Well, yesterday was kind of a write-off, what with me sleeping for 15 hours and feeling like crap when I wasn't sleeping. But today was better, so here's a little update on my activities this weekend.
Best Show: The Flaming Lips. The opening of the show had a giant light rig that was made up to look like a UFO come down from the rafters, at which point the lead singer came out of the top of the UFO in a giant hamster ball and rolled around on top of the audience for a bit, and then came out and shot streamer cannons into the audience while giant balloons were released. And then things got WEIRD.
Best Performance: Rodrigo Y Gabriela. I only caught the last half of their set, but it was amazing. Two former members of a thrash metal band playing acoustic guitars and rocking the roof off the place, if indeed there had been a roof to rock off. Such a good performance that I had to buy their album; we listened to it on the way home and their music was as good as I remembered.
Favourite Performance: R.E.M. (I never said I was impartial.) The performance wasn't as varied or as exciting as the time I saw them in Vancouver, but Michael's voice was much better, and they did play a few songs I was surprised and delighted to hear ("Harborcoat," "Drive," and "Ignoreland" in particular). I stayed out through the rain and enjoyed every bit of it.
Biggest Surprise: The Presidents of the United States of America. I know, I wasn't expecting very much, just some guys being goofy and playing around on stage. But these guys were TIGHT. And they had so much energy, and made such a great sound from their limited, weird instruments, by the end of their set they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I would DEFINITELY see them again if they came to town. Just a great, great performance.
Biggest Disappointment: Built to Spill. They weren't really bad, per se, but they were a big letdown after the previous band (The Hives), barely interacted at all with the audience, and a lot more mellow than I wanted at the time. I really enjoyed their last song, though, but if that was because I was slowly coming around to them or because it was just a really great song, I don't know. I'll still check them out, though; I have a feeling that they're not a great band to see if you're five hundred meters away from them.
Best Discovery: The Cave Singers. Great folk trio from Seattle; their mix was a little too loud (as was almost every performance on the secondary stage), but their music was really compelling and I downloaded an album from eMusic when I got home.
Best Moment in the Comedy Tent: Jerry Minor talking about how funny monkeys were. I've been into Jerry since his time on Mr. Show, where he delivered the immortal line, "Life is precious, and God, and The Bible." His performance on the comedy stage was so funny, I teared up numerous times. Plus, he asked my what my favourite monkey was. I was enormously happy to be a (very small) part of the performance.
Best Discovery in the Comedy Tent: Rich Fulcher. His first set was a little dead, but his second set, if I might, killed. Talked to him after the show and told him how much I enjoyed the set, and he gave me permission to watch The Mighty Boosh illegally because the DVDs weren't available here yet. So that was cool.
Biggest Disappointment in the Comedy Tent: (Well, technically it was outside the tent.) Not getting to see the Upright Citizens Brigade's ASSSSCAT show. Long-form improv comedy featuring Matt & Matt from the UCB, plus Jerry Minor, Rich Fulcher, Sean Conroy, and Tim Meadows. Would have been great to see, but the tent was at capacity and the line was going nowhere, so we walked away, a little disappointed but ready to see something else.
Best Purchase at the Festival: Chocolate-chip-cookie ice cream sandwich just before the Flaming Lips show. It was DELICIOUS and exactly what I needed.
Worst Purchase at the Festival: An $11 can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Seriously, it could have been the most disappointing beer I've ever had, and I've had beer that tastes like mushrooms before. That was entirely unneccessary, made even worse by the exorbitant price.