Turns out – that the party blog is now 3 years old!
What was the Earth like when it was 3 years old? It was molten lava and had no atmosphere…
What was a baby like at three years old? Maybe baby was still pooping his / her pants. If baby was advanced / precocious, baby was talking in sentences and wearing diapers. Party Blog is three years old. Party Blog still likes to party…
How does one get through 72 hours straight of music? Lots of Frampton (do you feel, like I do?)
Athens, OH: Papadosio, EOTO, Keller, Ott, Zoogma & Kang! 4 day 3 night art & music festival campout in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southeast Ohio featuring 72 hours of continuous music between 3 stages with 60 acts performing 70 sets of music.
So, having viewed the Mardi Gras options, PartyBoyGeezy feels discouraged, disappointed, flabbergasted, bamboozled…
Where have you been for the past two months PartyBoy? You were all hyped about the election, recent legalization of marijuana in two states, reelection of the most liberal president in 16 years, etc. etc. etc.
Well, party people, when the elections happen there is an inevitable disappointment that follows. The expectation that things will change, only to have your dreams dashed, and John Brennan – the drone czar – nominated as secretary of the C.I.A., so that the USA, your home town, will inevitably continue along with a course of secretive killings of people that already hate us. Only to hate us more.
So then, there it is, in the distance, Mardi Gras, the promise of things to come, only – whaaaaaa…THERE’S NOTHING GOING ON FOR MARDI GRAS?!?!? Times are tough, dude-bro, times are tough…
Well, there are some happenings, just not till Friday weekend.
West Philadelphia Orchestra and another brass band (Raya Brass Band) is playing Friday Night at Johnny Brenda’s ($12 at the door) and that seems to be the best option so far.
So at least there’s that going. Bad news, however, is there’s nothing coming down the pipe after that. Harsh. Lent is just that party people – without chocolate boomers or sugary spice. The best thing we got going is a 420 show with Keller Williams (note: 420 falls on a Saturday this year) then 2 Bassnectar shows at the E Factory on May 1 and 2- one of which is already sold out? Are you f-ing joshin’ me bro? Bassnectar is sold out 3 months in advance? Budge. Then you know there ain’t dick going on. So – that’s it. I’m moving to Costa Rica, bra, buying a long board (cuz short board is too rough), and it’s beachtown shanty bar time, like Hemmingway, forcing my local hookers to give me a kickback while buying their condoms for free, fighting crime sensibly one day at a time, and that’s it – maybe even settling down with Dr. Goodlove and living the easy life – cuz working all the time, then not even having good parties to go to at night – that’s that sh*t I don’t like!
Three Musicians converging on an epic plateau of sound and reflex. Three conscious minds communicating on sub-conscious levels. New York City’s CONSIDER THE SOURCE is the fourth voice, produced when the trio’s three distinct personalities combine forces to share their inner music freely with each other.
PartBlog first partied with the Source at Amberland XI, and they proved to be a remarkable trio of individual musicians, yet together push the envelop of perception to another plateau, combining old word eastern melodies and scales with novel electronically augmented interpretations. While the most appropriate venue for Consider the Source is before the pyramids of Gaza or the Colosseum of Pompeii, with their distinctive brand of music presented as an homage to the greater rational invisible forces that control the universe, Consider the Source is playing instead at a local PourHouse, saving us all the trip to the Middle East.
Read more about Amberland XI and Consider the Source here:
If you haven’t heard, Tuesday night Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, and Washington quickly followed suit. Massachusetts also passed marijuana for medical purposes, proving the night to be a historical one for de-penalization and anti-prohibition fans everywhere.
Allen St. Pierre, NORML’s executive director wrote:
The citizens of Colorado, Washington and Massachusetts delivered game changing victories last night for the nearly fifty year-old cannabis law reform Movement. Massachusetts becomes the eighteenth state to pass legal protections for qualified medical patients who’ve cannabis recommended to them by a physician. Colorado and Washington become the first places in the world, ever, where citizens have cast votes to reject cannabis prohibition, and replace the failed public policy with alternatives like tax-n-regulate models (similar to the control and taxation models widely accepted for alcohol and tobacco product use by adults).
1) what will this do to the local economies in Washington and Colorado?
2) how will the Mass law affect other major states on the Eastern seaboard?
3) is it time to buy real estate in Colorado or Washington?
