After a late night (or early morning) attempting to sleep barely 10 feet from what I called the “LSD Laser Techno Tent,” I found myself waking up around 10AM to the smell of sizzling bacon and sound of a wagon bumping past, kicking up dust. “Orange Juice! One dollar!” There was no shortage of Summer Meltdown attendees trying to make a few extra bucks here and there.
I spent most of the morning waiting for my body to catch up with my mind, so when I stumbled upon the Scott Pemberton Trio with the intention of walking past, I wasn’t expecting to be reeled in and captivated. The way he caressed and abused that guitar made me stop and stare in fascination. Somewhat uncomfortable and somewhat seduced, I found myself unable to put down the camera. It was like observing a relationship fraught with a long, drawn-out history; one whose story I wanted to know, the story of a man and his guitar. I later found out that he began supporting himself solely by his guitar at the age of 19, and hasn’t stopped since. (I would definitely pay to see him man-handle that guitar again.) Sometimes at festivals, daytime shows are overlooked, and I wish more people would have been able to watch this man and his band. Scott is a well-seasoned musician who should not be overlooked if you get the chance to see his performance.
After speaking with many of the musicians who played the stages, I heard countless comments on the surprisingly great sound. Unfortunately, Dead Winter Carpenters were not so fortunate. With the fiddle going in and out, and the high-pitched squealing sounds piercing our eardrums, the quintet held it together as they played straight on through to a bouncy and receptive audience. The best part of it all? I spent the rest of their time at the festival with them, and not once did I hear them complain, nor even make a comment about the sound. (That says a lot about their character and I respect that.) Regardless of the sporadic sound issues, it was great watching this band slice through the heat with their familiar weapons in hand and, as always, the audience had big smiles all around with beers in hand.
Well, this little powerhouse packs a punch. The afternoon was hot, some would say miserable, but crowds still made their way to see the petite Vicci Martinez rip into the heat and perform without being phased by the uncomfortable conditions. Her vocals were clean and the music soaked into our clothes. With a final song of Florence & the Machine’s “Dog Days,” she had everyone screaming the lyrics alongside her. They were dancing in accordance with the big bass drum she wailed on, in her bare feet. She was definitely a crowd-pleaser, and it’s obvious why CeeLo Green fought for and coached her on “The Voice.”
One by one people returned from their campsites dressed in amazingly ridiculous costumes and headed over to the Northern Lights Stage for some sweaty rollicking. I was not misled when I was told I must see this performance. I have to admit, I was a little afraid to get too close to them for fear their music would get under my skin and keep me teetering on temptation all night. As a faithful married woman, I had my guard up. For those who fully embraced this swaggering group of guys, mixing it with the anonymity of hiding identities behind skin-baring costumes, I noticed a certain amount of promiscuity in the air. While I love The Acorn Project, I feel it would’ve been better suited to have them take this time slot and have Hot Bodies close out the night. Maybe the organizers were trying to play it safe… if HBIM had played after the sun had already dipped behind the mountains, it’s possible there would have been a swarm of rocking tents and RVs accompanied by swelling moans and groans humming throughout the 60 acre grounds.
What can I say? These guys pulled it together and not only put on an incredible festival, but the band formerly known as Flowmotion, had a number of surprises in their set that kept everyone eager for the next song. When I first saw the line up, I thought “Wow. That’s brave for a band to perform three times in three days at a music festival. Not many people are going to want to see the same set all three days.” Well, this was most definitely not the same set three times. Each night, their performance was more and more involved. Their final set on the main stage, Saturday night, was an amazing way to welcome the Perseid Meteor Shower. At 8:03PM exactly, four skydivers jumped out of an airplane to land one by one behind the stage. Well… jumper number two missed his mark a bit, but thankfully landed safely and unharmed. Then out came the 5-piece brass ensemble to add a little more zest to the already spunky Spokes, followed by an aerial artist, a surprise song featuring Kimo Muraki and topped off with the UW marching band. In addition to the full and commanding sound they put out, it was quite the spectacle and highly enjoyable.
Oooh, The Silent Comedy was far from silent. This band packed the beer garden and everyone was riled up in the best way. The lighting was incredible, the fog-machines were spraying, and the energy of these dashing men was absolutely contagious. You would never know that, before their set, they were lagging in liveliness. As soon as the first note pummeled through the speakers, these guys threw out more pizzazz than a circus troupe. With howling vocals and throbbing melodies, they were exceptional at building up to a thrashing crescendo and then dropping you on your ass with their soft and peaceful sways. It made you go from screaming, to sighing, to the verge of tears, back to wailing, swooning and circulating around to yelling again. With a memorable performance of their own rougher rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Tonight’s the Night,’ this bewitching San Diego band commanded attention and left us all wanting to reach for the whiskey and head to the river, which is exactly what they did..
So I know I wrote a delicious preview of this band, and I told everyone I ran into at the festival to make sure they didn’t miss this show … and then I missed it. I did that. Shame on me, yes. I wish I could write a raving review here with a lot of phenomenal photographs for you to view; however, I was busy spending some much appreciated time with The Silent Comedy, and believe it or not, I was 100% okay with my choice.