This past Saturday, my brother and I trekked back to the Mother Land. Yes, we went home to the Jerz.
You gotta get back to your roots every now and again.
We originally had tickets last summer to the first All Points West music & arts festival at Liberty State Park. We were hoping to see Radiohead. But as luck would have it, our tix were for the same weekend that we wound up helping our parents move down to Florida. I think we were somewhere in Georgia by the time Radiohead took the stage in Jersey City.
This year, I promised my brother we’d get to the festival for reals. And get there we did! Here are the highlights…
BEST BAND: Gogol Bordello
While we came to see Tool, (and the Arctic Monkeys were pretty great too), this crazy little band stands out to me above all the rest. They had an amazing energy, you could not stand still when they were playing, and they used a trippy smorgasbord of instruments (banjo, accordion, electric guitar, violin, PLUS a bongo-playing man in a wrestling mask and two tambourine-playing dancing nymphs -- oh my!). It sounded unexpectedly awesome. I didn’t even realize until the end that the songs weren’t all in English. Whatever. I’m a fan.
Download this: Tribal Connection and Mala Vida
WORST BAND: My Bloody Valentine
This band should be called My Bloody Ears. The guitars were so loud and distorted, it was just screechy noise. A sonic assault. Apparently their POINT is to be loud and all the Kool Kidz totally get it, but never have I seen so many people standing totally still during a concert. Everyone was just dumbfounded, I guess. Or deaf. And while I swore I saw the band’s lips moving, there was not one discernable lyric in their entire set until they said, “Goodnight.” I say, “Good riddance.”
Download this: Don’t Bother (no, seriously, don’t bother)
BEST FOOD I ATE: Funnel Cake
I love funnel cake. It’s really just as simple as that.
WORST FOOD I ATE: Tiny Meatballs
Tiny meatballs freak me out. Actually, don’t love the big ones either. Especially when they have giant chunks of bread in them, or weird ingredients like nuts and raisins. Blech. But, I do like meatballs on my pizza… go figure. I am a riddle wrapped in an enigma.
BEST FOOD I DIDN’T EAT: PB&J
I sprung for VIP tix because that’s how I roll. Ok, that’s how I LIKE to roll. Ok, ok… it was a treat for my brother. But regardless, the first thing I saw when we entered the tres chic VIP tent was a make your own PB&J sandwich station. I kinda loved that.
WORST FOOD I DIDN’T EAT: Burritos
From the APW message board: “By any chance did you have the burritos?? My friends ate burritos. I didn't luckily, and my stomach is acting kind of weird but not as bad as my friends who both have explosive diarrhea. Maybe some parasite from the feces we were all submerged in might have contaminated the burrito stand, and maybe the fact that we were submerged in it for three days may be why we are all sick. I hope its not some bird parasite.” I think that speaks for itself.
BEST DECISION: Taking the Ferry
This was a great way to get to the festival -- out on the open sea. I felt like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, minus the shoulder pads. Just ignore the ridiculous price ($25?!), and the fact that the walk to the dock was a good mile away from the main stage, AND the fact that the ferry tix weren’t transferrable from one day to the next (an expensive lesson I accidentally learned when a robust woman named Chantal informed me that I’d purchased tix for the wrong day). But… it sure was pretty!
WORST DECISION: Wearing Flip Flops
Rain + Grassy Knoll = Mud. Sure, Saturday was gorgeous, but the damage had already been done. Not sure what I was thinking when I decided to don a cute pair of flippers. The stench coming off the wet mulch was also something special. I can only hope it was poo. Incidentally, I did hear that APW was letting Friday's soggy ticket holders into the Saturday and Sunday shows for free, so that’s a pretty cool gesture (as long as you push aside the greedy motive of just hoping to sell even more $7 beers and $5 slices). If only they were offering a foot decontamination service. Then they’d truly be golden.
BEST ATTRACTION: Twix Misting Tent
While it wasn’t super hot out, the mist was cool and refreshing, and they served free Twix. I kept waiting for something awkward to happen so I could chew it over with Twix.
WORST ATTRACTION: Beer Gardens
Forget the 7 beer limit for the whole entire day -- you could only consume them in designated drinking zones (and yes, I GET it, we were in a state park). So I felt like we had to pound every beer in order to get back to the show. Hmmm. Maybe that was the point? Or maybe I’m just too old for that. Not sure. But I wound up being so full on yummy festival snacks (see above), that I only drank 4 of my 7 beer rations. Yes, it’s official, I am getting old.
BEST CELEB SIGHTING: Adrian Grenier
In the beer garden.
WORST CELEB SIGHTING: Courtney Love
At the falafel stand.
All in all, it was a blast. And a mess. It was a messy blast. Can’t WAIT to go again next year! (Seriously… wanna come??)