6/5-7/09 Crucial Fun Fest @ Al’s Bar and Third St. Stuff, Lexington KY
Let me start by doing something I rarely do: Give praise to a bar. Al’s bar is in an old mostly African American neighborhood in Lexington, KY. The neighborhood is changing with money moving in and hip art related things. Al’s is still a neighborhood bar. It feels welcoming. It’s not classy feeling. It is real feeling. An early 30’s man owns the bar and neighborhood folks are employed and help run it. Good fried bar food, veggie options, simple and cheap drink selection. Al’s hosted all 3 days of Crucial Fun Fest and gave free drinks and food to bands. The area for watching the show is medium sized so we could all crowd in and be close. One bar tender could work on the portion of sweet potato fries he gives. Bands also performed @ Third Street Stuff: A wildly painted fair trade coffee shop with kitchy crafts. Go during happy hour to get wired on a generously sized mug.
I was at the whole fest. Many friends converged and the it was like a constant group hug with out the smothering effects that might actually occur from such a thing. Chicago, Boston, Columbus. New friends from AZ. I saw friends THE WILD from Atlanta and friends HALO FAUNA from NY. A surprise Paul Baribeau set happened to my delight. His new tape is golden. I finally got to see THE HEATHERS from Ireland play. Their voices are filled with the rolling green hills of Ireland that I have never seen. I am taken there in listening. Beauty and power. They are also a twin band and we twin bands have to stick together in this scene.
I got to play with The Sidekicks on day one as a fill in on bass. I love playing songs that I have no part of creating AND that I have enjoyed simply as a listener in the past. There are less personal feelings at stake.
I also played with Delay and the crowd response made me get all choked up feeling in a good way. There was a poster on the wall behind us with a big, blue UK on it (University of Kentucky) and a Wildcat pouncing. Austin cleverly Macgyvered a P and a U out of cardboard to make the sign say PUNK. Under it in marker I wrote, by his recommendation, “Not Just A Phase!” Damn right. Lose The Tude’ also got to play and we made the Wildcat a new cardboard talk bubble that said CIRCLE PIT! and people did! Also, Letters to The Moon played a 3 song set in a park down town. I felt pretty self centered playing so much. I should be more modest. Some other sets I enjoyed include the solo keyboard emo-pop of WABASH and the folk punk idealists A DRUM AND AN OPEN WINDOW. Tenesse’s ADD/C always put on a sweaty and rad live show.
The low light of the fest was Anthony (booked the fest) and Ardea getting shit from their landlord for letting people stay at their apartment. On the second night, we had to sleep on the rock hard floor of CPR, the all ages DIY venue/space next to Al’s Bar that Anthony had just leased. My body hurt in the morning like I was 90.
The highlight of the fest was when almost everyone from the fest was playing in downtown Lexington’s public fountain. We splashed harder and longer than the under 6 crowd that beat us there. I showed the youngsters how to take a plastic McDonald’s cup from the trash and launch it using the fountain’s water power. It just so happened a festival was happening right around one of the fountains so we had the luck of a loud PA blasting R&B. We all shook or boxer or undie clad asses as streams of water shot from the ground. We even became a part of the festival, helplessly trying to do the electric slide. The kids can’t dance.