Oh man, it's good to be back. I'm one of the many people who love ComFest unconditionally. The music, the beer, the park, the friends…seeing thousands of strangers hanging out, smiling and just digging on the good vibes together--it all makes my heart shit rainbows.
In the few short years I have been away, I had forgotten what ComFest really does to you. It knocks you sideways just a little bit. It hits the reset button in your brain and clears your cache.
I missed some of the music chasing my son around…but watching him experience the spectacle of ComFest for the first time was pure magic. Little dude rocked it well and I am proud.
A lot of the music I did get to see was great. My favorites were all bands I had never seen before:
-- Righteous Buck & The Skull Scorchers: I will definitely be seeing these dudes again. Dirty, low-down, gut-rumbling, blues-soaked rock with sharp fuzzed-out hooks and good energy. No bullshit, just some dudes up there kicking ass and loving every minute of it. Great Off Ramp band. File under: get drunk and turn that shit up!
-- Lydia Loveless: I've been friends with Blammo for a while and have dug all the bands he's played in (anyone remember Solar System Navigators?), but I hadn't seen Lydia Loveless until Saturday night at the offramp. Great, tight, rock and roll with some country flavor played by a group firing on all cylinders. Lydia's voice was powerful and melty and warm, Ben brought his usual "I'm-gonna-beat-the-shit-out-of-this-upright-because-that's-who-I-am" awesomeness. I don't know the other dudes but they were on it as well. You could tell they had just come back from touring the country…between songs, they looked tired like true rock n' rollers but, once they caught the groove in each of the well-written songs, they all had fire in their eyes and got down to the business of whooping your ass. I couldn't have asked for a better band to see at the end of Saturday night, drunk off my ass at the Off Ramp and full of ComFest love. Woo-fuckin'-hoo.
-- The Apple-Bottom Gang and Grassinine: Jug band harmonies, gut-bucket bass and funny lyrics at the Gazebo on a beautiful, mellow Sunday? Hell yes. Nothing mind-blowing…just fun.
-- Way Yes: I hope I can find the words to describe this, so bear with me as I try to get my thoughts out just right. I bought this band's Walkability EP when it came out. I occasionally dabble in Animal Collective/Panda Bear-type-stuff when the mood suits me and I found Way Yes's EP to be a more organic, less abrasive and more honest approach to this genre of music. I've read that Way Yes are a young band…and that, coupled with the fact that this kind of music can go horribly wrong in live settings, had me unsure of what to expect as I found my spot under the Off Ramp tent. From the moment these dudes took the stage, though, I knew it was time for me to tell my mind to shut the fuck up and just listen. Each member possessed a quiet confidence and exuded a very evident love for what they are doing. I've never met any of these guys but it seemed like a really cool mix of personalities up on stage.
This set was the highlight of my ComFest experience this year. Incredibly well written songs with fun but thought-provoking lyrics sung primarily by two of the band members (one of which sounds like Paul Simon). Huge, buzzing grooves excited by urgent, tribal rhythms and tasteful guitar hooks bathed in textures from other dimensions. If you saw a dude whose head inflated into a big, yellow smiley face balloon during this set, that was me.
In addition to being moved by the unstoppable energy of the band, I looked around to see that I was surrounded by people of all ages and backgrounds jumping up and down and beaming with bliss.
It was at that moment that it all converged for me…that I was there at ComFest with people who are inherently good, that music has the power to fill your soul with joy and that life can be as beautiful as we want it to be. It damn near made me cry.
I got my metal hairpiece on