Certainly, flocks of marijuana advocates are likely to plan trips to Colorado and Washington, in lieu of other potential destinations out West. Tourism is likely to increase, along with the other perks that go with it – restaurants, parties, concerts (just think what a Toots and the Maytalls concert would be like in CO at this point), art.
As for Massachusetts, once the other behemoth states along the Eastern seaboard such as New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia observe the amount of tax dollars that flow into the state treasuries from the sale of medical marijuana – is it inevitable that at least a few of these states will pass similar legislation? Now that the first state in New England has transitioned, it seems also inevitable that Maine, VT, and possibly NH will also follow suit.
It remains to be seen the ultimate economic and social effects that these new laws will have on Washington and Colorado, but the PartyBlog believes that such activity and legalization will be a major economic boon to those states. Further, the social and/or legal consequences are likely overblown, and much of the resistance is based on faulty impressions that have been fed to the American people through governing individuals with questionable political motives (such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, champions of the “War on Drugs” and prohibition, but likely for the positive consequences upon garnering votes and political capital, as the social and fiscal costs of such prohibition efforts have outweighed the benefits in the short and long run).
As the “first actors,” Colorado and Washington will be the quickest to leverage a positive reputation as weed-friendly. This will result in attracting new residents, new businesses built around the product, other supporting/complimentary industries, and the tourism that logically flows therefrom.
Furthermore, the laws are written so that local communities can prohibit the sale and distribution, preventing “weed” bars from popping up all over the state or next to schools, for example. With all of the upcoming tourism and resultant activity that is likely to flow in these “weed-friendly” cities around Colorado and Washington, the PartyBlog can’t help but assume that is a good time to buy real estate there, to beat the “Jamaican Gold” rush.
In early October (5&6), the Disco Biscuits headlined a sold out Mann Center for two nights. The opening set started around 8 PM. I am not going to even bother describing what the first set was like, because my head exploded as soon as I got in there. There were no assigned seats, so you could simply walk before the startlight terrace and enjoy the show. Big J. hooked up the tickets, and Dr. Blythe Goodlove chose to attend as well. The opening set was a blur, except for the vivid memory that the Disco Biscuits had clearly invested vast amounts of money into their production and light set, which caused Big J to exclaim – Wow! These guys have truly made it. I can’t possibly explain the experience of the first set; it was simply entirely disorienting yet powerful. The screens were lit with bright lights, splicing images of women in underwear, as if from a scene from a psychedelic version of Revenge of the Nerds, and suddenly I realized that this band’s goal is to be the most 80’s Miami, cocaine-simulating, rocked out group possible, and it is likely that they have achieved this status, as if Tony Montana himself had made these guys his fucking house band…I mean, Superfly had Curtis Mayfield…and Scarface has the Disco Biscuits. But this is the simple description of the band. This is only one understanding – namely that they try to be the most rocked out, coke-head loving band out there, but what’s wrong with that? They’re not telling you to do the drugs…just like we love Scarface without actually doing a mountain of coke. These guys put on a show to you the feeling of being in Miami beach in 1982; yet we are actually alive, living, breathing, 30 years later. The lights and excitement is so good you don’t need the drugs, you get chills just being there. The second understanding is for the second set.
In between Bicuits’ sets one and two, Diplo hit a serious DJ round which showed why he is possibly the best party DJ Philly has to offer. QuestLove probably is the best hip hop spinner, while Diplo is all party… once he slowed it down in the middle of the set, the crowd went bananas, and he simply said (which only got everyone fired up even more), “relax Philly, it’s only, like 9:30.” In the dark night, overlooking the Philadelphia skyline and the rising moon towards the East, it was clear, that these artists are the best that Philadelphia has to offer, and it is very high quality music. Diplo is not simply one of those DJs that just plays the music or a mix, as most club DJs do, just bobbing their head up and down with headphones on, simply turning up the volume on one knob and down on the other, like you are in Drinkers on a Tuesday or Fado on a Saturday, those DJs that are fucking anonymous and ubiquitous in the mid-town bars, DJs that DJ Deadmous can’t stop insulting. No, Diplo actually understands the music, the bars that makes people jump, he will follow that energy, splice the song, moment by moment, bringing you back and forth, seemlessly integrating 3, 4, 5 tracks at a time, reprogramming the music we are programmed to hear in a certain way, simply enhancing it further. Slowing it down, mixing in others, speeding it up. Yes, Diplo is one of the best Philly has to offer.
