Southside Festival takes place in the field of an airport (former airport?). Our backstage area, the Artist Village, as it’s called, was in an aircraft hangar. The giant space was divided into dressing rooms for the various bands. It was decently star-studded. We passed by doors labeled “Arcade Fire”, “Portishead”, “Chemical Brothers”, “Klaxons”… We passed by yesterday’s sign-up sheet for band massages, which was filled in with Foo Fighters and Lykke Li. Miles, Greg, and I deposited our belongings in our designated room and went to find an uninhabited dressing room in which to do some morning yoga. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour weren’t playing until seven, so we entered their room, undressed into our boxer shorts, and began exercising. About 10 min. later, the Asteroids entered and we were caught with our pants down. Apologizing, we switched across the hall to Jimmy Eat World’s empty dressing room, where, fortunately, we were not busted.
The band went and watched Everything Everything, who were playing in our tent, the Red Tent, two slots before us. I was hyped because since I last saw them, I’ve become a huge fan of their album and was able to savor them in a whole new way. They didn’t play my favorite song, “Come Alive, Diana”, and afterwards confessed to me, “Yeah, were not very good at playing that one.” I found it amusing to imagine those talented lads not being good at playing anything.
Our Southside set was great fun. I think it was my favorite performance ever of our Wonky Beats rap “Where’s the Chocolate?” The track was blaring, the crowd was electric, we were jumping from speaker to speaker, grooving, high-fives up and down the front row.
Sadly, we had to bail from Southside immediately after playing. At Hurricane, the sister festival the next day, we were able to stick around til the end and soak up the bands.
I got a kick out of The Hives. They performed in long tailed tuxedos and top hats, looking like penguins. Their frontman was so bombastic, over-the-top. At one point, he announced to the raincoat wearing crowd, “we’re glad you wore your rubbers, because you’re about to get fucked!” A few songs later, he claimed, “it’s a proven fact that I love my job more than any other rockstar!” On the way to the festival, our driver had played a 2005 live version of “Hate to Say I Told You So” in the van, in which the singer was recorded doing the same outrageous James Brown caricature throughout his banter. I had a chuckle thinking about how many years and how many shows that guy had been giving that performance. Then I imagined some moment in time, a decade from now, on the side of a festival stage, where a member of a new 2021 band incredulously watches our Darwin Deez band do our between-song dances. It’s wild, the things that people spend their life doing.
Darwin and I journeyed to the White Tent and watched an Italian DJ team called Crookers. Darwin tried to explain to me how these DJs were taking things one notch further than most DJs, more exaggerated or ridiculous or something, quirkier, and that is what he liked so much about them. I guess I don’t know enough about electronic music to tell, but I thought they were really great.
Stage security became stricter, even towards the other bands, as the Foo Fighters headlining set approached. Darwin and I minded our P’s and Q’s and were able to watch their performance from side stage. One fun thing about this was that we were able to peek in on their set list, posted by the guitar tech, and see when the good songs were coming. “Everlong”, for example, was dead last. We knew we wouldn’t be sticking around for that. Fortunately, “My Hero”, a personal fave of Darwin’s, was fourth in the set. It sounded real nice. Foo Fighters occupy an interesting space in this 2011 rock ‘n roll world. They are, as Darwin put it, “the old guard.”
After about a half-hour, we had our fill. “You wanna go get frugal with it?” Darwin asked, referencing inside-joke tour terminology regarding our bassist Greg’s spendthrift tendencies. We headed to the artist catering area, which was nearly closed, but kindly let us in (Germany, the king of band hospitality). “Yes! Banana and butter sandwich roll!” Darwin grinned as he concocted an odd combination from the last remnants of food. “This is going in the blog.”