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Wednesday, August 14

Review and Photo Gallery: MazFest Music Festival - Roscoe, NY - Aug 1st -4th, 2013

Music has a way of reaching into people’s souls and allowing the drama of the everyday to melt away leaving nothing but pure joy and happiness in its wake. This is exactly the feeling I had heading home from MazFest Music Festival this past weekend. My first trip to this 3rd annual festival left me wondering exactly what lie ahead as I drove through the Beautiful Mountains of NY State. The festival grounds located in a quaint and peaceful town of Roscoe NY was a breath taking setting for a musical mash up of Bands reaching across almost every genera of music imaginable. Thrown by Jordan DoMont (Taste Da Thumb) this intimate festival made you feel as if you were home from the start allowing you to get up close and personal with the bands while never once feeling crowded or uncomfortable. There are few festival’s that can offer you such a variety of music in a setting where by the end you feel as if you know every single person there and this is Exactly what I got for MazFest, A weekend devoted to discovering new bands while creating friendships over the love of music.

The cost $80 for a full weekend pass with camping allowed you the ability to see over 60 bands spit between two stages over the course of 4 days. The festival provided a food vendor offering several options with no lines all for a very fair price as well as an indoor bathroom faculties that were amazingly kept over the entire weekend a huge plus in the festival world. The campgrounds just steps from the main stage was perfectly located on lush grass sandwiched between mountains everywhere you looked. There was even a stream running directly the campground allowing all who wanted the chance to get there feet wet and relax in the cool water while still being able to enjoy the music without missing a beat. This all matched with some of the kindest and most dedicated festival staff I have come across and a ton of up and coming talent truly offered all those in an attendance a weekend they won’t soon forget and will be eager to repeat time and time again.

The festival’s opening day saw several act’s take the stage all bringing and interestingly unique style of music to entertain the crowd.  Starting off a day filled with bands I have yet to encounter was Squid Parade made up of Zak Westbrook and Mike Finger both on Guitar Pete Piscitelli on Bass and Emmett Rozelle on Drums were one of the stands out for me. Killing a sick cover of YYZ “Rush” as well as showing off their chops on a very Well played cover of No Quarter “Led Zeppelin”.  Following in the theme of sick covers Rogue Chimp stepped up to the plate and delivered. Made up of Brothers Jacob and Zach Cole with Jon Ventre and Mark Woodyatt rounding them out. They offer a unique blend of progressive funk and jazz mixed in with just about everything else as evident by their set offering up their own tunes mixed with Heartbreaker “Led Zeppelin” and a sweet take on Two Michael Jackson Tunes “Thriller and Smooth Criminal” . Other notable acts from the day were a stellar and unique Acoustic Performance by Consider the Source and a late night treat of Cozmal joined by painter Ali Laz whose painting was changing colors with the light while Cozmal entertained the crowd with one his best set’s to date in my opinion. 

Friday waking up to the sun shining and people laughing was just how everyday should being.  The day started off with the Strong vocals provided by powerhouse Marisa Sorrentino backed by a funky groove laid by her five piece Somerton Suitcase. They seemed to wake up the sleepiest in the crowd and set the tone the rest of the day. The day also brought set’s from the likes Shwizzmyth a mash up of Shwizz and MazMyth throwing down some awesome legendary covers such as Have a Cigar “Pink Floyd” Life during war time “Talking Heads” and a killer version of Whipping Post “Allman Brothers” and at one point offering up a sit in from John Herrara (Bass player) “consider the source” which led to a three man bass explosion which was something pretty special to witness.  Friday night brings us Mother’s Wine a Five piece band that continues to build steam festival after festival gaining new fans each and every show. Made up of Jordan Simms (keys) Mark ‘Mook” Mammano (guitar) Joe Harris (guitar) Eric Marcazo (bass) and Nick Salgo (drums)  their set starts off with “Vector” a slowly building example of just what this band has to offer. “Pharmland” which was played for the First time was probally my favorite of the night starting off very light and easy and quickly morphing into a dark energetic journey only to quickly lighten up as it ends. They ended the night with Jeff Mann (consider the source) who sat in for “Full Circle” and a fantastic cover of “Metallica’s” For whom the bell toll” into You & All you see. Up next was Consider the Source a band that blends so many different styles and textures into their music that it would almost be impossible to describe them with anything other than Killer. These guys really bring it when they step on the stage with Crazy energy matched with Equally Crazy Talent.  This evening was no different ripping thru easily on of the Best sets of the festival in front of a crowd that was willing to stay all night if they kept playing. Two of my favorites from the set were “Moisturize the situation” and “keep your pimp hand strong”.  Tonight’s set’s proved that every band at this festival was as serious about their music as they were about making this a weekend to remember.

