Voodoo Fest 2018 Day 2: Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

Now knowing what we were getting with the mud, we cerebrally planned our approach over some brunch in the bungalow in our back yard. God damn writing that felt so bougie.

It was clear that we needed to divide our group of six into teams of three. We had marathoners and sprinters. Of course I was the asshole that split from my girlfriend but she’s a saint and knows I like to get my drinks in. I love that she doesn’t give me a hard time about it. I made sure that we did a couples photo shoot before I left. We put a bunch of time into our costumes and she had sown a cape on one of my shirts so it was only right

So the marathoners would go in during the early afternoon and the sprinters would meet us later in the evening. We all had more appropriate footwear that we were ready to part with and had a better lay of the land, with a full slate of acts on the day. I steered the marathon team toward Lizzo to start the day, after downing a couple of road beers on the walk in. Nothing like being able to walk to a destination with a beer in your hand. It’s so freeing.

We got very close Lizzo’s stage at my behest. I saw Lizzo open for HAIM in Seattle and while it certainly isn’t music that’d be my go to, her stage presence is phenomenal. She is a large woman who preaches body positivity with self awareness and charm that I have seen from no one else within that movement. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s hilarious. Check out her Twitter for a laugh.

She came out to the Sailor Moon theme song dressed up as the heroine herself and her back up dancers as the rest of the celestial Sailors. I won’t go into too much detail about her performance, but I will recommend anybody to experience Lizzo live. It’s something that the medium of writing can’t accurately express.

From there, we went to the haunted house inside the venue after getting more drinks. The line was shorter than expected and as we got to the entrance they informed us that they had a no drink policy. Cue the 16 oz IPA chug. This catalyzed an impending brown out. The haunted house was mediocre. The only real scare I had was in the final room where a man with a chain saw popped out of a closet just before the exit. My hometown friend and I ditched his girlfriend as this happened, leaving her to be hacked to pieces by the chainsaw murderer.

We then went to see Janelle Monae at the same stage as Lizzo. She did her hits and did Django Jane from a throne which was appropriate. That song is a jam and if she did a whole album of her just rapping id be all for it. If I put the two performances head to head however, I’d likely choose Lizzo. She is both literally and figuratively larger than life. Also Janelle Monae’s sound was cut towards the end of her performance so maybe she was short changed but them’s the breaks.

After Janelle Monae, we took it easy and waited for the Sprinters to get there. They were able to find us due to our Spongebob Piñata Totem that had cheap LEDs all over it for visibility in the dark. Security let me in with this despite it’s capacity to mule in contraband. More on this in day 3’s write up.

We met up just before Marilyn Manson. I thought that Marilyn Manson was becoming irrelevant and that I’d be able to get close to the stage or into a mosh pit. I was wrong! They popped him on the third stage and it was packed. I probably could have pushed up to the front but it would have been a slog . Marilyn Manson from afar was still entertaining. “YOU SAY GOD AND I SAY SATAN!” could be heard throughout the festival. Very apt for Halloween.

Then came the finale that was Travis Scott. Childish Gambino bailed at the last minute and Travis Scott filled in. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. He’s arguably the biggest rapper in the game right now and is dating a kardashian so everyone in our group was familiar with him. Dude has HITS and his visuals are A+. My lady was very impressed by the whole performance. I was pretty trashed but I remember Stargazing and Sicko Mode being awesome.

From there, we beat the crowd and got back to our Air Bnb without incident. All in all a great day and much improved from the day before despite the mud.

Voodoo Fest 2018 Day 1: Mudboy Lifestyle

Holy shit! This is the first event I’ve ever been to where the grounds literally smelled like shit. The Uber driver warned us, in his infections Louisiana drawl, about how shitty the grounds were gonna be and that there was gonna be some big “puhhhdles” but that didn’t prepare us for the shit show that was the Voodoo Festival grounds.

But it wasn’t all bad! It was in New Orleans. My favorite city. New Orleans has this weird relaxed party vibe that no where else gives off. Yes it has it’s trashy spots, but those can be easily avoided. For those of you looking for a change of pace from Bourbon street next time you visit New Orleans, check out Frenchman street. It’s more tame and music focused but still has the drinking in public and bar balconies that makes New Orleans New Orleans. This is where we spent the night we got into New Orleans and it was excellent. Back to our lodging, we had a sweet AirBnB with a pool and bungalow area. Pretty dope!

