Monday, April 26, 2010

uFest @ Fear Farm

Last year, the New Times passed on covering KUPD's "uFest"... this year, I think, after I made a fuss about covering more smaller "arty" gigs in lieu of big festivals... they decided to at least want photos.

Granted, none of the bands playing are anywhere near "my style" of music, however, I can recognize the necessity or "newsworthiness" of an event of this size. The festival took place on the Fear Farm, utilizing two stages with lots of space in between. I can't say it reminded me of Coachella... but the idea of festivals are exciting to me. uFest felt half way between a music festival and a county fair. Of course they had bands playing non-stop, but all around the outside of the grounds were knick-knack shops, a rock wall, lemonade stands, and stripper poles. (??)

All that aside, the production level was pretty high. The bands all sounded great... it was loud... it was flashy... and the people were having a great time. The first band I shot was Powerman 5000. I think I remember first hearing of this band when I was in high school. At that time my musical tastes were even less "normal" or well-rounded then they are now. I think because I was a late musical bloomer, I missed out on all of those important youthful musical moments. I didn't have a high school "anthem" or anything like that. I was never into Green Day, Blink 182, or NIN... and I didn't even know what Rancid sounded like. However, I don't feel like I missed out on anything, and in fact I'm much happier not having fallen into that circle. How's that for disclosure?

So no, I wasn't doing cartwheels when I got the call to shoot uFest... but I still knew it would be a cool thing to cover. After Powerman 5000 finished, I made my way through the crowd and over to the other side of the grounds to catch a band called Adelita's Way. Wikipedia describes them as "a hard rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada that broke into the mainstream in 2009 for their song "Invincible", which is the official theme song for WWE Superstars on WGN America." I feel like a tool saying "the audience seemed to like this band"... but with no real background in hard rock music, it's hard for me to make very critical comments... so I will stick to reviewing from MY point of view. The band was very animated on stage... which made for much more interesting photos. Guitar and vocalist, Keith Wallen, at one point jumped out on a speaker in front of me, which gave me one of my favorite shots of the day.

Walking back to the main stage I shot a few pics of the people I saw along the way. The New Times loves people shots... and as I realize every time I shoot... so do the people themselves. "I'm gonna be online??? Awesome!!" In fact at one point a dude chased me down and asked me to come back and take a photo of his group. I walked with him, he sat down on his blanket in the grass, and his girlfriend lifted her shirt for the photo. It's not as exciting as it sounds... her bra was autographed by the members of one of the bands playing... I didn't hang around to ask which one.

Danzig was next in the lineup... however as part of his contract, he insisted that no photographers were allowed to shoot him. I think the rest of the contract was "No yellow M&M's and only Tampax brand tampons." Mother...

3 Days Grace were the headliners for the night. The crowd was definitely getting ancy before they went on. A number of people were being pulled out of the pit by security... either for being too rowdy, or too drunk. The band did take quite a while to get set up... and it was the longest pause in between bands for the whole day... as there was no one on the second stage between Danzig and 3 Days Grace. I'd say the show was worth the wait. Lots of different types of lights were peppered around the stage to make their performance more interesting. Strobes, floods, and even flames after the photogs left.

I can't say 3 Days Grace "stole the show"... it was pretty clear the people were there for them, and they delivered. Again, not my style of music, but I like a loud rock show as much as the next guy, so I had a good time. I actually watched a little more of the show from backstage. Steve Esparza from KUPD and I watched from behind the drummer's kit while they played "Home", one of their big hits. Interesting point of fact... the drummer plays a right handed drum kit, but keeps time with his left hand.

One last nugget about uFest 2010... while I was watching Powerman 5000 play, after I exited the pit... a young Mexican kid hopped his way out of the mosh pit, very evidently in pain. His girl friend sat him down and helped him situate himself, while security called for paramedics. I asked if his leg was broken, he said yes. I asked if I could take a photo for posterity... he was surprisingly unaccommodating.

No comments: