Around 11am Saturday morning, I decided I could muster the energy to move. We had raged HARD Friday. Aaron and I showered and gathered ourselves for round two. Ahhhhh, the shower…..how nice!!! The place may have been Wookie Central but it had showers and a warm bed…can’t beat that! Aaron was the greatest roommate ever and had come stocked with bagels, cream cheese, fruit and ALMONDS!! The food at the resort was below par cafeteria quality with basically a grade school cafeteria menu to include chicken fingers, hot dogs, hamburgers/cheeseburgers and french fries all for around $5-$7 per item. Not sure if there were any vegetarian options. Definitely none that stood out!
After forcing down some food, I sent the word out to my boys that we were up and the pre-party was to commence. The response texts were hysterical, groggy, misspelled and I could feel their pain throbbing in my temples!! We made our way to the Jacuzzie suite where it didn’t take long to get rid of our headaches and melt into the plush love seat. My brain was finally prepared to wonder about the day’s agenda…
I was looking forward to today for many reasons, but the main one being that my love for poetry, slam or otherwise, was going to thrash the theaters. Radioactive was my first hit that day around 12:30pm. Having seen him battle with Adam Deitch the night before, I knew I wanted to see more. An emcee, beatboxer, writer, painter, and b-boy, Radio plays musical instruments (but not during this set) and incorporates electronic beats with his beatbox (which he definitely did).
During the beginning of his set, he knocked out beats/sounds with his voice/throat/hands, recording them, looping and layering them on top of each other to create a base for his lyrics. This is the kind of thing I adore watching; people who make something out of nothing. At one point during his rap, a hip-hop dancer was raging the dance floor all alone and Radio incorporated the dancer into his lyrics. His free-styles spoke of peace, love, compassion, that none of us are the center of anything and we are all part of something. I sat among the other five people in the theater, yes five, wondering how many people truly felt that in their hearts.
“Do that thing where you make stuff up,” the dancer says. We all laugh. Taking it from the curb, he battled himself, changing the tone of his voice to deep and growly vs. high and pitchy to correspond with which “side” was spitting. It was entertaining. After his set, I had to introduced myself. I had truly appreciated what he had to say and loved the delivery. I left for the next show feeling inspired, unaware that Radio, otherwise known as Woodrow, would rage the Jacuzzi suite HARD with us later on that evening!!
Sophistaphunk was up next. Another band with their styles dipped in poetry, I had heard good things. They had this lamp set up on the stage that I noticed immediately and thought brought a bit of charm to the otherwise dark stage. I was feeling the effects from lack of sleep at this point and decided to melt into a first tier rolling chair to watch their set. They were funky at times, rock at times, they definitely were all over the place in terms of style. There was one song that even had me out of my chair at one point. But then they actually lost me when it came to the freestyling’s of Jack Brown during a particular song.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, but after just seeing Radioactive, it was hard not to compare. At the same time, they were two different styles. I really loved what Jack was saying, it just wasn’t fast enough for my taste in the moment. Especially when they had just jammed so hard. I am a harsh critic when it comes to this. I have been lucky enough to judged multiple slam/poetry competitions here in Manhattan and I rely heavily on how my emotions lead me when I watch the presentation as I am listening to the lyrics. I just wasn’t feeling his choice. I felt my switch get turned off and knew I needed to recharge.
One of the negatives to having a music festivals indoors is the fact that it’s actually indoors. The sun was beaming, people were wookin’ it out in the parking lot, laying on blankets in the grass, having picnics. You couldn’t do any of that inside the dark, grimy theaters. The music would have to wait. I felt the need to join the happenings out in the parking lot! Wookies were scattered everywhere with their heady rugs thrown about, beer in hand, dogs in tow.
The vendors were mainly inside but a few random mobile shops were selling their wares. A vendor would later tell me that they felt as though there were more vendors then there were attendants. I am pretty sure they were right. Outside, people were lying on car hoods and drinkin’ beer out of their trunks. Music was playing from various locations via car speaker or boombox. Aaron and I strolled the grounds, coming across wookie picnics and passed out soldiers of rage from the night prior. There were some gorgeous Willow trees and a large lake with various gazebos surrounding. The place had potential to be magnificent if given a nice face lift.
