as bassist John Ferrara stomped around the stage. Jazz-fusion supergroup Kung Fu were next on the main stage, playing funky Headhunters inspired songs such as “Got To Get Your Own,” “Gung Ho” and “Junoon.” Dopapod guitarist Rob Compa was invited on stage for a set closing cover of Billy Cobham’s “Stratus.” Many members of the Big Up crowd were there to see RAQ’s main stage performance, which will be the last for a period of time as guitarist Chris Michetti and keyboardist Todd Stoops focus on their side projects. Their set kicked off with “Shirley Be A Drooler,” a song that was on their first album with Stoops and segued into “Brother From Another Mother,” which featured lighting-fast riffs from Michetti. The crowd began a slow clap and cheered loudly as drummer Greg Stukey played the opening beats to “Carbohydrates Are The Enemy,” which segued into “Late Night” and ended the bands set on an extremely high note. Although there were sound problems during the set, the performance was one of the best of the weekend, although it was cut short due to Twiddle playing way over their set time.
Dopapod anchored the side stage after RAQ, playing standout versions of “Black and White” and a cover of Tool’s “Lateralus.” Headliners EOTO took the main stage seconds after Dopapod finished, led by String Cheese Incident member Michael Travis. The exotic set featured heavy drums and bass as well as dubstep, and the group weaved brief teases of the late Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” 50 Cent’s “Just A Lil’ Bit” and Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A?” The group changed musical genres with amazing versality, and the colorfully dressed crowd enjoyed every second of it. Perhaps the most creative set of the weekend came from the UK DJ Tipper, who played a set of “trip-hop” in the late night barn that featured projections on the outside walls of protests, religious imagery and 1950s sock-hop footage. It was impossible to get close to the stage during the performance, and the crowd clearly loved every second of it. A few hours later, Todd Stoops debuted his new project Bang Bang, joined by Sonic Spank drummer Scotty Zwang and Dopapod keyboardist Eli Winderman. Bang Bang was a combination of downtempo, dubstep and keyboard experimentation, which felt like a fitting culmination of the weekend’s various sounds.