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"Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence only increases in an arithmetic ratio."
Thomas Robert Malthus
OK, so it's a long one! Get a cup of coffee and settle in for today's
The Music Midtown Fest is highly overpopulated. Until Saturday night, we were swearing never to return. However, here's some images from the fest so that you'll understand why we bothered:
7:00 and the gates aren't open yet. Lots of folks lurking about waiting but the DP gets smart and heads into Frijolero's for a burrito and lots of water. It's gonna be needed as the sun is still glaring down.
Gates open. The ground is covered in pine bark to cover the dirt left by the bulldozers that have been working on the area. If it rains the place will turn into pine soup!
Urban Shakedancers take too long to set up so it's off to the Fiji Mariners, Col. Bruce Hampton's current unit. They rock, of course, and the band members are all familiar faces to the Hampton followers. Other electric degenerates are supposed to be at Urban Shakedancers so we keep going down to look but the crowd is too thick and the music mediocre so we hang around for the rest of the Colonel's show and oggle the many scantily clad 15-year-olds in the crowd, not to mention the innumerable tie-dead-head types twirling hopelessly.
Back to Frijolero's for cheapER beer, but by no means cheap. They've increased the prices and lowered the selection for more efficient money laundering during the festival.
Back to the show, the Dirty Dozen are kickin' butt and takin' names and they're all out of chewing gum! Very hep. A pair of 16-year-olds give the editor the eye but he's in a foul mood and slinks away.
Back to Frijolero's and we accidentally miss the Anti Heros.
Back to the show, it's a choice betweeen The Black Crowes (ho-hum) and Fred Schneider of B-52's fame. His solo stuff sounded hep on 88.5 but the DP had to get up insanely early to get to Athens for the Italy orientation so we meandered about for a while then copped out early for a buzzed bike ride through the park to home.
Saturday, after a pain-in-the-ass trip to Athens, it's back to the show, the DP staff covered in sunscreen. Looking over the schedule, I didn't miss much except Francine Reed, of whom I caught the end of her last song. Bummer but ya' gotta have yer priorities.
Important modesty tip for the ladies - do not wear a short skirt and lay on your stomach to see a show. You'll end up with 4 - 6 males, including the DP staff, lurking around behind you staring at your ass. Think it's sexist? I'd warn males too, had I saw one in a short skirt, but the only male in a skirt had and ankle-length tie dye thing. I spotted both of the above at the Gracie Moon show, archetypal southern rock with a female lead singer. Drab.
Swing by A Few Good Men, lame moany groany V103 crap. "Where are all the ladies in the house?" yells the lead singer. Running for cover if they've got any brains.
The Locals Only stage had the Johnny Hyde Quartet, good hard rocketypal music for children of all ages. Clay Harper & The Rhythm Tyrants were next but not worthy of watching.
Up to Goose Creek Symphony to meet other Degenerates. To paraphrase Donnie Osmond off Space Ghost Coast to Coast, they're a little bit country and the rest is composed mostly of water. Hooking up with the degen crowd, it's off for food and a sip or three from the DP secret Vodka stash in the water bottle of the DP bicycle. A grilled chicken sadwich from the Anytime Grill later, it's off to Ohio Players. They looked their age but you couldn't hear it in the music! They had it down like they'd never stopped touring since 73, as the gentleman in front of me pointed out. They moved into "Love Rollercoaster" and got the crowd pumping. "Fire", of course, was their encore, which got everyone as hot as the tune. Some swingin' chick named Jasmine got the DP heated up but we lost her in the crowd on the way out :(
Back to the bike for beverages and aimless meandering. We should have stayed put for the next act but we didn't count on everyone staying and even more showing up to see Kool and the Gang.
Forgot to mention one of the coolest things, literally, of the entire weekend - the Rain Tent. Several hoses forcing air and water into a fine mist in an open tent. Lots of wet semi-naked bodies pressed together in the cool moist air trying to prevent heatstroke. Fun in and of itself, but even more fun is lurking outside watching the smiling soaked people leaving the thing. Wonderful!
