Concert Sutra’s Music Midtown 2004
by terri sapp
Photo Credits: Ween and George Clinton photos taken by Ben Rose; Joss Stone photo taken by Chris McKay; Dave Grohl and crowd surfer photos taken by Frank Mullen; and brought to you courtesy of The Wicked Group.
© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved
Each and every year on the first weekend of May in Midtown Atlanta, the biggest and best festival in the Southeast takes over! The most special aspect of Music Midtown is that no matter what acts are booked to play, this weekend is nothing but fun. 2004 is no different. I have attended this festival for the last several years, and have found that even if there don’t seem to be any artists that you aren’t interested in experiencing, you can always find something new that will catch your attention. Not only are there several different stages set up in the middle of the city, but the price of the weekend three-day pass is truly noteworthy. This year, I was able to catch a total of fourteen bands over the course of the weekend, and the ticket price is under fifty dollars!
Friday night at the Q100 stage, Ludacris kicked off the weekend right in true Atlanta style with favorites like “What’s Your Fantasy?,” “Move, Bitch!,” “(Ho’s in different) Area Codes,” and “Stand Up.” Luda has never let me down at a live show, and this night was no different. His energy is high (along with some of his crew), and he always gets the crowd jumpin!
To kick Saturday off, on the way past the 96Rock Stage, I caught the tail end of the Smithereens on “Only A Memory.” The lead singer’s voice took me a moment by the similarity to Elvis Costello.
Joss Stone (newcomer powerhouse performer visiting us from England) absorbed and reflected the beating Sun with ease. This young beauty’s stage performance goes way beyond her rich, soulful, and amazingly developed voice! On the hottest and brightest day of the weekend, Joss Stone seemed to just breeze through her set of jazzy R&B funk hits and some new songs that are coming with her new album of original music to come September 28, 2004. Not once did this audience see her break a sweat…she gave it like an old pro. And was cuter than a button the entire time! Her band is AMAZING, and contributes 100% to the laid back feel that still makes the crowd move! A couple favorites from her album “The Soul Session” you would have heard her perform included, “The Choking Kind,” “Super Duper Love,” and of course her reggae-touched rework of the White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With A Boy.”
Once Joss took a set break on the Q100 Stage, I headed to the V103 stage with Angie Stone for a moment, which was a complete flashback for me! Just like several of her peers in this business, Angie Stone is still KICKIN! She is just smooth with her “sequins,” sparkly jeans, and bright pink pimp hat. Material from her newest album, “Black Diamond” is rooted deeply in soul, with a very positive message. She even teased Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo!”
99X brought the Strokes, who were full of fabulous “Brit” rock, with crazy hair! As much as I wanted to stick around the Strokes, Wyclef called me over back to the V103 stage.
Wyclef Jean has always been someone I wanted to see live…as far back as the Fugees. Luckily, he still feels comfortable playing some Fugges music…not only Fugees, but other artists as well. Wyclef was hoppin! He opened with House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” then went into his famous re-mix of the Bee-Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.” Wyclef even used the vocals of Lauren Hill on a 1996 “Fugee flashback” with “Fugee La” and “Ready Or Not.” Wyclef headed up his refugee band beautifully with his guitar. The fact that he and his band play their own instruments has always set Wyclef apart from the mainstream hip-hop artist. During the show, Wyclef even pulled some rockin’ style guitar playin’ behind his head, with his teeth, and whatnot. “No Woman, No Cry” is welcome to my ears, no matter who plays it. Ludacris’ “Move, Bitch” is also a great tease to get the crowd going. Not that they needed any help getting this crowd going! The DJ backing him up was out of this world! Wyclef also climbed through the crowd to the middle of the audience, where the spotlight tower was, then back down through the crowd. What a treat!
Chris Robinson (on the 96 Rock stage) is another I have always wanted to be in the presence of! His raw southern, soul, funk-rock is all its own. Chris Robinson, now with band, New Earth Mud has always sparked (among other things) a fire under my feet and all I can do is get up and dance when he sings. The band has an album coming out in June, and I would say, based on what I heard at Music Midtown, everyone must try it out. There is a heavy bass, unique keyboards, and very balanced harmonies that really compliment and complete Chris Robinson and the New Earth Mud.
Just next to the 96 Rock stage is the V 103 stage, which is good, because George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic were playing at V 103 at the same time as the Doors of the 21st Century at 96 Rock, as well as the Foo Fighters on the 99X stage (on the other side of the fest), and almost overlapping Big Boi of Outkast on the Q 100 stage. That is the thing about Saturday night at Music Midtown, you have to choose the acts you see, because they ALWAYS overlap…or so they say. I was determined, and caught them ALL (at least a few songs)!