That’s what the Disco Biscuits are too – they are the best Philly has to offer – providing a streaming, flowing, vision of blue green art deco video art balls floating in the air. This is the second set. The second understanding. It’s not simply about drugs, getting high, it’s about providing the best, most transitory show possible, a waking dream in the manner of Dali, yet enhanced with music, movement, floating globes, a living dreamscape. The terrace has the best view for this, and I become truly appreciative for the first time, what the Disco Biscuits are. Yes, they are the band that tries to be as “bad-ass” as possible – in the meaning of what a highschooler might consider – good weed, hoppy beers, hot chics – but that’s just the adolescent view of it. The deeper view, is the art, the challenge of tapping into the subconscious mind and replicating that on the screen at a moment in time, unredacted. Dr. Goodlove keeps saying, “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.” I can’t help but think it might be a literal plea arising out of fear that she will lose sight of me, to be devoured in the parking lot by post-apocalyptic hippie-zombies (hungry for brains once the nitrous tanks run out), or if this comes from a deeper insecurity nascent in her subconscious mind from a deep-seeded fear from a time before I existed to her, a plea for me to stay, to give up the adolescent sex-seeking behavior and simply stop running and enjoy the show. To stop and stand still. The smoke and the lights coming from the stage look like greyhounds running (watch below – 23 seconds in) and it is truly amazing, shocking. In 3D.
So imagine my joy when approximately 10 days later, @CRSNPhila offered me tickets to go see Primus in 3D at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby. Primus hits the stage promptly at 8 PM, and Les Claypool, before a house full of restless Primus fans chanting “Primus Sucks! Primus Sucks!” (It’s actually intended to be endearing) proclaims, “So my manager said we had to take it to 3D because I didn’t realize we were only in 2D.”
Within moments the crowd was in a frenzy. Everyone had 3D glasses on too, which made it harder to see. This one kid, however, didn’t have his glasses on. He was stumbling up the aisle, like 5 minutes into the concert. He was like 12 years old (okay, maybe 16, max a college freshman) and he fell into the chairs a row before us, but not a good part of the chairs, like the backs of the chairs that would be uncomfortable to fall on backwards. The two dudes in front of us (who were kinda creepy by the way, it was like this older dude, who acted like he was young, and this young dude, who acted like he was old and smoked ciggies clandestinely all night, and I couldn’t help but think they were in some weird relationship where the older guy who tried to seem young was his benefactor and the only cost for free nights out on the town would be sexual favors, but I try not to think about these perversions at a Primus show, cuz then I could get lost in the thicket of the mind and other people might think the same about me and @CRSNPhila, tho they’d probably consider me the benefactor cuz I look older even though @CRSNPhila is and makes slightly more money, either way these thoughts can get you really tripped out at a Primus show) looked at each other and were like, holy shit, this kid is messed up, hopped up on something. They helped him up, and this 12-year old looking highschooler got back up, started walking up the aisle again, and the damn floor moved on him again and he fell behind us this time. I leaned over to him, as his eyes were rolling into the back of his head and tried to get information out of him, “Dude, what did you take?” but he simply couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. Soon there’s security and girls leaning over him, and he is being escorted out. CRSN is super confused, yet not shocked that someone could lose their shit within 5 minutes of a Primus show, “Dude, that kid lost his Epcot Center. Didn’t even make it through two songs. His face melted. Right in front of me. Melty face Epcot Center melt-down, fell down on hisself.” CRSN then bumps my arm – “Dude, look at that 3D shit. This is like some 3D windows 95 shit…I’m not sure what I think of this 3D stuff. Looks like the screen saver on my computer, but what Claypool is doing on the bass is REDIC!!” A few songs later, Claypool begins playing the stand-up electric bass. CRSN is immediately upset…”Is he not putting on the pig mask? That’s unfortunate…” I’m not sure if I can handle the pig mask however. Claypool puts on that Pigmask, I think to myself, and I’ll start thinking about that kid who lost his Epcot Center. He might be getting his kidney removed right now in a back alley by these bouncers or getting raped by some of the scary hobos wandering around in this formerly nice, not-so-currently nice neighborhood…who knows if those bouncers called him an ambulance and sent him to the UPenn Emergency room like they needed to…but then Claypool disappears for a second and comes back…and there is the Pig Mask…oh shit…I just lost my Epcot Center and my face melted again and I thought about that shit twice now…thank God Les Claypool insists on playing old black and white Popeye cartoons during the half time show (set break) – those Popeye cartoons bring me back home, remind me of a simpler time when I could watch cartoons all day. Those Popeye cartoons with questionable depictions of Native Americans and other ethnicities chill me right out with their familiarity, so I can get my shit back together before I lose it again from all this freaky 3D Atari Windows 95 shit.
