Monolith Day One: the Slightly Crappier Day
Angora- The cold and the rain sucked. However, I’m so tired of hearing people complain about it, and I had fun, so let’s move on and get to the great music then, yeah? Or at least the drinking part….
We start Monolith this time how we always start Monolith: hung-the-fuck-over. All the goodness and pre-parties and pre-party-after-parties are on Friday night. I spent the eve in Boulder, at a super secret sudden show starring These United States at George’s (next to the Boulder Theater, which was host to the Happy Mondays and the Psychedelic Furs. Someone who broke into the Furs’ show next door reported that it looked like a “fermented John Hughes film” in there.).
(editor’s note: here we begin Surly Ivyy’s Angry Review of Monolith. Please to enjoy her anguish.)
Ivyy- Hung-the-fuck-over indeed. JB and I took advantage of our incredible media status to go hang at what we thought was the party to be at. Leave it to Angora to have a cooler and even MORE secret and exclusive engagement. But I digress. What I wanted to talk about for Friday was Hot Tub. Holy crap, have you ever seen a crazier group of badass bitches? No. No you have not. Wearing ripped leggings and leotards covering all 150 to 180 pounds of their bodies (I’m not talking out of school here, they announced their weight to the crowd when they were looking for volunteers to hold them on their shoulders for a chicken fight), these chicks got absolutely crazy for a half hour, ably backed by two DJs who looked like the IT department in your office. JB called them MC Fat and DJ Old in his review over at Empty Reviews, and I thought that was hilarious so have stolen it.
Ok, so, Hot Tub, right? Our friend Graeme was stoked on the band, and before the show he warned me that I might want to have a couple of drinks in me in order to truly appreciate the craziness of the show. So I blame him for the fact that I had four Jack and Cokes and almost couldn’t move for a good couple of hours the next morning.
1pm: Tailgate party
Angora: Our tailgating Saturday was particularly debaucherous probably due to the magnitude of last night’s drinking–the rule is that the more hung over you are, the more you must drink to get over it. People were shotgunning beers, and Heather Browne narrowly escaped with her life, miraculously unscathed, from a staggering Pabst Blue Ribbon shotgunning incident. Ivyy and I drank straight shots of vodka for some unimaginable reason. It was so vivid, our manner of drink, and so, so early, that I questioned for a moment whether I was having a flashback to my junior high days.
Luckily I had to climb a whole mountain to get to the first show, which sobers a person up right quick.
Ivyy: I make a MIRACULOUS RECOVERY and started out Monolith seeing Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, a band name that is unique in being both difficult to remember AND hard to pronounce. I forgive them the name, though, because Thao almost immediately plays that “Bag of Hammers” song that I love so much.
3 PM: These United States
Angora: The boys are in rare form, although they’re always in rare form, so I suppose it’s not rare. The WOXY stage is crammed full of people. OK, so I’m biased, but each time the show gets reaches an even higher level. The band has always had great songs, tons of talent, and enough to pedal steel to kill a horse, but the most exciting part is this stage where they’re breaking through to people who aren’t into that genre due to the sheer energy of the show, each time both more tight and explosive. I’m especially impressed this time around by Robby Cosenza‘s propulsive drumming (I’m going to request a signed drum stick)–he’s a total madman. Since I’m their publicist (or one of them), friends who hadn’t seen them yet approach me for the rest of the day, gushing–even ones with wildly different tastes.
Also, someone is smoking a doobie in the crowd at the show. For some reason this makes me smile, to know we’ve tapped into that demographic.
3 PM: Various singer/songwriters.
Ivyy- I see a half hour of pleasant folk rock- 3 songs from Danielle Ate The Sandwich (totally fuckable, my dears), 2 songs from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and 2 songs from These United States. And I’ll say it, hipsters: what’s the big draw of Edward Sharpe & The blah blah blahs? Everyone was all “Oh, wow, I luuuuuurve them!” and I was all “Really? These guys? They’re like, Polyphonic Spree Lite, dude.
Also, I really hate when you’re at a show and some douchebag comes and stands DIRECTLY in front of you. Really, dude? You see me here, right? All 5’7” of me? Douche.
3:30 PM: Media tent.
Angora- One of the adorable girls from Generationals is my hero. She is blond, pretty, slight in frame, and has a flower in her hair–and she is politely telling me that she’s trying to get a book published, but is having trouble because it is far too pornographic. I tell her to contact my people immediately.
3:30- Frightened Rabbit
Ivyy- Yeah, I’ll say it, hipsters, since no one else has the guts to: I DO NOT LIKE Frightened Rabbit. I find the music boring. I’m sure they’re very nice fellows and you gotta love the Scottish brogue and whatnot, but I shan’t be buying a record of theirs anytime soon.