But!!!!! It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. When we got into the festival Friday afternoon it was a swamp. We all wore shoes we liked and immediately regretted it. The pathways were crowded to the point where no one could move because just beyond them was a good six inches of MUD. Much to the chagrin of my friends and girlfriend, we decided to press on instead of immediately bailing. Mumford and Sons was closing out the night and we had hours to go.

A couple of things that Voodoo Fest did well was their amusements and Art Installations. They had a graveyard/ haunted house area with fully animatronic witches and grim reapers. Very fitting for New Orleans, especially when the festival shared a border with a Cemetery. They also had a couple of carnival rides that you had to pay extra for. I did not do this but appreciated the added ambiance it provided.

First stage we got to was the EDM stage. Having a stage devoted to EDM is a trend that’s been picked up by a lot of festivals recently. It’s a great idea. There’s a large percentage of festival goers that are only there to do drugs and dance. That’s what EDM is good for, so to keep it all in one area as opposed to making these people jump from stage to stage is a great idea. It’s also good for people like myself who are primarily there for other acts, but want to dance/ party in the down time. With this model, I always know there’s an area where I can go to have fun/ find drugs if I feel so inclined. This night,  however, I was fulfilled with my weed mints so no extra curriculars for me.

So after chilling and dancing there, we went to find food. Unfortunately the food was located at the aforementioned packed walkway. When we finally broke through, my friends ordered an $18 combo from “The Swamp Kitchen” What they received was 6 small fried morsels. Ripoff would be an understatement. We moshed our way through another line to food that was slightly more cost effective but still didn’t leave feeling great about the offerings overall.

We then went to battle the bathrooms. This is something they could have done better and that’s being generous. First of all they had urinals (a plus) but no one know they were there. They needed larger, lit up signs. Since no one knew about the urinals, the lines for the bathrooms were mobbed with girls and guys. It got so crazy that my girlfriend literally fainted! Not to say there were people fainting left and right, but it was such a mess of people that she got that claustrophobic.

To the med tent we go! These people were nice and accommodating. She was fine, but was understandably shaken so we left with my another couple in our group who were a. not normal festival goers and b. less than enthused with the mud. No Mumford and Sons for us (its ok I’ve seen them twice already, not to brag).

To prepare for the next two days we hit Walmart and found footwear for cheap. I was the proud new owner of $14 black galoshes that went perfectly with my Loki costume for the coming day. We also bout a Sponge Bob piñata and a broom stick to serve as our totem so we could find each other in the festival. If I could recommend one thing about going to a festival it would be to bring a totem or a flag. Other wise it’s a nightmare finding your friends.

Day 2 write up to come.

City Festivals Throwback Blog

Heading to Voodoo Festival in New Orleans this weekend and to prepare I thought I’d chronicle my previous experiences at festivals in cities.

Let me begin by saying that I much much much prefer festivals where you camp. It is a more immersive experience than having the separation of an AirBNB, hotel, or apartment to go back to when the night is over. I think this speaks more to my affinity to camping than anything, but I’d highly recommend that everyone do a festival where they camp for the duration at least once. However that experience will be for another blog, let’s talk about city festivals.

I have been to two. Made in America in Philadelphia 2014, and The Meadows in NYC 2016. Both were pretty similar with Made in America being a lot bigger than the Meadows. Lets break down the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  1. The food at these things is amazing. Since food trucks aren’t required to drive into the middle of nowhere (like they would for a festival where you’d camp) there’s often more diverse options for the types of food trucks that will be present. When I am in festy mode, I am on vacation and ready to smoke all the weed, drink all the beer, and eat the most expensive, best tasting, and shittiest for you food I can find.
  2. They are easily accessible from public transportation. While I don’t think this will be the case in New Orleans, in both Philly and New York the train took you right to the entrance. This is especially nice if you live close.
  3. The scene is interesting since your usually walking along streets that have normal traffic on them. It was cool to see the area leading up to the Rocky steps in Philly be transformed into a venue.