Pgroove’s opener, a vivacious young band from New York named Tawk – was certainly worthy for one of America’s premier rock bands. Around 10:45 Tawk finished up with a complex nerd-rock song of climbing scales and layered sounds, while the $4.00 premier beers were delicious. My only complaint about the Blockley is that beers can be expensive – so imagine my surprise when Troegs and Lagunitas were on sale until 12:00…and I thought it was only getting the deal because I was sporting a Brian Dawkins jersey, whose number is being retired this Sunday. Turns out, nope, that’s not the deal, everybody was getting deal, as I learned when the bar tender looked at her screen and started charging me $6.00 after 12:00.
Either way, the night turned out to be a blur, as do so many Fridays after a long week of work. There’s value in sobriety. I just haven’t seem to realize that yet on a global level. Certainly too, when the excitement of one of your favorite bands playing at a small venue, with people who enjoy music, it’s hard not to buy a few beers and get down.
The set opened up with Albert Suttle playing on drums over a track of Cali Swag District’s “Teach me How to Dougie” – and immediately I was up front in the middle of the crowd. This song is amazing. It might be my favority wrap song that’s come out in years.
PGroove played hard for 2.5 hours. No set break. Solid. This band just keeps the good times rolling – getting bigger and better, slowly building its following. At the end of the night, when I asked for my credit card from the female bar tender, she doesn’t believe that I have a credit card with her. I swear that my William Shatner priceline.com Visa is behind the bar. She refuses to believe me. After about 5 minutes of me promising to her that she does, she finds it, and I get a free beer for my troubles. Then I went back stage after the show. The backstage at the Blockley isn’t glamorous in terms of what we think backstages should be. But it’s pretty cool. There’s a basement with industrial equipment and a large parking lot in the back where the busses park. I saw Matt McDonald (Pgroove Keboardist) and Adam Perry (bassist) by their bus and I got them to sign my red hard hat – which I wore as an homage to the working man – along with my Brian Dawkins jersey – another hard working man. The lead guitarist for Tawk was poking around as well, and he signed one of the free CDs they were giving out during their show (awesome!), but I realize now that I didn’t open the CD first, so he signed the cellophane wrapper (not awesome…), so now I have to get another one of their CDs if I actually want to listen to it…which I do…cuz they are pretty good…so dumb dude…
All in all, a great show which I had to describe as Shakespearian – but only if I had been alive during Shakespeare’s time. Basically, art in living color, real time. Each show different, even if the songs have been played before. Now I am nursing a hangover, lying on my couch, watching college football. I LOVE AMERICA!!
Last week (Sept. 15, 2012) Ghostland Observatory rocked out FDR Park. Just as Big J and I entered the venue, a park that Lotus turned into an outdoor end-of-the-summer celebration, Ghostland Observatory began its set which was one of the best lazer light shows I have ever seen.
This duo puts out more sound than any duo I’ve heard. I was surprised, however, that Aaron Behrens was not in as colorful an outfit as usual, opting for a more subdued, grungy plaid shirt, and not dancing much either during the opening track. However, within ten minutes his plaid shirt was off, black t-in full effect, and he was tramping all over the stage, better than any of the revelers who had come to see his epic dance moves.
However, Thomas Ross Turner was in his trademark cape, as he is the magician, the wizard, the Count of the Synth…he rocks out with his cape out always.
Midway through their set they played Sad Sad City…I wanted to get a beer, and I told Big J, but the music was sooo good man we just had to wait. Ghostland had the whole crowd in the palm of their hand…Behrens screamed out to the crowd, to sing the verse, and the crowd, not entirely familiar with this band, joined in, but tentatively —
Well, I need you
to want me, To hold me, to tell me the truth
Say I need you to want me, To hold me, to tell me the truth, yeah
It was great, the whole crowd singing the chorus, yet not entirely sure of themselves through the tongue-twisty words…no worries…party people. I screamed out the lyrics as loud as I could, hoping to lead the party into the sweet spot. Towards the end of the show, these guys hit this awesome little jam, and I had to capture it. In the middle, you can see Winnie the Pooh dancing on a stick. Pooh Bear loves to party.
