Five Stray Thoughts From Wildflower! Festival
Not pictured: Either of the two original members of Blue Oyster Cult still with the band.
1. When you're the rebellious band all the kids listen to so they can annoy their parents, forty years on after those kids grow up you're going to be playing family-friendly sets to them and their kids. And so it was with Blue Oyster Cult, still remarkably retaining two (almost) original members from their 1960s formation, playing to a crowd in the sunshine while beach balls bounced around and the crowd drank Merlot from their lawn chairs. Brave attempts to wheel out deep cuts were made (who remembers "Golden Age of Leather"?) but you and I both know the crowd was only there for one thing. The band could have been sulky about it but in fact Eric Bloom, pushing 70 and a man who must have played "Don't Fear The Reaper" a few thousand times at least, managed to grin and mime the cowbell that the song required more of before he tackled his guitar part with verve. The whole thing was quite enjoyable, in an afternoon in the park sort of way. It's difficult to imagine them playing Trees, put it that way.
2. Where are the actual wildflowers? Did I miss something? I saw some sort of butterfly tent, which must be a logistical nightmare when you take into account the propensity of flying things to, well, fly away (I assume there was some sort of tent airlock system), I saw some grass, and at one point there was even a hedge, but flowers? Nowhere. I saw fewer flowers than I did portable toilets. Is it just the season of wildflowers and you've named a festival after their conceptual presence elsewhere? Help me out guys, I'm foreign. I'm not very observant at the best of times though, and I await someone tweeting me a picture of the many flowers at the festival.
3. The Reverend Horton Heat and his comrades sure put on a high-energy good times show, hitting every note you'd expect of a Dallas band termed "psychobilly," freakout or not. This is my first time seeing them and I understand they are some sort of institution, much like the Toadies, who drew a humongous crowd of revelers. I can't say I get it myself, but I'm not from Texas and I'm reliably informed that one must be from Texas or have spent a large amount of time here in the 1990s to understand what's going on with this. On the balance of seeing two bands I've never seen before while mildly drunk and in oppressive humidity, I was a bigger fan of the Reverend, who is eminently danceable even for an idiot like me, and whose cover of "Johnny B. Goode" was an extra-special highlight.
4. I'm not sure what sort of all-encompassing festival I happened upon here, but never before can there have been the chance to chase down a boar and apricot bratwurst with red wine and a jumbo corndog while Grand Funk Railroad play "American Band" somewhere in the distance. No one's ever even typed that sentence before. It was pretty impressively inclusive, good for families, drunkards, awkward teenagers, people who you can tell are aggressively Texan from their dress and how they carry themselves, and sarcastic music critics like myself. We were all catered for, from food to drink to eclectic line-up to events.
5. Talking of events, let's have more things that involve outdoor screenings of Wayne's World in walking distance of a place serving good beer (not Bud Lite for the umpteenth time, please). Incomprehensibly poorly attended to the point we could get a table and chairs turning up twenty minutes in (albeit with the theft of one chair from a projectionist who wasn't paying attention), the picture was clear, the screen was stable despite the wind, and the beer was plentiful. I guess most people opted for the Toadies, the start of which clashed with the end of this, but they missed out on the re-telling of an age old tale of love, metal, and Rob Lowe's utter resistance to aging. Seriously, what's the deal there? Is he a wizard?
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