Down to the final entry. I will take this moment to give my eternal thanks to everyone who made this possible. From the festival organizers, to the bands, to my friends (and my friends in bands), and the new friends I met there. The lineup was as good as any two-day festival can be, the setting was gorgeous, the festival itself was incredibly well run and everything was organized. My only complaint was that while the grass at the main stage was incredibly nice and comfortable to sit on, the field at the second stage was very much less so. And when that minor annoyance is my only complaint, I think that the whole place did a damn good job. But the day was not over. Let's take a look at the rest of the acts!
I had only seen Tokyo Police Club live once before at a show that, frankly, I was attending more to see the opening band. At the show they raced through their entire set in about 45 minutes and were done. That being said, they were still enjoyable. That show was three years ago, so I was interested to see how they had progressed. As they hit the stage, it was obvious that they still had the same levels of enthusiasm -- especially keyboardist Graham Wright, who reminds me of a hummingbird -- but learned to pace themselves a bit more.
But they sounded even tighter and more energetic, which made the set really fun, and everything sounded great. People were clapping and singing along when appropriate and dancing up a storm, especially when they got to the hits. The set made me appreciate them that much more, and I will have to be sure to catch the show next month (especially since Arkells will be there, too)
And then, the dudebros were out in force for Bad Religion. I can't really say I'm much of a fan of the band, but it was obvious that they had been around for 30 years. In a good way. They knew exactly how to put on a show, with good energy, stage presence and banter. And they made it seem pretty effortless, from where I was standing. A few of their songs sounded kinda... same-y, but less like they were all the same song, and more like they've just found their groove and have stuck with it. That, and the lead singer has a pretty distinctive voice.
It was nice to see they we're not super serious about things, as well, as some bands of their ilk seem to be. When they first came out, the bassist was wearing the head of the festival's mascot, Square the bear, and played the first few songs with it on before proclaiming it was too darned hot.
And finally, to close out the whole shebang, there was The Decemberists. They were one of the best last year I saw last year, and while I was sure they were not going to do the whole Hazards of Love, a part of me was still hoping. Well, those hopes were dashed, but they still put on an incredible show. They played songs from all over their career, including "O Valencia", with a little bit of "Dracula's Daughter" slipped in (he didn't explain it, but fans know Colin Meloy considers Dracula's Daughter the worst song he's ever written, and he usually prefaces it as such) and the multi-part "The Crane Wife". After the call and answer "la-di-da-di-da" of "16 Military Wives", he spoke the line of the festival, saying "now that we're friends and have developed a rapport... here's a song about infanticide" and launched in to the brilliant "The Rake Song". From there, he ended the set with mostly tracks from The Hazards of Love. They also played a few new songs, teasing us with news that a new album is in the works. (To get a taste, see the embedded video. You can't see much, but you can hear it just fine). The new songs were very much Decemberists, and I can't wait to hear the rest.
Even though the crowd had thinned out a little by the time they were done, it was still a fantasmic way to end the festival, as they put on quite possibly my favourite set of the weekend.
I gushed about the festival enough above, so all I am going to say is... I can't wait to be back next year.
(that, and check out my picture set on the flickr!)