The day dawned fairly cloudy and foreboding, not exactly what I had in mind for my first Summerfest as a college student. I had attended a couple before when the headliners had been a bit more enticing than Breathe Carolina, but none the less I was excited for the day to get underway. So excited in fact I showed up before the music even started and was welcomed by a fairly interesting reggae band called Reviva. They helped remind me why reggae was actually a respected genre of music; because the last time I had seen a local reggae band I was fairly disgusted. They spent the entire show talking about the many ways they loved weed with the most generic backbeat they could come up with. But Reviva not only had a great horn section, but they had a lot more positive of a message and had some fairly talented musicians.
After they were done I began to wander around Johnson and was pleasantly surprised how many people I recognized and I enjoyed myself running around saying hi to everyone I could. When Murrs started I hustled back to the main stage to hear what I was hoping was going to be a sweet rap show. I got my wish that’s for sure, but pretty quickly I realized I should have gone and listened to him and did a little more homework before I saw him live. Everyone around me seemed to know the lyrics and I had a decent amount of guilt that I didn’t have a better idea of what was going on. The one song that really stuck with me was about an altercation he had at the border of Mexico involving smuggling drugs. It was a serious story told in a really funny way and it really imprinted Murrs on me as someone I would go home and listen to. What up doe, his catch phrase became mine for a good while afterwards.
Johnson finally started to get filled up and it was just in time for DJ Craze, the best scratched three years running, if that means anything… Well apparently it did because it was an extremely fun DJ show; a classic mashup artist playing hits that the crowd can get into. Of course when “Mercy” was played I went wild and it just reminded me why it was my song of 2012. We slowly started our own little mosh of sorts and it began to draw in the more rowdy members of the crowd, which just got us rowdier. I never have been a part of “those guys” that start the mosh and it was fun to do it for the first time. I remember pretty vividly Phoenix crashing into everyone as “I Woke Up In A New Bugaati” blasted over the speakers and thinking, these scene girls are going to get furious. Because at this time, an obscene amount of scene girls had been flooding through the crowd to get the best spot they could for the “headliner” Breathe Carolina. As the DJ set winded down, I began to realize we were surrounded. So I had no other choice than to start loudly proclaiming my love of Breathe Carolina to see if I could bait any of the girls to call me out for not knowing a single thing about them. Weirdly none of the girls seemed to know who Breathe Carolina was either, they must have just known they were sceneesque.
I took it upon myself to get us all hyped for the band none of us really wanted to see and as I repeatedly said “I LOVE BREATHE CAROLINA” we all slowly actually began to get a little more hyper. When the band finally came on, they were really nothing special, playing a sort of metal/electronic kind of music. But damn we got into it jumping around screaming like scene girls and then to top it all off the lead singer jumped into the crowd and we were able to actually touch his arm. It was a wild experience, the lights were flashing and the whole crowd was full of a really weirdly high energy. I was actually kind of sad when I had to leave early and they made it even harder as they started play “Billie Jean” as I walked away.
I had a good excuse to leave though; my brother had found out about some Indonesian throat singer at Synchro Studio that we had to get to. The opening act was a three piece band consisting of a drummer, guitarist and bass clarinet player. And yes it was as weird as that sounds. It could best be described as free form jazz with a lot of random playing, notes blaring and the drums hammering. It built and built until the climax arrived with a deafening crescendo of the honking bass clarinet and the screeching guitar. But the loudest and most frightening thing was the drummer began to mutilate his set as the music took ahold of him. He kicked in his bass drum, placed it over his head as he continually punched the rest of his drums breaking the heads. It was violent and chaotic and very unexpected. Yet is also was the perfect end to a very hectic performance.
As me and Patch recovered from the decimating music we began to realize how truly exhausted we were. It had been a long day of music with still one more act, called Arrington De Dionyso’s Malaikat Dan Singa… So we knew it was going to be a bit odd and it was. Described to me as Indonesian throat singing with a hint of punk and jazz I knew there was no way it was going to be bad. The man who called himself Arrington De Dionyso’s Malaikat Dan Singa had long shaggy hair, wore robes of sorts and was wearing sandals, looking very Jesus like except for the spectacles and wispy mustache he had. The music was very free form, with lots of hard guitar and drums (he had a full band) with him playing bass clarinet. His singing and voice was where the true magic came from, embodying an animalistic style with noises I could not have imagined hearing from a human. It was all very cult like and people were really dancing their hearts out and acting possessed. Me being fairly tired and wanting to impress tried to dance similarly and ended up just acting like a fool with a lot of swinging of my arms and entire body in an attempted rhythm to the free form music.
The fact so many people were interested in this genre of music that was unknown to me until that show really fascinated me and honestly excited me to know that there was this awesome scene of music hidden in Albuquerque right under my very nose! I really just wish I had not been as tired as I was because I think if I had been a little more energetic I may have actually been able to out dance those hipsters…