Rock n Roll Resort V5: The Perfect Getaway
Fans piled into the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa early last Friday (5/1) in order to enjoy what I found to be a completely unique festival experience. The Rock n Roll Resort consisted of a mix of legendary reggae bands and up and coming artist from the festival scene to create the perfect, laid back vibe for the 2 day event. Just an elevator ride away from the 3 stages, a spacious hotel room with a beautiful overlook of the Catskill Mountains awaited, making it easier than ever to take a quick breather in what we know can be the long few days that are a music festival. A bathroom, a shower, king size beds, a fridge, food, beer and whatever else you needed was so very accessible making the experience easier and more comfortable than ever. The main lobby held home to several vendors selling their goods, a small bar the ran the left hand side pouring delicious Magic Hat Beer and mixing one of a kind Bloody Mary’s while 3 stages produced music from 1 pm until 6 am collectively.
Road to the Resort (RRR’s ‘Battle of the Bands’) finalist Cousin Earth, formerly known as Ukelelien, kicked off the day pulling new fans in with every song. Fun covers like Mr. Aladdin Sir, Mortal Kombat Theme Song and some of the Mario Soundtrack drew a tons of new listeners to the Road to the Resorts Runner-up. The unique 5 piece consists of a ukulele and a ukulele bass rather than the traditional 4, 5 or 6 string instruments. The ukulele’s, the covers, and a female singer who could belt it with the best of them kicked the festival off perfectly in the Grand Ballroom. Located directly in the lobby of the resort, the Grand Ball Room was most accessible stage and had plenty of action throughout the weekend. A ballroom equip with a giant chandelier created the perfect atmosphere as the lights and fog machine filled the cozy room with magic. Bands like Sprocket, beatboxer Honeycomb, and Political Animals warmed the resort up for the much anticipated night to come. The fun had began but the party really started when Upstate NY favorite Lucid took the main stage at 8:30, The Manhattan Theatre. The Manhattan Theatre was a beautiful theatre located just down the hall from the lobby and had truly amazing acoustics. The Manhattan Theatre held most of the night’s action as the spacious setting had plenty of room to accommodate, no matter if you wanted to take a seat in the back, or dance like a maniac in front of the stage on the large, rectangular dance floor. From there night one became to take form. Cosmic Karma Fire added a nice touch as they put on a great performance directly outside of the lobby as fans lined up in awe of their act and the beautiful spring night in the Catskill Mountains. The Relative Souls, who had quite the buzz surrounding their name throughout the weekend put on a great set in the Grand Ballroom, sucking in fans from the lobby before much awaited reggae cover band Easy Star All Stars took the stage at 10:30 in the Manhattan Theatre.
From spacey, dream like covers of Pink Floyd, to the funky upbeat tunes of Michael Jackson, Easy Star All Stars had the entire resort bobbing their heads and moving to the beat. The extremely talented group of musicians is much more than a reggae band, and much, much more than a cover band. Easy Star is able to take amazing, lifetime classics and make them into smooth reggae songs mixing the best of both worlds. As Easy Star put fans in awe, The Kind Buds, paid their respects to the Grateful Dead as they calmed fans in the lobby’s Acoustic Lounge with their amazing guitar playing and classic vocals.
Consider the Source packed out the Empire Lounge, a medium sized stage in a bar room of the hotel was perfect for the band, filling it in and letting the energy of the crowd overflow for the 3 piece shredders. Bassist John Ferrara and double-neck guitarist Gabriel Marin memorized the crowd before Friday headliner Fishbone.
Fishbone laughed and joked with the crowd throughout their extremely lively set. This old school ska band is sticking to their roots putting on a performance that took every crowd member back to their childhood. Equip with stage dives, fans on stage, and more energy than I could have ever expected, Fishbone closed out the main stage for day one with a bang. The night raged on as the Silent Disco had its beats provided by Wyllys and other electronic artist like Archnemesis impressed performing until the music stopped at 6 AM.
Saturday was filled with anticipation, mostly for the 2 headlining sets of one of the fastest growing bands in the jam scene, Twiddle. Twiddle and their following poured into the resort and seemed to be multiplying by the minute, but there was plenty of good music and good times to be had before their first set at midnight. The Kind Buds kicked off days activities on that main stage with their psychedelic backdrop and hula-hoopers at 3:30. Lucid once again produced more smiles and good vibes as they set up for an acoustic set in the lobby of the hotel from 6-7 pm. The crowd grew and never stopped growing as more and more people wondered in on a great campfire style jam session. Lucid’s bongos, sax, and a xylophone took this acoustic set to the next level, giving it more than just a strumming of the guitar feeling. The Organically Good Trio made quite the impression on fans as the name has been circling airways of curiosity all weekend. The 3 piece reggae band kicked some serious tunes and had the entire place moving for their hour long set on the Manhattan Stage.
Sophistafunk’s 3 members fuse hip-hop, rock, and funk in a pleasantly unique fashion. Lyricist Jack Brown spit as the crowd was memorized by Keyboardist Adam Gold as he belted out pure gold. An extremely talented 3 piece that set the mood perfectly as the excitement rose in anticipation for Camp Creek All Stars before Twiddle’s long awaited set. Camp Creek had a great crowd, one of the largest of the weekend, but miles behind what was about to show for Twiddle.
After what was a 2 day wait for most, Twiddle took the stage to a full yet spacious Manhattan Theatre at midnight Saturday. Playing their first set from midnight to 1 AM the 4 piece reggae, jam band catered to longtime fans with an hour long set consisting of very few lyrics and a ton of jamming. The band started with an old time favorite off of their album “Somewhere On The Mountain”, Doinkinbonk, with Jamie Armstrong of Lucid joining sporadically throughout the two sets on saxophone, adding the perfect touch of different.
The second set began with lead singer Mihali Savolidis in solitude as he strummed his guitar slowly beginning the bands newest song, Lost in the Cold, giving the fans exactly what they wanted. Following came another one of their newer songs, White Light, which is expected to be on their upcoming album “Plump” to be released later this summer. Twiddle’s second set was unforgettable, as fans clearly didn’t want it to end as they begged for more. It contained a huge number of sit-ins including Jamie Armstrong and Lowell Wurster from Lucid, Honeycomb, Force (rapper from the Alchemystics), Justin Hendrix of Groovestick and even their longtime friend and photographer Greg Horowitz was called on stage during the encore Earth Mama.
The Rock N Roll Resort is a one of a kind festival with the perfect atmosphere. Filled with good people, good beer (provided by Magic Hat) a beautiful landscape, and an amazing lineup the Resort is the perfect weekend getaway for any music lover.