It's been a long 6 years since we had anything new out of Los Angeles based industrial metal band Filter but now that the DeLeo brothers have gone back to Stone Temple Pilots and the Army of Anyone gig is on hiatus, Richard Patrick and his bandmates are back with a new album and a new tour. I had a chance to talk about the tour and the album with Filter bassman John Spiker, whose filling in for Frank Cavanugh while he serves a tour in Iraq. Filter is midway through a tour that have seen them over in the war zone with Operation Myspace, then Europe and finally North America. Starting the North American leg of the tour in Austin they will be swinging through Toronto tomorrow giving our staff a chance to review and shoot the show. To listen to the interview, click the link below.
Richard Patrick of Filter photo by Jeff Barringer - Staff Photographer
I crawl from my tent at 8:30 am the monday following Bonnaroo to a ghost town of sorts. Within the field of discarded shade canopies, chairs, blankets and coolers, the few remaining campers are solemn and withdrawn. There is water in the shower trailers today. Yesterday I washed by cupping my hands under the meager trickle from the nozzle and carefully dousing my body with the precious fluid. Those who arrived after me wouldn't even be that lucky.
The previous night I had sat at the camp site with my travel mate Carrie and reminisced about my Bonnaroo experience while the festival's final act, renown jam-band Wide Spread Panic, drifted over to us from the distant "What Stage".
Click thumbnails to view full size images
A suit of Crown Royal Bags
This cat had a watermelon on his head for days
Dancing to Ozomatli
Bonnaroo began for me with a email from photographer Carrie Musgrave a scant three weeks before the festival. Did I want to go, would I drive? I said yes, and spent the next 20 days buying camping gear and wondering what I was getting myself in for.
What I got myself in for was one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had. Bonnaroo the festival began in 2002 as a small hippie jam band festival featuring the likes of Wide Spread Panic, The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh, Les Claypool, and Gov't Mule. It has grown tremendously in the ensuing 6 years but the ethos has remained the same. A peaceful, accepting tent city of 80,000 erected overnight on 700 acres in rural Tennessee with a diverse group of musicians providing the soundtrack for the whole thing.
As early as the first day it became apparent that the most important commodities at Bonnaroo were water, shade, and sleep. Water was easy to come by, but you could make a friend instantly if you could offer cold water. Shade was in shorter supply for the general 'Rooer. "This Tent", "That Tent", "The Other Tent" offered shaded viewing areas in front of the stages and there were a few trees scattered throughout the site. All of this shade was greedily consumed by the hot and dusty concert goers. The third commodity, sleep, was irrevocably tied to the shade. With My Morning Jacket and Kanye West performing until sunrise a tent is no a place to sleep after the music is over and the Tennessee sun begins beating down. As early as the first day men and women were sprawled out on the floor of the XBox 360 tent, in the Fuse TV barn, and under the trees in the hope of capturing what was violently ripped from them at sunrise.
Sleep where/when you can was no more evident than when at 5:00 AM Sunday morning Carrie spotted a girl, who most likely imbibed in a little too much of one substance or another, sleeping on the ground next to the Garnier Fructis table by the shower trailers. After checking her vitals Carrie left her to her slumber. As I made an early morning trip to the port-a-lets I was pleased to see that someone else had covered her in the Day-Glo green Garnier table cloth. Carrie had remarked that maybe she really wanted to be at the front of the line for a shower in the morning?
At no time during the festival did I witness any violence or even anger. What I saw was security (labeled "Safety" on their shirts), allowing the concert goers to do what they wanted so long as it was not endangering themselves or those around them.
People slept, danced, sang, ate and drank where, when, how they wanted. For 4 days a beautiful utopia sprang up in rural Tennessee.
My neighbours to the East are up now too. As I began to disassemble my camp I put some on some water to boil. It's the camp stove coffee I plan to make and share which has helped us to bond over the weekend. The neighbour on the other side wonders if I have any jumper cables. These were the last supply to be packed and among the most important. The coffee klatch would also require a boost before their drive home to Virginia. A girl strolls by and asks if we'd like to update our voter information and if we might be able to give her a ride to New York. Another nearby camper asks if I have any water. I'm glad to share what we have left. About this time I receive a text message from home that my 2 year-old has peed on the toilet for the first time. This is the strange afterglow of Bonnaroo.
Edit: I found this photo on my camera this morning (June 20, 2008). It was taken as we sat in our camp listening to the aformentioned Wide Spread Panic set and my last photo of Bonnaroo.