George Clinton was in full effect, on Booty Duty with diaper and all. The P-Funk had a very large crowd. I went there first, and thought it was the biggest crowd I had ever seen at Music Midtown. In true form, P-Funk came out over thirty minutes late, so, I didn’t get much of the show, before it was time to switch. I did get a little “Sir Nose,” a taste of the P-Funk radio show, “W.E.F.U.N.K.” and hung with the “Endangered Species.” Despite the HORRIBLE sound problems that happened all weekend at the V103 stage, George Clinton and the P-Funk got up off the funk, times 1000.
Meanwhile, just within sound reach, the Doors of the 21st Century played “Break On Through” to an enormous crowd as well! I would say that this Saturday night brought the largest Music Midtown crowd ever that I have seen! Each time I switched stages, I thought they all had the biggest crowd! Of course, you can’t beat the distinct organ of original member, Raymond Daniel Manzarek, and guitar of original member, Robby Krieger. I felt an overwhelming feeling being in the midst of so many music GODS all in one place in one night! Singer, Ian Astbury really shined on “L.A. Woman.” Although, I was having a hard time focusing on anything but the psychedelic graphics on the screens on the sides of the stage. I imagine that was the point. A brilliant effect! There were even fractal style effects on the video footage. Manzarek said that the Doors of the 21st Century are DEFINITELY coming back to Atlanta, so look out for them, because they are a must-see to anyone who ever felt love for the Doors and their music.
On to the Foo Fighters at the 99X stage. Due to the distance between the stages, I was only able to catch a small amount of the Foo Fighters show. The crowd was also one to rival The P-Funk and the Doors. No way around it, the Foo Fighters ROCK! Crazy drummer, Taylor Hawkins “Don’t owe you anything” after that performance! I never imagined what drummer could stand next to DAVE GROHL, but this guy is one of those drummers! Unfortunately, I have a hard time focusing on anyone but Dave Grohl when he is singing, screaming, and getting down with a little melodic guitar. Always a favorite to hear live, “Learn to Fly” soared high and carried me all the way back over to the Q100 stage where I walked up on the largest crowd I have ever witnessed at Music Midtown, Big Boi of Outkast.
Saturday night was truly amazing, and held the most people ever at one time in my experience. For full coverage featuring the Big Boi show, check it out at http://concertsutra.com/2004/05/concert-sutra-getting-wet-with-outkast%e2%80%99s-big-boi/. Big Boi’s show was groundbreaking and he belongs in the Guinness Book of World records for his skill.
Sunday is always short, but this year was not lacking in must-see bands. Cee-Lo Green was my first show on Sunday at the V103 stage. He always brings a smile to my face. “Who’s that peaking in my window?” Cee-Lo? Is it “Just the two (sometimes three) of us?” I guess we are all “Getting grown…” DJ Bass, DJ Bass… You are the man! Ifyou have never seen DJ Bass perform, you would not know that he is known to treat his turntables right, like a good man should. He spins around, scratches from under the turntable, goes slow motion, goes down with his face and scratches and uses the slide buttons with his mouth! VERY IMPRESSIVE! On into “The Night Life” the crowd is feeling Cee-Lo. Then, the song that goes out to the stoners and freaks, “I’m a Freak!” Even though Cee-Lo has always been my favorite rapper from the Goodie Mob, this is one of my favorite Cee-Lo moments. We even got a previously unreleased track, “Holla when you want me to come. Call me when you want me to come. I’ll be around.” The crowd participation was fun. Cee-Lo also joined the fans down in the crowd. I so wanted to high five him…next time, Cee-Lo. The man with him even went crowd surfing. Andre 3000 of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” played as they walked off, which seemed to happen a few times this year. The crowd loved it!
It is truly unusual that you get to see an entire set at Music Midtown, but always seem to catch a couple. This year, (other than Big Boi) Ween was one I was not missing. These guys are a different kind of fun. Some might think they are a little weird, but they are right up my alley! These guys have been around so long (which kind of surprises me, since the lead singer sings with a cigarette in his guitar and/or mouth). I know they have been in my life over a decade. Amazing. Some of their lyrics will catch you off guard and make you wonder why they are singing about Spinalmenenjitus (?), Zoloft, or HIV. However, if you don’t like it, they would probably tell you to “Piss up a rope,” because these guys don’t strike me as guys who give a shit what you think! They sing “Waiving My Dick In The Wind” with the sincerity of a symphony. I had so much fun with Ween. “Nice ass!” I have never seen a man play the guitar at his feet, so that his ass is up in the air! I think this should become a trend! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Ween to setthe trends. Until then, I will see them again and again.
Musiq rounded off my Music Midtown with his soul sharing. “Love, so many people use your name in vein!” These are the words of a beautiful man. He gave us a sneak preview of his new material, and all that I heard stands right up with the quality Musiq I have come to know and love…yes, love.
Music Midtown is a very important part of my year, and one of my favorite weekends. If you have never been, make arrangements, no matter who is playing. There is always more than enough fun to be had!!