One of the crazy things about this festival, music just popped up everywhere. No idea who they were, but a band just set up shop in the vendor section. The vendors expressed their happiness as they had felt forgotten on their side of the building as they couldn’t hear the bands in the theaters. I took a minute to step foot into the next room to catch another few songs by Jaden. I’ll, say it again, it’s clear that this girl is talented. She covered a few songs before I took off in another direction. There were points like this were I was CRAVING good music and it could NOT be found. I walked in on Jon of the Shred as he played Smoke on the Water. I was immediately turned off by the name hahaha but I attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. This guy was a rager but it wasn’t consistent. One song would be somewhat fluid, the next would be sloppy. He can shred the hell out of a guitar, he can play some keys, but his attempts to do both those things and maintain the computer and keep his hair out of his face….needs more practice. I was dying at this point. The Jacuzzi suite was the only answer. If I couldn’t find good music, I could always find good conversation.
Again, I had to peel myself away from that suite because it was getting to be about that time. I could smell the coming of good music. The sun was going down and the resort was becoming more animated. I made my way downstairs to see if Skerdio was set to rage. They weren’t so I proceeded to dance among the wooks in the lobby to a nameless band who actually threw us a pretty good dance party. I saw Skerik standing behind them not looking to happy. Then he was off towards the stage door. Then Radioactive is standing near the band, looking perplexed. And then he is off. I head to the theater and it is literally myself, Tony, Toast, and a couple of the New Riders in the entire room. Mind you, the lobby is packed. Skerik walks up and shakes his head. he is clearly not pleased. “Yo man, the M.E.A.T. movement has made it’s way to the East coast. We are ready for ya,” I say with a smile! And Skerik gave a solid belly laugh as his frown was turned upside down!! Apparently, the band in the lobby was so loud that no one could hear the Skerdio announcement over the PA and I don’t think the lobby band was meant to be playing anyway. Seriously, at this point, the chaos is all part of the charm! But eventually Skerdio made it up on stage and another badass assault on the senses took place.
What an interesting combination. I loved it. And as my boy Eric stated, “This is going to be one of the best sets of the weekend,” I get lost in all of it. Radioactive to the left with his system in place, Skerik on the right with his saxophone in hand and freak switch flipped FULLY on. His tongue was already sticking out; he was rocking back and forth. Radio began by layering the sounds and beats he threw with his voice. Skerik started pumping in off beat blasts in between shakin’ his head like the crazy man he is. Radio begins free-styling. And so it went for a few songs, with various beats, sounds and funky Skerik facial expressions. After awhile, a guitarist joined the stage. We were thrown the name but I never caught it. And again it went with the layering of beats, Skerik‘s funky horn and sweet guitar rifts that changed the sound over completely. When Radio sampled the guitar player’s rift, his face lit up as he was able to play over himself. The theater never really did fill up and at one point I heard a kid say, “You should hear the weird style of music that is going on in there.” I loved it.
It was back up to the 8th floor some relaxing! Who am I kidding? It was nothing but awesome-sauce rage town in that room hahaha!!! I rode up the elevator with Radioactive yet again. “Dude, come in and play with us!” And he did, stories flying, music playin, smiles raging. More good friends, more good music, and more netWOOKing!!! Then it was RUBBLEBUCKET time. Or so I thought!
Do people really take the time to review the medical staff? I absolutely had nooooo intentions on doing that but, alas, my life can never be boring, can it? I had skipped over seeing Rubblebucket three times in the city earlier this year because I knew I would be seeing them this weekend. Little did I know what kind of an adventure I was in for during their set.
So, remember those almonds that I mentioned earlier. At some point before the Rubblebucket set, I made my way back up to the room to reload on water and get ready for the nights events. I grabbed about 12 almonds from the container to munch on for energy. Something I have done my whole life. I immediately felt weirdness in my throat. It is about 6pm at this point, I think, and so Aaron and I grabbed some french fries from the cafeteria and I knew something is up. My throat was closing, my eyes were closing, hives…oh man, this was happening fast. Being highly allergic to cats, I knew I was having a reaction but man, I was hoping it was not to the almonds. I left Aaron with the french fries to gather myself in the ladies room when I took one look in the mirror and knew I was screwed. A lovely wookette helped me to the Medic lounge which was empty. Shit! Then I find the closest security guard who was immediately on the walkie talkie and sat with me until the doctors showed up. As horrid as I looked and felt, this might be one of the greatest parts of my weekend adventures 🙂
Dr. Steve was his name and Nurse Jill was hers. They were kind, accommodating, wonderful. They knew exactly what they were doing. I knew I had to remain calm because with the insanity that was raging all over my body, it would get worse if I panicked. There were ice packs then blankets, tanks to help me breath, Benadryl galore. When they brought out the epipen I prayed that didn’t have to use it. This shit was no joke, man! And then I was knocked out…from 7p to 10ish, coming to from time to time to groggily say, “Please make sure I am better for New Riders.” Their response, “Oh honey, of course! That is what we are waiting for too!” The whole time getting uplifting texts from all my boys who had run into Aaron through out evening and been updated on my pathetic situation! After waking up and not having to itch my skin off, I was released. And note to you all, I guess don’t offer me things with nuts it.