Lotus then came on for the final set of the night. They came on at about 8:55, and I told Big J that they would likely play two hours straight, without a set break, and we began to get excited. The FDR Park festival had a perfectly set up beer area, partitioned by low lit christmas lights that made it look slightly sketchy. Even though you could not leave the beer area (because they don’t want old young adults like me selling beer to 20 yr old college dudes at a 5000% mark-up, or even worse, giving it for free to young girls – THINK OF THE CHILDREN), the stage was close and you could see the lights and hear the music perfectly.
The transient energy that Lotus builds upon makes it perfect for a two hour show, no set break. The lack of the break means the energy continues to build, along with the party. The show ended early because of time restrictions, but what a night! Lotus played its homebase with some serious pride, and their fans reacted with the same pleasure!
And for those who wanted the party to go on longer, there were massive amounts of people swimming in fish tanks outside for about a half-an hour after the show, and Chickie’s and Pete’s was still open, serving food and slinging beer until closing time at 2:00AM.
AMON TOBIN AT THE E FACTORY
Only two days later (Sept. 17, 2012) Amon Tobin rocked out the E-Factory. It being CRSN’s bday and all, the Beerman treated him to a birthday night out, with complete access to the upstairs VIP and all!! While the opening act was fairly run-of-the mill dub-step type stuff, that really lacked anything to hook you in, once Amon Tobin started, it was clear why he is one of the premier djs in the world.
Amon Tobin provides a unique experience of transcendence and awareness – with the wonder that if we are here in 2012 both musically and in terms of a visual experience – how much farther can we go? With technology and imagination leading the way, will this look archaic in five years? Ten years? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know…
So the prevailing verdict, from everyone speaking on the matter, is that the Made in America was a huge success. It went off without a hitch; none of that blat blat you get shot by da gun boyeeee which many were cynically expecting from an event smack in the center of Killadelphia. Soon as I get in there, I meet Flagman by Ireland (i.e. the Irish Flag on the Parkway), once we see all these lil’ things walking by in flags, Flagman gets really excited – says – I haven’t seen this many people wearing American flags ever. Momma shoulda known better to drop you off and let you walk around in that alone…
In the end, however, even more impressive than the flag shorts and the hippidy-hop was the temporary feeling of community and hope that reverberated throughout the make-shift village. Once Flagman walks me to his crew, there’s a sense of goodness and universal belonging that Philly has lacked for a long time…I spot a couple of guys dancing to the reverberations of the Dirty Projectors and their dancing is complete revelry, with friends eliciting pure joy.
Throughout the evening, various cats give a quick glimpse of their joyful party-expressionism. For example, J-Dubs, Ellinger, The Man, waltzes up to say hello in passing, in a flag cape, as Captain MadeinAmerica, quickly shooting the breeze with a million dollar smile. “Let me tell you, my friend, this is the best weekend I’ve ever had. I don’t think it can get any better than this.” “Ellinger, you getting into anything good?” “Well, I can’t really get into details if you know what I mean, but don’t worry, I’m in a good state of mind. I don’t have a job, so I figure, shit, might as well have some fun, right?” Suddenly, Miss MadeinAmerica walks up to J-Dubs entreating, I’ve been looking for you, and she a bikini flag strapped to her chest and when I look away for a moment, in the corner of my eye J-Dubs lays his dirty-mind projector between her purple mountains majesty, but that’s just a hallucination, my own mind alteration of what reality is desired to be even if it is not. Mais non Ellinger quickly grabs Miss MadeinAmerica, with a shiteating grin, hot blonde on his side, Ellinger bids farewell and into the crowd, he’s gone…with his Maiden America.
Unfortunately, despite the populist appeal, this is an event for those with money to spend…sadly the thousands of homeless in the city had to enjoy the sounds from outside of the bounds of the festival, but even standing on the outer rungs looking in, despite the heartache of not being in the midst of the shit, still provided an uplift to those around, at least feeling part of something greater than the normal doldrums permit. The entire weekend ran $150 so this event (on Labor Day) was probably not as much for the working man or woman, but at $150 for two days of music, it’s something that a blue-collar type like myself could save up for and afford and therefore enjoy a sense of unsurpassed pride I have ever felt towards my hometown, the City of Brotherly Love. One of Flagman’s friends, a cheesy man from Quebec, with a Velveeta voice, who I will call Gruyere, explains it precisely, “Look I live in Baltimore now. We call Philly big Baltimore. As much as I hate this town, though – it’s beautiful…” He points to the Cira Center. I explain to him the evil lurking below the flashy veneer and synchronized lights of the Cira Center, “Look man, I used to work in that building. It’s rotten on the inside.” “Nonesense, he says.” Disagreeing, just like a Quebec born, French-speaking, Irish American would, “I’m not talking about what’s inside the building…” He’s mumbly, drumbly, hard to understand… “Of course the work that’s inside the building is like that. Shit everywhere. Bigger Baltimore. More shit. Shit fuck football team.” Then, Gruyere’s French Canadian optimism comes out, “Nonetheless, look, it’s beautiful. Look around. Buildings, City Hall and William Penn watching, people crowded around even on the streets outside, no gunshots, magnifique!”
