Monday, September 20, 2010

A recap of the 2010 WHFS awesomer than awesome festival

Remember radio festivals? Way back in the deep, dark and distant late-1990s or early-2000s, the concerts - mostly spearheaded by alternative rock radio stations - were all the rage. They featured all the bands you loved, most of the bands you kind of liked and a few bands which offered a song or two you totally dug for somewhere around seven minutes. Going to these things gave everyone an opportunity to see bands they wouldn't normally seek out to watch perform. They were great.

So....where did they go? That's a good question. Alt rock stations began to die. Most of the bands that were festival regulars proved to be no more than a one or two-hit-wonder. Hard rock got replaced with emo or pop-punk. The music industry revolutionized the way it handles itself with things like iTunes and the death of the compact disc. And, well, everybody stopped attending these kinds of concerts.

But alas, this past weekend, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area revived the radio festival - if only for a night - when the premier rock radio fest, WHFS' HFStival returned with a dream line-up for anybody still living in 1999. Third Eye Blind. Everclear. Billy Idol. The Presidents Of The United States Of America. Lit. The lead singer from Live. Fuel. Naughty By Nature. Marcy's Playgounrd. And, of course, Jimmie's Chicken Shack.

I was fortunate enough to be on hand for such an event, and because I love you more than words can say, I will now take this opportunity to offer a few short musings. I would try and write an all-encompassing piece that begins and ends cleverly, but alas, this is a blog, damnit. You don't want writing. You want short, to-the-point rumblings. And that's what you shall receive...

- It was really good to see Lit again. They mentioned something about a new record they plan to release, and I honestly hope it brings them success. A.J. and Jeremy amazingly looked the same as they did nearly a decade ago. Oh, and I completely forgot they wrote this song...

- The dude from Live is insufferable. I hear he's not the most pleasant person, either.

- Fuel was probably the surprise of the day. Sure, Brett had a completely different band behind him, but they played something like four songs off Sunburn, easily the group's best (and first) album. Never thought I'd hear "Bittersweat" live again. And wow, people still like them. I was completely struck by the amount of people who gathered to see them. People still like Fuel. And that surprises me.

- The Presidents Of The United States Of America have the best attitude in the history of music. After setting up and sound-checking their gear, the lead singer offered the following: "OK. We are going to go do some coke now and come back to play for you." Funny.

- Art stopped his band's performance of "A.M. Radio" because he forgot the words. "It's pathetic when you can't remember the words to your own song," he said. "So we are going to play this instead," he added before launching into this...

- Third Eye Blind claims a new record will be out soon. Nobody believed that. But Mr. Jenkins grew his hair out. Yah! for long hair.

- Naughty By Nature was a pleasant surprise. Why? Because I'm down with OPP.

- And finally, while thousands were rocking to Billy Idol, me and 67 of my closest friends gathered around the local stage to watch Jimmie's Chicken Shack's headlining set. No way could I have asked for a better set selection. It was absolutely heart-breaking to see Jimi Haha barely able to walk because of his knees, though. I was completely unaware that they had a new record out (and by new, I mean from 2008), and the track they played from it was fabulous. The final song? What else could it possibly be...


  1. I've read a few reviews that say Everclear were awful. Really? I thought it was a great setlist, aside from the AM Radio flub, which is okay since I don't like that song. They had tech issues, but I thought they were better than Mr. Live

  2. Most definitely. Everclear was a bit uninspired at times, but they weren't awful. Great setlist, too. Especially considering it's a radio show.

  3. I was secretly hoping for a cover of 1999 all day.