Monday, July 13, 2009

Rothbury Festival Day 3: Dancing

by Dave "Scout" Tafoya

Saturday was a bit less exciting, at least at first. I woke up and went to meet Wendy Darling, one of the little bands I was excited to see. They were happy that someone was coming to see them play - it was raining and they weren't exactly the biggest act on the bill. Most everyone was sleeping off the String Cheese Incident set which closed the night before.

Wendy Darling work...

Wendy Darling play a sort of rootsy alternative rock and they all looked remarkably hip, even in the humidity of the morning. I was able to catch them having a brief pre-set dance party, which felt pretty special. They did a great job and I got to commiserate with their bass player a little later in the day when everyone else (bands, attendees, press, small animals) had gone to see The Dead.

...as hard as they play

With Wendy Darling's set a distant memory, I took in

I ran into Jo-Ann from Broken Social Scene as she was heading to see the Dead and wound up going along while I waited for MSTRKRFT to take the stage at midnight. Watching the fans of the Dead take drugs and get completely trashed in preparation for their set made a twisted sort of sense. If they had abstained from drugs or alcohol and simply listened to the music, perhaps they would have realized just how dull this band truly is in a live setting. But then, I wasn't there to criticize their lifestyle, so I genially nodded my head in time to the music for an hour or so, then went to get some "fresher" air.

MSTRs of house music

MSTRKRFT, the Toronto-based DJ duo, were next and let me preface this by saying that I don't typically go in for electronic music. It just doesn't click with me for whatever reason. But there have been times that I've found myself caught up in it when it's live. Once was at 2007 Coachella when I saw LCD Soundsystem; and it happened again when MSTRKRFT took the stage at Rothbury. As it was the Fourth of July, Rothbury organizers had been saving a round of fireworks for when The Dead finished their set, which they did, but they must have had some extra. When MSTRKRFT finally took the stage around 1:15 am, fireworks were blasting as the band opened with Jimi Hendrix's version of The Star Spangled Banner, segueing into a mind-blowing DJ set. Suddenly, the fact that I'd been standing all day in the hot sun just disappeared along with my sunburn pain, thirst, and worries. MSTRKRFT rocked from one song to the next, hopping about, twisting knobs, furiously smoking and drinking Crown Royal. They blazed through modern rock, hip-hop and great old soundbytes; I understood suddenly why someone might want to go clubbing. A lot of things became clear to me that day and I could think of no better band to open my mind with than MSTRKRFT. The entire crowd pulsed along with the music, covered from head-to-toe in Glowsticks. The day may have belonged to The Dead, but the night belonged to MSTRKRFT. The trek back to camp was particularly difficult that night after dancing like an idiot to their set. But I was totally and absolutely just fine.

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