He’s right. The whole night has been perfect. Ever since I parked my car on the Chestnut St. bridge (there’s usually parking there) and began walking along the Schuylkill river bike trail, drinking a Southern Tier Double IPA that I had purchased at the Wegman’s bottle shop on Marlton Pike, NJ, out of a WaWa plastic cup that had been formerly a 36 oz. diet coke, I noticed people everywhere, in colorful shirts, exercising, walking, fishing in boats on the river. It was simply a festive time of coming together. The whole Schuylkill Trail buzzing with excitement, as loud vivacious sounds of the Dirty Projectors washed over our heads like a musical quilt, patched together with harmonies, bass drums, a lone guitar solo. Their harmonies projected sheer brilliance in terms of knowledge of sound and overtones, how the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts, while the crowd eats their sound, with joy, however, not like how America Eats Its Young, with fear and loathing.
Walking to the show on the Schuylkill Trail, You didn’t even notice the whir and buzz of cars on I-76 expressway, cars typically moving upwards of 70 MPH, either those cars were less numerous, understanding for a moment the beauty of rest on Labor Day Weekend, or for a change they weren’t the loudest noise makers along the river walk. The Dirty Projectors were drowning that car-noise-pollution out…Soon I was chugging the crap out of this double IPA, standing next to a trashcan like a homeless guy, so I could get in there as quickly as possible. No one even seemed care or shoot dirty looks to the old young guy choking this high ABV beer down, because ultimately, nobody cared about vagrancy today – c’est la vie, nous sommes tous vagabondes!
The Parkway morphed into the most beautiful of cityscapes – oh city to be not dominated by the automobile. Beginning from the river, cutting in front of the Art Museum, then around the perimeter of the concert, towards the box office of 22nd street – what a beautiful world it would be without the constant clogging and disruption of cars. To walk around the urban environment, not feeling crowded or enclosed on the sidewalk alone, a place to walk in a city as big as the sky above! Without cars, the walkway, the street, had again, become a market, a place to walk, not a place to fear. Without cars the Parkway became a greater community within the communities. People meeting, falling in love. Coming together under the cool summer night. Oh Creation! Things were happening on the inside. A true village! Stuff! Food trucks! Beer! And there is the Flagman waiting by Ireland.
As he acted as a my guide, pointing in the directions of this utopian village, the sounds from the stages continued in waves.
Skrillex’ played a short set, which came from the stage on a hill, north of the main stage. The Thriller from Skriller demonstrated why “Dub Step” is truly amazing. Those of us who appreciate hip hop recognize it as the amalgam of jazz, rock, fusion, reggae. Dub step then adds hip-hop and electronic to the mix, with upwards of 16 tracks on a single song, with all popular music humans know and love coming together. It’s the newest sound, not because it’s all that new, but because it combines everything before it, forces us to dance, forces us to push ourselves farther than ever before, louder, scarier, and if you just face it with a blank slate, you realize you are facing the most advanced music the universe is offering us at this time.
Just when it couldn’t get any better, Skrillex ended and on walked Jay-Z to the main stage.
Jay-Z’ greatness cannot be understood until one sits before the grand reverend of rap. He is the Jigga, Hova, and as you sing H to the Izzo, V to the Izzay, you realize that the hand of Creation has truly blessed this man. His power is the line, his understanding, the word, turning a dark and dangerous urban landscape into an opportunity. Empire State of Mind comes on, and the excitement that Beyonce’ would be on stage soon, followed by the disappointment that Beyonce’ was not on stage…only better justified the excitement a few moments later when Kan-yezzey makes his special appearance before the Philly crowd. I lose my shit…KANYE! KANYE!!! OH MY GOD! KANYEEE! Dr. Blyth Goodlove – my love for the evening and throughout this glorious summer – looks at me with shock and awe, thinking, oh no, this partyboy finally lost his mind. “What is wrong with you?” She mouths to me…No shine blocking goddamit…it’s KANYE! KANYAAAYY! I scream from what might as well be miles from the stage. He can’t hear me over any of the other ridiculous screaming going on. He’s here!
