I Rocked the Resort once, or tried. My ever-miscast band the Sweet Clementines did its spiel at the 2010 edition of this long-running, electro-leaning jam festival at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, “sharing the stage” with some nice names on the order of Soulive (who were great), Particle (not my thing) and Day Two and Three headliners the New Riders of the Purple Sage and KRS-One. Make sense of that lineup if you need to.
Mostly, I remember the lobby – the same lobby that I had once milled about at a friend’s doomed wedding and at my 20th high school reunion with the chicken cordon bleu. It was transformed: a little drifty, a little doggy, a little stressy. But to be fair, it was midday on the Friday of a weekend-long stay-and-play festival. This crowd – not one known for its Type-A efficiencies or any real need thereof – was just checking in and inventorying supplies. It was a crowd more in potentia than in fact, engaged in the earliest stages of finding its quite formidable collective flow.
The flow didn’t flow much to the large mainstage conference room where we played our 5 p.m. set. Our audience consisted of the sober sound guys, some merch table staff right outside the door and my friend Russ. Everyone was genuinely complimentary of our set except Russ. By Roots of Creation’s 6 p.m. set, a scene had begun to twist amidst, around and over the top of the long, arcing tables of a conference room designed for plenary sessions and sales-training main events. By Soulive at 7 p.m., the place was mad rolling.
I nominate “jam” as the most polarizing word in music. That is unfortunate, and it speaks to our shallowness, the safety-in-numbers of taste and our willingness to let cultural cues do our listening for us. Rock the Resort does not use the “J” word much in its promotional literature, nor does it need to. Scanning the bill of this month’s event, dubbed “V.6: Low-Key,” it will be clear to anyone who knows anything what kind of festival this is.
RtR has always lightly favored the groove division of jam, and the electro. But in jam, electro is almost always hybrid, featuring at the very least a real, meatware funk drummer and all the plasticity of groove that implies. The electro/ethno/dream-funk of one of this year’s acts, Broccoli Samurai, exemplifies that balance perfectly. At the top line of the bill, however, is Max Creek: a venerable and doctrinal Eastern Seaboard trad-jam institution.
Down the poster a bit, we find what would appear to be anomalies to anyone who thinks too categorically about jam: the howling, thrashing c*ck-rock of Mystery Frye; the riffed-out retro-soul of Roxy Roca and of West End Blend; a touch of coy singer/songwriter guitar-pop with Hayley Jane and the Primates; some goofy and Minimalist garage blues/rock from the Balkun Brothers, and – as is always the case with the opulent bingefest that is Rock the Resort – much, much and much more.
Rock the Resort V6: Low-Key goes down at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa from Friday through Sunday, March 25 to 27. Attractively priced admission-plus-room packages are available. Significant discounts are provided fro Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan County residents with valid photo ID. For the full lineup and all daily and weekend ticketing options, visit the real together website: https://rocknrollresort.com/v6. The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is located at 400 Granite Road in Kerhonkson. For more information about the Resort, visit www.hudsonvalleyresort.com.
Rock the Resort V.6: Low-Key, Friday-Sunday, March 25-27, Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, 400 Granite Road, Kerhonkson; https://rocknrollresort.com/v6.