Monday, April 12, 2010

Rock the "Resort": Saturday April 10th, 2010

… Day two began about an hour after day one ended. I opened my eyes and found that I had dozed off. The sun was shinning a little brighter than when I had last closed my eyes. I took a hot shower, straightened up the room a little bit, grabbed the laptop and made my way to the lobby. Only the lobby had wifi Internet access; the individual rooms had some sort of dial up system. I walked out in the hallway of floor eight; there were towels and beer cans everywhere. I got into the elevator and began my decent to the lobby. The elevator came to a couple of stops along the way, the doors opening to different destructive scenes.

Upon walking into the lobby I noticed staff beginning the long clean up process. I also noticed that a majority of the couches were occupied by wookies, some clutching their dogs, who were in it for the long haul. I got a hot beverage and claimed a table near an outlet to began piecing the previous night’s events together. One of the event staff approached me and told me that I had to purchase a bracelet or there would be consequences. My response was “I am sitting here with a laptop, a notebook, and coffee, while there are wooks occupying your couches still from last night. You need to re-evaluate your priorities…”

I noticed Eric Krasno, across the lobby; looking dazed. Shortly after, Nigel Hall emerged with his suit coat slung over his shoulder; looking equally out of it. They hung out in the lobby checking out and getting food from the snack bar before hitting the road. About a half hour later, Steve Molitz appears in the lobby. As he passed by he says hey, and I comment on the lack of a need to rent a room with all of these comfortable couches in the lobby. He laughed and agreed. In ten minute increments, the remaining members of Particle appeared in the lobby. The last member to make their way out was Ben, already sporting sunglasses. I greeted him with a “What’s up Rockstar?”, answered by a smile and a groan. Minutes later he was sprawled out on a couch in the lobby.

I returned to the room to collect Murray and head out for some breakfast. As we pulled out of the Parking lot a gave a shout-out to Particle, who was loading their van; telling them to “Tear down Brooklyn like you did the resort last night.” Smiles and waves around. We drove through the hills eventually finding a little diner to enjoy breakfast. I inhaled a massive amount of food, prompting a comment from Murray, who is by no means a small dude; “You sure can eat.” We then headed back to the “resort”, with the sun shinning down upon us.

When we returned there were more vehicles, more wookies, and more vendors. We approached the ticket counter once again, with low expectations of service; per our experience from the previous day. The members of the staff still looked intoxicated from the previous nights festivities. One staff member cleaning out his nose at the ticket counter, Nettie Pot style. Gross. The first staff member we dealt with was unable to accommodate our simple guestlist/vip look up request. We waited about five to ten minutes to speak with the next ticket rep, only to be told that our request was beyond him. As we waited for the promoter, the New Riders walked up to the counter, at this point even more confusion ensued. NRPS explained who they were, then waited ten minutes to be looked up in the computer. Following that, there was a discrepancy with their passes and which rooms they were being assigned. As we stood there one of their members glanced over at me and rolled their eyes. They were finally handed a piece of paper with their information and they headed off.

We then tried to speak to the promoter again and he blew us off. Murray was heating up… A minute later the New Riders return to complain that the info they were given was irrelevant and of no use to the resort. The promoter went back to work, trying to obtain their info. After another ten minutes they were squared away. Before they walked off to check in, one of the members turned to me and stated “This is so unorganized. The promoter just took a half hour to give us nothing. What a joke.” I smiled and nodded, unsurprised. Just as the promoter was going to walk away again, Murray raised his voice. The promoter, who was a small gentleman, froze in his tracks, and helped us immediately, still confused as ever. Murray smiled at me and we were good to go “VIP”…

The majority of the day was spent in the room. The bands that were playing interested us very little, and apparently everybody else, During the day shows; there were more band members than there were people in the crowd. The day was a lazy day, with a lot of people recovering from the night prior. Again the text messages started to come in as more folks arrived at the “resort.”

As Murray and I headed down to the lobby to wook out, we ran into Jeff Bujak and crew; lost and in search of their room. We made loose plans to meet up and headed our separate ways. The lobby was filling up with folks (wookies) checking in and prepping for the day. We caught a few minutes of Rubblebucket; solid, horn-driven funk. As the sun once again set on the “resort” the madness began. Sometime a couple of hours later Jeff Bujak and his buddy Mike came by the room to chill. Again; good people, good conversation, good music. I ended up re-grouping down in the shakedown/food area for a much needed meal with Bujak and crew. The food was awful yet reasonably priced. After the meal, I headed back to the theatre.

