Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Samsquantch 2009, Part Two

Getting up wasn't the easiest thing to do on Sunday morning after dancing until 2am, but the sun beating down on my tent and heating it to approximately 97 degrees by 8:30am made it a moot point. I don't like saunas to begin with, so sleeping in one became really, really unattractive.

After changing into decent clothes, freshening up at the bathroom and drinking approximately 2 liters of water and Gatorade, I decided that staying awake wasn't the worst move I'd make all day. Marshall and I decided to hang out and make fun of Duke until he decided to get up and start making us breakfast. This actually took a lot longer than we thought it would, since Duke was apparently determined to work up quite a sweat staying asleep. He finally did get up and made us some rather delicious breakfast burritos complete with coffee and other necessities.

Our neighbors woke up after we were done with cleanup, so we razzed them for having serious bedhead as well as staying up late dancing. Around 11am, we all decided we were feeling much better and could start cracking PBRs again. The neighbors' friends came over to join us, and we all sat around chatting before the show.

At one point, one of the Canadians came over to chat, but he was apparently actually Alaskan, and from Wasilla, to boot. He then proceeded to tell us a long-winded story about how he, a dentist, hired this hygienist, and how it turned into the weirdest, biggest deal ever because her sister happened to be Sarah Palin. Talk about a serious turn for the weird, eh? Once he wandered back off, we all just looked at each other like, "did you hear that too? OK, just checking." We believed him...I mean, there wasn't any reason not to!

Finally we decided to go find the shuttle to take us into the show just in time to catch The Walkmen on the mainstage. After them, Duke and I wandered off, while Marshall set up camp on the grass. So, here's what I thought of everyone:

The Walkmen: I love the Walkmen, and yes, I totally did see them on "The OC." I love their song "The Rat," and that's exactly what they were playing as we picked our way down the gigantic grassy field at the top of the amphitheater. It's a large space for a band like that, but I thought they did pretty well.

John Vanderslice: Duke went over to the Wookiee stage with me to check out John Vanderslice, who is a staple on KEXP, my favorite Seattle radio station. He's kind of indie-pop, and wore a fan's incredibly silly sunglasses during his set. It was a very nice little diversion.

Calexico: I have the album that Calexico did with Iron & Wine, which is pretty good. Calexico just has a nice, laid-back vibe, and they were fun to watch. It also happened to be sunny and warm, and the people-watching was perfect.

St. Vincent: I dragged Duke back up to the Wookiee stage to check out St. Vincent, and I was less than impressed. She must have started one song at least four different times, and didn't seem to be happy with the crowd's response. It was really strange, and didn't make us want to stay. So we didn't.

The Avett Brothers: These guys were fine, but very folksy and kind of got lost in such a big venue. In their defense, it was starting to get really, really warm, and we were starting to decide that maybe we should look for some shade.

Murder City Devils: I saw these guys at Bumbershoot, like, 10 years ago and didn't like them. They haven't gotten any better with age. The lead singer alternately swaggered around the stage screaming lyrics into the mike and screaming obscenities at the crowd. While I couldn't totally blame him for cursing, listening to 45 minutes of it was giving me a headache that even Fat Tire couldn't cure. Fail.

TV on the Radio: After seeking shade and food for much of MCD's set, it was nice to get back to the grass for TV on the Radio. I realized that this is one of those bands I keep hearing about, but I have absolutely no idea what any of their songs sound like. Their live show was fine, if a little high-concept for a large venue, and I think I'd like to check out some of their music before seeing them again.

Nine Inch Nails: As a '90s teen, I loved NIN for both the music and the rebel factor. Years later, the music is totally holding up, and so is Trent Reznor. I have said a number of times that I have always wanted to see NIN if it weren't for the largely insane and scary fans. This was my perfect opportunity, and I was right--NIN is amazing live. Trent just came out and killed it on every song. I learned that the song "Terrible Lie" is not actually "Down The Line," and I discovered that I didn't really care what NIN played, as long as they kept playing. They wrapped up their set with a truly brilliant version of "Hurt," which I am eternally grateful for.

Jane's Addiction: I saw JA in Portland about 8 years ago, just out of college, and I recall being so close to their second stage that I could read Dave Navarro's tattoos during "Jane Says." Fortunately for me, seeing them again was not a letdown. Perry Farrell blew out on stage in a boozy, woozy cloud of smoke, and regaled the crowd with the most random collection of non sequiturs I have ever heard at a show. I am not entirely certain that Farrell knows what is going to come out of his mouth until he says it. Once again, the standards "Been Caught Stealing," "Mountain Song," and "Had A Dad," were included, as well as the killer encore of "Jane Says."

I've heard some opinions that NIN should have been the headliner, and I don't totally disagree with that, actually.

Once Jane's was done, we slowly staggered back to the shuttle to make our way back to camp. Once we got there, we hung out with the neighbors, watched the Canadians crank the party machine back up, and decided to sit around and wait for security to break the party up, since quiet hours started at 2am, and it was already 12:45am. The neighbors and I did a little dancing, but were considerably less energetic than we had been the night before. Once security did their thing, we all headed for bed, and shipped out very early in the morning for home.

Quote of the Day: "I hurt myself today/to see if I still feel/focus on the pain/the only thing that's real." Hurt, Nine Inch Nails.

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