There’s no secret that some of my favorite events of the year happen on the weekend of Music Midtown every year. A weekend full of so many different types of artists all coming together in the middle of the City of Atlanta to put up their best effort to draw the biggest crowd between six stages. This year, hats off to 99x, the local “Everything Alternative” Radio Station, who managed to book the most impressive line up on one stage that I have ever experienced.
Out of all of the bands that I was overjoyed to see, I have to say that the most unexpected delight of the weekend was the grand finale headliner on the 99x stage, DEVO! Even though it had been nearly 20 years since DEVO had played Atlanta, you wouldn’t have known it from the warm welcome they got from all the happy “spuds” and future “spuds” on Sunday evening. The DEVO energy dome hats must have been working to keep the rain away, because Sunday ended up being the only dry day of the festival. DEVO packed a high-energy punch with or without “flower pot” energy dome hats and radiation suits. Their message is as politically charged as ever and complete with social commentary and fun. Their set list was a balanced mix of their more popular songs and rarities. We got to hear “That’s Good,” “Girl U Want,” “Whip It,” “Satisfaction,” (Rolling Stones cover) “Uncontrollable Urge,” “Mongoloid,” “Blockhead,” “Jocko Homo,” “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA,” “Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy,” “Gates of Steel,” Encore: “Freedom of Choice,” and “Beautiful World” with a special appearance by Booji Boy. Booji Boy seems to be sort of the social voice of DEVO, with his stories and lessons. My favorite ever Booji Boy moment was his role in the 1982 Neil Young movie, Human Highway. Continue reading →
The summer is always the time for festivals to come through town. Summer, 2005 offered many to choose from. The weekend of June 10 through 12 proved a challenge for the indecisive. Of course, everyone and their brother (except me and Leah) made the trek up to Tennessee for Bonnarroo. Then there were those of us who remained faithful to Atlanta’s Music Midtown, which took place the same weekend. If that weren’t enough, Atlanta also hosted the first annual VIBE MusicFest. The VIBE MusicFest line-up rivaled the others from beginning to end. From Ludacris to Faith Evans, Big Boi to Lauren Hill, even Common and Kanye West made an appearance. For me, though, the group that got the least amount of “press” was the most uplifting and enjoyable. The Marley Brothers’ celebration of their Father, Bob Marley’s Life of work touched me on the deepest part of my soul. The actual sons of Bob featured in this particular event were Stephen Marley and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.
From the first note of the introduction of the Marley celebration, I knew that VIBE MusicFest was in for a Kingston-style treat! The Marley Brothers were the first of the night on Saturday night, but brought the energy of a headliner. We were first introduced to Bob’s youngest son’s 1996 “Mr. Marley,” which is obviously a shout out to his father and the music he left behind. Damian Robert Nesta Marley a.k.a. “Junior Gong” started the show with high energy and a heavy reggae vibe on some of his solo material. Stephen then joined Damian onstage for a “Marley Brothers” version of the classic “Kaya.” Both of these boys have their own voice, unique to them only. However, when Stephen hit the stage with one of Bob’s signature outfits, the jean shirt and jeans, I could have sworn there had just been a resurrection. Stephen and Ziggy Marley are the spitting image of their Father, so every time I see them play music, I can’t help but wish Bob could walk out and join them for a few songs. One day. Continue reading →