And yes, Kanye was here…for a moment, Kanye wanted to see us. HE came here for US! We didn’t know Kanye was gonna show up, but he did – because THIS WAS THE PLACE TO BE! Kanye came here because he wanted to see us…and this is the power of the party. This is the importance of the party. It let’s everyone feel part of their own movie, their own life, those whom we see on TV and idolize, suddenly they are for the people, with the people, and by the people. Although divided from one another due to distance and status, we all become part and parcel of the same party, same essence.
After all of this greatness, I had to try to at least catch some of the second night – see Pearl Jam, innovators of grunge. Rock and Roll emo. Born from the examples of the legends, like Neil Young, Lou Reed, Jimi, Bowie, and Bruce. In the midst of their amazing set, featuring Jeremy, Alive, all the hits, Eddie Vedder even goes into a monologue spouting some pinko nonsense, championing middle class honest workers. This song is a song about someone who does everything right, raises a family, gets up, goes to work, then he loses his job even though he did everything he was told. Flagman starts joking, “This guy clearly hates Mitt Romney…who loves firing people.” Well, it’s true. Pearl Jam is a bunch of leftists…if the conservatives of the world who supposedly love no taxes and little regulation, and somehow also love Pearl Jam and rock n roll, actually listened closely to the music and knew what these guys were about, they would burn their records and never let their kids listen to this music. The empowerment of the music, its criticism of unchecked consumerism, promotion of populism, these are not songs intended for you to listen to in your Benzos before slashing jobs and making “the difficult decisions” leaving people out of work and desperate. Oh America, who loves rock music so, yet has built a society completely contrary to the views of Pearl Jam and baby Jesus. Outside of Seattle, the views are hated but the music so loved. What’s really going on? What would the world look like if we really turned it into the place championed by those artists whom we truly love and respect as a society. What would be so bad about that?
Eddie Vedder Takes a spill while party-dancing.
ENDING THE WEEKEND WITH THE BOSS
So what better way to end this Labor Day, pinko inspired, yet consumerism driven weekend than with the Boss?
For a long week of partying, awakening, discarding misunderstandings, and facing problems (knowing there is an election on the horizon), the Boss was an appropriate way to end it all.
The Boss’ final show (which ended on Labor Day, 2012) wrapped up possibly the greatest run of partying in Philadelphia since the bicentennial. Somehow, too, Philadelphia, the birthplace of Freedom via a Constitution that legislatively approved slavery, was the appropriate place for the partying to go down. If Madonna was the appetizer on Tuesday, Aug. 28, and Made in America was the entrée on Sat-Sun., then the Boss was the cherry-bomb on top. Since my childhood when the song “Born in the USA,” I have always had a thorough misunderstanding of the Boss. I assumed his music simply promoted mindless cheerleading of U.S. nationalism and jingoism, assuming the song to be a simple anthem. No, “Born in the USA” is not a simple cheer but a mirror, a contradiction that criticizes America as much as it promotes it. The Boss, like everything great about the US, is an enigma, a paradox swimming against the paradigm yet excelling in it – a Jewish Catholic Italian – highly patriotic, yet highly introspective and cynical as well. Nothing the Boss does is simple, and his message runs deeper than the surface. The opposite of a rote cheerleader. When conservatives blast “Born in the USA” from parties or cars, too often they miss the anti-war message, the criticism of the USA as a war machine, a country that will send its homegrown to fight political wars, for the egos of politicians.
After the ironic success of “Born in the USA,” the Boss become more folksy and quiet. The E. Street Band took a hiatus and the songs got slower, so it wasn’t that easy to get turned on to the Boss in the 90’s. So it just passed me by, so I stuck with Prince and Michael from the 80’s and lived my life in blind ignorance. However, ever since the Sopranos, the Jersey Shore, the Jersey Boys, Boardwalk Empire has made the country again appreciate all that is Jersey (including Bon Jovi – oh yea!) and Jersey’s national treasures, the Boss has had a huge renaissance. Add the fact that the E. Street Band is touring with the Boss again, and viola – by ways of a party epiphany, I can see the Boss in a new light – the shining light for which is deserves. The Boss is a legend, playing to the party for nearly 40 years now, and according to his own legend, the Boss brings the same power now as he did 40 years ago, a potency unmatched by any living soul with the exception of Madonna. Certainly, if James Brown were still alive, there might be a male competition.