New Rider of the Purple Sage took the stage at some unknown time. Everything from this point is so hard for me to recollect. I was so doped up on Benadryl which was knocking me down. I had a 5-hour Energy Shot and crap keepin’ me up. But I remember lots of dancing as they brought their folksy vibe to the room. Sounds reminiscent of The Dead. My notes are illegible. I really wish I could give you more. I had not seen them since my last All Good Music Festival. But, at this point, I was just happy to be in the theater breathing and dancing! At one point I look over and there is Jill, dancing, swaying, eyes closed. Taking it all in. I am so glad I hadn’t prevented her from seeing them.
I was all over the place during the end of their set. I believe it was Madam Bliss who was out there giving us a little dance party, blah! At some point we all met up in the suite. It was always like clockwork when that happened. Like our internal alarms went off and we all were on the move to the 8th floor, collecting people on each thrashed floor. I realized I had spent some quality time getting pumped up with my boys in the Jacuzzi suite and it was time to move again. I was Up! Up! Up! And it was time to rage some FUNK through this resort.
We make our way down to the theater for the last round of music! After a slight detour on another floor we get back on the elevator and we see Sam Kininger. All I can say is “YYYYEEEESSSS!!!!!” However, before Sam’s set I was looking forward to seeing Jeff Bujak. Justin had be talking about him all weekend, calling his style “Intelligent Dance!” I was completely intrigued and had missed chilling with him in the suite because of the damn peanut attack. Dammit, it was time. And THIS WAS NOOOO JOKE. Finally, an artist I had never seen before who FLOORED me! This is something I was hoping would happen all weekend.
Jeff does his own lights, sound, composition, smoke effects, etc. A tight little package, straight up. He was fluid, he was consistent. Among all his chaos of sound, I heard the most lovely of melody on the keys. He played them beautifully. The smoke and lights made for some gorgeous shots. He would lay down funky beats and then give us jazzy piano on top of it. He always had a melody to deliver and the beats were dope. I felt like I heard a bit of Latin beat in the mix during one song. It was interesting, it was well-put together…it was good!
The Sam Kininger Band went on around 4am and I was right where I needed to be! There was never a time all weekend where all of my buddies were in the same room at the same time until that show. I look around the room and EVERYONE who makes me smile was there, wide-eyed and smiling back! I knew this would be my last performance as we were leaving first thing in the morning. I was already missing everyone’s faces. The stage held Sam Kininger on saxophone, Nikki Glaspie on drums, Amy Bowles on organ/keys, Aaron Bellamy on bass, and a personal favorite, Jeffery Lockhart on guitar. The songs start off with the various instruments leading in and then Sam brought the funk. Sam brought the dance party that made you want to clap your hands. The Band backed Sam as he raged his axe of funk consistently, jazzy, blasting.
I LOVE seeing Nikkie Glaspie play. A female drummer is always killer!!! The ladies were awesome but then you had Jeffery Lockhart. That man took his liberties with that bass and we loved every minute of it. At one point, he takes a seat in a chair and just wastes us where we stand while he sat! At this point, Radioactive joins the stage as does Skerik. Skerdio was to rage with Sam Kininger Band. Man, life is fun! Radio threw out his signature beats amongst the funk. Skerik and Sam battled their horns against one and another. At one point, I am pretty sure Jeffery and Radio battled. It was all fun, improvisational on many parts and a great funky dance party to end the evenings. I text J-Man, “One last session after?” “Yeah! I am still at Bujak!”…”And I am still in front of the horns!”…”Big surprise!” he texts and I return to dancing!
At the end of the set there are hardly any of us left standing. Aaron had already peaced to bed perhaps a half hour prior. I had lost track of time and realized it was like 6:30 in the morning. I was done; we all were. Those of us left made it to the fluffy couches on the 8th floor and attempted to wind down. As we relaxed, we talked about Bujak, Skerik, Radio, Lobby Rage and Sam…you know, the good stuff of the weekend. I knew I had to make it to my bed but I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want it to end.
As I walked to the 7th floor, it all flooded over me. The horrible production that gave the fest a charm all its own, the dogs, the wookies. I knew I had made some bonds that weekend that would never break and I knew I had broken some. I had seen some pretty awesome bits of music and almost died from eating 12 pieces of a food item that I used to eat by the pound. Not at all what I thought would kill me at one of these things haha. All in all, I would say that me and the boys raged one hell of a season opener. I face planted into the bed with a wide smile. Been holding onto it ever since 🙂