Rothbury 2009 wrap-up.
Buntology’s Road to Rothbury has come to an end, and what a journey it was. At least the parts that we can remember.
Here are some video and picture highlights from the music festival, as well as some final thoughts from Buntology staffers Angela and Neil, who attended the four day party.
Angela: I saw Keller perform on Thursday night, and while I’ve never been a big fan he definitely entertained me. I also caught the tail end of Lotus (which somebody later told me was the highlight of their performance) and I thought it was great.
Friday was probably the best day for music, because I got to see Man Man rock out during the afternoon. Of course I enjoyed myself because they’re one of my favorite bands, but I think it’s about time they changed up their live show. I love seeing Honus Honus run around onstage with a dress on, but I can only watch it so many times. I was surprised at how many people turned out to watch them play, and by the end of the set I could tell from the band’s expression that they were taken aback by all the love the audience was giving them.
Later that day I watched Damien Marley and Nas perform. I had to pee and got separated from my friends, but used being alone to my advantage and wiggled my way up front. I got the best pictures and videos ever, and I think Nas and I really had a connection.
Neil: On Friday night the String Cheese Incident made its triumphant return to the stage. Falling just short of epic, this was a highlight of the weekend. Unfortunately for me, Angela ditched me to go hang with her friends before the show, so I wasn’t able heckle her for a few hours.
Angela: String Cheese Incident was also Friday night. Neil’s ass is out because I hung out with him during the first set and we didn’t even get to the show until the second set started, and then I left because I had to go find my friend. Dammit. Anyway, SCI was great and they had awesome hula-hoopers and fun props in the
crowd. Very awesome. And Alicia thinks she can hula hoop?
Neil: The clunker of the weekend, I must unfortunately report, was Les Claypool’s performance on Saturday. Angela, you aren’t going to like this, but he put on a boring, uninspired show that nearly put me to sleep. His rendition of the Flying Frog Brigade’s “David Makalaster” seemed to last eons, without ever finding a direction. I’m all for weird music with trippy aspects, but Claypool overdid it.
Angela: Saturday was the Fourth, kind of funny because it was one of the only good 4th of July’s I’ve had and I didn’t even remember it was the holiday during the day. I got to see Les Claypool, and I’m going to have to agree with Neil on this one. Claypool is clearly an amazing musician, and the other two times I’ve seen his show I’ve been blown away, but this time not so much. He always entertains me, but it’s true that his performance was somewhat uninspired. I think part of this can be attributed to his shitty time slot (6:30-8 p.m. right before the Dead) and the fact that he had to play while it was light out. Pig masks are much less eerie in the light of day. I was happy to hear “Booneville Stomp” and “Red-State Girl” off his new album “Fungi and Foe,” though.
Neil: The overlooked performance of the weekend came from Railroad Earth on Saturday. The string-heavy group
delivered an hour-long set of bluegrass, country and traditional tunes, driven mainly by a mandolin, fiddle and an acoustic guitar that got a decent sized crowd into a dancing frenzy.
Angela: You can read all about The Dead performance here, and it’s a much better account than what I can give you. I’m not going to go into details, but at one point I didn’t know whether I was hallucinating or if I was actually standing in a weird cloud and being covered in a strange film. My friend, who was a little more “aware” of the situation, informed me that I was actually standing in a huge cloud of dirt being kicked up by all of us from dancing, and the weird filminess I felt was the dirt caking my entire body.
Sunday was a great, low-key day, and I got to see Yonder Mountain String Band and Toots and the Maytals perform. I also caught the tail-end of Ani, and saw a bit of Matisyahu earlier in the day. The big highlight of the day was supposed to be Bob Dylan’s performance, which I stayed for about two songs of but decided to leave after hearing his rendition of “Tangled Up in Blue.” The old gray mare aint what he used to be.
Overall, the festival was super organized, security was super nice, and the layout was excellent. For such a huge festival it felt very intimate, and the lineups were spectacular. Yes, it was costly (showering, swimming in the lake, a taxi service, among other things cost money), and yes I felt like the environment was tightly controlled (we weren’t allowed to go into the shows past a certain time at night), but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I think one of the moments that best sums up the festy happened as I was entering the concert gates. Security patted me down, checked my purse, and then made me tell them I was going to have a good time before they let me enter.
Way to go Rothbury, see you next year! With a press pass.
For even more photos, check out the website Michigan Sweet Spot.