Donnybrook Does Monolith
Why, hello there. Why don’t you come into our fantastic rock and roll palace? (photos www.28deep.com)
Ivyy: So I’m hanging out backstage, sipping a champagne spritzer that was brought to me by a festival peon, when I hear a voice behind me. “Can I offer you a light?” The soft click of a designer Zippo being opened and lit, and Wayne Fucking Coyne of The Flaming Fucking Lips is lighting my cigarette. He looks deep into my eyes and casually says, “So, come here often?” Wait. Wait a minute. Is, is Wayne Coyne, flirting with me?!?!?! Then, out of the corner of my eye I see a tall blond blur coming straight at us, and before I can say two words, Britt Daniel of Spoon is flying through the air legs first, delivering a crushing blow to Wayne’s kidney. Wayne goes flying into the wall and crumples, and Britt lands neatly in front of me, exactly where Wayne was standing a moment ago. “She’s mine, Coyne, you stay away from her!” he snarls, then turns to me and bows. Wayne comes running at Britt, screaming “You can’t have her, Daniel, I’ve wanted her from the moment I saw her!” An epic battle ensues……
….My alarm goes off, OH DAMMIT….. time to wake up and go to MONOLITH!! I can only hope my fantasy of a massive martial arts battle for my heart between these two Uber Rock stars comes true at some point during the weekend. In the hopes that it does, I am going to be wandering around, eyes peeled, notebook in hand, ready to write down every random happening that occurs at Monolith Music Festival. Here are the fruits of my “labor”, dear ones…..
Angora: One must be prepared for the music festival. It doesn’t matter how close you are to the people you’re traveling with; only God decides if you’ll travel together well, and, I daresay God was smiling down upon the four of us, the Monolith Festival Dream Team:
Specialty: Sex columnist, writer
Festival Super Power: deftly taking festival notes in the restroom so as not to waste time. Excellent peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Specialty: Music journalist, dance machine
Festival Super Power: heroically diving in to save a friend from getting kicked out of VIP. Which failed.
Specialty: Snobcaster, bringing the flavor
Festival Super Power: vomiting in the portapotty, then promptly chugging vodka and dancing to Laylights.
Specialty: Leisurely man-about-town, behind-the-scenes laborer
Festival Super Power: setting up the festival booths since 6 a.m. Friday, then partying like a rock star and getting the girl in the end.
This team was a well-oiled machine, fueling, smuggling booze and the like, lotioning backs, avoiding traffic, and then spooning at night.
Ivyy: Arrive VIP parking, Red Rocks Amphitheater. Ahh, Red Rocks. The weather is perfect, the sky is clear and crisp, The Donnybrook Representative Crew has commandeered the official Monolith Donnybrook Subaru Hatchback- we have 24 PBRs, 4 wine coolers, 3 cans of Pepsi, and a bottle of raspberry vodka. I am the self-proclaimed concert mom, so I have packed 4 PB&J sandwiches, a bag of roasted almonds (festival-goers need protein on the go), and 3 emergency nutrition bars. We have half a bottle of Ibuprofen, comfortable (yet stylish) shoes, and 3 media passes. The excitement is palpable, we are jittery with anticipation.
Angora: We hang out with some awesome kids with a radical Astro Van from the ’80s. One dude hangs his VIP pass from yellow measuring tape, claiming he’s gonna need to measure all the fun he’s going to have.
3:30: Everything Absent or Distorted*.
Angora: We reach the dropoff and the refrain from "Still Life with Machine Gun" blasts to the top of the amphitheater and into our ears. As we make our first of many descents down those stairs, the song chugaglugs along and they sing "All hail the coming of the…"
(I’m not trying to be artistic by not finishing that lyric, I really don’t know what they say. Anyone?)
Ivyy: IT BEGINS!!!!! This is so exciting!!!! Why am I so excited?!?!?! Angora and I can’t stop dancing and jumping and smiling and running around saying hi to everyone we see watching the set. EAOD is commanding the huge main stage, wearing all white (a nod to Donnybrook perhaps? Thanks, guys!). I had wondered how a local Denver band would do in the intimidating hugeness of playing a Red Rocks show, but EAOD seems right at home. Awwwww, Donnybrook is just so proud of you crazy kids.
3:50: Mason Proper at the WOXY stage.
Angora: Mason Proper tweaks out awesomely agitated dork rock. The lead singer rocks the fuck out on high school band percussion instruments, then a tambourine – throwing them when he’ s through with them – then dives onto the floor to frantically play a keyboard that looks like it’s coming out of an old suitcase tangled with wires. I’m a new fan.
4:00: The Broken West at the New Belgium Stage.
Angora: The band? It was boring. However…
We did see a figure, sort of stringy, black, and pale. "If I had to guess, I’d say that’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club," says I. After some deal-making (big sad eyes and pathetic levels of starstruckness), Robert Levon Been agrees to take a photo for the blog.
The only thing is R.C. took it, and her camera is having problems….I swear it happened, really!
4:30: Ghostland Observatory at the main stage.
(these braids and girl pants have been captured by www.28deep.com)
Angora: A stiff man stands, caped, upon a platform. He is forcing giant sounds to fill the entire arena with gut-trembling vibrations. There is some freaking time and space thing – the further I get away from Ghostland, and the less attention I give them, the more interesting their sounds get. When I turn around and go back, watch, it gets boring again.
