Rock the "Resort": Friday April 9th, 2010
*Rock the Rosort (Friday 4.9.10)*
It had been set for some months; Wanee would be my season opener. There is something really special about the first festival of the season. All of the anticipation that has built up over the course of the winter is unleashed in a fiery rage as you make it onto the grounds. "The Magic Man", Murray; called me up one night a few weeks ago and began the process of convincing me to join him at Rock the Resort. RtR is located in Kerhonkson, NY; about four hours from where I currently reside. Within a week or so Murray had me convinced, and Rock the Resort would replace Wanee as my opener.
The night prior to the festival I received a message from Murray, "Oh yeah... We have the Jacuzzi Suite..." This one was going to be a rager. I awoke on Friday, had a large breakfast, gassed up and headed east to the Hudson Valley "Resort". The ride east became increasingly hilly as I approached the resort. As I pulled in I was pleased to see a row of trees leading up to the main entrance, in full bloom. Just beyond the trees appeared what would inevitably become the theme of the weekend; wooks. There were wookies as far as the eye could see, in all directions laying on the ground, spacing out, selling hippie trinkets, and wandering around. Stopping only to allow passer-byers to pet their dog (pitbull).
As I entered the lobby, my attention was drawn to a confused group of people, supposedly "staff", unable/unprepared to sell tickets/distribute wristbands. In the distance I saw Murray, working on his laptop. It's such a joyous moment to re-unite with a friend after almost a year of not seeing one and other. We headed up to the room as Murray filled me in on the situation. Apparently, when Murray was escorted up to the suite he entered to find that the room had been all switched around and that there were a number (five) of refrigerators stacked in the corner. He was surprised to come about some people affiliated with the promoters, that had taken over the room for the after party/rage. After some talk it was made clear that Murray had indeed booked the room months in advanced and that it was rightfully his.
The "resort" was a little run down, but it would more than suffice for our purposes. We indeed did have the best room on the "resort". It was located on the top floor and opened up into a large area with a leather couch and table, with a window over-looking the golf course. Through the double doors into the second room I found the large bed, additional couch and table, as well as a full bathroom/shower and a jacuzzi. We unpacked, got settled in, finished up the room discrepancy with a woman who did not speak English, and began the party. The text messages started coming in as friends started arriving at the "resort". One of the first people I got a chance to meet was this delightful little lady; Karen. This free-spirit seemed to always be smiling and always looking for the exciting unplanned musical happenings.
Following the first of many chillage sessions, Murray informed me that some friends of his were heading up to the "resort" from Jersey. I thought nothing of it and looked forward to meeting some new cats. We headed down to the lobby to greet Murray's guests and who do I see across the hotel wooking the fuck out; Zach! As some know him; "Zach the Spunion." This kid is basically an icon on the scene; way ahead of his time, though developing cult status along the way. After a long wait, despite a short line of just a few people, there was massive confusion. This was by far the most amateur group of organizers and promoters that I have ever seen. We eventually acquired our wrist bands and headed up to the room for round two.
At some point within the hours of pre-gaming, Ben Combe from Particle calls to get the room number and joins. After some time, we got into the elevator to head down to the lobby to catch Soulive. It's Me, Zach, Andrew, Ben... the elevator stops and in walk a few randoms as well as Karen and Nigel Hall. We even took to raging the elevator that would take us to our destination.
*Soulive (Main Stage)*
Soulive started with the expected fury, exchanging solos and pure beasat-outs. At one point I notice the shifting of one of the mics in a downward fashion. I knew immediately that Skerik would be short to follow. Skerik came out to a mic that was not operational. After several hand motions towards the soundboard and some massive scrambling onstage; Nigel took to trading off with Skerik, holding the mic out when it was Skerik's turn. Before the problem was ever resolved Skerik quietly shuffled off stage. Soulive slowed it down for a couple, again segueing into their typical Beatles medley. The medely include an "Elanor Rigby", which again was jazzy and appeared to be effortless for Krasno. One of the other songs being "Come Together." At this point Ben Combe joined us again for a beer and some Soulive action to warm up for Particle's set.
Towards the end of the two hour set Soulive played a number of original tunes, touching on some of my favorite Soulive melodies. They closed out the set with Nigel on keys for a song, then having Nigel sing a couple, returning for a short encore. The crowd was left pleased, yet wanting more. Little did they know it would not be Soulive's last appearance of the night...
