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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer lovin' had me a blast..

Part 1

Labor Day comes along right on schedule, and it’s re-appearance means that it’s the un-official end of summer.. another summer of The McLovins. Indulge an old man a bit as I stumble backward through the dusty halls of my short-term memory to recap this summer that was.

The summer began for me a little early this year with a late April show up @ Keene State at the Solar-Fest. Back at the scene of the crime as it was, the November show in Keene was the initial push to cultivate a college fanbase and the reception the band received on their return in April was amazing. This show followed the spring recording sessions that would soon become the “Good Catch” album and this performance saw the debut of the “facemelt” shirt and limited WaterWheel poster. We met super-fan Nipper Jellie, hooked up with Keene State friends George Barber, Ian Galipeau and the band shared the bill with Barefoot Truth, a great bunch of guys.

The McLovins debut @ Infinity Hall came next on May 7th, and the fans made this venerable old hall a sell-out. The Groove Smugglers played a set and sat in with the band on the debut of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”. Dan Ogrodnik, Dan Tyler and Mike Lamanga turned in an awesome set, Eve Windebank created an amazing poster for this show, and her limited edition print was a pre-sale premium. Will and Win from the Barn Show made their way down the hill to rage a bit, this was Jim Cypher’s first show and a ton of friends and relatives of the band packed the show as walls just shook.

A week later and it’s up to the bucolic village of Woodstock NY and a performance opening for Max Creek at the Bearsville Theater. The band had traveled earlier in the week up to WDST to record some promos for the new album and to promote their upcoming Mountain Jam performance, and the energy was high for this show. I formally met Jim Cypher, and managed to drag my brother-in-law to the gig (he still thanks me for this), and I met Drew Frankel, WDST dj and a big fan and tireless promoter of The McLovins. Also in attendance was Lori Ann Christina who writes for Coventry Blog and I couldn’t help but smile as she fell under the band’s spell.

May 27th and its back up to Troy New York and the last rock show at Revolution hall presented by Albany based Uber-Promoter Greg Bell. 7 Walkers headlined and were very nice to the guys with Bill Kreutzman and George Porter Jr in particular taken with the energy and professionalism of The McLovins. Jeanette Olsen, Phanart Pete Mason and I think Brock R showed up, all of the Albany crowd who’ve been super-supportive of the band. Scott Decker managed to come down with his daughters and say hi.

Two days later and its up to the wilds of western Massachusetts for StrangeCreek at Camp Keewanee. A surprise jam in the kid’s tent on Saturday afternoon leads to a packed main stage performance on Sunday. The first festival of the summer brings some nice surprises, a Consider The Source performance out in the woods, Jeff Pevar catching part of Saturday and Sunday’s set, and the die is cast for the summer festivals to follow.

The next weekend brought Mountain Jam and it was an interesting beast, a jam festival on the grounds of a gorgeous ski resort. Dodging rainclouds all weekend, the band played before a crowd of about 400 on the Colonels Hall stage, a couple big bust-outs and Jeff Howard hopping on top of a stage case were the highlights of the set. Got to hook up with Brandon Bosserman and Jen Fureman, Dan Bennet was prowling the crowd and I also finally met Pam Koslov who was so kind and attentive to the boys during their Gathering Of The Vibes show last summer. Jeanette Olsen showed up and did yeoman’s work, again helping during the frantic merch table crush after the set.

A week later and The McLovins perform a benefit concert at Canton High School, Jeff’s alma mater. Kyle Mullins helped set up the show, they had a nice hard-core audience, Dan Bennet was there, he’s getting to be a familiar sight on these McLovins weekends.

The next 2 weeks were pivotal for the band as a confluence of events, the Phish tour storming through the northeast, and some old fashioned band team building, set the stage for the direction their music would take the rest of the summer. Phish came into Hartford for a Thursday and Friday night show as The Mclovins played an after-show at Black Eyed Sally’s on the 17th and Jeff caught the Friday night Phish show. The band then played a show at Sullivan Hall in NYC on the Saturday the 19th and Jason, Jake and Jeff caught Phish down at Camden NJ the next week. The BES show was a bit under-attended, the mid-week slot and the length of the Phish show both contributed to the turnout. The band soldiered on, playing their hearts out for the people that were there and turned in a very loose and improvisational show. The Sullivan Hall show was a showcase for some NYC music students and there wasn’t a large contingent of McLovins fans there but again the band put on a solid performance in these less than ideal conditions. The biggest impact of this week and a half had to be the trip down to Camden. Not only did the band get to experience some amazing music as a group, but they also got to spend some time with Cecil and Tom Marshall. In the weeks to come, the influence of this Phishiest of experiences starts to permeate their live performances.

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