Just in case you’re not aware yet, there’s a raging tsunami of pure funkin’ awesomeness that’s going to crash over northern Florida. From Thursday, November the 13th through Sunday, November the 16th, the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak will be engulfed and whirled into one of the most jamtastic, funkadelic jazzgasms available anywhere in the US for the rest of 2014.
I’m talking about the Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, and this year’s lineup is pure fucking gold.
This will be my second time attending Bear Creek, and I can tell you from my experience last year that it’s absolutely one festival you do not want to miss out on. Last year, I saw some of the most epic performances of the whole year, even among the five other amazing festivals I attended.
Some of my favorite performances from last year’s Creek included The Roots, Bootsy Collins and the Funk Unity Band, Bonobo Live Band, Lettuce, Antibalas, The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy, Kung Fu, and Dopapod. If you like any of those artists and you’re on the fence about attending this year, I can assure you with absolute confidence you that you will fall in love with this year’s offering too.
And without further adieu, I give you:
[ I love when a band can throw down a unique Beatles cover. This is some dank ass butter right here. ]
Tauk is a band I just started listening to in the past few weeks and they are already one of my favorites of the funky, progressive, jazz rock type of genre. Their album, Collisions, has consistently taken my mind out on a wild journey through space and always puts me in a glowing mood by the time I return.
I totally love their chill overall vibe and their ability to suddenly build up and burst into intense, blazing jams before dropping back down into smooth, enchanting, melodic grooves. I have yet to see these guys live so they are definitely on my list of bands that I can’t miss. They play two sets also, so there are definitely no good excuses for missing this one.
9. THE FRITZ
[ Oh muh fergin’ glob.. What else do you need in life? I’m feeling kinda fritzy already. ]
I love these guys so much! The Fritz will thoroughly massage your brain’s funk gland until you are overflowing with giddy bliss. Their stage presence and explosive sound is enough for me to throw down some reserves of my coveted, all-out dance moves. It doesn’t get too much better than this if your mind likes to surf on gnarly waves of epic phatness.
[ In my opinion, this video doesn’t nearly capture how insanely powerful this band is live, but it was the best I could find for now. ]
I’ve seen Earphunk a couple times now and they do the best funk renditions of my favorite songs that I’ve ever heard. At Wakarusa last year they did a Daft Phunk set (Daft Punk tribute) that was so balls-to-the-wall that I forgot I was dancing in sloshy, shin-deep, sludge mud.
They also have been known to drop killer, funktified Radiohead covers. From what I’ve seen, their bag of funkery is nearly bottomless so this is certainly a performance I will not miss for anything. I highly encourage anyone to do the same.
7. ZACH DEPUTY
[ Watch this whole video and you will understand why Zach Deputy makes the cut. ]
This one man band is a Bear Creek classic. There is never a dull moment with Zach D and you would have to really restrain yourself to not move with his contagious grooves.
Honestly, I can’t even label his style of music with any of the usual terms because it’s a blend of so many different styles. His offerings are an all-you-can-eat buffet for the ears. He is kind of a shogun chef with a pedal-loop station that serves up endless tasty jams like a ninja. He’s absolutely one of my all-time favorites! Do not miss out. Once again, there is no excuse because he is playing two sets 😉
6. THE FLOOZIES
[ You will just have to be there. The Floozies are a funk to be reckoned with. ]
This duo is a real up-and-coming crowd killer. They have a dead sexy brand of electronic funk that will make your ears want to pee themselves. I’ve seen them twice before and both times they worked the crowd so hard there were shirts and tops falling off everywhere. I kid you not.
No one else I’ve heard plays their style of music yet, so, get it while it’s still fresh out of the funk oven! You will get spanked pretty hard, but you will probably love it just as much as I do. Just imagine Daft Punk thrown in a blender with Toejam and Earl with a few drops of dubstep juice and some hip hops blended in there. It’s a magical concoction, I promise.
5. THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS
[ This is just a warm-up compared to what I’ve seen them do. Trust me. ]
The New Mastersounds have a fitting name. They have a fresh, new sound that is simply masterful.
Straight from England, this jazzy, funky quartet is one of my favorite bands in their particular genre. Their performance from Purple Hatters Ball this year (also held at Suwannee), was out of this world and, in my opinion, it was the best set of the whole festival (even among that whole overwhelmingly talented lineup).
