Road to Zuma...
Little Jimmy has gotten back to where he once belonged. Terrastock was a blast. Saw so many faces, familiar and new, had a Guinness with Jack Rose in a thumping techno club/Irish bar early in the AM (and Larkin Grimm and Miriam from BF/BS too!) After seeing the incredible sets by all three, I feel that much more humbled. Got to catch up with Mats and Anna from Sweden, Mike Tamburo, Joe and Jeff and the Green Pajamas family, finally put a name to the face with Kevin Moist (a beardstocker from way back, though this was his first official appearance at the fest), got to have many fine exchanges with the consummately cool masters of ceremonies, Jeffrey Alexander and Phil M., say hi to MV, EE and Zuma (their set was beeeeyoootiful, as are the two new Bummer Road releases I snagged at the merch table), had my own impressionistic brush with death and the infinite (roughly during the time Avarus and BOTOS were ripping the fabric of space time wide open), and talked to the lovely Arttu from Avarus about American pro wrestling and other mysteries of the cosmos, like why the only records he purchased from the incredible merch room were Kenny Rogers and other bad country acts.
I had a few complaints here and there. Ghost's set was masterfully performed, but somehow felt too rehearsed. A similar complaint has met their recent studio work (which I've gobbled down enthusiastically), and now I sort of get it. As one observer casually observed, it felt like they were playing a different festival, yet Ghost undeniably are a key band and central figure in the development of the Terrascopic sound. And Michio is Michio. No coincidence they had the best soundmix of the weekend. Otherwise, all grins. Amazing scheduling. Larkin Grimm was a revelation with her dulcimer, guitar and vibrant chirps and vocal dances. The Spires that in the Sunset Rise were mangled and twisted and completely absorbing. Marissa Nadler had fun and brought a tear to my eye with her soaring rendition of "Box of Cedar" (it's a coffin!). Lightning Bolt crushed and spazzed on our level, brought the mosh to the hyper spastic subset of the Terrascopic nation. Dangerous people indeed. Bardo Pond induced massive waves of billowing distortion in the big room. Major Stars were fucking RIDICULOUS and boner-inducing in their new sextet format (the new album seems somehow pointless in light of their writhing porn-sex live energy). MV/EE and the Bummer road stole the fucking show. Charalambides rocked harder than I'd seen in years. Kinski fucking slammed. Landing pulsed. Sharron Kraus floated on the trembling night air. I missed some sets do to some sort of viral infestation, but at least I saw Avarus, baby! (Avarooooz)....fucking amazing. I now fully, finally GET IT. Their new album and live set are/were stupefying. Arttu told me "we will bring a joyous noise," and somehow all that maddening squiggly gremlin bad acid boogie was joyous in a Holy Mountain kinda way. Beautiful, inspiring....very real.
Favorite sets in no particular order:
MV/EE with the Bummer Road
Spires That in the Sunset Rise
Cul De Sac
The Kitchen Cynics
MV/EE with the Bummer Road (you get the idea)...
Fucking amazing weekend. Thank you to Travis and Narnia for being there to share it all. And Mike T for showing me the way. Thanks to Matt Valentine for saying I'm a good writer and actually meaning it. Thanks to Jeffrey and Phil for being good pals and making it possible. Thanks to every kind face and warm regard. Feels like it will be with me always. And finally thanks to Zuma (and the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and John Fahey and Townes Van Zandt and the other conspicuously absent trailblazers). Peace and love, friends. One ginormous invisible love.
Most of the sets from KFJC's streaming broadcast of the weekend can be downloaded here, courtesy of Red Nail. Thanks, Bunk!
Some random candids taken by Phil McMullen during the gig can be found here.
More of my own photos from the weekend can be found here, and yes there are some missing sets.
I bought a fat pile of swag which will likely get mentioned here and elsewhere in the coming weeks, but first I have some reviews to catch up on. Expect another update asap.