EQX-Fest 2007!

This past Monday we headed up to Saratoga Springs, NY (about an hour north of Albany) for the first annual “WEQX fest”. WEQX is a local alternative station that has been around for many years, and is sadly the only independent radio station left on the East Coast! They decided to host a music festival at the beautiful Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in the Saratoga state park.
The weather was gorgeous albeit steamy, and the day was filled with great live music. Unfortunately the headliners, Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party (THE Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction fame), backed out due to personnel changes at the last minute, but we still got to rock out to some excellent perfomers.
There were LOTS of teenagers there and at first we felt a little old to be there; but I mean, c’mon, this wasn’t Britney Spears fest! However later in the day we saw some older folks (and some OLDER folks, like a sassy granny who was moshing along to Shiny Toy Guns!), so it made us feel better:)There were 3 stages for the event, a small stage where local lesser-knowns could show of their talents, a small stage for “opening performers” out in the west field, and the main BIG stage where the headlining bands were to perform.

At the local stage (EQXposure), the bands that played were Sunset Aside, Maggie Mayday, the Loyalty and Lughead. Sunset Aside was most unimpressive, they appeared to be a bunch of 13 year olds screaming like lunatics and not even sounding harmonious. The Loyalty were decent, Maggie Mayday and Lughead sounded best. It was nice to let some local bands get their name out there.

The West Stage perfomers included The Urgency, Shiny Toy Guns, and TV on the Radio.
The Urgency was a decent festival band; they were cute and energetic but really had nothing unique to offer. It was very cute, however, that one band members’ dad was there to pass out website info to everyone and to brag about his son’s band :).

Shiny Toy Guns did a bang-up job performing, despite the stereo system blowing out through the second song and the sound being quite damaged thereafter. They had incredible energy and were very personable–no diva-esque complaining about the sound system here. They didn’t quite fit the festival genre (they’re more the kind of music you’d expect to see in a crowded disco hall with strobelights) but they put on a great show and were pretty badass. The male lead singer looked like a benevolent, chubbier Russell Crowe, and the female lead looked like a tiny little girl-but she could pack a punch with her voice!

TV on The Radio put on an extremely impressive performance. They were an unusual looking bunch-the lead singer was a tall, gangly fellow wearing giant orange glasses and a messenger boy cap, and he did this cool/odd movement of hopping/dashing across the stage when he sang. One of the guitarists looked a bit like Frodo, and had chimes on the end of his guitar, which led to a jangly effect not unlike the guitars of Sonic Youth. Sweet! The other guitarist and vocalist had a prolific beard, so much so that Chris and I decided to affectionately dub him “Beard Al Yankovich”. We had only known this band from their one radio hit, “Wolf Like Me”, but from hearing them live we have a whole new appreciation for their eclectic sound, their energy and their musical “depth” if you will. It was a sweltering, cloudless hour that they perfomed on stage and the sunlight was directly pointing at the lead singer, who looked like at any minute he’d pass out. He kept on going, and instead of guzzling down the six bottles of Poland Spring that were left next to his microphone, he generously doused them on the hot concert goers, joking, “This concert was brought to you by Poland Spring, everyone!”. That’s love. And I’d be remiss to not mention that I love them even more because the title of their latest album is called “Return to Cookie Mountain”.

After a short break, we all headed into the big main stage for the “main event”. The starting perfomer was the Nightwatchman, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame. He was the most passionate perfomer we saw at the festival, putting his entire body and soul into his politically-based songs. All I can say was “Wow”. Who else but a former Rage Against the Machine Member could get a crowd moshing to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”?.

The next perfomer was Matisyahu. Forgive me for being so cliche as to use text message language, but can I just say–to see him live–OMG!! He was wow,wow wow. Damn, that hassidic jew got soul! He can beatbox like the rest of them and get us all swooning to his reggae jams in the evening breeze. His guitarist gets five stars for blowing us away with his energy. Matisyahu had a couple of great guests, including another beatboxing friend and a hassidic buddy who hopped around stage for a couple songs and got the crowd going.

When all was said and done it was nearly 10 pm and we decided not to stay for 311. No offense to 311, but we decided since we had a long drive home and Satellite Party wasn’t going to perfom, we should head home.

All in all, a great fest and a great day! Pics with comments to come soon.

Thanks for reading, y’all; we love ya!