After a pleasing Soulive set we returned to the room to re-up on beers, etc. I was really excited to see Particle, but from my recent experiences I wasn't expecting an all out throw down. Some of the Particle sets that I have seen since 2006 have not really impressed me. Although, as I used to really enjoy the band I was excited about another opportunity to see them as well as an opportunity to to turn around my perspective on this once favorite of mine. As we entered the theatre, Particle was on stage but there were only five to ten people in the crowd. As the sound check came to a close the crowd size began to grow.
*Particle (Main Stage)*
As Particle began the set people (wookies) flooded into the small theatre. I could tell from the beginning, Particle was not messing around. Molitzs' presence on the synth was felt immediately. The base line dropped, the drums fell consistently into place and the surprise of the evening took over; Ben Combe. Outside of the fact that he is a friend of mine, in the past I thought his playing was good; but never was I absolutely blown away. Again, he was a good player. But he fucking killed it. Battling with Molitz on some of the best peaks that I have heard Particle produce in a long time. Ben was shredding and clearly feeling it, moving his head in a crazy metal style to the music. From the get go I knew we were in for a treat.
Their first song clocked in at an estimated twenty plus minutes, setting the pace for an evening of extended/exploratory jams. I will say it again; thoroughly impressed. As Particle progressed I stepped out into the lobby to use the restroom...
... As I did, I noticed all of Soulive huddled around the grand piano in the lobby. I hurried over to find Karen, wide-eyed, photographing, laughing and taking in the experience. Krasno was on a bongos, with Neal Evans and Nigel Hall on the keys, Alan in the background looking on. It was light and loose with all members adding a little bit here and there. Krasno went over to mess with the audio, when Nigel announced "Eric Krasno on the sound!" Promting Kras to throw his arms up. Then hopping on an amp, to even more applause. To me, something seemed different. Their smiles were brighter, and their eyes were wider... Something had gotten to them. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the spirits, or maybe it was something else...
*Particle (Main Stage)*
As I returned to the main stage in the small theatre, Particle continued to bring the heat. I ended up taking a seat behind the conference/lecture hall style seating, and began to sink into my chair as Particle melted me away. At one point as Particle began to peak, the drummer Darren, left the stage. The band peaked and peaked and peaked... and when I thought they couldn't peak anymore; they did. They had me gripping my chair in fear, the only thing that eased my mind was the return of their drummer to drop the nasty Particle groove. I was moving in my chair, excited out of mind, and so pleased with what I was hearing.
I left the theatre again, for some fresh air, this time to my delight; Skerik was now sitting at the grand with his sax in hand. I walked up to find him alternating between keys and saxophone. He was surrounded by a group of people (wooks) playing percussion, some invited, some not... At one point he clapped his hands, prompting a beat and he turned to the gentleman on the cow bell and said "Don't ever stop playing that... Play that forever." Skerik then dropped into a funky ass sax rip. Again, this session was loose but, enjoyable.
*Particle (Main Stage)*
Particle's two hour set came to a close with raging madness. I will, for the last time state; this was one of the best shows I had seen Particle play in years. The whole set was fire. I was thrilled to see that Particle was back and bringing it. Molitz tore it up all night, taking the crowd to space and back. Ben shredded to no end. Eric held it down on the base, and Darren was consistent as hell on the drums.
The remainder of the evening was a mess, plain and simple. I caught a little bit of Breakscience here and there in between the wookery. This was one of the biggest wook-outs I have ever seen. Often times the east coast scene is not pretty... RtR helped to magnify that perception. There were wookies all over the lobby beat on drums or whatever they could get their paws on. While heading back to the room, the elevator seemed to stop on every floor, the doors opening to all kinds of random surprises and wild scenes.
I wandered around with Ben for a while, checking out the scene and discussing music in general. I told him that I was really happy that Particle tore it up, and that I was not looking forward to telling him that the set sucked if in fact it did... Which it did not. We arrived at the room and packed the jacuzzi space full. Free beer, great music, good company, epic stories... What more could you ask for a festival late-night? On our way back down to the lobby and theatre, the level of "damage" became more apparent. There were posters and handbills posted everywhere, the hotel furniture was all shifted around and there were beer cans in all sorts of odd places. At one point in the evening we felt it necessary to pull a couch onto the elevator to make it a little bit more comfortable. It would be interesting to see the cleaning staff try to piece the "resort" back together.
At the end of the evening, I wandered back to the room, where everyone was passed out. I sat in the recliner reflecting on the day in it's entirety. I closed my eyes for a brief second and with that; I was gone...