Tales From The Sweatlodge, Or the Yellow Tent at FFFFest
Hollywood Jack and the Rage Cage, yesterday in the Yellow Tent.
There are too many people in the Yellow tent at Fun Fun Fun Fest. This is true at almost all times. It's awesome, because a festival has a comedy tent, but it does mean that if you want to see a comedian, or one of the ragtag collection of bands they put in there, you're going to have to turn up early, be ready to play the pushing game, and enjoy the close proximity company of others. So, to be able to see Tenacious D, the big ticket on Saturday's comedy tent line-up, I knew I had to get there well in advance. What I was not prepared for was the madness that followed.
4:45 - The line to get into the comedy tent is less of a line and more of a gathering of likeminded people who can't get where they want to go. About fifty deep and wider than the tent entrance, there must be a few hundred people competing to get in. One group, by the left side of the scaffolding supporting the entrance, have decided to sit down in a circle there. Not only will they be crushed, it shows a lack of determination on their part. All anyone outside this tent has right now is conviction. And a dream.
4:55 - There's not even anything happening on the stage. I think someone is soundchecking a bass. If this is a comedy set, it's distinctly avant garde.
5:00 - Craig Robinson, of The Office and various Seth Rogen films, is meant to be on right now (in fact he was meant to be on about 30 minutes ago) but suddenly, a wild funk band appears. The crush at the entrance grows deeper as a man viciously slaps a bass guitar.
5:05 - It has become apparent that, rather than doing stand-up comedy, Craig Robinson is in fact some sort of smooth soul/jazz/R&B band, and that Craig himself will be entirely content with shouting "TAKE YO' PANTIES OFF!" while playing a Lionel Richie-style smooth piano. People begin to leave in a slow trickle. This is the chance everyone at the entrance has been waiting for. Our only way to see Tenacious D is through general bemusement at Craig Robinson. Bring it on. I break out the elbows to deter line-pushers.
5:10 - I assume the group sitting by the entrance were killed in the extraordinarily slow stampede to get in. It is hot as balls in here, and it smells of people on the second day of a long music festival, but heated up. Craig Robinson is serenading what is now undoubtedly a Tenacious D crowd with a Doobie Brothers cover.
5:12 - It is becoming clear that Tenacious D, who are due onstage in eight minutes, will be delayed. Craig Robinson is explaining how all songs can be improved with his catchphrase. People around me are removing their clothes, but not for sexy reasons. No one has removed their panties yet, despite Craig's exhortations.
5:15 - Holy shit is it ever warm in here. Whatever the capacity of this tent is, this is more people than that. A four-foot tall child is trying to find a vantage point. His reasoning skills are not yet fully developed.
5:20 - Craig Robinson says this will be his last song. The audience dare to dream.
5:25 - Tenacious D were meant to be on five minutes ago, and Craig Robinson is a liar. He's also playing "You've Lost That Loving Feeling."
5:30 - Now he's just playing "Here Comes The Bride." It's hotter than a volcano in here. People all over are trying to get out, but we're all in this together, whether we like it or not.
Craig Robinson reacts to the heat.
5:35 - People are taking the smart way out and just falling over from the heat. They are hurried out the side of the tent, which is being ripped off by someone hanging from the roof. Good times. Craig Robinson soundtracks these events with a smooth jazz version of "I Will Survive." Mutiny is in the air.
5:40 - Deciding what we all need is more clothing, Craig resorts to throwing t-shirts, before playing "Sweet Dreams." Obviously.
5:45 - Craig departs, and the crush to get forward for Tenacious D intensifies. People are climbing the fences outside the venue, stealing music as if the Yellow Tent was just Pirate Bay.
5:50 - A hype video of some sort, with Michael Cera, is playing. People are cheering anything that doesn't look like Craig Robinson by this point, if they're not busy collapsing or being crushed. I am wearing a jacket, and this was a terrible idea, but I don't have the personal space to move my arms enough to take it off.
5:55 - People are using anything they can find as fans by this point. One person is using their hair. Another person is dabbing their forehead with a warm beer.
6:00 - Tenacious D arrives. The rest of the side of the tent gets ripped off in joy.
6:05 - People start crowdsurfing to what is an acoustic set. Kyle and Jack Black are having an acoustic guitar war in the middle of the stage while Black shouts "RIGGA-GIGGA" into thin air, as he is wont to do. It's very entertaining, and people are super into it.
6:10 - No acoustic set has ever been quite as furious as this. If these acoustic guitars were electric, this would be classified as "shredding." Jack Black is encouraging the audience to build a hundred Death Stars.
6:20 - I'm somehow quite near the front at this point. I can only think that everyone in front of me has been compressed into a fine paste.
6:30 - Jack Black's charisma could carry a thousand bands. He also refers to himself as "Hollywood Jack," which is entertaining. Standing on the monitors at the front and towering over the venue, he tells us that none of us will ever achieve anything creative, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
6:40 - The first few notes of "Tribute" are played, and the set reaches an ear-splitting climax as the entire human collective loses its collective shit. Black is hopping from foot to foot. Kyle Gass is unmoved.
6:45 - Closing with "Fuck Her Gently," Tenacious D have been a triumph. There is an absolute stampede to leave and breathe air again. Every single person remarks how nice it is outside. No shit, army of Sherlocks.
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