In its third year, Vegoose altered itself slightly. In previous years, the festival’s roster featured jam bands and those friendly to that vibe with some alternative stuff mixed in. Last year, the main stage headliners were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Widespread Panic. This year French House music duo Daft Punk and the recently reunited Rage Against The Machine were the big draws. The event also lost one stage, which housed smaller acts, bringing the total down to three.
The parking lot on Saturday was different as well, certainly smaller. Other than an abundance of people looking to buy tickets to sell later, there were not as many entrepreneurs as the previous year. Even the drug dealers had bypassed the event. Last year, it was a buyer’s market as you only had to stand still and what you were looking for would very likely find you. This year, a couple of people had mushrooms for sale. Of course, the smell of weed occasionally wafted by, but it must have been for personal use.
Still, the weather was very nice, and most things inside expensive, so the parking lot was a good place to enjoy drinks and people-watch. At least, until you are pestered by the greatest annoyance at a concert other than law enforcement: the sticker beggar. They are just above hobo, but hit you with their lame rap about “citing you (a phrase that makes most people freak out) for having a good time,” as if that’s clever. Then they want to know if you want to make a “donation” for their lame stickers, but really it’s a fee for them to leave. They should have taken a note from the dirty hippie who ran around initially informing everyone he “needed 320 quarters to purchase a ticket.” That’s clever and unique, which is why he was only looking for 214 as I finally made my way into the festival.
Being set around Halloween, a good portion of the attendees dressed in costume. Unfortunately, too many guys went the obvious and easy route and not a moment went by that the loud shirt, white bucket hat, and cigarette holder of a Hunter S. Thompson was not visible the whole day. Plenty of women were limited in their creativity as well. There were a ton of Alices in Wonderland and Bee Girls. The most creative attendees were fans of Daft Punk with their odd robot outfits, some of which had working lights. Even their fans represented well as the band’s concert t-shirt were the most prevalent. The best t-shirts had to be the black Vegoose bootlegs that listed “Draft Punk” as a headliner.
Simply put, Mastodon was fuckin’ loud and didn’t care what you thought with their relentless assault! Better suited for Ozzfest, this hard rock group brought it and captured people’s attention. They made me want more and guaranteed an album sale. There was a banner hanging overhead with weird, scary designs. Not sure what it was, but most likely the key to deciphering was placed in the middle of wasted out of your gourd. Check them out.
Rap legends Public Enemy came out for an early evening set which in an odd bit of programming had them up against Cypress Hill who played a longer set on a bigger stage. Surely, rap fans would want to see both, right? They came out and delivered a powerful set of hits, but the brakes got slammed on during “Son of A Bush” from 2002’s Revolverlution. At the end of the song, I was slightly put off as Flava Flav got the young crowd chanting, “Fuck George Bush! Fuck Dick Cheney! Fuck Condalezza!” I don’t like them either, but this is PE’s commentary on the Bush administration? A teenager could come up with that. I expected better from the band that made clear why they were going to “Fight The Power,” explained why “911 (Is A Joke)," and told us what they were going to do “By The Time I Get To Arizona” over their anger over the state not recognizing MLK Day.
The moment passed and the band kicked it back into gear, but the disappointment still hasn’t.
While waiting for Queens of the Stone Age to take the main stage, M.I.A. could be heard, but it just came across as uninteresting noise. There were so many gunshot effects I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ted Nugent had been on stage. At one point, she claimed to be high and was later rapping over a sample from New Order’s “Blue Monday,” the only good sounds to come from her set. I caught four songs by QOTSA, including their two biggest hits from Songs for the Deaf, as they rocked into the night, but they would be upstaged, as everyone else was, by the oldest guys performing.
The Stooges delivered the goods and made Saturday their own, first running through the entire Fun House album before offering up other hits. Iggy Pop remains one of the most compelling lead singers. You can’t look away because you know you will miss something. He threw himself into the performance in his usual style, jerking his body this way and that, destroying mics, humping amps, and finally calling up the audience on stage during “No Fun.” I am not sure if it was planned, but they appeared finished after their encore. The crowd dissipated, but The Stooges came back roaring back for more.
After their set, there was time to make it back to the big stage before Daft Punk came out. Throughout the day, other bands were seen setting up, but a black curtain hid Daft Punk’s preparation. The five-note signature greeting from Close Encounters of the Third Kind signaled their arrival as the costumed duo performed from a pyramid, bracketed by a light-effects display that looked right at home in Vegas. They were the only band performing so they naturally drew a huge crowd, almost all of which was dancing their entire hour-long set, which was impressive after the long day. Upon reflection, they had to have made the loudest music of the two days.
The festival is taper friendly. Sets available online from Saturday’s line-up include:
Jump to Vegoose – Day Two – 10/28/07 to see coverage of the rest of the festival.