Normally this time of year, I’d be prepping my Hulaween preview article. This fantastic festival was scheduled for October 22-25 but like so many other events has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.
My fourth Hulaween was 2018 and I had just started getting into video when I went all out and filmed 16 full or partial sets! Of course, I had seen many other wonderful musicians as well, and had to miss a few due to conflicts.
To help with the Hulaween hangover, I’ve compiled all 16 videos from that year along with a couple of comments on what I was experiencing.
If you can please donate to any bands you enjoy – I’ve put the links in the videos where I could find them.
If you like this stuff, stay tuned for my 2019 version coming soon.
Thursday, October 25
Ajeva, 12:30 – 1:30 Amphitheater: It was my first time coming down on Wednesday night because two bands that are really tight (and friends of mine) were coming on early Thursday. I had seen and met Ajeva the prior year when I met the lead singer, Reed Skahill and we were chatting about Karl Denson.
Ajeva is a progressive funk, six piece powerhouse hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. They spread their message of peace, unity and higher consciousness through music with infectious grooves and driving energy.
Funk You, 1:30 – 2:30 The Patch: These guys are some of my closest friends and I was so proud that they made it to The Patch. I left Ajeva early to get right up front. There was a buzz in the air and I knew it would blow people away. As always, the addition of the three-piece Brotherhorns horn section, added extra juice. And we’re off!
Cory Wong, 5:30 – 6:30 Spirit Lake: I had seen Cory in August 2018 at Aisle 5 in Atlanta so I knew this was a set not to miss and I was right. The whole band is so talented and they were on fire.
Lettuce, 12:30-1:45 am Amphitheater: Every day at the fest, I have one “to die for” band and many times it is the Lettuce late night set. There’s something about the spooky, spacey funk of the band at midnight in the Amphitheater that can’t be beat.
This show featured some yet to be released tracks from the Elevate (Larimar, Gang Ten, Ready to Live, Trapezoid) and Resonate (House of Lett) albums. Let the funk FLOW!
Friday, October 26
Too Many Zooz, 2:15 – 3:15 Amphitheater: TMZ is a personal favorite playing brass house music. Leo P (Pellegrino) is a nonstop dancing machine all the while showing extraordinary range on the bari sax. To round out the 3-piece they have Matt “Doe” Muirhead on trumpet and David “King of Sludge” Parks on percussion. The band started out busking in NYC subways and their popularity grew fast enough to land on the Amphitheater stage.
Break Science Live Band 4:15 – 5:15 Amphitheater: This one was totally unplanned because up to this point I wasn’t a big fan of EDM but man did this set shock and turn me around. I walked up and I see Lettuce minus Nigel plus Borahm Lee. The shit was so tight and funky it was my biggest regret of the festival to not catch the whole set. You can be sure I won’t miss them again.
Come Back Alice, 11:30-12:30 am Campground Stage: I had seen CBA the prior year as well as in Atlanta and had to come back for more. Headed by Tony Tyler and his wife Dani Jaye (violin), CBA is a high-energy band with a unique sound that they’ve dubbed Southern Gypsy Funk, a blend of rock, soul, gypsy jazz and funk music, the flavors of which compliment each other like ingredients in a fine New Orleans gumbo.
Fronted by multi-instrumentalists, the couple Tony Tyler and Dani Jaye have great onstage chemistry and presence. It was definitely a high powered set at Hulaween.
Garaj Majal, 12:30-1:45 am Spirit Lake: Garaj Mahal was one of my top target sets for the weekend. The a jazz fusion band has been around since 2000 but hadn’t been on the road for seven years and I had never seen them before (somehow I missed them at Bear Creek 2010). I had listened to them a lot especially their 2003 seminal work Mondo Garaj. Their blend of jazz, rock, Indian music, and funk was right up my alley. After the set I got to meet the leader of the Kai Eckhardt (bass) and he then helped me put the video together. Probably still my favorite set of the weekend.
Funk You, Late Night, Campgrounds: I was wiped out after a full day of partying and taping but knew I couldn’t miss late night shenanigans with my buds in Funk You. I summoned what remaining juice I had and filmed this after hours set fully with my handheld stabilizer and glad I did.
Saturday, October 27
Lettuce, 2:30 – 3:30 Meadow Stage: It was a little bit early for me and Lettuce but it was their first time on the big stage so I was pumped for the show. It was another set that featured Purple Cabbage and Ready to Live, tunes from their upcoming albums. The set was fire and love the background visuals. Long live Lettuce!
The Fritz, 5:45 – 6:45 Campground Stage: The Fritz are some of my favorite homies, having first seen them at Bear Creek 2010 and I love their unique sound. As usual, they killed their set. It was also the start of the most physically demanding run that I had for the whole festival
Roosevelt Collier Band, 8:00 – 9:00 Campground Stage: Roosevelt is another groovemaster that I first saw at Bear Creek so I was stoked to see the master of pedal and lap steel guitar in this setting. The bonus is that his “backing” band is the dynamic Electric Kif and the combination put on an electrifying set.
Vulfpeck, 10:30 – 11:45 The Patch: I had caught Vulpeck only one time prior, at the Sweetwater 420 Fest in Atlanta earlier in the year but had the chance to see and meet Theo Katzman at Eddie’s Attic. I knew this would be a top set of the weekend but by the time it rolled around, I was quite ‘happy’ and had trouble standing, literally. Also, once I got into excellent position, I really had to use the porta john but couldn’t risk losing my spot. Then, the boys came out put on a fun changeroo set with each one playing another and bringing out Roosevelt Collier and The Shady Horns (Lettuce) for a sit in. It was well worth the pain as it became my highest viewed video to date.
Jamiroquai, 11:45 – 1:45 am Meadow: Another festival highlight that I had never seen other than two tribute sets earlier in the year. I was able to work my way to a pretty good spot and despite the fatigue filmed about 30 minutes of the set. It was definitely fun, high energy and worth waiting for.
Sunday, October 28
Galactic, 4:15 – 5:15 Amphitheater: Galactic is a long time favorite of mine and they didn’t disappoint. They have a unique NOLA funk sound and I have every album they’ve put out. With the effervescent Erica Falls singing lead this was a great way to start the day.
Turkuaz, 8:30 – 9:30 Spirit Lake: This was the closeout sesh of the festival and it was one of the toughest choices I had to make – between ‘Kuaz and Janelle Monae. I had heard a lot of trash talk about Janelle from people that didn’t think she was up to the closeout set but I had seen her at The Tabernacle in Atlanta and KNEW she’d knock it out of the park. Nevertheless, I elected to go to the smaller stage to see another favorite and glad I did. Turkuaz was such a fun funky way to close out.
Hulaween 2018 was a fantastic festival and one of the best I’ve been to. It was a tough journey for me but rewatching and recapping these videos make it worth every second. Stay tuned for my 2019 edition coming soon.