The newest fest to spring up in this golden age of weekend festivals was right here in Atlanta last weekend. My crew ran 5 cars deep last Thursday afternoon in very little traffic or delays (just me making a few wrong turns) on the way to The Echo Project. We arrived around 5pm to find a very empty field:
We setup camp and commenced drinking at our campsites. Thursday night Dubconcious performed about 50 feet from our camp, which was almost at the entrance of stage area. One very nice thing about a small festival as opposed to, say, Bonnaroo, is most everyone is a short walk to all the action. Friday we went to the stages before noon and were rewarded with a Flaming Lips sound check. They performed at least 2 full songs and treated it as a mini-performance:
We then checked out Elevado next, and now that I know their new album well, it was very enjoyable. They seemed to be having some issues with the sound equipment, and were not very happy about. Frontman Justin Sias was hilariously crazy jumping down in the audience to dance around, crawling under the stage and disappearing for a while and then for the finale laying motionless in the audience clutching a ghetto trombone. Between how good this band is and all they do with ISP, i definitely put them in the high echelons of Atlanta’s kickass music scene. The Echo Project security tried to stop me from taking pictures with my cellphone because i didn’t have a photo pass, but since no one will give me a photo pass, we gotta go guerrilla:
Next band I caught was The Benevento-Russo Duo. They played a typical, but thoroughly enjoyable set:
Unfortunately Snowden cancelled due to a family emergency, so I opted for drinking in the beautiful weather for a while before catching the end of Cypress Hill. I joined a gaggle of spun-out kids to wait for the Flaming Lips right up front and it well worth it. I had seen the Lips so many times since Yoshimi that I had actually gotten sick of their act but decided to give this band I had once loved another chance after a 15 month Flaming Lips hiatus. It was a wise decision as i had a blast in the thick of what was probably the best show and clearly the biggest crowd of the weekend. Musically, I’m a big fan of most of the stuff they never play these days, so I was very happy with the Zaireeka track they did. They also kept the usual suspect cover songs to a minimum. Wayne joked around about how much weed smoking was going on and appeared to be all about inaugurating this little fest. Echo seemed to be billed to me from the beginning as a fest for the old-school Bonnarooers and it lived up to that billing with plenty of party favors and glass pipe vendors to go around. Experience the party:
After the end of that, we caught The Album Leaf, and they were really, really good. They are a band I’ve casually listened to a few times before, but never really absorbed, and I’ll be looking into them hard now.
I ended the night catching most of the second Disco Biscuits set. I’m very picky with my jambands, but these guys prove to me time after time that they have something special that the rest of the noodlers lack.
Saturday i missed many of the great early day shows due to intoxication, but here’s a couple photos of good shows from our resident Echo Project guru Benjammin:
The highlight of Saturday would be Rabbit In The Moon. It had been about 5 years since I had seen these guys, and they were exactly how I remembered them. They had a few new tricks, but it was the same cheesy but mind blowing audio/visual experience that is perfect for tripping out. The best way I can describe this group is the raver’s answer to Gwar:
After being dumb enough to double-check whether The Killers still sucked, I caught Treasure Fingers‘ set, complete with Snowden, Pink Floyd, and Justice remixes:
Sunday I started the day with Man Man, and realized that they are the headies of gypsy-rock, while Gogol Bordello is more like some good mids. Up to this point, not one single show was dissappointing, but the rest of the day would be a little bit of let down musically. Spoon is just too vanilla and boring to see live, RAQ sucked, Umphrey’s McGee is just marginal, The Roots are still a karaoke show (although the side-project Bob Dylan jamout thing they did was really cool), and the first set of Phil Lesh I stayed around for didn’t offer me much reason to stick around for the second.
Overall, i had hoped this fest would be like the first couple of years of Bonnaroo but smaller, and that’s exactly what I got. The people, though, were a toned-down version of the nu-hippies, who were certainly down with the vibe, but probably weren’t wearing tie-dyes much back home. The estimated attendance was 15,000, but for most of the fest, especially the first few days, there were a lot fewer than that. At the fullest point, the property only appeared to be half-used. The security team the fest employed seemed to be extremely efficient and even came into our campsite a few times looking to nab the prohibited glass containers, but they allowed everyone to party to the fullest, so they walked that thin line very well. The weather was beautiful, blue skies all weekend long with some really cold nights. In terms of pure fun, this has been my favourite festival of the year and am looking forward to many great October weekends on the Hooch in the future. Thanks to Sleo and Benjammin for the assorted phlogs. Some visuals of the event:
- Posted by Davy Minor on October 18, 2007 at 10:47 pm