*Skerik & Radioactive*

The first set of the evening that I recall was Skerik and Radioactive. It was interesting to watch Skerik battle back and forth with a DJ/beatboxer. It was intense, yet funky with some solid beats and freestyling. The guitarist was laying down some heavy riffs and all in all I thought the band played well off of one and other. I wish I could offer more insight to this project, but due to the effects of spacing out it was difficult for me to recall too many details from the early part of the evening.

I returned to the room and had just began to chill when a knock came at that door. I answered with “We don’t want any…” followed by a “yes you do!” from the other side. Enter Karen and Radioactive. Once again I found myself glued to the floor, raging it. Some time during the session, Murray’s actual buddies from Jersey showed up. They were a very different breed from the wooks crawling around at the resort. They commented on the amount of “hippies” and on a lot of the activities that were taking place. They seemed to be stunned, yet enjoying themselves. They were good dudes and I enjoyed their short company. Radioactive informed us that he and Skerik would be sitting in with The Sam Kinnenger band and was on his way. Shortly to follow John, the drummer from the New Riders entered the room. As the NRPS pre-party came to a close we headed back down to the theatre.

*New Riders of The Purple Sage*

The New Riders brought a different sound to the line-up; more folky and jammed out than the acts we had seen up til that point. They played a lot of familiar tunes, including several Dead/Robert Hunter songs. The music was slow and drawn out, reminding me of Ratdog. I was in and out of their show as I was over stimulated by all of the nonsense and wookery in the lobby. I feel if this were a day set outside, it may have been better served. Nothing against NRPS, they were solid, just misplaced within the schedule.

Following the show, everyone once again met up in the suite. The night began to climax as good friends came and went. There were so many wide-eyed smiling faces. A trip back to the lobby would reveal some of the most wook-action we would see all weekend. On our way down; the elevator once again stopped at every floor. The door would open to wookies partying, to people drawing on the walls, to people passed out from balloons. At one of the floors we picked up Sam Kinnenger, who was soft spoken, though ready to play. When we finally got to the lobby there was a DJ set up, wooks railing at the piano, and a drum circle all within fifty feet of one and other. What a mess.

*Jeff Bujak*

I entered the second of the two theatres to see Jeff, Mike and Brian setting up. A short time later Jeff began his set. Initially there were only a couple of people, but about five minutes into his set wookies started to pour in with glow sticks, hula hoops and other various toys. Karen turned to me with an impressed look and smiled. She described Jeff’s playing as fluid. Jeff brought it from the get go. I thought his set-up; lights, smoke and sound, was on. I find myself being impressed with Bujak, consistently. His sound never seems to waver, leaving me to wonder how it is that some other bands so often struggle with their sound.

*Sam Kinnenger Band*

I wandered away from Jeff’s set for a short time to check out Sam’s project. Initially I was standing next to Murray and we glance over to see Skerik and Jen dancing about a foot away. Shortly after; Skerik joined Sam; at times with Radioactive. I thought that Kinnenger’s band was a better backdrop for what Skerik was doing. Sam and Skerik traded licks, both looking excited as hell to be on stage with one and other. At one point I glanced over to see Murray spacing out with a big smile on his face. Murray loves him some Skerik.

*Jeff Bujak*

I wandered back over to Bujak to close out my evening as well as my festival experience. I went back to find a very empty room, as was the case with Kinnenger's set. This seemed to be the secondary theme for the weekend; there were more people wooking out in the lobby than there were in the either of the theatres. I’m not sure why one would go to a music festival if not to listen to the music. Bujak continued tearing it down as if he were playing to a massive crowd. The people that were in attendance were freaking out and getting down. I will say; Bujak knows how to get the women moving… Good god.

All in all I thought Jeff’s set was consistent per usual, once again reaffirming the notion that he is one of the best one man shows I have ever seen. Trust me when I say “Go see Jeff Bujak!”

The weekend had come to a close, and the harsh reality that I would not be sleeping this evening/morning but driving home, hit me. I gathered what troops were still alive and headed back to the room for one last rager. We shared the last of our stories and a few final smiles. It was clear that everyone had raged as hard as they could this weekend, and now; it was time for rest.

I straightened up the room for the last time, packed up, attempted to wake Murray and was on my way. Walking through the front entrance of the “resort” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath; exhaling with a smile. The weekend was the perfect opener to my festival season as well as an interesting experience. The promoters and festival staff were borderline useless and I was curious as to how they had made it this far. Never have I dealt with, nor witnessed such amateur business. The highlights for me included; raging it with Murray, Zach and Trance. As well, meeting; Karen & Aaron,. My favorite sets were Soulive, Particle and Skerik. In the end the best part of the whole experience was hanging out in the Jacuzzi Suite with good friends.