By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
With the audience captive, they closed with songs that the band might call classic Spo--"Aseedafinque," "William and Aaron," "Franks and Beans"--mixed with some creative covers to let their new fans know their un-Phishlike influences: Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same," the Allman Brothers' "Wastin' Time" and the theme music for Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers. Before the set's close, the festival's sound man, who was digitally recording the entire event, was possibly lying with dead-serious Deadhead roadie machismo: "Dude, I've got a couple bootlegs of these guys."
Done working early, for the rest of the weekend the band got to party like rocks stars. With good beer flowing steadily, our RV gang ventured out backstage and amid the crowd to hear other up-and-coming bands--including The Slip (think The Police meets Phish), Particle (think Tool meets Phish) and host band the Big Wu (think Phish). The rest of the time was spent milling about the campgrounds, retreating periodically to the RV. In a tent city like the one that sprouts up in Black River Falls each year for the Big Wu Family Reunion, a monster RV that expands several feet wider at the press of a button and has a rooftop that can double as a sundeck is like a Hyatt Hotel.
There the Ben Folds Five DVD The Complete Sessions on W. 54th seemed to be playing on an infinite loop, interrupted only occasionally for intense bouts of football and golf on PlayStation 2, and on one occasion by Bittersweet Motel, the movie by and about Phish. While it was playing, Ramirez, Miller and Bridwell paid only brief attention, instead passing around a set of headphones attached to the six-track recording of their performance. The guys now being referred to as "that Texas band" felt almost like rock stars, but not quite sure. "Did they like us?" Ramirez asked shyly. "Yeah, I think so," answered Holt. He looked down for a second, then looked back up with a big grin. "Dude, that was fucking awesome." Indeed, Olospo now had its own small identity in the Midwest.
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