Cons:

  1. High schoolers everywhere!!!! God damn did I feel old at these things and I was in my early 20s at the time. They clearly don’t know how to handle their drugs and liquor and are a pain in the ass to share a vicinity with. Easily the worst part of city festivals and something I’m not looking forward to on this trip.
  2.  The ride home on public transportation. Remember how I said public transportation is one of the good things? It’s a curse in disguise. You are tired and trying to get back to your place but your surrounded by annoying high schoolers and the train feels like its never going to come. I mean great we didn’t have to pay the uber surge but this is a deep level of hell.
  3. Drink prices are a little higher. Its a city though so you’ve got to expect it.

A bad crowd can ruin a concert experience quickly and that’s more likely to happen at a city festival than a camping festival. That being said, you can pick and choose your artists to avoid those damn youths.

Highlights from these shows include

The Neighborhood @ Made In America:
They had that song that was real big at the time about the holes in the sweater. IDK I’m not a huge fan of theirs but it was cool to hear such a popular song at the time live

Danny Brown @ Made In America:
First time seeing Danny Brown and he really lived up to the hype. I left the YG show early to get close and found my fellow mosh pit people.  During ‘Dip’  I literally threw a high schooler out of the pit. He jumped at the wrong time and I was already being thrown his way and it turned into WWE move. Danny also played ‘Trampy’ which is a deeper cut thats on sound cloud and youtube but not on the albums. It’s like a mash up of his songs handstand and wit it. It’s absolutely one of his best and I feel blessed that I got to see it live.

Tiesto @ Made in America
It was late night and I looked up and Tiesto was on a pulpit 20 feet high with lights and bud light ads everywhere. I said to my friend “I feel like Im in a beer commercial”. I later realized Made in America is sponsored by Annheiser Busch, so I was, in fact, in a beer commercial.

Kings of Leon @ Made in America
This was the last act we saw and I have to say I was fuckin exhausted. They can play though. Revelry is a song I didn’t know before I saw it live and it’s an excellent jam.

Kanye West @ Made in America
Kanye is a fantastic live performer. Don’t believe anyone that says otherwise. I came in fully expecting a rant and I got one in autotune. So much fun. Basically a sing a long with thousands of other people due to the amount of hits he rattled off. I may write another blog solely on this experience. Regardless of what he does in his personal life, Kanye is a national treasure.

Chromeo @ Made in America
First time I’ve seen someone use autotune through a tube. Pretty cool. Chromeo has some jams and this was a fun show but probably not something I’d die to see if they came to my city.

J. Cole @ Made in America
Whew. This guy played a 5 minute police brutality compilation before he came on stage, and when he finally did get on stage he was wasted! Not wasted enough to not perform though. It was fun and he’s got hits so I saw him again….

J. Cole @ The Meadows
No police brutality video this time. Much more fun! However seeing J. Cole two times is enough for me and probably will not pay to see him again.

Post Malone @ The Meadows
Post Malone is huge right now, but at this time he’d just released Stoney so he was on during the mid day. Post gives off good vibes. Just looks natural on the stage with the bud light and microphone in hand. A common man indeed. Highlight of the show was when he did his Fleetwood Mac cover.

Empire of the Sun @ The Meadows
Fully expecting a bunch of trippy visuals and light, I went into this with high hopes and wasn’t disappointed. They have crazy outfits and make up and their whole shtick from the sound to the stage design is mesmerizing.

This has inspired me to do a ‘guide to a festival’ so be on the lookout for that as well as a full Voodoo recap.

-Yuppie Trash

 

 

Kamasi Washington @ The Showbox – Pike Place, Seattle

Image result for kamasi washington

I rarely venture away from music that isn’t vocally focused, however being the wanna be hipster that I am, I’ll take a flier on an album that Pitchfork thinks is good. More often than not the music doesn’t make it into my rotation, but Kamasi Washington did. So when I saw he was coming to the Showbox I snapped up 2 tix months in advance.

Quick background about the Showbox. It is right across the street from Pike Place Market, has a list of legendary performers that have graced their stage, and may get knocked down and replaced by an apartment building in the next year. It’s a venue with old timey lights, chandeliers and disco balls on the ceiling that give it a retro vibe. The space is small, but there’s wiggle room to find a spot even if it’s at capacity.