Family Values

Well the annual Martineau-Dion-Casey family reunion went off this year with a few hitches. Unfortunately the crew from Virginia couldn’t arrive due to an injury, and several others couldn’t attend because of work or health reasons. But it was my grandparents’ 60th (60th!!!) wedding anniversary, and they had a few friends who knew them “way back when”. Theresa and the baby came, and she made an announcement that baby#2 is on the way!
My cousin John brought some great pictures from an exciting, random trip he took. He met a man at a bar in Colorado who was aiming to sail from Florida to England, and he asked John if he wanted to come along. So my cousin said, why the hell not! And, having never sailed before, he went with this guy (just the two of them) from Florida to the Azures (sp?) to England to Sweden. It took 40 days on the ocean, and he saw some pretty amazing things–beautiful sunsets, whales and dolphins passing by the boat–we were so jealous! How cool would that be? Thankfully he wound up safe and he became pretty good friends with the guy.
All in all, despite some spots of rain and the lower attendance, it was a decent day. We only took a couple of pics but we’ll put them up shortly.

In other news, I just heard tell that Southern Culture on the Skids will be playing at the Iron Horse in September! Tickets are 15$ as far as I know. They seemed like a lot of fun at the Green River fest, so anyone interested let us know if you think you might wanna go!

Harry Potter

Ok I will not give any of the plotsaway but we both just finished harry potter and the “last” book was really good. Now we don’t have to worry aboout hearing anything about it that may have previously spoiled the plot for us.

Definitly read it as soon as you can.

Yahoo Music, how I love thee

Kathy has been using yahoo music for over a year and has really enjoyed being able to listen to library of a couple million tracks for a couple bucks a month. Only problem has been we have to have one of the computers up and running in order to use it.

So we have been looking into getting an MP3 player and upgrading to yahoo unlimited (lets you take the tracks with you) and when we I read reviews about the sansa express, well we just just had to try it out. Ahhh it is so nice now to be able to take the music with us on the player and listen to it in anywhere. We are both completely addicted to our players and it is SOO sweet to access all these songs and then take them with you. Renting music is a little odd I must admit but is yahoo music can be installed on multiple computers so we both can use it for the price of a latte a month.

Ok enough for my little pseudo review, we are just very excited to be able to access so much music, it is like having a great pie of key lime pie in the summer.

Can’t believe it.

I’ve been googling Neko Case on the internet and searching on YouTube for any hints that she might have given people attitude in the past, and all I can see is her being generally good natured and laughing and chatting with the audience. I can’t believe she gave Monty such a hard time, I’m always sad to hear when someone I like cops a major ‘tude. As much as I can’t excuse her behavior, however, I can’t stop loving that old-soul alt country sound. And she was a great live performer, so yeah, I’d probably go see her again–I just wouldn’t bother to hang out backstage. I hope this doesn’t make me a bad person! Why Neko, why?

Neko Case is a JERK

Yes she is a good singer but a total jerk. Monte Belmonte, from 97.3 the river who brought her to be a Puesdo headliner for the Green River Fest, introduced her when she came on stage and plays her music all the time was wronged by Neko Case.

She wouldn’t answer just the one questions (he waited for an hour was snubbed several times) and then he got a string of swears issued his way and threats from the guitarist, fairly crappy to do when he is from the station that brought you to town and helped your family to get backstage when they did not have their passes on them. You might be able to catch what transpired on a podcast from this morning.

An event like this makes me wonder, as several people who called in too said, that she is a drunk, maybe she is aiming to be the next Amy Winehouse .

Update: I heard from Monte Belmonte,

“She could’ve at least taken :30 for us all. It’s weird when people won’t come of their high horse especially when their horse isn’t all that high.”

Green River Festival, 2007

This past Saturday we spent a wonderful afternoon in the scorching heat of the field in front of GCC. Was it worth the exhaustion and sunburn the day after? Hell yeah. Why? The Green River Festival, of course! This was the first time that Chris and I went to this event, but apparently it’s been going strong for 21 years. We couldn’t have asked for a better day–the weather was hot but absolutely gorgeous, not a raindrop in the sky. We got to meet up with our good friends Leah and Dave later in the day, which made it much more fun. We also ran into a few of Chris’ coworkers, one of whom came with her hubby because he was working in the Turn it Up music tent. She hung out on our blanket for a while and we chatted.
Before I go on about how awesome the music was, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much there
was to do for the whole family. There was an activity tent for kids and a scheduled Mardi Gras parade that all the kids could participate in, there were several booths from local charities and vendors, a huge back field in which folks were flying kites and playing catch, and a balloon watch, which albeit expensive (225 bucks a person to be launched in the air!) was fun to watch.
Now, the music. Ahhh, the music. Suffice it to say that the music of the day could be summed up in just one word: Unbelievable. How lucky were we, the tiny little Pioneer Valley, to have been graciously afforded stellar performances by the likes of James Hunter, Neko Case, and the show-stopping legend Buddy Guy? Pretty damn lucky. Each performer played a generous set and the stage sound was excellent (props to the sound guys!).

