Sunday, February 13, 2011

Laneway and Les Savy Fav

Yesterday I was volunteering at the Laneway Music Festival. It's this festival where they get a bunch of indie bands I've never heard of (except Cloud Control) and force them to perform for money. (My goodness!) As a volunteer I got a free shirt, free water, free access to the festival and I could leave and come back whenever I wanted (suck it everyone else, with the whole "No passouts" rule!). First off I tried to get donations from people entering the gates for "Young Care", which not even the gate manager knew what it was... so the five other people with tins and I decided that we'd just make things up every time someone asked.
"It's for elephants. Baby elephants."
"Asian's training to become Doctors. Asians with the last name "young"."
"My personal crack fund."
"It's to fund a new kind of cereal. As you can see the "Y" is a rip off of the Special K, "K"."
I was winning on the donation funds. I was good at bugging people, sometimes I'd walk alongside them holding out the tin.
Turns out it was actually about paraplegics or something... which I found at later and that seemed somewhat effective if you told people it was for the disabled (as opposed to funding my crack habit, which people care less about...). I actually saw a guy in a wheelchair and was like "would you like to donate to the paraplegics?" I also went up to people on crutches to ask them if they'd "like to donate to the crippled?"

There was some other volunteer activities. At one point I had to fill in for someone as they had lunch so I got to go behind a stage onto the street and tell people that the laneway next to me was not the entrance to the festival and they need to go down the street and turn left twice..... YEAH! I was good at it too.
Then some pretty girls in a redbull car drove up, gave me redbull and walked past where I (and someone else) was meant to be guarding into the backstage area. I'm not sure if we were meant to let them through... oh well, we got bribed with redbull by pretty ladies! And we didn't get in trouble... so an overall win.

Anyway, fast forward through the boring bits and we get to me signing off my shift just in time to see Cloud Control! Wooo! That was lots of fun, as they were the only band that I knew of/could understand the lyrics of. They seem to like mentioning water in a lot of their songs for some reason and I should try and ask them if there's meant to be some recurring metaphor behind that...

Despite not knowing who anyone else was, I stuck around (hey, I'd been working and on my feet for nearly 5 hours without getting paid, the least I could do is make the most of the free admission to this festival!) and I just so happened to find myself watching a band from New York called Les Savy Fav.

Now if you've ever seen them live then you'll know why they stuck out from every other band there. If you haven't seen them live, let me give you a quick run down of what I saw (I wasn't there for about the first 5 minutes I think):

The lead singer is this very energetic strange man who decided to jump off stage, and tug at the microphone cord so he could further and further into the moshpit, crowd surf, and start to sink.

^That is the most normal thing he did all night, by far. That would've been pretty normal looking for a rock performance if he wasn't 40-50 years old, fat, wearing only short shorts, have a face painted with gold, and wearing a captains sailors hat.
I can't remember which order it happened in but then he decided to get balloons out from backstage that were in a plastic bin bag and a bin (each separate) and throw them out to the audience. The balloons got stuck in the bin so instead of pouring them, he just threw the bin into the crowd. Then proceeded to tear a hole in the bin bag so he could wear it as a shirt.
At one point he ran off to the right (facing the stage), around the crowd and into this small patch of garden where two drunk guys ran out to tackle/party with him. Not deterred by random drunk people, he deliberately jumped onto the ground and tore a bite out of nearby plant as security pried the drunken people off him.
He pushed his way through the crowd, up the stairs and climbed onto a concrete wall. I was getting a bit worried for his safety as people were tugging on his mike cord. Then he stole a professional camera on a pole (to get shots above the crowd) from a photographer trying to catch his performance and began swinging it back and forth wildly as the flash went off. I stopped caring for his safety was too busy going OH S*** NOT THE CAMERA!!!!! (do you have any idea how much one of those ones cost!?)
Nearing the end of the performance he climbed up onto the giant side speakers, then grabbed onto the frame that the lights were attached too. The whole stage was rocking back and forth. Thankfully he didn't continue to swing on it and went back to the large speaker where he decided to lie on it.
At some point lots of people were on stage, I don't know who they were or why they were there but people were hugging the guitarist from behind as he played, there was just random things happening. It was all very bizarre.

Musically I didn't think they were anything too interesting. Like, acceptable to good range of songs but I don't feel the need to go and then continue to listen to them. I was completely distracted by my lack of interest in the songs by the odd antics of this weird old man.

Les Savy Fav has definitely been the most interesting and bizarre performance from a band I've ever seen. By far. Granted, I haven't been to many festivals or concerts, but I'm pretty sure most bands don't have their lead singer run off to go violently eat foliage in the middle of a performance. I'd see them again just to see what he ends up doing, see if it's different, see how much security has to interfere, and see how badly he gets hurt.

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