Written by Justin Peters
The early afternoon sets on Sunday featured the fewest amount of artists I had plans to see. After a late start, I made my way to the park, where I jumped around the outskirts of a number of sets. The most notable performance I glanced at was Mutts, who sounded like Tom Waits fronting the Ben Folds Five. During my time sateliting between stages, I took some time to check out a lucha libre wrestling match before taking the time to get as close as possible to one of my most anticipated sets of the day: Andrew W.K.
Although you may only vaguely remember him for his 2001 hit, “Party Hard” from the album I Get Wet, Andrew W.K. has been somewhat of a fascination of mine in the past couple of years. Besides his never-stop-partying attitude, the rocker has a very active social media presence, contributes online advice columns, and provides motivational speaking across the country. As I had guessed, his live performance was a total free-for-all. I managed to get within the first couple of rows before the show started, surrounded by a crowd buzzing with anticipation. As soon as the music started, the entire audience shifted forward before a complete frenzy broke out. For the next forty-five minutes I was either being pushed, pushing someone, or holding up a crowd-surfer; it was incredible. The music was exactly true to its form-fast, aggressive, rowdy, and demanded a party, although it was admittedly difficult to focus between all of the chaos around me. I have no doubt that I would see Andrew perform again, perhaps a bit further back in order to appreciate the music better.
Tegan and Sara
Though I’ve never put on a Tegan and Sara album, it turns out I’ve been exposed to the twin sister outfit enough to recognize a fair amount of their tunes. Their light-hearted songs didn’t quite seem to fit the nature of the festival, but regardless drew a very sizable crowd. This was the first time of the day that I began to notice how much more crowded it seemed than either of the previous days. Between songs, the sisters did a fair amount of talking and storytelling, making me wish they would follow more closely the mantra of “less talk, more rock”. Ultimately, the set had a great sound seemed to really please the crowd.
By the time I made my way to the stage that Dropkick Murphys were playing on, the crowd was completely overflowing out from the field in front of the stage and into the paths and streets of the park. Regardless, the friends I was with insisted on pushing up to the pit to better experience the show. After some hard work and maneuvering, we eventually made it to the front of the audience just in time for the last couple songs of their set which included “Rose Tattoo” and “I’m Shipping up to Boston”. The energy between the band and the audience was spectacular, along with their performance.
Having grown up with a bassist in the family, I was exposed to a lot of Primus in my younger years. Their unique songwriting has always really drawn me, while their sheer musicianship made them an act to really look forward too. The bittersweet cherry on top was the announcement that in light of recent health related issues, Tim “Herb” Alexander would not be performing for that set or the next leg of their tour. Stepping into his place was the sensational progressive rock drummer, Danny Carey of Tool. Two giant inflatable astronauts were placed as bookends on either side of the stage, upon which the face of Tim Alexander was projected while he watched the performances via Skpye. Between Les Claypool’s complete mastery of the bass, Danny Carey’s tasteful subbing in, and guitarist Larry LaLonde’s incredibly unique playing, the set was perfectly woven. By the time their set was coming to a close, the crowd was by far the biggest I had seen at any show, due partially to the fact that immediately following Primus, Weezer was to begin on the neighboring stage.
Before Primus had even finished, I was forced into a stream of people walking away from the stages. The immense amount of people prevented me from moving at my own free will and eventually spat me out to the streets. Any attempts to reclaim my spot were fruitless, forcing me to try and listen to Weezer from hundreds of yards away. I could just barely make out the tunes to their more recent hits “Back to the Shack”, “Pork and Beans”, and “Beverly Hills”. I decided to leave early, and as I walked through the streets, I caught hints of their emo/alt rock masterpiece known by fans as The Blue Album.
Overall, the festival was excellent. Each day had a strong line-up of artists who consistently delivered remarkable sets. I’d like to see some of the issues of the weekend addressed for future festivals though, including the power failure of Saturday night, and the extreme overcrowding of Sunday’s performances. Despite these mishaps, the festival was a great success and I’ll be looking really looking forward to the announcement of the following year’s lineup.