First perfomers of the day were the Kennedys and Raini Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, local folk singers who have been performing around the area for years. They were also featured on the second stage in the lower fields, which consisted of mostly local bands playing in the shade.

Erin McKewon was next for the main stage, in all of her 5 foot energetic glory. She has a great knack for rockabilly swing and she got the crowd pumped.

British jazz singer James Hunter followed suit, and his set got everyone dancing. I don’t know how he does it, but this white Brit has the power to conjure up the ghost of Otis Retting and make you forget he’s white or British. He was very entertaining with funny quips in between songs; overall his set was a ton of fun!

The next performance was by Southern Culture on the Skids. Think the White Trash, down home southern version of the B-52’s. They were a riot to see live; the lead singer was wearing some kind of Thomas-Dolby inspired green visor hat, and the backup girl sported a red-hot beehive wig. With songs like “There’s too much Pork for Just one Fork”, “Corn Liquor”, and “Doublewide”, how can you go wrong? They ended their set with a piece called “8-piece bucket”, which involved inviting audience members on stage to throw wings of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Nice!

Neko Case began her set by commenting on how it’s been a while since she’s performed on a stage covered in kentucky fried chicken :). Neko, oh Neko, how can this petite red-head conjure up such an enormous, soulful sound? She and her backup singer Kelly Hogan did an utterly stunning, gracious set. She got very silly with the audience and her bandmates in between songs, but when the time came to sing (except for one part in which she had to sneeze!), she was ever serious. She played a fantastic set with goodies from Blacklisted and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and a couple from Furnace Room Lullaby (her first solo (post New Pornographers) album in which she called her band “Neko Case and Her Boyfriends”). Her music is the kind that you can climb inside and experience the largeness of a feeling you can’t otherwise put in words. We love you Neko!

The final perfomer I am still in shock over seeing. I can’t believe Buddy Guy played at our humble little festival, and I don’t know how they got him to do it, but he did. It was OH so magical. Buddy Guy is an undisputed legend, and it was hard to believe he was up there in age (71!) when he took to the stage and played his heart out. If you heard blues played on the radio before and weren’t a big fan of it, you MUST see it live. You have to see it live in order to truly feel it, and boy did we feel it that night. Buddy kept saying what a great time he was having, he was gonna play all night (and he nearly did-a good 45 minutes over his alloted set time!). The energy was palpable and magnetic. He played his heart out, and man I swore we saw smoke emanating from that guitar! It was sheer magic. He then dumfounded us all by jumping into the crowd and playing in the audience, inviting others to sing with him including one lucky little child whom he let strum on his guitar. It made the event all the more intimate and unforgettable. Wow, Buddy Guy, in the presence of us mere mortals! He appeared reluctant when he finally ended his set (with a great performance of imitating other guitar legends), but he generously flung out a dozen or so guitar picks into the squealing audience. SO worth it. We’re still reeling from the magic!

All in all it was a fantastic day and we look forward to next year’s festival-woo hoo!

Chris wanted to add his story of a particularly adorable event at the show (my ovaries are hurting):

While watching Neko Case I had made a new friend named Stella. I was watching her perform and caught out of the corner of my eye something. I turned and there was this very cute little girl who was just bopping around. I did a little wave to her and she then made a direct bee line for the blanket I was sitting on. Ok, I am a total sucker for cute little kids but she was adorable and just seemed like a truly happy giggly little girl. Maybe she knew I had the sucker quality in me and that if she could talk and ask for a new car I would have bought her one 🙂
So we spent the next part of a little while playing the “sharing the grass clippings” game and the showing me her shoes while giggling. She then played the game of figuring out my ear rings and of course the ever popular picking of the clover flowers. Definitely made me want a clone of her. Eventually, her moms left since it was getting late and we waved goodbye. Of course hearing her tiny little goodbye made me all googly. Sigggh….