I had seen Buddy Guy the year before or I wouldn't have missed it. Other degenerates went and said it rocked, as I knew it would, but he was on at the same time as Kool and the Gang.
I now know what an oxygen molecule feels like as it's pressed through the wall of a cell. Someone had the bright idea of parking two golf carts in the most congested 50 yard section of the park and I got to know my fellow gridlockers VERY well. Like Jody, who doesn't like men much according to her friend Stu, though neither of us let that stop us from hitting on her and getting her rather annoyed, among others. Eventually, the DP work their way around the back to the other, less crowded side, in an attempt to get near the stage again. Lots of Bugs Bunny-like "pardonmescusemepardonme"s later, we're back to 10 yards away just as Kool and the Gang take the stage. Flashback to elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then Pulp Fiction, then middle school again. Hundreds of people of all race, class, and appearance sang together and shook booty hard. The lead singer, J.T. Taylor, pointed the phenomenon out, "You know, everywhere you turn you hear about race violence and this and that. The press should be showing this!" then broke into "Cherish" as everyone swayed together. They didn't keep the mood too goopy for long, however. "Jungle Boogie" had everyone moving and grooving! Two pot-smoking neo-hippies said the funniest thing I'd heard all weekend. "Cracker kicks ass!" they yelled sarcastically. Cracker was playing on the other stage, the trendy, pop-music-of-the-90's act we were currently missing. All three of us laughed damn hard and continued to shout "wooohooo, CRACKER!"
"Celebration" closed the set with the whole crowd jumping and sweating like mad. Having learned our lesson after the OP show, we exited via a closer gate. I could hear Buddy Guy doing his final number but knew I couldn't elbow through the crowd before he closed. Sure enough, he did his finale as I headed out the gate. The Cotton Club was packed beyond capacity for NRBQ, no chance of slipping in, so we headed home, soaked and smiling.
Sunday AM it's up and at 'em for house cleaning and lunch before headed up the hill. Ran into a few Degenerates and shared beers and cheers to Larry McCray, killer blues guitarist. While introducing them to the Rain Tent, we chilled to Augusta artists Snapdragon. Pretty lead singer with a soft voice to match but rather unremarkable otherwise. Ditching the Degenerates that insisted on Howard Jones, we head over to the last couple of tunes of Saffire & the Uppity Blues Women. Raunchy blues as only three old librarians can do it.
A couple of beers in the refuge of Frijolero's and it's back into the fray for Fishbone. And fray they did! The crowd broke into a serious mosh pit, the DP editor participating often and coming away injury-free. It got tiring as the mosh pit antics distracted from the on stage antics but dusty fun for everyone. Losing all the Degenerates in the chaos, we thrash until the band grinds to a halt. Meandering with sore feet, I decide to head home for some respite.
A short breather later, it's back to the show for Morris Day & the Time. They were about 45 minutes late and almost worth it. The act is copped almost entirely from James Brown, but not as talented. However, the familiarity of the music and the cute girls shakin' booty in front of me kept me around for the entirety of the show. A few left before the group's encore but the majority of the masses stuck around.
Bob Dylan was just about to take the stage to a packed crowd. I could here the readers asking "You missed the Black Crowes AND Bob Dylan?" Yep, sure did. Not interested in either enough to get into the crowd involved, anyway. On my way out the date I overhear someone saying "I've seen Dylan before - he SUCKS!" Yeah, we all know he's a better writer than singer.
Covered in dirt (the air was heavy with dirt), grime (I decided to sacrifice the shirt to have something to wipe the dirt off with), sweat (not all of it my own in the packed crowd) and water (the rain tent is incredible!)
Overall, worth the money if you're in a people-tolerant mood and know a few secrets (Frijolero's, some "back door"s around most stages, having your beverage of choice in your water bottle on your bike just outside the gate.)
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