13 August 2009

APW 09 (day 2)

(August 1, 2009)
Josh and I stayed a few miles away from Liberty State Park and worked out our game plan for the weekend on Day 1 using the "getting lost a few times" method. Jersey City is a web of roads and the famous N.J. U-Turns. There are streets with no signs, and entrances to bridges and tunnels leading to NYC, so the directions seem simple but are not. Throw in the hills at 85 degree angles and I was utterly useless. Needless to say Josh drove us to the parking lot of the Newport Mall each day. Then we took a free light-rail ride over to the park and hiked over to the entrance.
The sun was shining, the grass was dry, and the festival took on the faint aroma of poop and low-tide.
Trail of Dead was already playing when we sloshed up to the stage and didn't recognize any of the songs. The last time I saw them live was back in 03 or 04, then came the Epic Computer Crash of 2005 and I lost all my music and just never bothered getting back into it. I did remember however that one of the band members pulled me on-stage at Irving Plaza way back when, and seeing them again brought back fond memories of sneaking into 18 and over shows. They seem to still want the audience to be a part of them, or in this case they want to be a part of the audience. One of the singers (they rotate instruments constantly) came out to say hello in the middle of a song.
Jason Reece (Trail of Dead)

After they finished we lounged in the sunshine looking at downtown New York and Ellis Island and listening to the comedians Tim & Eric in the background.

We hung out for awhile eating and wandering around the art installations.

At 5 we made our way over to the pool of mud in front of the main stage and saw Arctic Monkeys. They stood very still and weren't very interesting to watch. At least they had great accents.
Gogol Bordello needs no explanation. Drumming, jumping, shimmying, singing, and a muddy-happy group standing in front of the stage bathing in Eugene's wine-soaked voice, his actual bottle of wine, and gypsy punk.
Gogol Bordello

For dinner we sat with some high school students who had driven up from Philly for the day to see Tool. They had the worshipping fervor only teenage girls feel about seeing their favorite band of the moment, and one of them told me her hands were shaking with excitement.
It was peaceful around sunset and My Bloody Valentine was taking the stage. I expected to be soothed and calmed by their ambient music but was instead deafened by terrible mixing and a band that doesn't translate well into a live performance. It was awful. Josh convinced me that the only way we would get a good spot to see Tool was if we sucked it up and worked our way to the front during their set. I personally wanted to stand as far away as I could from the noise. By the end, I almost felt bad for the band with the sea of festival goers wearing the free earplugs and covering their ears with their hands. Those not covering their ears were flipping them off.
My Bloody Valentine on the big screen

And then there was Tool. I don't think I have ever seen Josh so excited. We made some friends in the crowd, chatting about how bad the previous band had been. The boys were trying to test each other to see who was a "real" Tool fan. I randomly came across a girl who had gone to my high school and talked to her for a few minutes while Josh talked about Alex Grey with our crowd-neighbor. As a disclaimer, I like Tool, but not as much as Josh. He is a true fan. He was drumming along on my head and shoulders, trying to get across to me exactly how difficult their songs were to play, and pointing out that in the last song they we just slightly off. I was concentrating on not getting smushed and being able to see simultaneously.
photo credit for Tool- Josh

Random fact: I didn't know that my friend Doug was at APW until afterwards. Josh unknowingly snapped his picture during Tool

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