And when the Boss sings, he doesn’t sing for ideas, he sings for people. We, those lost souls, singing for them/us, repping them/us, telling stories about and for blue collar America, or anyone else who is hardworking – rich, poor, middle class alike – we all feel better because the Boss is there and he understands how hard it is to get out everyday and do it. He means so much to us all simply because he tells our story, and makes it sound manageable, as if we can continue to work hard because he works so hard on stage, and particularly for those people from New Jersey (a place that only the Boss could love, full of day laborers and industry, crowded highways and strip malls, a place to be loved not all of that but because, there are hard working people just trying to make a go of it for their families…this is our hometown.).
The stories, the shared experiences, the spirits, love, and we are in a sense, from Bruce’s hometown, we all have our own Ashbury Park, and we all even have a little bit of New Jersey in us – the attitude, the love for leisure and recreation, the love for the beach. The Boss understands these common threads and he weaves it together thematically on stage as well as any musician. He can touch you from 600 feet away and feel like he is singing to you directly.
In the middle of the show, the Boss started talking of ghosts. We are all touched by and affected by these spirits in the night, in our lives, moving us in ways we can’t possibly be aware of, but there is spirit in everything “even in this guitar” he says.
The Boss then tells a story of the meaning of work, how important it is and how we should be grateful for work – those of us who have it – My father searched for work his entire life and could never find a steady job. Struggled to support his family. And My Mother, says the Boss, was the type who would sleep into the mornings and wake and be caught up by the spirits in her head. She would take me and my sister to the graveyard, and we would look at the names, sometimes laugh at the names unfamiliar, think about who these people are, feel their presence, feel their spirits.
The Boss, like Patron Saint of Labor Day, along with Eddie Vedder, his squire – helped me to understand the importance of work and why it is so tragic when people lose it. They have gone through life, doing the right thing, doing what they are told, simply to survive and support those whom they love. Then, when the plant closes down, to no fault of their own, the whole thing, everything that has been built around them, everything they love – family, life, pride – becomes in jeopardy. How different is that message from the message of those other hacks…My fellow Americans, yes, I enjoy firing people…and why would we want to live in such a place?
Once Badlands comes on, Beerman points out that Eddie Vedder is actually in one of the luxury boxes and dancing away in delight to the Boss. I think to myself – in a David Byrne-type moment – how did I get here – how did I deserve any of this – what have I done to be so lucky…we all need this – we all need a Boss singing to us. We all need it all over the world. This is what we need everywhere – all those places and people that don’t love America – just bring Bruce and the E. Street Band to sing Badlands to them – and all will be well. Take the party to East Africa, take the party to Afghanistan, take it everywhere – so those who have hatred in their hearts can understand that we are all brothers and sisters together. If we can just remember that then we might get through these modern times and truly achieve our potential as humans.
As I am floating in a land of spirits with the E. Street Band as my guide, and Dr. Goodlove by my side, suddenly the stadium lights come on during Dancing in the Dark, a song essential to our collective identity as Americans, meaningful because it is a story of love, youth, and hope. Tears begin flowing before the Boss, a pastor without a cause except for making us dance and love each other, a man who is powered by our collective love. It gets him through the night. At the end of the night, during the encore, he sits down and takes off his black books and tips them upside down and a steady stream of sweat come straight out of the boots. Then he introduces us to the “momma kissing, curphew hating, music loving, Viagra taking, E! Street! Band!” and we have traveled through his world, which is only a take on the world we all know and love, and we all feel grateful for his guidance through the evening. Those before the Boss, come out of the show just a little more hopeful, optimistic, because even though we all have hardship, we just need to keep each other’s back and we’ll be fine.
Leaving Citizens Bank Park, I tell Dr. Goodlove, “You can really understand why Eddie Vedder is a fan of the Boss. Their messages are similar, if they don’t do it in a different manner. Plus the music is so good. The saxophones, the layers, the seemless transitions. It created a fabric of tones I did not expect.” The Boss basically told us the story of Labor Day – we as people need to work – it’s a fact of life – but when we stand by each other through our journey, and not cut each other down or hurt others simply to benefit ourselves, we can all get through it together, and be stronger, and better for it in the end.