12 August 2009

On Saturday, I attended something called the "Summer Spirit Festival". It was held at Merriweather Post Pavilion which was built way before the Animal Collective album of the same name. 
Randon, one of my most favorite bros in the world, called me in the afternoon and said that he had an extra ticket to this concert that Erykah Badu was performing at. Once I heard that name, I immediately put my pants on and then began to hurriedly shave with no shaving cream while brushing my teeth while cooking eggs while watching the Weather Channel. Seeing Erykah Badu live was enough to make me rush like a Twilight fan (Writer's Note: I mean, seriously, have you heard about these Twilight fans--or Twi-hards as they're sometimes called. They are just absolutely rabid. Its crazy. It recalls the late 90s when boy bands were all the rage, and shopping malls, airports, and arenas were all breaking out in mass hysteria because of Brian and Justin and Aaron and Kevin and Howie. Well the Twi-hards are like that, but times 1000. They absolutely over-ran Comic Con a few weeks back, and technically Twilight isn't even a comic. The whole thing is really just nuts.)
While looking up directions, I discovered that Chuck Brown was also going to be performing. Chuck Brown is kind of a big deal. He is advertised as the "Godfather of Go Go" in reference to a particular brand of music from the Washington, DC area. (Writer's Note: Go Go is seriously hard to explain so I don't really know what to say other then that its out of DC, so, sorry.) I had heard of Chuck Brown, and like Badu it just seemed like one of those acts that I would probably never see. And if I wasn't already rushing to get out the door then I certainly was now.
Randon pulled into a parking spot in the far corner of the lot. I was riding in the passenger seat and was gazing out the window. There were already people walking towards the concert grounds, and I jokingly asked Randon whether I was going to be the palest person at the show and Randon said he was sure there would be at least one other. Well, it turns out that Randon was right. We saw one other white person the whole time we were there, and its not like that matters and its not something I would normally think about, but at the beginning of the show there was this comedian, who turned out to be real drunk, and he started talking about some Afro-Centric stuff and it kind of gave me a weird vibe and then Randon looked over at me and shrugged his shoulders and then I did the same. 
Everyone had a lawn chair. Everyone was sitting in a lawn chair. I've been to Merriweather before, but I've never seen so many people sitting in chairs while I was there. Normally, people just sit on the ground. The only reason I mention this is because is because it impeded on certain things that people may do while at shows. Once we found a spot, we had to keep it for the rest of the time we were there or else we would have missed everything. When we did need something, Randon would go because he said I was easier to pick out of the crowd. This also made doing that one thing you normally do at concerts slightly more difficult, but you just have to be crafty and resilient and you will succeed. 
Simply put, Chuck Brown was one of the single most electrifying performers I have ever seen in my entire life. It was almost as good as that one time I saw George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. I was dancing and rocking out at the same time. Maybe rocking out is too strong of a word, but I was really digging the go go sound. The drums just keep you on your toes the whole time, and once the vocals come in you start doing your two-step and then who knows when you will stop. So good. So awesome. Not this Saturday, but next Saturday August 22nd, its Chuck's birthday and there is going to be this big outdoor party and a corner is being renamed "Chuck Brown Boulevard". Needless to say, I will be there for that.
In a way, Erykah Badu was exactly what I expected live. Awesome. At the same time, though, I really had no idea how awesome. She performed her last album, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War), in its entirety. She has a very commanding stage presence to say the least, and she is also amazingly talented and so what happens is that all eyes are on her at all times and the best part about that is that she talks. Erykah Badu talks about some real shit. She can really make you think about shit that you don't normally think about. There are elements of hip hop in the music, but more than anything else its soul music. So good. So awesome.
In closing, this show is also responsible for the fact that I didn't spend my weekend listening to My Bloody Valentine which had been my original Saturday plan.

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