The first piece of good news on Friday the 13th was that Newcastle was at the beer tent. It always works out best if you get a beer immediately inside the front gate. If you arrive early enough, most of the other people in line will be kinda sober. There's always the one creep who's obviously just a little too fucked up to be in it for the long haul. Pace yourself. Beer + Weed = Sleep, so be ready for that shit.
Willis Earl Beal opened his set with a quick vocal warm up that was mind-blowing. It didn't really matter where Willis was taking us after that, cause we were sold. The only thing missing from Beal's set was a cover "I Put Spell On You." Beal's still pretty raw. It'll be interesting to see where he goes next.
It may have been the rain or it may have been technical difficulties…all that was certain was that Japandroids started about 20 minutes late. Guitarist Brian King said straight away "We've only got 45 minutes, so we're not gonna waste time talking. We're Japandroids. We're from Vancouver." Then there was about two minutes of silence and THEN they started playing.
We left Japandroids in just enough time to catch Big K.R.I.T.'s "Money on the Floor." Big K.R.I.T. owned the crowd. His hype men barely looked up from their cells throughout the set. It's because Big K.R.I.T. didn't need hype…he was the hype.
Dirty Projectors aren't really my jam, but Jesus…they can play. They were doing vocals I didn't think were possible. After a few drone-y numbers, we left to go check on Clams Casino just long enough to say "What the fuck is this?" and turn back to catch the last two Dirty Projector numbers.
At that point, the only thing I wanted was for Newcastle to still be there when we saw Liturgy the next day.
It rained heaviest and hardest during Liturgy's set at the Blue Stage. This didn't stop the Liturgy onslaught. Onslaught is almost not the right word. Barrage? Blitzkrieg? Avalanche of noise? It was so non-stop it was comical. Though a 45 minute extended jam on "Generation" would have been equally as fulfilling.
Wild Flag opening up with the Television track "See No Evil" was about the best thing that could've happened when it finally started getting sunny again. But we ditched out of Wild Flag a bit early to catch some of Schoolboy Q. Schoolboy Q name dropped about every rapper that's ever lived, smoked a shit-ton of ganja, and was easily the most charismatic MC of the festival.
There were various dance parties going on after that, but I was really only focused on Godspeed You! Black Emperor at that point. Admittedly, there was a lot of good music going on (Hot Chip, Sleigh Bells, Danny Brown)…but none of it was holding my attention.
I caught up with a few friends and we setup camp in front of the sound booth at the Green Stage fifteen minutes before Godspeed was set to start. Day two had been long, and the crowd was getting to that "I'm just fucked up enough to start being an ass to everyone around me" kinda mood. But when Godspeed came on stage you could hear a pin drop. It was the first concert I felt compelled to whisper at. In a word, it was captivating. Two of the members of the group I was with were determined to see Grimes…but no one ended up leaving Godspeed.
Ah, day three. The day reserved for ice cream replacement meals and blistering heat. It was so hot that the mud pits from the downpours the day before had already dried up by the time we got to the concert grounds. The sun on Sunday was absolute murder.
Speaking for myself, the first part of the day was spent dodging the heat. "Man, it's getting hot at this Iceage show, let's go get some beers." "Dude, let's go check out Ty Segall and get some water by the press booth." "The Men are playing at the Blue Stage, maybe we can get some shade and sit down." Yes. All those things happened.
It finally got cool enough to sit still by the time Chavez started. Much to my disdain, the people I was with on Sunday didn't know Chavez. "They're great 90s rock, maaaaan," I assured them. When Chavez was through, there was no further convincing needed.
AraabMuzik. Whew. At least one beat maker/ producer/ DJ was as compelling to watch as he was to listen to this weekend.
After telling most every that I ran into that I was "Not going to stick around for Vampire Weekend. I'm not a fan and Breaking Bad starts tonight," I ended up sticking around for a bit of Vampire Weekend. And though I'm not a big fan (hey dudes, there's a record out there besides Graceland), it was refreshing to watch them, and not just cause the beer tents were still serving Newcastle. It was because Vampire Weekend genuinely wanted to be there. They dug being there. And that was nice. No matter how bright and fluffy.