About an hour ago Father John Misty, whom some of you better know as J Tillman of Fleet Foxes, played a free show at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.
The first strings have been strummed and the singer has claimed the mic. The shovers are staking their claim in the pit. There is a rush to the stage, a general movement: the show is starting. The young and foolish punk will rush forward so they can be closer to the sweat and angst flying off the stage. It seems rational. But if you’ve taken the time to push to the front-and-center position, standing in front of the fresh mosh pit is the worst way to claim that sweet spot. Not so much because the pit is unmanageable but because the task of managing it is in the opposite direction of the band. So you can turn your back on the show and push the pit kids. Or you can watch the show and get elbowed in the face. Thus what seems initially like the center of the action turns out to be a major distraction. Just when you think you can maybe take some time to actually watch the show you paid to see, you remember the crowd surfers. They like to remind you by kicking you in the head.
Michael Jackson vs Passion Pit – the Jackson Pit (Xaphoon Jones mashup)
Tune-Yards – Bizness
Here’s a little snippet from my journal from the night of the Los Campesinos show June 26, 2008.
skanking: V. The dance you do at the Los Campesinos! show when you are hysterical with joy and you have leg room.
pogo: V. The dance you do at the Los Campesinos! show when you are packed like Mentos in a Coke bottle with other joyful fans.
mosh: V. What happens when the whole crowd fizzes over, bounding off walls and fleshy sweaty bodies all singing “It’s you…It’s me…It’s dancing!”.
drum solo: N. When the drummer for Los Campesinos runs into the audience and the whole audience keeps the beat with hand claps.
the Jane Fonda Workout: N. What you get when you pogo through the cacophonous segment of “We Throw Parties You Throw Knives”.
thirsty: Adj. How I feel when I see Tom Campesinos! sweat.
ugly: Adj. What your chest will look like when you proudly brandish your new Los Campesinos! T-shirt, for all their merch looks like nightmares illustrated by pre-schoolers.
satisfaction: N. The feeling associated with having shouted and sang and squirmed your heart out. Synonyms: spent, glowing, Rawr. Cross-reference to: Los Campesinos!, “with your chin on your knees like you belong.”
I must say the sound quality at the Independent was outstanding. I didn’t even need earplugs for the first act.
I usually attempt to pay attention to all aspects of the performers but to no avail. She was captivating. As these photos show, Flo had my undivided attention. I managed to get two poor quality photos of the keyboardist and guitarist. I didn’t manage to get any pics of the enormous harp. That thing must have been ten feet tall.
Not a lot chit-chat on stage. Part of her stage presence is a sense of drama, which doesn’t go well with a ton of stage banter. She covered her face with a scarf and sang under strobe, like something that flashes on the screen in a horror movie. Then she could make that same dress light and dainty, her red hair swirling and bright. Someone in the audience gave her a mask and she wore it as if it were part of the act all along.
The audience at the Mezzanine was fantastic too, singing along to not just one or two but every song.
Early on she played Drumming Song and My Boy Builds Coffins (my personal favorite). She didn’t play “Girl With One Eye,” perhaps my only disappointment. She closed the show with You’ve Got the Love. For the encore she came out wearing hot pants and a t-shirt with a large image of Gene Wilder. I didn’t have good photos of this, but I enclosed a crappy one. For the encore she sang “Kiss With A Fist” and “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up).” It was lovely and all over too quickly.