Friday evening’s rain left Marvin’s Mountaintop cloudy and cool on Saturday. The morning hours were chilly but afternoon finally gave way to the sun and slightly warmer temperatures. Before beginning a third day of music, I visited the “cheat overlook” at the farthest edge of the campgrounds to take in the most breathtaking view one could ever wish to experience at a music festival.
Santa Barbara, CA reggae-rockers Rebelution played at 1:15. Their slow-paced music made for easy listening. Vocalist Eric Rachmany kept things alive with his gripping voice and political messages while Bassist Marley D. Williams be-bopped around stage barefoot.
In addition to random appearances in the campgrounds, on stage with artists, and in the middle of the crowds throughout the weekend, Big Nazo performed their own scheduled set on Saturday directly after Rebelution. During their short 30-minute show, the Big Nazo Band played real instruments (sax, drums, guitars, and keys) from behind their outlandish costumes. One looked like a giant, life-size alien bug. Another struck me as a potato-gone-bad, reincarnated as a guitar-playing monster. The leader of the band (a broad-shouldered, skinny-necked, long-nosed canine of some sort) jumped, twirled, and threw his body to make his character comes to life with unthinkable motions.
AN INTERVIEW WITH PAPADOSIO
Papadosio played a brief (but rousing) set around 3:30 in the afternoon. Check out the fans dancing to 'dosio during this video from "the helmet cam". Be patient. Sound comes about 30 seconds in.
I caught up with Papadosio after their show to talk about summer festivals, appreciation for their fans, and changes in the band's near-future.
Half of Papadosio arrived to All Good late Thursday evening after taking care of a broken trailer axel en route to the venue (and by “taken care of”, I mean trashed and replaced with a rented U-Haul). All were rookies to the All Good stage and cite “no overlapping sets” as a major plus to the festival.
Always curious about a band’s tendency to camp at festivals, I asked if they stay for the weekend at any of the numerous festivals they play at. Papadosio assured me they’ve always been a band who enjoys hanging out before and after their own performance. Case in point: “Dr. Dog played before us and Railroad Earth immediately followed. Those are bands we listen to in the car.”
Papadosio doesn’t get excited about a particular event or a particular city when they tour, but rather the people in those cities and at those events. It gives the band an opportunity to reconnect with friends who they aren’t able to see regularly, but they know will be there waiting for them before, during, and after a show. “It’s kind of like homecoming at each stop along the tour,” they say.
I also learned that big changes are in the near-future for Papadosio. The band revealed to me that they will soon be relocating to Asheville, NC (currently residing in Athens, OH) and that they also plan to add a new member. The younger brother of the band’s existing keyboard player (Billy Brouse) is expected to begin making live appearances in the fall. This will allow Anthony Thogmartin to focus on guitar, Billy to concentrate on the synthesizer, and young Brouse (a “keys prodigy” according to Thogmartin) to control the keyboards.
Widespread Panic performed an impressive three-hour set, interrupted by the best show intermission ever to take place. One of the festival’s most talked about events and arguably the climax of All Good, thousands of “wish lanterns” were launched into the sky by audience members. The lantern liftoff lasted more than 30 minutes. At first a few dots could be observed climbing the sky; minutes later the nighttime background had transformed into a breathtaking display of golden balls of light that seemed to go on forever.
After Widespread, festival goers faced one of their biggest surprises of the weekend: jazz freakout supergroup Garage a Trois, consisting of drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist Skerik, vibraphone and percussionist Mike Dillon and keyboardist Marco Benevento. Mile-a-minute vibraphone action garnished with swanky saxophone made for one of the most unique sounding bands heard all weekend. Mad scientist-like screaming and cackling seemed to bridge each song into the next before a flurry of borderline noise and total improvisation erupted. The All Good audience stuck around, even though the odd rhythms seemed to perturb them and slightly hinder dancing abilities.
Garage a Trios
All Good 2010
All Good veered from the well-beaten path in choosing their late night set for Saturday. Rather than scheduling something electronic and rave-like (as most festivals do), Yonder Mountain String Band was given the 2-3:30 a.m. time slot. YMSB was excited to have the honor of closing Saturday night and told the crowd that they hadn’t played a late night set in a long time. It was a neat change of pace, but my weary body demanded bolder musical stimulation to keep going. Unfortunately, I had headed back to camp before they closed with this:
THE AFTER PARTY (BUS)
While walking back to my homebase, I had to make a pit stop at the famous party bus from California, located on the main path through the campgrounds. Exquisite artwork covered every inch of the school bus’ exterior. The inside had been transformed into living quarters big enough to accommodate a small clan of people. Outside, the campsite owners installed a legitimate DJ setup and kept fresh beats rolling all weekend long. Every time I ventured home and walked past the bus, something different was always on blast (hip hop, dubstep, funk, house, etc.) but it always made me want to groove.
At 3 a.m. on Saturday night, the bus seemed to be the unofficial after party. Approximately 20 people occupied the rooftop with hands flailing in the air and feet shuffling across the elevated dance floor in a giant mass of grinding bodies. On the ground, three times as many people kept the party going around the DJ table. Capacity was eventually reached, causing the rave to spill into the main path and draw in unsuspecting campers headed to their tent. I kept on and retired to my air mattress, but I suspect that party didn’t stop until the sun came up.