Saturday morning the sun is shining as we head over to the center of the festival  field for a little yoga with Jess Klein, A Perfect way to start off a day in a beyond peaceful environment.  Jess is located out of Montclair NJ and is a certified Instructor and just another fine example of what this festival has to offer. After a refreshing start to the day it’s right on to Cocktail Party Phenomenon made up of Steve Catania (guitar, slide, vocals) Dan Enden (bass, vocals) Mike Gardner (keyboard/Vocals) Adam Jaskol (alto and tenor sax) and Max Young (drums) started it off with a unique blends of several styles making for quite a solid set of original music my favorite being “Rumblestiltskin” while also tipping there hat’s to the powerhouse Dopapod covering French Bowling which was defiantly  a crowd pleaser. Next up was Mr. Breakdown a three piece group made up of Mike Kemmlien (vocals, guitar) Dave Reiss (vocals, Bass) and Joe “Mamma” Carpentieri (vocals, Drums) who bring a strong grove of soul and funk to the stage creating a small dance party song after song.  Among my favorites were “Romantic” a Soulive cover which had beautiful vocals added by Danielle Sheri and   “Do what you can” a band original that was played exceptionally. The band also brought up singer Maryn Azoff on stage for a fun cover of the Beatles “We can work it out”   

Seeing that this festival offered a wide variety of music was as easy as sticking around and checking out The Brummy Brothers.  A powerful Blue Grass band made up of Dave Brumberg (Upright Bass/Vocals) Eric Brumberg (mandolin/vocals) Russle Gottlieb (Banjo/Vocals) and Andrew Morris (Guitar/Vocals).  These guys jam as well as anyone at the festival all while leaving the crowd smiling from ear to ear as they dance the set away. Favorites for me were Batshit Crazy which I could totally relate and was as playful as it was real, also 60 miles to Denver which was closed the set.  If you haven’t had a chance to check these guys out yet do so regardless of your feelings on blue grass you will walk away a fan for sure.  Ending the afternoon with exactly what I needed to be energized and take on the evening’s festivities. Over on the Main Stage Tauk was gearing up to show off their skills fresh off a small run of shows opening for Robert Randolph.  Made up of Alric “A.C” Carter (keys) Charlie Dolan (Bass) Matt Jalbert (Guitar) and Isaac Teel (Drums) these guys just keep getting better.  Their summer has seen them travel for festival to festival leaving nothing but new fans in their wake. For years I have been a fan of music and really drawn in by the lyrics of my favorite bands yet these guys find a way to get it done and then some no lyric’s needed. Each member brings their undeniable talent to the forefront without ever overpowering the others creating a beautiful musical journey. Highlights of their set for me “Dead Signal” and “ The Chemist” as well as their opening nod to the Beatles “She’s so heavy”( I want you).  As this festival has proven each band has the ability to blow minds and the next act ShwizZ Does exactly that time and time again. This Nyack based band made up of Ryan Liatsis (Guitar/Vocals) Frank Coda (Bass/Vocals) Andy Boxer (Drums) Paul Hollands (Percussion) Gianluca Trobetta (Keys) and Billy Schmidt (Guitar) bring a funky progressive jam to the table and then hammer it home. They are basically capable of playing whatever they choose and making it kick ass, evident in there out of left field cover “Du Hast” Rammstein bringing a whole new level of energy and power to what was one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Add great work on Duggman and Slow Down these guys are well worth a drive to check out if you haven’t yet.  Saturday night headliner The Stick Men a group made up of Tony Levin (Chapman Stick) Pat Levin (Drums) and Markus Reuter (Bass) brought a unique and powerful closing set to the main stage offering up sounds and emotions that were new to many in attendance. Their Heavy dark improve allowed you almost get lost in tones some may never hear outside of A Stick Men show a Very well played Unique Set that fit right in to the melting pot of music this festival had to offer.  

