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LIVE105's BFD - More Tunes For The Bucks
Saturday, June 7, 2008

LIVE105, aka KITS radio, has been known through the years as being musically daring, and always open to new sounds. When they began the concert series in 1994, it started as the controversially named “BFD” - known more by its slang “Big F**kin’ Deal.” But a big deal it was, as it attracted not only the crowds, but all sorts of varied musical talents. Just think, where else could you have found Henry Rollins along with The Knack, Green Day, Violent Femmes, and Beck performing on the same stage. But that’s how it was when it started, and it continues to this day.

It was a great day to be outside, and thus, a great day for a festival concert. LIVE105 BFD was at it again. The line-up seemed intriguing enough, and garnered enough interest to draw a capacity crowd to the Shoreline Amphitheatre. The difference with the show on this day was that the concert portion was held entirely in the C Parking Lot. The main stage was reserved for meet ‘n’ greets and autograph sessions between bands and fans. The rest of the venue had the obligatory flea-market styled booths scattered about, or rather, neatly lined up together. There was everything from the expected T-shirt booths, to cancer research donation booths, to an Army sign-up booth replete with a rock climbing post. I wondered if that was part of standard boot camp training that they showcased to garner interest.

The crowd was surprisingly mellow, but I guess that was to be expected under the hot sun. This wasn’t a metal show with drunken buffoons drooling about in their alcoholic splendor. This was a show for kids, and fans of alternative music, to meet with friends and simply enjoy music, and enjoy the day.

The live performance areas were divided into three parts - the Bud Light Festival Stage, which served as the main stage, the Scion Subsonic Tent, which was the dance/psuedo-rave area, and the Soundcheck Local Music Stage, which was along the walkway, adjacent to the main bowl stage area of the Shoreline. The majority of the action was happening in front of the Bud Light stage, with bodies churning and burning and dancing all day.

We got to the show fashionably late, thus missing a lot of the earlier bands, but we did make it in time for MGMT. Their set was enjoyable, although they did announce that this would be their final performance. Who knows. That comment seems to be trendy this decade.

Following that, I finally got a chance to see Anti-Flag, the controversially titled punk band hailing from Philadelphia. Anti-Flag was well worth watching, with their steady dose of pounding punk, fueled by messages of hope, through songs with slightly more dismal titles. Anti-Flag, several times, reminded the crowd that - more important than government - we the world are a community, and that the people who make up the festival show audience can show the world a good example of how to get along no matter who you are. All in all, a very positive performance.

Up next was The Kooks, although admittedly we went traipsing around the complex during that point.

Everlast (born Erik Schrody), was up next, performing his style of countrified “hip-rock” (sounded like a good term to coin there). Covering hits like “What It’s Like,” just before the set’s end he launched into “Jump Around,” made famous by his former crew House Of Pain. “You didn’t think we wouldn’t play that, did you?” he teasingly asked the crowd. One thing to note was that Everlast’s set overall was rather on the mellower side, in comparison to the previous two bands. This was fine, except it slowed the pace down in the crowd.

Next up was the band I had waited to see again, Alkaline Trio. This punk/pop/alt tres hombres, have a most unique style in what they do. They blasted through some of their more known material, as well as older stuff, before playing a brand new unreleased tune. The energy was high and revitalized, the crowd pumping away to the tunes. This band does not disappoint, and knows how to get new converts.

Having already mentioned Everlast, the Irish wish continued with the infamous Flogging Molly. Led by former Fastway and Katmandu vocalist, Dave King, this Irish-American rock band really knows how to throw a party. The band tosses down the gauntlet as it unleashes its Irishness complete with fiddler, mandolin/banjo player, and accordion player, next the standard bass, drums, and guitars. Flogging Molly should not be missed. Although the take influence from much around them, their style and delivery is uniquely their own. Dave King has a quick wit and great rapport with the audience. At one point he mentioned that his having red hair only meant he was that much closer to hell. Another comment out to the audience was how much he loved everyone there, “Except for that one bastard right there,” point out aimlessly. Don’t forget to envision the strong Irish accents with the commentary, and you are sure to place yourself at the local pub, downing pints with the band. Especially as the band members continuously drink Guinness beers, and flaunt them to the crowd. Kicking ass is musically what they do best.

Pennywise took the stage next, and proceeded to pummel the audience with its brand of no-holds-barred punk rock. This is old school style punk that is out to bludgeon. This band is a veteran on the scene. They know what to do, and how to do it. At one point, going along with their many political and social lyrical commentaries, they asked the crowd how many people would vote for Clinton, Obama, or McCain. In the end, “It doesn’t matter, because whoever you get is just going to fuck it up.” was the summary. Apparently they are not fans of governmental types, and seem to have lost hope, unlike their punk brothers Anti-Flag earlier in the day.

Finally, as the evening was coming to a slow close, hip-hop legends Cypress Hill took the stage. I had seen them about five years before, and was looking forward to the show. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me. The songs were all there, and B-Real and Sen Dog did their thing professionally and by-the-numbers, but that might have been what was wrong. They were almost too polished, and worse, too mellow. Their brand of music was just not something that should have followed hard-core punk and upbeat Irish rock. It brought the crowd down instead of keeping them up for a climactic end. Around the middle of the set, they were able to blow up their inflatable giant King Stoner Skeleton. With a crown upon his head, the skeleton king sat and watch the crowd from the back of the stage. And, that was that. Nothing more by way of effects or extras. By the time that “Rock Star” was being performed, we had had enough in the burning sun, and it was time to head for home. Cypress Hill did what they do well, but by that point it was a bit late, and a bit slowed down.

Overall, LIVE105’s BFD went over with a bang as usual. As far as festival shows go, this is one not to miss for variety, and a great crowd.

Written by Philip Anderson
Alkaline Trio Anti-Flag Cypress Hill
Everlast Flogging Molly Pennywise
Crowd shots of the show

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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