What really makes them shine above and beyond many other bands is that they have a lot of crowd participation and each of the members are virtuoso-class musicians in their own right. I thoroughly enjoy their fun-loving style and I am certain they will be one of your new favorites too, if they are not already!
[ Yes, this is the that dirty love you were looking for. Without question. ]
Hot damn, that Dumpsta be smellin’ phunkayyy! Whew! You know when it looks and sounds like it’s growing some kind of skunk fur, you’re experiencing something really rare and special. I am sure you will want to dive headfirst into this kind of Dumpsta and dig out some choice shins for your shindiggin’ jigs.
You will need all those dancing bones ready to get down for this one or you will be jelly while you watch everyone else get jiggly. I don’t think that will be possible though, because this band’s rhythm section is locked solid with one of my favorite drummers, Nikki Glaspie. She has been featured as a guest performer with many other great bands including Lettuce and The New Mastersounds. But let’s not discount the great talents of the rest of this extraordinary band. If you can’t already tell, I am definitely really excited for this one!
3. SOULIVE (AND CHRIS ROBINSON’S SOULIVE REVUE)
[ Ohh.. more amazing covering of the Beatles. My heart is already yours, Soulive. ]
To be honest, I haven’t seen these guys yet, but I have heard a lot about them, and from what I’ve seen of their live videos, this is going to be totally killer. I’m going to leave this one as a mystery box surprise. We can be blown away together, especially by their collaboration with Chris Robinson, who is apparently also a rad ass motherflower based on what I’ve found online. Score!
[ Oh snap! That is a rad ass piece of Lettuce, I tell you what. And it gets better! ]
And if your life was perhaps more like a sandwich, this Lettuce would be all you’d ever need to be the most phat, scrumptious BLT on Earth!
This one should come with a warning label because it may cause you shake your limbs and booty completely dead. This year, Lettuce will again be performing as Bear Creek’s final Sunday act and close it out with that supreme grace they’re known for. It’s a fitting choice for a festival that is known for showcasing some of the world’s best funky talent. These guys know how to funk you up, and it will be so damn good you will want to bust out some exotic groove salads all over the funkin’ place. But Lettuce move on for now. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) 😉
1. UMPHREY’S MCGEE
[ I have some serious “Mad Love” for this legendary rock-o-potamus of a band. Enough said. ]
UMPHHH!!! Just imagine that I am pounding that down like Thor’s hammer. If you were looking for any single, rock-solid reason to go this year, this is what’s reflecting those bright, rainbow sunbeams down at you from the top of that massive treasure chest lineup: Umphrey’s McGee. Two sets of this revolutionary, monster jam of a band will have you shaking all your worries off like a frilled lizard running willy-nilly across a lily pond. This, above all, is a Bear necessity. Get some and forget about your worries and your strife, Mowgli.
And I will have to leave it at that for our countdown. But, in the meantime, please do yourself a big ass favor and check out these AMAZING bands from our home state of Florida who are also playing at Bear Creek. These are some of the most talented artists we have cooking up at home in FLA. You may just discover your new favorite band. I, for one, am a huge fan 🙂
With all that said, there are also going to be some classic, big-name greats, or “artists at large,” roaming around solo to party-crash some of the performances and amp the vibes into the highest reaches of the musical stratosphere. That’s how Bear Creek likes to flow, and it makes for some of the most unique, mind-blowing performances you may ever have a chance to see.
I am excited by the thoughts of grooving, having some tasty beers, getting silly with old and new friends, and taking in all the sweet senses of this beautiful gathering. I would really love to know that everyone else I can possibly reach out to will make a good decision and partake of this incredible experience that we call Bear Creek. I am certain that this will bring about extreme feelings of bliss, relief, and satisfaction.
Please note: This festival’s lineup is entirely too awesome for me to highlight all of it! This is only my top ten highlights (and that was hard to choose!), but what is really wonderful about Bear Creek is that you can totally trust their hand-picked selection of artists. I love the surprises that we are inevitably going to stumble upon and fall in love with while roaming around. That’s the beauty of festivals in general, but in particular, Bear Creek radiates a certain vibe that really just feels good. And, on top of that, the weather is going to be some of the best that Florida has to offer all year so you won’t be sweating while you lose yourself in the jams.
Here’s some of the action from last year, courtesy of Lindsay Tompkins.
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