After a very long and enjoyable day of music I feel as if bed is calling but my curiosity over a band that I hear sound checking holds me in place for even more music. The Tigermen A funky 5 piece made up of Adam Carelli (Sax and Midi Wind) Jay Gogel (Keys) Kurt Althoff (Guitar) Joe Stracquatanio (Bass) and Rory Burns (Drums). At first glance you can’t help but notice the Tiger Placed on stage with glowing eyes as well as the  tiger related clothing and masks that the members are wearing…and thinking these guys will at least be fun to check out. As they jump into their set you are quickly reminded that they bring as much musical to the table as the do theatrically blending funk jazz and rock into a powerful jam.  Highlights without question were an awesome bust out of Peaches en Regalia (Frank Zappa) And a Funky tune “Get the Motherfunkers Dancing” Which surely fit its name sake. Closing out the set with a Powerful version of Those Damn Blue-Clooar Tweekers (Primus) Showing that they can give you just about anything you could imagine and make it work. As my evening comes to a close I am blown away by the amount of talented acts that found their way on to this festivals lineup, for a small family feel they have more good music then many big festivals while keeping it perfectly small and intimate. Sunday brings still another day of music and for this guy a little sleep is a must if I want to see any of it. Of course as I am walking back to my tent the huge camp fire and circle of laughing faces draws me in. Being at a festival surrounded by friends new and old while sitting around a fire watching Fire dancers do there ticks was pretty much a perfect way to end a Saturday night. 

Sunday morning brings us the final day of what has been an amazing weekend and some pretty enjoyable acts to end the weekend on a high note. The first being UZO bringing a unique rock fusion to the stage made up of brothers Brendan Patti (Bass) and Tom Patti (Guitar) rounded out by Adam Nicodemus (Drums) and Mike Pappas (Keys). These guys brought a solid energy with songs like Banger and Mash and Reykluse leaving the crowd rocked from their full musical assault. Taking a stroll to grab some food to me over by the second stage where I happened upon Saber Tooth Trio made up of Dave Reiss (Bass) Ryan Liatsis (Guitar) and Rich Bozek (Drums). These guy relaxed and seemed to truly enjoy every minute of being up on that stage which always draws the crowd in that much more. Two of my favorites from the set were Cavemen a smooth intriguing tune and The Purple Bag which had a great opening rhythm and just seemed to get the place really moving. The afternoon was flying bye leaving only a little time left to enjoy the beautiful backdrop that was Roscoe NY and sit by the stream while waiting for Taste Da Thumb Symphony to take the stage. Led by the Strong Bass work of Jordan DuMond and themselves each member of the ever rotating and evolving crew all bring an immense amount of talent to the stage as well as quite a bit of different also. Everything seems to blend perfectly into a Powerful funk dance party eliciting the crowd to move as if they had no choice.  Two strong examples would be Pinocchio Theory and D’s Diner. If you like funk then these guys are most certainly worth checking out. Then night ended with the legendary Bernie Worrell Orchestra taking the stage and providing and awesome set of music both from Bernie’s release “Standards” offering his take on original Jazz standards as well as some songs form his impressive catalog of work developed over the years. Perfect way to wrap up a weekend full of Great Bands. This is a Festival that gives you everything you could ever ask for all while offering it in a neat and tiny package. This is one festival that will keep those who attended coming back for years to come.
Words: Chason Heins
Photos: Mike Geller
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