Kamasi Washington is a striking figure. He is a LARGE man and his hair is super cool. Accompanied by fellow artists on drums (2 drummers!), trombone, keyboard, stand up bass, and vocals (female), they got started. His songs are often over 10 minutes and usually have a melody that serves as the “chorus” that the artists come back to. The magic of the show happens when he or another artist begins to solo. These are masters of their respective instruments and they get an extended period of time throughout the show to showcase what they can do.

Drumsticks were moving so fast they became a blur, the bass made sounds I didn’t know it could make, and I heard what is likely to be the craziest saxophone solo I will ever hear. It’s incredible how much air Kamasi Washington can get into that thing. Every time I thought he was giving it his all, he would just take it to the next level, playing louder and louder, and then miraculously work right back into the melody that carried the song earlier. Very impressive indeed.

On the Uber home, my girlfriend and I agreed that we would’ve enjoyed the show more if we were sitting at a table and relaxing. It’s not necessarily “get up and dance” music (which is what this venue is good for). It’s more so “sit and marvel at these incredible musicians without being distracted or bumped by other people” music.

Yuppie Trash Rating: 7/10 Really fun but could’ve been better elsewhere with seats and a table (my new preference for future jazz shows)
Cost: $35
Would I do it again?: If I had a seat, yes.

 

Yuppies Work. Trust Funders don’t.

Wanted to quickly close a loop from a previous post.

From my perspective, Yuppies are people who are high earners. Trust Funders are people who have blank checks. These kinds of people are part of the dreaded 1%. They may be the children of the CEO that runs the company that the Yuppie works for. Im calling this out for two reasons.

First off, I do NOT want to be lumped in with these people. I have a hard enough time not revealing to my friends that had their college paid for that I secretly despise them. When I run into trust fund types I am instantly pissed off and jealous that they won the birth lottery. Is it wrong for me to feel this way? Probably. Would the majority of people who got no help at all or didn’t go to college hate me the same way? I’d be confused if they didn’t. Despite this knowledge, I feel how I feel.

Image result for i am just green with jealous rage right now

The second reason I call out the distinction is that these two groups are in different spending brackets. Popular media often portrays millennials with spending power in broad strokes, mistaking what a trust funder might want for what a yuppie would want.

That doesn’t mean an experience marketer/seller shouldn’t offer a premium tier for their experience. What I would argue is that the company should begin with targeting the larger yuppie group to establish a customer, then scale tailored premium services for those who can afford them (i.e. trust funders, older yuppies, etc.)

I thought of this after reading about the infamous Fyre Music Festival. When the promo videos for it first came out, I was immediately intrigued. It had the premier Instagram models partying on a boat. Guys wanted them, Girls wanted to be them, yada yada yada.  I knew it was an experience that was out of my spending bracket from the jump, but if it became a recurring event, I would have kept it in mind later in life. This was all based off of this one video. I was obviously not the only one sold since a shit ton of people actually went and got ripped off.

Other than the organizers being crooks/ generally awful people, they were too ambitious. While a cruise to an island certainly added to the allure, they could have charged a lower price (for yuppies more so than trust funders) and done it in the continental United States. This would have eliminated all of the infrastructure issues that ended up ruining the event. Regardless, they had an effective piece of creative marketing that captivated young people with money. Most companies will pay tooth and nail for this sort of thing.

Yuppies want to feel luxurious like Trust funders and the buzz the Fyre Festival promo created is evidence of that. They don’t want to be ripped off though. If you want to consistently sell an experience, design it for yuppies and then once you have a sure thing, move onto a premium product that can be sold to trust funders. Don’t go for the cash grab. Go for the sure thing and sell out later.

-Yuppie Trash

 

 

Future of Flight/ Boeing Factory- Somewhere North of Seattle

So while my buddies from the East Coast were here, I wanted to take them to Rainier. It’s  my favorite thing about Seattle. I don’t think a single word can do it justice, but for now let’s just call it majestic. Unfortunately, Rainier is tempermental and the forecast in the national park was 40 degrees and rainy. So abandoning those plans, I polled my audience as to what they wanted to do with our free day.