4:00 for a very long time- Media Tent
Ivyy- Ok it’s fucking cold and the music sucks. Time to hang out in the media tent, which, because of the rain, has taken on refugee-like status. Unfathomably crowded with pretentious bloggers (yours truly included) trying to stay dry. But there’s free booze and food, so of course all is well. I’m on my own, having lost Angora, JB, and Father Guido through a series of phone-related mishaps, which Angora will now talk about…
4:20 PM: The Answering Machines
Angora- I can’t describe their sound apart from the fact that it is a fitting soundtrack to a phone-related moment of sheer panic: I’ve lost Father Guido’s cell phone in the crowd somewhere at TUS. I’ve also lost Father Guido, who obviously doesn’t have a phone*. Which wouldn’t matter, because my own phone is dead**. Between four of our carload, there is one phone. In festival-land, this is no bueno.
But it is really packed and enthusiastic in there–you really notice other peoples’ enjoyment much more in contrast to your own misery.
*Father Guido had his phone all along–had stolen it back from me without my noticing.
**I’d like to take a moment and mention I should probably be fired from my jobs, which are both jobs based upon the ability to communicate effectively.
7:40 PM: Hollywood Holt and Millions $ Mano:
Angora- This guys cracks me up, man. He is so cocky and demands so much from the crowd, and he gives even more. He won’t even begin until the crowd is in hysterics, screaming with their eyes bulging out and about to have heart attacks. This is tough especially for the hipsters. But he delivers some ridiculously excellent, super danceable hip-hop. Then he does a free-style and then makes sure the crowd understands how crazy that shit is. YEAH, I just DID that. Because I’m CRAZY and shit!
8:45 PM: Of Montreal
BLURRY PHOTOS BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO
Ivyy- For me, they should be called Overblown Expectations (zing!). Everyone was all “OMG Of Montreal is gonna be CRAZY!” So I’m watching, and, I’ll say it, hipsters: it is decidedly not crazy. Then again, I’m decidedly surly right now (see editor’s note, above), so maybe I’m not the best judge. But whatever, my sound and sane judgment is not why you’re reading this, right? Right.
Angora- The photo pit before Of Montreal is like the Twilight Zone. The three men surrounding me are acting strange, like they are on drugs or something. When I enter the photo pit, they all turn and stare at me with big eyes and introduce themselves, which is highly unnecessary in photo pit etiquette–even I know this, and I’m a complete fraud. One of them asks me, “Do you consider yourself a visual engineer?” “Yes,” says I, rolling my eyes on the inside. “What do you got there?” says he, glancing down at my impressive photo equipment. This is all it takes for me to launch into a stammering confession, that I have no idea because I borrowed the camera and photo pass from Donnybrook’s real photographer because I’m the editor and I can do that, and I just really wanted to be up close for Of Montreal. I ask him what he has, and he pulls out..a cell phone.
He’s taking photos with his cell phone and pointing out the composition to me, extolling upon his photographic genius. The waving, preening, screaming 16-year-olds in the front row surely think they’re going to be in Rolling Stone when the camera points their way; I’m starting to think they’re letting anyone in. People on drugs without photo passes who have camera phones, par example.
And it’s not even a nice cell phone.
I’m right at the feet of the fantastical Kevin Barnes, so close, actually, that it’s excitingly uncomfortable. Without the fringes of fluttering hands and the crazed cheer of the crowd between me and the show, it’d oddly quiet and monumentally everyday–and in that, it’s especially exciting. Kevin Barnes is so perfect and pretty in his glam sailor outfit, with his pristine little dance movements and his glitter eye makeup. His face is stone serious and unfriendly. My camera lens zooms in so close, I feel like I’m invading his private space. I am all up in his business. This rock photography rules–fuck writing about the shows.
Then a lot of weird shit happens. It’s more theatrical, silver-masked throngs of people creeping around Kevin Barnes in black bodysuits, children opening Christmas presents to find smoke billowing out and gas masks.
Ivyy- Hmmm, maybe I spoke too soon? Did I just see a couple of fuzzies having a chicken fight onstage?
Angora- Then a man dressed up as a tiger holds another man upside-down and simulates devouring his cock (like, actually eating it). This is the gayest thing I’ve ever heard of happening, ever, on the planet Earth. This is so gay that I want to make sweet gay love to everyone in the crowd. I am so enraptured with this entire show. When I finally emerge from the photo pit, I’m back in the real world, and I hear the show isn’t that great from afar. Huh.
Ivyy- You know, this show isn’t that great from afar. Huh.
9:30 PM: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
PHOTOS BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO AND PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES III
Karen O is magnificently beautiful in her weirdness, in the rain. I think that she’s one of the best frontpeople out there; she’s sexy in a strange kind of way, she’s ballsy in her movements and expression, she has a punk rock edge to her, and she does these graceful almost Kabuki-esque movements in her extravagant, flowing (and functional!) poncho. She stops with her arms raised, devouring the energy of the crowd and making them go even more nuts–moving slowly also makes for way better press photos. Then she freaks out and stomps on the floor, sending confetti shooting out into the crowd. Again, I’m an arms-length from all of this in the photo pit, watching the confetti float up into the vast crowd filling up Red Rocks. From where I’m at, Monolith looks like a success.
Here are some more photos below, and stay tuned for Day Two: the Even Awesomer Day!