Sunday, June 15, 2008

music: 107.7 The End Summer Camp II

After thoroughly enjoying The End's Summer Camp earlier today (yesterday?), I've made some important revelations. One, very important, was that I truly love music. The other, slightly less important, was that I cannot stand emo kids.

I was about to review this show, or day of shows, when I thought to myself, "You know, you're going to be reviewing music all summer — why not take this day and just enjoy it without critiquing?" So, that's what I did. The results were amazing.

I was able to just lose myself in the music. The feeling I got, especially during the sets of Flobots and MGMT, was surreal: I felt lifted, absorbed. I felt mesmerized. I felt these things and remembered why I was drawn to music in the first place and why I can never seem to escape (as if I'd want to).

The only thing shaking me out were the obnoxious emo/punk kids who were clearly there for either Armor For Sleep (the former) or Pennywise (the latter). I mean come on — who moshes while there's a cello onstage? It's an unspoken rule, or at least one I never thought would need to be clarified.

I was really proud of Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws for calling these kids out during their set: "This isn't that kind of show you guys. If you want to punch each other in the face, that's fine, but do it somewhere else." That drew a lot of middle fingers, and one of the crowd threw a belt onstage. Between songs, drummer Ira Elliot buckled it around his neck and yelled out, "Hey, thanks, this is awesome! Brown on one side, black on the other — it goes with everything!"

I was part of an oddly diverse crowd. On one hand, there were hoards of brace-faced teens and tweens who really seemed to young to be at a punk rawk show. On the other hand, there were more than enough big, tattooed, beer-drunk men. Oh yeah, and the one guy wearing a slasher mask: really? But if nothing else, my fellow audience members kept the day interesting.

And, despite the need to defend myself from the annoying alcohol-and-testosterone-fueled antics of a few, my first experience at Marymoor Park was a great one; as usual, music conquered all. And, because I couldn't completely turn off the reviewer part of my brain, here are a few thoughts:

• Flobots' Brer Rabbit can dance. Like really, really dance, beyond words. Props.

• The lead singer/guitarist of MGMT, Andrew Vanwyngarden, is a total psychadellic badass.

•Destructive on-stage antics are only funny for so long. Luckily, Armor For Sleep frontman
Ben Jorgensen took the first dive, throwing his guitar and then falling backwards into a stack of amps. And when Nada Surf's Daniel Lorca threw his base, well, that was pretty great too.

•Putting a cymbal above your head is a really cool thing for a drummer to do, especially if you drum for Nada Surf. More power to you Ira.

•As much as I love them, Pennywise didn't feel as fresh as I thought they might. Guitarist Fletcher Dragge was so pissed off — first at the government, then the Microsofties, and finally the on-call paramedics — that it actually became a little tiring. Warped Tour might be a better home for the prolific punk-rockers.

• That being said, the "Blitzkrieg Bop" cover played by Pennywise featuring Flogging Molly's Dennis Casey on vocals was one of the high points of the day.

•Flogging Molly is, was, and forever will be the most talented and entertaining Irish musicians to ever explore and transform the punk genre. That, and the best spokesmen Guiness could ever hope for.
So, a really good day — good bands, good weather (suprisingly enough) and good friends to enjoy it all with. Thank you 107.7, KNDD, The End. Taking over the world.

Oh, and I officially have a small crush on Mackenzie Roberts, the lovely (and wildly talented) lady who is responsible for the viola behind the Flobots. Wow.