For those of you who don’t know, this weekend was the “first annual” LA Weekly Detour Festival in downtown Los Angeles. I really don’t know much about the history of this event except that about 2 months ago a friend of mine named off a bunch of people who were going to be playing and I knew I wanted to go. Here’s my experience of what went down. Unfortunately all I had was my camera phone to document, but I figure it’s better than nothing.
I got to the gates with the winner of our giveaway and after perusing the area and acquiring a couple frosty beverages we headed over to the “City Hall West” stage where The Like were in the middle of their set. (Apparently who was on what stage got switched between the printing of the programs and the days set-up because this caused a bit of confusion for a few people I ran into throughout the day.) I had the privilege of meeting this all girl trio back when I worked for M+ and they’re actually pretty good. I have to admit though, as is often the case with girl bands, their talent gets a little overshadowed by their attractiveness. Today they weren’t doing much to help matters with the bassist in her trademark hotpants and the lead guitarist and singer sporting a cute little babydoll number reminiscent of a less trashy Courtney Love circa 199-something. I’m sorry to break it to a lot of you, but the funny thing is when Courtney was galavanting around doing the glamour trash thing, these girls were all of four years old at the time. The drummer was cute enough as well, but the thing that amazed me the most about her is how she managed to bash the skins with such ferocity and not get a drumstick caught in her flailing hair. Overall it was a good performance and I only wish I had been able to catch the whole set.
When I first heard “Of Montreal” my initial instinct was to pass them off as a cutesy cheese band. There’s plenty of those around now enjoying moderate success, so I figured more power to them, but not really my thing. After enough force feeding though I found a little grooveability to their tunes and figured I could get past the goofy factor. Now I wanted to make sure I got in a good position for the Blackalicious set on the other stage, so I really only got to see “Of Montreal” in passing on my way to a bathroom break, but what I did see made me stop and notice. It was here that I realized what I mistook for cheesy goofyness was in actuality pure unadulturated insanity. Like I said I only caught a passing glimpse but the huge bright-ass get-ups, and screaming guys in dresses was all I needed to realize they were definitely bonkers out of their minds. I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, and I’m sure it ended up being quite the show, but I knew from past experience Blackalicious was not an act I wanted to miss, so I didn’t stick around to find out one way or another.
yeaaaaaah………. alrightty then
Of Montreal – Vegan in Furs
One of two acts that pretty much sealed the deal for me as far as how certain I was that I needed to be at this show, Blackalicious as usual did not disappoint. Gift of Gab’s flow was on point and as usual he took a minute to flex his freestyle skills in an impromptu jam. Chief Excel held it down on the ones and twos and they even had a couple back-up singers with them this time around representing. Now I’ve seen Blackalicious about three or four times at this point and I’ve loved them every time, regardless of who was supporting the duo on stage. I have to say though, this time around they had a keyboard player with them who easily stole the show. Here’s an example of why shot on my crappy phone camera:
Your boy was just that hype through the whole set. Here’s a couple more stills of him in action:
The other group that I just HAD to see at this show was Blonde Redhead. I’ve been digging these guys for a while but had not seen either them or Enon live as of yet. I have to say they brought a bit of a different vibe to the day. Don’t get me wrong they rocked out for sure and were everything I expected, but while most of the other acts brought a lot of hyped up energy and a big party dance vibe, Blonde Redhead just made you want to zone out and sway the whole time. Of course at certain points I found myself jumping up and down and really getting into their groove (during In Particular… in particular), but I felt like I was the only one. The only complaint I can really find about their set was that it felt like it was waaay too short, even though apparently according to the actual time they went over by about 10 minutes. I look forward to catching them at one of their own shows after their new album drops sometime next year.
Blonde Redhead – Distilled
I’m not sure what I expected from Basement Jaxx, but it damn sure wasn’t a full band complete with a horn section, a drummer, AND a percussionist. It was around this point in the night where it was made apparent that this was an event geared toward high energy feel-good party music. They took the stage in a storm playing a nice selection of songs from “Rooty,” “Kish-Kash,” and their latest release “Crazy Itch Radio” (which I haven’t heard yet). It was apparent that if you hadn’t been having a good time as of yet that day by the time the Jaxx crew was done you would have had no choice but to get your groove thing shaking. Either that or you needed your pulse checked.
Basement Jaxx – Romeo
It wasn’t hard to tell that the majority of the people in attendance that day were there to see everyone’s favorite Scientologist rip it up with his infamous marrionettes and preview material from his upcoming album. At that point I knew there was no way I was gonna be able to get anything remotely resembling a clear view of the stage, so I resigned myself to hanging out in the middle of the crowd with a group of other friends who were also there. Beck opened his set with Loser and the crowd ate up every minute of it. With his live puppet routine projected on the backdrop behind him, Beck’s stage show appeared to be a mix between a “Flaming Lips” circus with “The Arcade Fire” showing up just for atmosphere. Again I couldn’t see much, but Beck was dressed like Tom Petty in a straw hat and leather vest. There was this weird b-boy in a collared shirt and tie who I really only saw pick up a guitar for the one song when Beck was wearing the bear costume. That was after the intermission during which a little mini movie starring the puppets played called “Snakes on the Tour Bus”. I’m assuming these are the same puppets that got blamed for trashing Radiohead’s hotel room a couple months ago. Quite honestly I don’t really know what to say about that. It was a good set though and I’m glad I got to see Beck live for the first time.
Beck – Deadweight
Queens of the Stone Age
Apparently at this point in the night everyone was running over timewise because I got a text in the middle of Beck’s set telling me that my other friends were already over watching QOTSA play on the other stage. So as soon as the last song ended there was a mad dash over to the other main stage to catch what was left of their set. At this point in the day everyone was pretty tired, but that didn’t stop the Queens from putting on a damn good show to close out the night. They touched on all their hits from the past 3 or 4 years and even played some older tunes for the hardcore fans. Not really much I can say about them except for they did their thing. Afterwards everyone migrated their seperate ways and I trekked the 4 blocks to my house where I passed out and woke up feeling like total shit the next morning. Sorry Bean and Shal 😦
Queens of the Stone Age – Avon(live from the Mean Fiddler UK)
Those were the major acts that I got to catch while I was there. I did get to see a few other partial sets and unfortunately I missed some others that I wanted to see because of scheduling. There were a couple other people from the Alternakids crew hanging out though. Maybe we’ll get a follow-up report with some of their experiences soon.