[EVENT RECAP] First City Festival
We have noticed a recurring pattern with events and festivals we attend lately; we manage to fit a LOT in to a weekend when we don't sleep. No, really.
We had a magical weekend up in Monterey, roaming around the fairgrounds, running in to friends old and new, listening to brilliant music, and soaking up the goodness of the First City Festival. Maybe it was the fact that this was the very spot that Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at Monterey Pop in 1967, maybe it was the fact that this all inspired Woodstock two years later, or maybe it was the fact that we'd just had a little bit too much to drink and were getting sentimental about it all. Whatever the reason, it truly was an amazing weekend. Here are some of our highlights:
Day one We started our weekend by cruising up the 101 towards Monterey, blasting our playlist for the festival (casual plug) and definitely NOT getting pulled over by the cops. We entered the festival just in time to catch The Black Angels and Civil Twilight, before waltzing backstage and running in to Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty. We saw some strange circus acts, a young man with a sign giving out free 'french' kisses (he was actually french) and then watched our old pal Father John Misty. As should have been expected, he pranced around stage like Jim Morrison, swung his mic stand in the air like a maniac, and even took to half-strangling himself with a lead during 'Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings'. Delta Spirit tore it up, bringing out the always popular hand clap, while Matt Vasquez pulled silly faces and Jon Jameson threw his long hair back and forth in a style that young Willow Smith would be envious of. MGMT played their crowd-pleaser 'Electric Feel', plenty of tracks from their new album, and ended on 'Kids', despite the terrible sound quality on the main (Redwood) stage. Washed Out were perfectly chilled, and seemed to be just what everyone was after as we sat on the grass in the late afternoon sun. Passion Pit ended the night on a high with 'Sleepy Head', Michael Angelakos holding his keyboard in the air triumphantly as Monterey cheered and some drunken festival goer clambered on stage. What a day.
Day two Two words: breakfast burrito. No really, I'm not ashamed to admit we slept in the back of a van in an abandoned parking lot, but wallowing over a hungover breakfast burrito in a diner owned by a woman who has a strange obsession with owls was probably not one of our proudest moments. Despite all that we managed to get in to the festival in time to wander past the Cypress stage, where Bleached were playing. You know, I wish we had just stayed in that abandoned car park because honestly, unimpressed would be an understatement when describing this LA hipster girl band. Luckily, The Dodos salvaged our morning; starting their set with 'Confidence' and, despite a string breaking on Meric Long's guitar during 'Black Night', managing to keep up their bigger-than-just-two-guys sound. Switching to an acoustic guitar and employing the use of a reverb mic, the boys played some of their older songs, including a personal favourite of ours 'Good' from their 2011 album No Color. Brooklyn-based The Antlers put on a slow and soothing set as frontman Peter Silberman crooned to the ladies in the audience "Put your trust in me, I’m not gonna die alone". Dr Dog nailed it with their cover of Architecture In Helsinki's 'Heart It Races', as well as some of our old favourites such as 'Lonesome'. Waiting for Generationals was torture because not only were they one of the main bands we were looking forward to seeing, but they clashed with Devendra Banhart on the lineup. Despite starting late, having some terrible sound issues, and us almost losing faith, they managed to pull it all together for our two favourites 'You Got Me' and 'Put A Light On', sounding a lot like Phoenix in parts. We ran over to catch Brazilian guitarist Rodrigo Amarante and a very biblical-looking Noah Georgeson performing with Devendra, who played mostly songs from his latest album Mala, and ended the set with 'Carmensita'. Avey Tare's (Animal Collective) Slasher Flicks was a bit too high-energy for us at that time of the afternoon, and later Deerhunter couldn't quite maintain our interest for the whole set, but things began looking good again as we headed to the main stage for Modest Mouse. The sound had improved from the night before and the audience was in top form as Isaac Brock tried to convince everyone to hold their breath for 4 seconds, but had more luck getting everyone to boo on cue. They then threw out a bunch of oldies like 'The World at large', 'Satin In A Coffin' and 'The View' (while the 16-year-old punk kid in Nicola moshed around solo) and finished with an epic 'Spitting Venom'.
If you managed to read all of that, you're probably exhausted. Well, so were we by the end of it, and we had a 4-hour drive back to Santa Barbara ahead of us.
Hey, we're sorry you missed out, but we did have a spare ticket. Just to rub it in a little more, why not take a look at our photos from the weekend on our Facebook page here, as well as on our Instagram.
- Event & Playlist: First City Festival (willowwoodmusic.com)
- First City Festival: Modest Mouse roars in Monterey (mercurynews.com)
- Review: First City Festival makes memorable debut in Monterey (mercurynews.com)
- First City Festival This Weekend | After-Parties And Contest (jambase.com)