The view from our camp toward the Which Stage on the last night of Bonnaroo
All photos by clint gilders - staff photographer except where noted
by clint gilders - clubkingsnake staff
Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennesee
June 14, 2008
I can say that previously a concert has never moved me close to tears. June 14 was the night that changed. Pearl Jam embraced the spirit of Bonnaroo and performed an extended two and a half hour plus set that ebbed and flowed through some of the greatest music of this generation.
As the lights shone over the assembled throng for the first time frontman Eddie Vedder remarked that he no idea of the scale of this event until this moment. Then "Black" flowed over the crowd and the show rose to a new level for me.
Later, Eddie introduced Victoria Williams' "Crazy Mary". This was a song they originally recorded for Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams and among my favourite songs of all time.
Next Eddie performed "No More" after talking about his friend Tomas Young (subject of the recent documentary Body of War) and his recent decline in health related to a pulmonary embolism and subsequent infection. I photographed Tomas in Texas earlier this year and my heart and prayers go out to him, his family, Eddie and anyone close to him during this terrible time.
The Audience during Pearl Jam at Bonnaroo
photo by Clint Gilders - staff photographer
My emotions finally got the best of me during "Release" which Eddie Vedder dedicated to his friend Luke whom had recently lost his father. PJ's debut Ten and especially this song bring back memories of a fantastic yet disastrous time in my life.
The marathon set closed with "Alive" (also from Ten) and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower".
Later that night, and throughout the festival I heard of similar reactions from other festival goers. They may have been moved by a different song, or felt a different emotion, but the common thread was that Pearl Jam came to Bonnaroo and joined with a multitude of like minded individuals and created something beautiful and powerful.
I looked up and some blond in a little econo-box pulled up at the stop sign had caught sight of my PRESS badge as I made my way through the heat to La Zona Rosa.
"No darling - I don't have the legs for it". I pointed down to the scarred up pale pegs providing my propulsion as she chuckled and drove off up the street, stopping to banter, barter and haggle with the scalpers in the next block.
It was another sold out show, another day of oppressive heat, and another band from my past in another Direct Events venue. As I headed through the entry gate and had my ticket scanned Jeff and the guys running the door security offered me a sandwich from a tray they had scammed from the Jimmy John's sandwich guys. I had run out the door without dinner so I greedily accepted and wolfed down one of the bready morsels.
Kanye's busted screen photo by clint gilders - staff photographer
by clint gilders - clubkingsnake staff
Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennesee
Early June 15, 2008
At the last minute Kanye's 8:15 (June 14) Which Stage set was moved to a late-night 2:45 AM (June 15) on the larger What Stage.
What a mistake that was. Kanye didn't bother to start his set until 4:25 AM. Toward the end of the interminable wait flotsam and jetsum began raining on the stage to the chants of "Bullshit!, Bullshit!". One carefully aimed projectile (a water bottle I suspect) made considerable contact with a video screen hanging toward the front of the cheesy plywood set and caused some damage (blue and red pixels).
Here's the only shot that is deserving of being included in this review after this fiasco. Oh, don't even get me started on Kanye's terrible acting and pitchy singing.
The heat was overwhelming and the sweat rolled off my brow as Gary Miller and I reached the door of the Austin Music Hall. Any hope of a cool refreshing breeze was quickly quashed when the doors opened and we were hit by an outbound rush of air that felt like a 15 million watt blow dryer. If it was anyone but The Cure I probably would have turned around right there and sought out cooler climes, but since I have followed the band since Boy's Don't Cry I knew if I bailed I would have to turn in my official Robert Smith eyeliner kit, my prozac, and have to stop wearing black in public, so like a trooper I pushed on.
Queuing up with the other photographers in the hall, the time came and as a group we tried to push our way through the mass of hot, sweaty Cure fans, packed elbow to elbow in an effort to get close to the stage. Relying on Gary's huge frame to act as a ram we finally emerged at the pit. Ditching my bag in the corner and gearing up, the photographers all sat about swapping lies. I was surrounded by a bunch of Canon-heads, and the chatter eventually de-volved into a Canon v. Nikon argument for which I was woefully un-supported. I was glad when the time came to enter the pit.
The last time I saw Metallica live was in 1990. It was the day I met my wife. Since then Metallica (in it's current iteration) had faded from my life. The Bob Rockification of the band and the resulting move to a more mainstream sound just doesn't do it for me.
BUT.... when I was offered a trip to Bonnaroo the fact that Metallica was headlining Friday night was pretty much the reason I said yes. This is a choice of headliner from far in left field. Bonnaroo is/was a hippie jam-band fest. But what a way to expose a whole new demographic to metal, or they could fail miserably.
After shooting Steel Train and Umphrey's Mcgee at the Sonic Stage and watching a bit of Willie Nelson I headed to the camp for a snack and a little rest. 8 o'clock rolled around and I started the long walk to The What Stage in a light but determined rain. The What Stage is the big stage at Bonnaroo and the crowd assembled for Chris Rock's performance was impressive. From my initial vantage point Chris was but a speck on the stage. Slowly but surely I move with the flow of the crowd and made my way toward the stage. My ascent was aided by the exodus of Bonnarooers exiting after Rock's set finished.
Metallica at Bonnaroo
Metallica at Bonnaroo
Metallica at Bonnaroo
By The time Metallica launched into "Creeping Death" fifteen minutes late I was edging pretty close to the stage, and it was worth it. The set was light on post Black Album material. Metallica seems to have figured out what the fans have always known. Everything after 1991's Metallica: Metallica (popularly known as "The Black Album") was really pretty week. There, I said it. Get over it.
The opener "Creeping Death" is my favourite Metallica song to see performed live. Fans in the know chant "Die! Die! Die" in unison and to hear this is an experience not to be missed. From that into what could be argued as their first crossover hit "For Whom The Bell Tolls". The set was a delicious sample of Metallica's greatest recordings.
It was amazing to witness James ask for a show of hands from those who'd never seen Metallica before. Estimates put it at 80%+ of those in attendance raising their hands.
What elevated this beyond a tired greatest hits review was the energy and interaction of the band. James, Kirk, and Robert roamed the stage like caged animals. Each member ventured to it's cavernous reaches and engaged the crowd. The interaction between the members was also refreshing. This is a Metallica that I haven't seen in a long time. From Kirk and James trading licks at the front of the stage, Robert's vomit inducing spins and James kneeling in front of his amp coaxing forth beautiful feedback they look like they are having fun every minute of the show.
I don't know if this show was wasted a large percentage of 'rooers but I loved every minute of it.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Ride The Lightning
Harvester of Sorrow
And Justic For All
The Memory Remains
Fade To Black
Master Of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Sad but True
Seek and Destroy
That guy from Southby at Bonnaroo photo by clint Gilders - staff photographer
That guy at Southby photo by clint Gilders - staff photographer
Adele at Bonnaroo photo by clint Gilders - staff photographer
by clint gilders - clubkingsnake staff
June 13, 2008
I got about 5 hours of sleep lastnight. My internal clock has me waking up at 6 or 7 whether I like it or not. I did try real hard to get back to sleep but then some joker a few spots over decided to share some Vanilla Ice with us. So at 8:30 it's a about a million degrees and I roll out of my tent. Coffee? Coffee? Did you know they have coffee in tea bag form? I didn't until just before coming here. What a godsend. A couple of gallons of joe, a cold shower and the world is a better place.
After the 11:30 press briefing I decide to chill at the camp site for a while and made the acquaintance of our neighbors (Hillary and Dana from Virginia) who generously offered me the use of their shade tent. If you've been to Bonnaroo you know that, most days, shade is something you could charge for though few would. A little shade, some conversation and the Drive By Truckers drifting in from the Which Stage.
Hillary happens to work for Dark Star Orchestra's management. I only mention this because it was Dark Star Orchestra's late night set which we also listened to from our campsite.
The chance of getting near "This Tent" to catch Tegan and Sara seemed slim so I wandered over to "The Other Tent" to see Adele. On my way I spotted someone who looked familiar but I couldn't place him. Then I saw his "I love Bob Saget" T-shirt and asked "Hey man were you at SouthBy wearing a Kriss Kross shirt?" I'm always amazed when at events this size I run into people I know. Ok, back to Adele. Adele is the latest UK Soul/R&B export in the vein of Amy Winehouse and Duffy. She's not as dangerous as Winehouse but not as plastic as Duffy. A nice in between. Adele herself described her music as "Slow and Dramatic" because she's ".. a drama queen.." and that there's not much "..room to dance to them...". I don't know she had me and much of the audience swaying, and even dancing a little bit. "Day Dreamer" and "First Love" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Make you Feel My Love" were the standouts for me.
As I left "The Other Tent" after Adele's set the skies began to look ominous and I made a mad dash for the media trailer to get my poncho and write this.