Colorado’s own Magic Beans hosted their sixth-annual Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival at Bond, Colorado’s Rancho Del Rio last weekend. The three-day event has surely solidified itself as one of Colorado’s premier music and camping festivals, with tubing and other water-related activities on the beautiful Colorado River easily accessible throughout the weekend. This year’s Beanstalk offered a stacked lineup of nationally renowned and regional acts, as well as a super-jam comprised of some of the jam scene’s veteran all-stars.
Beanstalk switched things up this year with its scheduling, hosting music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, giving room for fans to enjoy a full weekend of music while still making it home on Sunday to prepare for their upcoming work weeks. The new change of schedule proved to be extremely well received, with the festival nearing full-capacity at Eagle County, Colorado’s intimate summer extravaganza. Festivalgoers excitement and energy seemed to rise as the weekend went on, thanks to the accessibility and convenience of jumping in the river to refresh and reset.
Minnesota’s Kind Country got the weekend started off proper, with a high-energy bluegrass set to get things going Thursday afternoon. Lespecial’s “Lespecial Does Primus” set was next, with the East Coast powerhouse incorporating a stunning tribute to Les Claypool and Primus, in its purest form. Luke Bemand and Rory Dolan’s rhythm section is a force to be reckoned with, and the weekend was off to a roaring start.
Lespecial – “My Name Is Mud”
[Vidoe: randy dix]
Lespecial – Full Set Audio
Cycles, the Colorado trio on the rise, and friends and frequent collaborators of the Magic Beans showed up strong, as guitarist Patrick Harvey displayed his wizardry and expertise with his pedals and looping devices. Following their Colorado debut in January, Octave Cat returned and took the Beanstalk main stage, featuring Jesse Miller of Lotus, Eli Winderman of Dopapod, and Charlie Paterno. Despite minor technical difficulties with Miller’s synth, the trio muscled through and delivered an exploratory set highlighted by Winderman’s rippin’ solos on the keyboards.
Cycles – Full Set Audio
Per tradition, Magic Beans played the headlining late-night set on the main stage every night. Thursday night, Magic Beans laid down a massive “Mr. Scientist” sandwich, with fan-favorites “Pizza Baby”, “Night Games”, and “Dr. Bubbleman” serving as the meat. Kind Country’s Chris Forsberg sat-in on fiddle, helping the boys take “Give Me Something Real” for an extended voyage. The Magic Beans also premiered two debuts, an original, “Feed The Beast”, and a cover of Anderson .Paak‘s “Celebrate”. The Beans were firing on all cylinders and the weekend was off to a fantastic start.
Setlist: Magic Beans | Beanstalk Music Festival | Bond, CO | 6/28/18
Set: Mr. Scientist -> Give Me Something Real^, Pizza Baby> Night Games> Dr. Bubbleman> Mr. Scientist, Celebrate*, Feed The Beast^^
Notes: ^ w/ Chris Forsberg (Kind Country) on fiddle | * Anderson Paak cover (debut) | ^^ Magic Beans debut
The Jauntee helped kick-off the festivities Friday, followed by Lespecial’s second set off the weekend. Lespecial’s original set on Friday was an overall fan-favorite of the weekend, as the trio displayed their ability to take things far away from the land of Primus and threw down a set with heavy hints of drum and bass and electronic. Denver’s Eminence Ensemble was up to bat next, fresh off a successful nationwide tour in support of Matisyahu.
The Jauntee – Full Set Audio
The remainder of Friday night was any live music lover’s dream, with Cory Wong of Vulfpeck, followed by Ghost Light, then Aqueous. Clad in matching black basketball uniform’s, Cory Wong and his three bandmates put on an extremely interactive show, highlighted by Cory’s silly and nerdy banter relating to music theory and everything in between. The Minneapolis native is an absolute genius on guitar, and seeing him take the reigns and lead his own band through a set was very unique from his frequent Vulfpeck collaborations.
Ghost Light was stunning, with the band of musicians clearly extremely comfortable playing together over the past year. Following years of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s success and rise to the top, it is hard to ignore Hamilton’s Jerry-like tones and scales in anything he plays. Add Holly Bowling’s immaculate piano work in the mix, and you have a group that should undoubtedly have bright success in the future.
Aqueous was the final act of Friday night before the Magic Beans, covering Elton John’s 1973 classic, “Bennie And The Jets”. The cover was an absolute hit amongst the crowd, as the quartet displayed their ability to quickly transition from smooth harmonies to soaring jams, highlighted by Mike Gantzer’s virtuoso guitar work.
Magic Beans offered up another monster show for night two, inviting Mike Ganzter back up to help out on Magic Beans original, “Hanky Panky”. As Mike Ganzter walked offstage, TAUK’s Matt Jalbert was invited up, and assisted on a cover of Dr. John’s “Quitter’s Never Win”. Following Thursday night’s pattern, Magic Beans offered up another two debuts, with Cher’s “Believe” and a Magic Beans original, “Elusive”.
Magic Beans with Mike Gantzer – “Hanky Panky”
[Video: Doctor Remidis Necessities]
Setlist: Magic Beans | Beanstalk Music Festival | Bond, CO | 6/29/18
Set: Mission> What In The World> Five Points*> Frontier, Hanky Panky^, Quitters Never Win^^, Do Your Thing, Lost & Found> Believe**> Lost & Found
Notes: * w/ Duffzone | ^ w/ Mike Ganzter (Aqueous) | ^^ w/ Matt Jalbert (TAUK) | ** Cher cover (debut) | ^* Magic Beans debut
Saturday still had lots of music in store, with locals Amoramora and Part and Parcel getting the final day off to a start. Cycles delivered a rockin’ second set of the weekend, which led into Chicago natives Mungion. Up next was Wisconsin bluegrass heroes, Horseshoes and Handgrenades, who mesmerized the crowd with their traditional bluegrass style huddle around a single microphone. A cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” invited the crowd to sing-along, as neighbors hugged and rejoiced in the weekend’s unbeatable lineup of music.
The Beanstalk All-Star Jam was the final act of the weekend before the Magic Beans festival-closing set. Featuring Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits, Dave Watts of The Motet, Matt Jalbert of TAUK, Kim Dawson of Pimps of Joytime and more, The Beanstalk All-Star Jam was a massive hit, allowing some of the scenes favorite musicians to get loose together and offer up an assortment of classic covers and improvised jamming.
Magic Beans brought the final night of Beanstalk to a close, highlighted by deep exploratory work and more debuts. A cover of Levon Helm’s “Hurricane” was debuted, as well as a Bean’s original “Contraband”. Drummer Cody Wales led the quartet through an interactive cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me”, before closing out the set with the Magic Beans old-school original, “Jamboree”.
Setlist: Magic Beans | Beanstalk Music Festival | Bond, CO | 6/30/18
Set: Jam> Here On Out, The Sound*> Drums^, Inventor^^, Hurricane**, Contraband^*
Encore: Lean On Me^*^> Jamboree
Notes: * w/ Dave Watts on percussion | ^ w/ Dave Watts, Nick Werth, and Chris Sheldon on percussion | ^^ w/ Dave Dernovsek from Yak Attack on synth | ** Levon Helm cover (debut) | ^* Magic Beans Debut | ^*^ Bill Withers cover (debut)
With standout musical offerings, a plethora of other activities to keep you busy during the day, and an absolutely breathtaking setting in the mountains of Colorado, Beanstalk Music and Mountains Festival is a must-see event for any music and camping fans.