My friend suggested the Boeing factory. So naturally I took him to the museum of flight thinking they were one in the same. We got there and it turns out he is allergic to museums so we drove an hour back through traffic to the Boeing factory.

The tour was an hour and a half, costs $25 dollars, and (audible gasp) you can’t bring your PHONE!

This almost broke the deal for my friends. They were up to their eyeballs in Hinge matches and couldn’t put their phone down lest they not respond in time and lose out on the woman of their dreams. I assured them it’d be therapeutic and we pulled the trigger on the tickets. My other friend, who is basically Robocop, whispered to himself “I feel naked” as he walked away from his phone stashed in the free locker.

Good thing we actually complied with the no phones policy. We were reminded no less than 6 times to not bring our phones with us on the tour. And that was before the 5 minute Boeing propaganda video. After we heard how the Boeing company could do no wrong and never should have to answer to any regulation, a surly old officer walked to the podium. He said, with his perfect cliché police chief voice, something to the effect of “I must reiterate that if you have your phone that it will be confiscated for the impending investigation that will be filed after your removal from the premises”. Yikes! He put the fear of the American Government in me.

From there we hopped on a charter bus. You know the ones with the 3 tvs that you may or may not have watched one of the first 3 Harry Potter films on while you were in grade school. It takes us past two planes that can apparently survive nuclear pulses (coolest part of the trip) and to the largest building in cubic feet in the country. Didn’t look that impressive, but some of the art on the building was cool.

They walked us through a service tunnel and to an elevator. Lot’s of suspense up to this point. I’m thinking I’m going to see some real state of the art assembly line shit. When we get off the elevator the factory is revealed to us and….. its basically a giant Home Depot, but all the Home Depot employees are building 747’s.

Turns out building planes takes a shit ton of time and meticulous effort. Therefore there are no assembly lines. Just people working on the stuff piece by piece. We go up and down a couple more elevators and finally see a line of fully made planes. They were impressive, but nothing you haven’t seen at the airport. Underwhelming for a tour.

We got back and took a Gram worthy picture standing next to the tail of one of the planes laid flat on the ground and that was that.

Boeing Factory Rating: Somewhat Trash
Cost: $25
Would I do it again?: Only if someone else visited and really wanted to go. Otherwise No.

Q Night Club- Cap Hill, Seattle

So I had friends in town and wanted them to get a taste of Seattle nightlife while they were here. They are single and I am not. They still go out every weekend and I do not. They wanted to know where the cool spots to get drunk were on a Thursday and I had no clue.

I did know of Q Night club in the Cap Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I’ve walked by it in the past and there was a line, some EDM bumping, and a long mysterious hallway to the entrance so I assumed it might be cool.  One of my buddies loves EDM so I figured line + long hallway + EDM = A good place to bring them on a Thursday. Boy was I wrong!

After having a drink and playing ski ball at Comet Tavern (where we should’ve stayed), we headed over to Q night club. The cover was $15. Since it was a steep cover I was expecting a pretty big club with multiple bars/floors/rooms. Having been to Miami, Vegas, NYC, and the Jersey Shore this is the norm with a cover like this unless there’s some sort of band or known music act playing.

We got in there and the place is tiny. It had fake out mirrors that give it the impression of having another room, but you’re actually just staring at your own stupid face wondering if you just paid $15 for this tiny piss hall. Ok maybe I’m over exaggerating. Its a quaint venue and could be good given a good crowd and the right music.

The problem was this DJ was playing suped up lullabies. Dancing was absolutely impossible. The only thing we could do was just sway slightly and hope that the beat changed. Spoiler: IT NEVER DID. We stayed there for a good 45 minutes waiting for this DJ to hop off the table and hand it over to someone to save the night. IT NEVER HAPPENED. To top it all off, my friend pointed out that the DJ was completely feeling himself throughout the whole thing even though we were all conking out mid drink.

Full disclosure: I am not a big EDM guy so maybe it’s some sort of up and coming artist in a niche sub-genre that my friends or I weren’t hip to, but MAN, it was boring.

Q Night Club Review: Pretty Trash
Cost: $15 on a Thursday
Will I go again? Nope