Ivyy: Bryce from EAOD and Brigid from Bela Karoli come strutting out from the backstage entrance, arms around each other, satisfied look on their faces that says “we are rock stars who are cooler than 90% of the people in attendance here, and we were just hanging out backstage at Red Rocks .”
5:10: cat-a-tac* at the WOXY stage. The room is fucking packed!
5:45: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Angora: I want to say no, but I say yeah. Over and over. I even clap my hands! Their show is beautiful, and earnest, and makes me nostalgic for a time in which I am still present.
Ivyy: The lead singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s voice is so bad its good. It’s the proverbial rake on a sidewalk, if the rake were high on ecstasy and totally in love with the sidewalk. He is also conveniently wearing the best worst pants in indie-rock history.
6:15: Das EFX at the New Belgium stage.
Ivyy: Holy disconnect, Batman. In front of me is the whitest looking couple ever- complete chipsters, the both of ‘em. He’s wearing plaid golf pants (literally), carrying a briefcase type thingy, and she’s got one of those lacoste pastel pink alligator collar shirts with the collar actually popped. They look like they should be posing for an American Eagle catalog (or even a Donnybrook photo session). Yet between them they are passing a blunt the size of a tennis can. I love this festival.
Angora: Ivyy and I discuss how older hip hop acts – like Rob Bass or DJ Jazzy Jeff – can rap over a montage of the best rap moments and we still go ape-shit for it!
7:00: Kings of Leon.
The photo’s more exciting than the show. www.28deep.com
Angora: Ivyy and I sit at what we later learn is the handicapped section to eat PB&Js Ivyy had made! and we watch Kings of Leon. What I like about their albums, particularly Aha Shake Heartbreak, is the pain and the torture and the dirtiness. The imperfection. As three of them stand in a perfect row, strumming in time, I miss that edge. Dirty it up, boys!
Then we talk with the boys from 3OH!3. Nice Boulder kids with bright hats.
7:45: VIP Lounge.
Ivyy: Ugh. I know I wrote about the PGBs in a past column…. Has anyone ever heard of the Festival Blues? I’m in the midst of them right now. I have a beer headache, I haven’t eaten in 8 hours, my legs are sore, and I’m totally lethargic. I could care less what’s going on on stage, I’m going to sit and relax with Angora and Tall Amanda, and listen to the Editors show from the comfort of the visitors center patio. Lovely.
Angora: Then we run into Goose (from Denver band King For a Day) and the hot Mrs. Goose. We all take shots with the Thieves. Amanda and I have the most satisfying conversation one might have with heartbreaking British rock star blokes: we talk about rock and roll orgies and naughty British words, like ‘bollocks’ and ‘minge.’ Then we talk about Kansas?
Doncha wanna talk about bollocks with this lad?
9:30: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.*
Angora: They play silhouetted by stage lights through gray smoke. It’s awesome to see them on the smaller New Belgium stage, up close, caterwauling and crazy. It sucks because I’m so behind, and still enjoying their album from 2003 – Take Them On, On Your Own. This will happen when I see Arcade Fire play Neon Bible stuff at Red Rocks, and I’m still stuck on Funeral. What can I say? I like vintage.
Ivyy: Making a huge comeback from the festival blues, I’m now watching Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Angora is pretty much totally gay for this band, so I’ve lost her and Father Guido into the crowd up front, I’m now on my own, alone at a festival, solita….. but wait, no, a savior in the form of Chris from Laylights!!! He becomes my festival buddy for the next hour. Holla!
Ivyy: Watching Cake is, like, do you remember having that favorite movie when you were a kid? You watch the movie like a thousand times, and you freakin’ love this movie, and then you lose track of it. Then, as an adult, on a whim, you rent this movie again, thinking “oh my god I LOVE this movie!” And then you watch the movie, and it’s crap, and you’re like, “What was I thinking when I was a kid? Did I actually like this movie?” That’s what seeing Cake is like for me.
Angora: It’s impressive at first, how John McCrea comes out dressed like a senior citizen and lures the crowd into submission, his tight crisp way about him, the latin trumpet curling around him, his hands dictating the vibe. It’s all very tight. But I become kind of bored. So we go to….
Angora: Fucking shit, that shit is legit! We are dancing our sweet asses off, and it’s hot, and we end the night like we always love doing: dancing with Ricardo, who’s being a rock star, his shades on in a dark room, throwing ice down people’s private places.
Flosstradamus are the DJ Duo that backs Kid Sister, who’s a crossover emcee, like M.I.A. They set up the climax for her arrival, the trumpets, the ahhhs, the dah-dah-dahhhs: she comes out, dancing, rapping, neon, hot, awesome, and we’re all kind of like, "Meh."
I don’t know why. We’re in dancing grooves or something, we are trying to cheer but it’s not enough. She’s an awesome emcee and totally hot, and cool about it, but she actually says, "Hm, that’s awkward."
Our immediate need for bed and sudden sobriety outweigh those glorious, adorable little dreams we had of car camping Bohemia. We all go home and sleep in…beds. Ivyy dreams of floating away with Wayne in his bubble. It’s actually really fucking cool to attend a music festival, sleep in your bed, and go back to said music festival. So we decide to go back the next day.
You want more? Check out part two of the Monolith experience, same place tomorrow morning. Expect Flaming Lips, Spoon, BJM, Art Brut, and going commando! Remember to bring your PB&Js!
And for more radical rockalicious photos, go here.
*Bands with asterisks by their names are bands that Angora wrote about in the Monolith program guide, and she probably did a better job for them since she was getting paid. Check out the Monolith program guide if you can get it!