Published Jul 30, 2012For better of worse, Hillside has a tradition of creating collaboration through workshops during the course of the festival. Pairings can work out beautifully (like Sunday morning's set-ups of Ohbijou and the Wooden Sky, or Cold Specks and Great Lake Swimmers), but they also have to the potential to flop (like when Joel Plaskett has to back out due to illness). Saturday's scheduled "Mixmasters" workshop featuring Rich Aucoin, Canadian songwriter Chris Brown and Zeus generated a fair amount of intrigue and delivered a loose, light-hearted afternoon jam. Contrary to the billing, the session was not acoustic, but did indeed feature the Zeus dudes up front with Brown on keys and Aucoin helping out on percussion. Other than a few Zeus tunes and a couple numbers from Brown, the mixmasters treated the eager crowd to covers of the Beatles' "In My Life" and "You Can't Do That," plus the Band's "The Shape I'm In," which seemed a perfect fit for the setting. The highlight came, though, with a rendition of R. Kelly's party anthem "Ignition (Remix)," proving that sometimes the risk of matching artists up for workshops pays off in unexpectedly fun ways.
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