Sunday, August 29, 2010

Big Up Festival: Sunday

Words By Brett R. Crossley
Photos By Jon Irvin

The final day of the Big Up gave us the one bit of charm every music festival, big or small, has lurking within its confines-interesting people you’ll only find at a festival. After a much needed breakfast of cheddar dogs and fiber bars, a tired looking fellow wandered into our campsite and took a seat by our small fire. He introduced himself as “Sckuzzy” (his spelling, I believe) and showed us some of his artwork. The only way to describe his work was dark, both in color, done simply in a black pen, and in manner, the drawing depicted a less than favorable situations for people. Despite it not being my taste, he seemed to put a lot of work into his art and we wished him the best as he departed from the campsite.

The next person to wander into the site went by the name “Todd 6”. It was not his real name, but to us, especially Jon who seemed to think everyone’s name was Todd, we simply gave him a number and continued with the conversation. After hosting our guest for the morning, we broke away from the site and went to check in on the Deafen by Love show which was less than impressive.

We then decided to use the break to fuel up for the big night ahead. Despite a mellow vibe throughout the afternoon, the night promised a monster RAQ set and the show stopper Headtronics capper. The afternoon at the campsite proved to be exactly what we needed as we lasted the rest of the night with no signs of slowing down.

RAQ delivered and lived up to the headliner status with a two-hour monster set. We decided to move all over during the set and take things in from backstage, the middle of the dance party, next to flame dancers, and finally the sound tower. The set was great from whichever place we elected to stand.

The music was once again amazing!

Due to RAQ being the last of the outdoor shows the festivities around the venue seemed to really explode. The previously mentioned flame dancers dominated each side of the venue while painters occupied each corner of the stage. Also, tailing off from the bonfire was a supply of “hoopers” and fans covered in all different sorts of glow stick getups.

The view from the sound tower showed a field filled with over 1,500 dancers, costumed characters, fire-dancers, and people just having a good time. The energy continued to flow through the band as they jumped into their version of “Simple Man”. Despite things really blowing up, we decided to retreat to the Shangri-La area in an effort to catch the Headtronics sound check.

As RAQ closed out the biggest set of the weekend, which was truly amazing, the true magic was beginning as we watched Bernie, DJ Logic, and Freekbass prepare for what was going to be the nastiest set of the weekend. The check was beginning to attract people from the venue and was highlighted when a lone girl stumbled in front of the band and shouted, “You guys rock!”

The check went quickly, possibly due to a broken toilet backstage or the fact each musician has notched thousands of sound checks in their careers. Whatever the reason, Headtronics was ready and prepared.

The fully improvised set opened with a pop as Freekbass slapped and popped his bass to the beat of a Logic mix and the always entertaining sounds emanating from Bernie on the boards. The show progressed as the crowed started to spill outside of the barn.

Headtronics’ first cut came to a conclusion which set the next hour up for a crazy show. It was amazing watching each member of the group lean in and then transition into a new beat a few seconds later. The three member band seemed to continue to feed off each other as the music bounced from a more electric feel to go old fashioned funk courtesy of some killer baselines by Freekbass and vocals by Bernie. The Parliament keyboardist surprised everyone with his vocal ability.

The concert then shifted back to a more bass heavy sound with a nice sampling of Logic. The sound combined perfectly as Freekbass finally displayed some of his Bootsy Collins' influence with an unreal show on the bass. He combined slapping, funk, and everything else you could think of to closeout the set. The final two songs of the set displayed the true skill of each member as each one of their styles was enhanced for the final build up.

As good as the set was, the true magic of the group was their willingness to interact with the fans after the show. Every member stopped over to talk to us. I was quick to ask Freekbass about his Buckethead shirt. We then chatted about a couple songs and he even gave us a disc for the ride home. Ott closed things out from the main Shangri-La stage and after a long weekend of perfect weather, good music, great people, and one unbelievable Headtronics show, we decided to make a break for home.

The Big Up delivered just about everywhere you’d want a festival to deliver. The people were great, those in the crowd, as well as, the staff, the weather was perfect, the line-up delivered in every sense of the word, perfectly balanced and tons of talent, great food, and a flawless campsite. Unless something incredibly unfortunate happens, this will be one which will continue to grow for years to come!


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