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At A Glance
After the experience at Allgood, I knew I must see Bassnectar again. As soon as his later tour dates we're announced, we we're thrilled to find out that he was coming to DC. I went with a group of 5 or 6 friends. I accepted to be one of the drivers to get us to the greenbelt metro station. We arrived in DC hours before the show. The walk from the station to the Rock and Roll Hotel was a couple miles, but we decided to eat first. After filling up on a bowl of chili and some handmade pretzels, we set off deep into DC. The historic bulidings quickly faded from view, and boarded up shops and houses appoached us as we neared the venue. We finally found the place a half hour later only to find the doors wouldn't open for another 2 hours, so we killed some time at a bar a couple of blocks down. 20 minutes till doors, we're standing outside, meeting all sorts of interesting people. Never had I been to a show like this before. An underground rave...I was excited. Once insiude, there was a half hour wait or so before the first dj took the stage. We went upstairs and chilled in what would be later, reserved party rooms. We walked around the upstairs bar scene taking everything in. Hopefully we would find some rolls or maybe some molly if lucky. I traveled downstaris to get ready for act one. The room was small, couldn't have been much larger than the average McDonalds minus the kithcen. The first dude up appeared to be 16 y/old. His beats we're cool, but they we'rent anything special, and certainly not danceable. His set ended and I noticed my friends we'rent there by my side anymore. The second act was taking the stage. Beats Antique. This music was much better. Raw urban beats, and a bellydancer on stage halfway through earned respect. She was dressed in a beautiful sequence outfit that jingled. It was sometime around this point of the night that I found it. Finally, I come across another raver who's got the party favors. I bought 7 hits of LSD from this guy, rip off 2 for my friend Mandy, and ate the remaining 5. Towards the end of the second set, the 2 artists threw on masks. One was a polar bear, the other was a mad scientist. I remember thinking, "Damn, this is trippy...". They ended with the crowds approval, but it was time...these people we're rerady to get mind fucked. Bassnectar jumps on stage, his hair knotted back, excited as we we're. He starts slow, but its bumpin. The acid starts to take affect by this point, and I am engaging in whats about to be a wicked awesome show. Like at Allgood, he starts mixing his beats with covers. However instead of the hippie jam covers at Allgood, he interprets his music with 90's alternative and newer hip/hop sensations. Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and that catchy song titled "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. are just a few that come to mind. I was dancing like I never danced before. The acid, coursing through me, moving me in ways I never thought possible. I remember looking up and having a cliche movie trip moment where everything slowed down, my vision was wavy, and my thoughts we're scrambled. I was lost in the music and I couldn't stop. The changing of time signatures, the thumping of the sub, and the complete randomness of Bassnectar's style had me convinced. I was hungry for more, and more I got. Bassnectar raged on for nearly 3 hours, twisitng me deeper into the scene. He ended on a climatic note. The last minute of the show was insane. The progessivness of his music got heavier an heavier, building up to one great finish. Right before the climax, the 2 djs from Beats Antique come out on stage with another character, all in full costume. The polar bear and mad scientist masks were on and, the additional person was dressed in a chicken outfit. I remember thinking to myself, "This has got be the craziest thing I've ever been a part of". On the beat that pushed us over the top, every person in this place was jumping as high as they could, bouncing off of eachother, falling down and getting right back up. Nobody was even dancing by this point, it was more or less one giant mosh pit. Finally it ended. The floor was slippery from all the spilled drinks, trash was everywhere. I saw a few people throw up from raging out too hard. The empty streets of DC quickly became the scene of what was probably close to 100 people. It was chaotic as all hell. The difference from a hot, sweaty, dance room, to the streets where the temperature dropped to a freezing 30 degrees was alot for my mind to take. Then the group I was with noticed that we only had a half hour to get to the metro station before it closed, and we would be stuck in DC. After what I thought was a fun walk to the metro, we make it to the station just in time to board the last train. We hopped on and to our displeasure noticed about 4 or 5 cops up front. A little sketchy, but then again, this is the DC metro at 3 am. We made it back to the Greenbelt station with no problems. Finally arriving at the parked cars, we noticed that only one of us was sober enough to drive, and she couldnt drive stick. So at a desperate attempt, I drove my car back from Greenbelt, to Reisterstown. Our friend who was sober was to ride shotgun, and let me know if my driving became too dangerous. But lucky for us, I stayed in the lanes, maintained my speed, and got us home in one piece. Never had I ever felty more insecure about driving, but at least we made it back. To end the night, we put on the doors movie and tried to pass out. Of course nobody slept, but I didn't mind. My mind was still disbelieving the greatness of the show we just encountered. Bassnectar just earned him a fan for life.
