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My photographer and I arrived at The Palace in Hollywood, CA for the NORML/High Times Benefit concert a little after 7:00. Scheduled to perform that night were such bands as Bonsai Tribe, Whitestarr, Dubcats, Fieldy’s dreams, and headliners Tenacious D and Particle.
Spotting our camera gear, and a Washington palmed in my right hand, our friendly neighborhood bouncer, Ralph, lead us through a sea of blood shot eyes and patchouli oil to pick up our press passes. Inside, the crème de la crème of the pot smoking culture filled the lobby. Everybody from men in suits to men who were still fuzzy on the whole shower and soap thing meandered about asking questions at the information booth and reading various articles that were on display. The women were beautiful, with the majority consisting of flower children finding their way amidst a Starbucks culture. A blend between “Free Love” and “Free Cell Phone Minutes” I would say. It seems that even in LA the “counter culture” is aware that a camera crew or casting agent may be lurking somewhere in the shadows. After buying a few pins and collecting some information on “Responsible Pot Smoking” (for my folks) my photographer (Petey) and I met up to go check out the first band.
I am just going to cut to the chase here and review the only bands that I thought were worthy. So let me bring us up to speed--- Bonsai Tribe, weak, Whitestarr, cool, Dubcats, better than cool, Fieldy’s Dreams, sucked hardcore. There, that about does it. Music review in thrity seconds. So on with the show.
Tenacious D! The band everyone had been waiting to see. When they took the stage the place went up in smoke. The comedic coffeehouse rock duo “Schooled and Fueled by Satan”, did nothing short of rocking our socks off. I could write a novel on these guys. The “D” consists of Kyle Gass (KG, or Rage Kage) and Jack Black (JB or Jabeles). Not only are these guys’ lyrics funny as hell, but also they rip the pipe on guitar and vocally shred. Their extremely tight harmonies, pumped up acoustic jams, and on stage antics make these guys a must see. Sporting an old school colonial wig, Jack Black ‘Washington” made a final decree to end all of the marijuana laws, before he and KG blasted out an acapella number to finish the set. Well put Jack, I couldn’t agree more.
The last band of the evening was Particle. I had heard a lot about these guys, but had never seen them play. The best way to describe these guys is trance-rock-trippy-space grooves. Try and find that section at Tower Records. Each song more contagious then the next, Particle’s jammy no lyric style kept people dancing past the point of exhaustion. What I really enjoyed about these guys was that no one took focus, it was just four guys jammin’ with a pretty sweet light show to back them up. The highlight of their set came when Marc Ford from the Black Crowes made an appearance, and settled in for a 20 min jam that brought the audience to climax over and over again.
As the concert ended and we headed out the door we reflected back on the evenings wide variety of music, and political messages. We also made sure to stop by the NORML booth to make a donation. For $50 it can be done anonymously and the money goes to supporting politicians who are pro-pot. Check out their website www.norml.org and get yourself informed.
Words By:Tyler Moore
JamBase | Lost Angeles
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Great American Bowl 2003 | photos