Monday, June 1, 2009

It's a goddamn Samsquanch!

So I've been meaning to post for a while now, both in general as well as about the most triumphant time I had while at the Samsquanch festival. So here goes. As with all events I attend, the first order of business was to get work off. This time around it was surprisingly easier than normal, I was able to take care of all the arrangements including getting someone to teach my swim lessons, in a single morning. This may not seem, to an outsider, like something that should be that difficult, but I assure you that at my place of work it is an extremely difficult task. So we set off from Olympia, Suzye and I, behind schedule (as usual) to pick up Ashley in Tacoma. Once there we found a mountain of stuff that I had to fit on top of the already huge pile of stuff we had brought for ourselves. But I managed, using my profound tetris-like skills taught to me by the master of fitting shit in a trunk- my father. And so, after roasting green, we set off toward the gorge. We made it just in time to set up our tent in the dark and began to settle for our five day stay. After working the next day in the morning we got to see some behind-the-scenes action and I, for the first time, began to understand all of the work that goes into making an enormous three-day long festival. That night we became acquainted with all of the people we would be working with for the next several days and found them to be for the most part a pretty cool group of people.

On the first day of concert going we saw the rap/electronic duo Champagne Champagne. I was pleasantly surprised by their show. They sounded pretty good, and had a fresh sound. They pumped up the crowd pretty well also. Following the show, and for the rest of the weekend they were a fixture backstage. Nearly every time we were back there they could be seen hanging out. This brings me to another point about the weekend that was really cool; our ability to go behind the scenes at will. I have never felt so privileged at a gathering before. We were able to eat catered food that was almost always spectacular, as well as mingle among the artists. I felt like the kid in Almost Famous all weekend. Next we saw M. Ward, which was kind of low-key but good, followed by Devochka. We didn't see all of their set but they were good also. That night we saw the Decemberists and they were easily my favorite band of the day. They played mostly new stuff and it was incredible. Their female vocalist kicked ass and took names onstage, belting it out like she owned the place. Awesome. After their set we decided to go load up on grub before work that evening. BTW, I should have menshoned, we worked the night shift which meant 11 at night until 9 in the morning. Pretty grueling, but actually, aside from having to find a cool place to sleep during the day, it was ideal. We could see most of the bands we wanted to see during the day instead of being trapped at the mainstage, only able to see who played there. Anyway, we got in the grub tent, washed our hands and got in line. And thats when I had my first star-struck moment of the weekend. Right in front of me in line for grub was the lead singer of the Decembrists! I had to tell him "great set man!" even though I probably wasn't supposed to. He thanked me and we went on dishing up. It was a pretty cool experience. After eating some miraculous cesar salad and salmon, we headed back out to watch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They were amazing as well and garnered more appreciation from me than I expected to give. Toward the end of their set we headed back to camp to get ready for our first all-night shift. We came back down and listened to Kings of Leon and as soon as they got offstage we set upon tearing their stuff down. I got put on backline crew which basically means I took care of various pieces of the drum risers and instruments. While onstage I found a guitar pick with the guys name on it, along with one of the drummers sticks. It felt kind of awkward keeping it in my back pocket throughout the out (term for packing up a bands stuff and getting it loaded onto their truck) but it was completely worth it. After getting them all loaded up, and after a short break, we started unloading all of Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction's stuff, which was an assload! I swear I've never seen so much shit in all my life. They filled up the stage with all of their rigging and lights. It was hard work but we got to see the sun rise over the gorge which was simply beautiful.

We worked until nine and went to sleep. After waking up in pools of our own sweat, we hung around camp for a while getting to know the people we were working with. We eventually made our way out to the festie. While we were walking down from our campsite, which was conveniently located adjacent to the venue, SQ brought it up that we should have puffed some before we left. I agreed, and we made our way to the comedy tent to listen to Zach Galificanakis, who I also saw backstage later in the day, sitting at the same picknick table as me. Anyway we sat down to listen to the guy and befriended some Canadians. One of them asked me for a cigarette and I told them that instead of giving them money, which they offered, I would accept a joke as payment. (Suzye said it would be good karma) Never have I witnessed good karma pay off so quickly! One of the drunk Canadians instantly found a nearly-full pack of cigarettes on the ground and inside was a joint. They gave us a couple smokes and shared the J with us. After that we went to the main stage to watch TV on the Radio. They kicked much ass, as expected, and sounded great. Following that we saw Of Montreal, which had some trippy visuals and a high energy set. Suzye had to see NIN due to some infatuation she had as a rebellious youth, and we again went back to camp in preparation for the evening's shift. We watched from backstage while Jane's Addiction played (bullshit) and the lead singer talked about his penis, everyone else's penis, and other manner of weird, twisted shit. We again worked until 9 in the morning and got dicked over by being fed what Ben coined "prison sandwiches". Other than that the night went off with only marginal complaints from the crew and no one got hurt.

I am getting tired of writing so I'll just sum up the rest quickly. Santigold was INCREDIBLE! Fleet Foxes ruled, and ben harper is not even worthy of capitilization. One of my favorite bands of the whole weekend was Explosions in the Sky. If you haven't head of them you should check them out! Do it now!

Oh, and BTW an event that will go down in youtube history took place in the copulating couple on the rocks during the Decemberists show. Hilarious!