:: Thu 8/20/2009 7:44 PM
First festival i ever attended. By far the greatest experience of my entire life. I never knew such gatherings took place. I've always heard stories of giant concerts with thousands of people like woodstock; but never have I lived it till last year. I remember getting there mad early in the morning, not knowing what to expect. We left on a wednesday night getting there in the early hours of a sunny thursday morning. By 3 o'clock, I was rolling face. The freedom of drugs at Allgood is incredible. However, its about the music...but the lack of security makes it just THAT much better! haha...The first act on thursday was a funky/jazz fusion band i've never heard of till then out of pittsburgh named Jazzam. I recall listening to their opening song thinking to myself, wow...this week's gonna be like this!! Another great thing about the course of the week was me losing my fear of dancing in public. I grew up very self-consciously and was always terrified of dancing in front of others. It may have only taken a song or 2 to get the groove juices flowin and I was on my feet jammin. Can't bullshit and say it was all my courage, a good friend of mine named Jen nearly pulled me up and got me goin. I remember halfway through Jazzams set, dancing, rolling, and still in disbelief about whats about to happen this week, screaming out loud during the climax of the song, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!" Perpetual Groove and The Brazilian Girls followed. By 2am, i was exhausted. I've been awake since wednesday morning, I had to catch some sleep. Waking up the next morning was blistering hot. The time doesn't wake you on Marvin's Mountain, the temperature does. Friday followed with some thumping bluegrass bands I never heard of such as Rev Peytons Big Damn Band and the Avett Brothers. Sometime around the late afternoon hours, I took a break from the music and took time to walk around to different vendors, eat, and mingle with hippies. I returned in time for Phil Lesh & Friends. I took a seat on the hill, smashed a bag of mushrooms, and let the good times roll. About a half hour before Phil and Friends started up, I lost my friends in the mass crowd of people. I spent another 20 min searching for them with no luck. Eventually a group of hippies about my age approached me and asked me whats up. I told them I'm peaking and lost; so they invited me to watch the show with them. I accepted, and what almost turned into a lonely trip became a new adventure. During Phil's intermission, I decided i was too dog-tired to stay awake any longer. I made up my mind to miss Gov't Mule, and go to bed (a mistake i still regret to this day). The next morning came early, but i felt rested. Knowing my way around the mountaintop, I wandered around the main grounds, and made my way down to the music. Saturday's lineup included acts such as Keller Williams, Widespread Panic, Teal Leaf Green, and Bassnectar. Bassnectar was the start to something new in my life. He truly opened my mind and fucked it. I doubted him when he was setting up, thinking to myself, "Oh great, a DJ, this should suck"...Complete opposite however, I'll be honest and will say I was most impressed with this guy's set more than any other artist there. Mixing old hippie rock with drum and bass was just the sound I was craving, but never knew it. It was here, watching Bassnectar, when I was exposed to my first ever glow stick war, a scene I'll never forget. As sunday morning drifted in, so did the rain. The lineup for the day wasn't nearly impressive as the pevious ones. The only band for the day I had somewhat of an interest in was Michael Franti & Spearhead; and I didn't even see them. The day was rainy, quiet, and tiring. I chilled at the tent most of the day getting stoned, listening to the music from the hills beyond. I was upset that the weekend was coming to a close. The next day was even worst. Having to leave the beautiful mountaintop and such a fantastic day. The skies were clear, our resources we're drained, and the mood was beat. Packing everything into my car, and my friend Jon's Volvo, we started that haul down the mountain, dirty, exhausted, but feelin great. But it's like they say..all good things must end.
:: Thu 8/20/2009 1:00 AM
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