Dear Metro Distortion and Friends,
I need to vent about the brutality that occurred at the 1st Annual All Points West Festival this past weekend at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. From the constant stream of emails I received about the festival from the APW Crew, this was shaping up to be a promising event. Two nights of Radiohead back to back! That was enough for me to lay down 566 bones for two tickets to the festival. It started out swimmingly. A romantic $30 a ticket ferry ride with my girlfriend around Manhattan, through the new fugazi waterfalls on the East River (mechanical waterfalls? what the fuck is going on?), cruising by Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.
We enter the festival, present our tickets, they barely check us for any narcotics or foreign objects and we do what any good concert-goer does...we head for the alcohol retailer. There is a long line in order for them to SCAN your IDs...but I say to myself that this will be okay. As we get closer, I realize that this is a beer tent...I hate fuckin beer tents. But being a veteran of Coachella, I calm down and realize that any fairly resourceful individual can get through a festival with beer tents. We get to the front of the line and some fat bastard (who probably smashes 16 Mickeys in order to get a buzz slashes my entire hand with a dark purple sharpee. Then some dude scans my ID and states with a firm voice, "There is a five beer maximum, I say again, a five beer maximum and you can only drink in the 3 designated beer tents!" He then proceeds to snap a neon yellow wristband on my right wrist that has five tabs on it marked 1 through 5. I was stunned.
They shuffled us into the heavily guarded beer tent. I felt like they were Germans guiding me into the showers of....I digress. Not only were the beer tents fenced in, but they had a second fence with a green tarp around it so you could not see out into the festival and god forbid some poor innocent child should look in to see people drinking beer...at a festival! As one could imagine, the tents were packed with circular lines to receive your ration of alcohol. To top it all, they charge $9 a drink. They also positioned the 3 tents between the 3 stages, therefore we can all enjoy the entwined noise of CSS and Andrew Bird in the distant distance.
Gentlemen, what the fuck is going on here? What country did we come back to? What country are we living in? Now, do I need a good amount of alcohol to enjoy a show? Not necessarily. But does a baseball player need a glove to play the game? Does a business executive need a cup of coffee to get through his morning? Does a porn star need a fluffer to get through a scene? Not necessarily. BUT IT SURE AS SHIT HELPS!
Whatever happened to sex, drugs and rock 'n roll? At a minimum sex, drugs and rock 'n roll for the average Joe was missionary style with his wife, 10 beers, and Rod Stewart...at a minimum. You take beer away from us...then what's next? YOU ARE FORCING ME TO DO DRUGS!
The following day at the festival, I turned my girlfriend into a mule. Let's call her Nancy Botwin. Nancy went through security with tiny bottles of rum in every place non-abusive, but on this day they search everywhere and take 8 aeroplane style bottles of rum off her. We were forced to go back to the beer tent. I get my 5 tab wristband and head inside, but I am stopped by a security guard that tells me..."Sorry, the tent is full." Seriously! So with my neon-tabbed arm I give him the middle finger and tell him that this whole thing is fascist and left the line in protest.
So, there you have it. Two nights of Radiohead...dead sober. Radiohead was flawless though. The only band in the world that can play every song off their latest album, two nights in a row and people were still in a frenzy. They did a good job of mixing up the oldies on back to back nights. The second night they played "The Bends," which I thought was a treat for people who suffered through both nights of a brutal festival. "Jigsaw" and "Arpeggi" will be staples for years to come...great songs live. I cannot think of another headlining band that could possibly drag me back to this communist festival. Ben Harper played the following night. I didn't go. Honestly, what would have been the point.
Last night I was relaying this story to a friend of mine, Tennessee Dust, over a couple of late night cocktails. When I cracked open a new freshie, I spilled some beer on my left hand that still had remnants of the purple sharpee marks. I went to the sink to wash my hand off and after five nights, the purple mark finely came completely off. It wasn't the soap and water. It was the alcohol.
"GHT...There's no T without the GH"