Sunday, the Boy and one of his friends ventured to Lincoln, MA to the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum. It got passes for the park at our local library. It houses art work inside the five-story museum and has many sculptures sprouting through fields and walking trails. It is one of the coolest places on Earth. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
The Radio 92.9 Earthfest is a free concert and environmental awareness festival held each year on Boston’s Esplanade, or Hatch Shell. It is an event that the Mister and I want to attend each year, but find some reason not to (car show season, work, no money, etc). But 2012’s line-up was hard to resist: Eve 6, Switchfoot, Spin Doctors, and Third Eye Blind.
Those of you that have read past entries in the blog or know me personally, know that I love 90’s music, especially the alternative. Radio 92.9 plays a few of the bands I enjoyed while in college, which is why we really wanted to check out Third Eye Blind. So this year, the Boy and I ventured to Boston’s Charles River waterfront and saw the Hatch Shell for the first time (the Mister had to pull a double shift, waaaaaah!). I have only a few pictures, for as the day aged into evening, the crowd grew so massive, one could barely move, much less see the stage.
We parked at our usual train station, Alewife, off of Route 2. For as anyone around here knows, driving into Bean Town during an event can cause one to pull her hair out. There were no seats available on the train, but no problem. I did cringe when I gripped the pole, greasy with God only knows what. Thank Him for hand sanitizer, because I did not bring my gloves. After a few stops down the Red Line, we exited the train at the Charles Street/Mass General hospital station, crossed a couple of streets, walked over the footbridge, then entered the Esplanade. This is where the famous 4th of July ceremony takes place each year. On the walk there, I fought off the desire to smack a blonde girl who commented:
“I wonder what it’s like to be a 90’s band. You’re just there playing and everybody’s just wandering around, not listening.”
She was soon proven very wrong.
As you can see, it was a gorgeous sunny day and not very hot. People lay out on docks and boats sailed the river. It was the perfect day to stretch out a beach towel and wait for the bands to take the stage. Here are the last few pictures I was able to take before the crowd of bodies overwhelmed the Hatch Shell field, making it nearly impossible to clap or take a picture.
Let it be known, I was not this close to the stage.
Here is better idea of my location, towards the middle of the field.
Eve 6 was the first band we saw after setting up small camp between some lawn chairs on the field. They saved their famous, and one of all time favorite songs, “Inside Out” for last. Switchfoot took the stage next and rocked. I am not too familiar with these guys, but will become better acquainted with their tunes now. They covered a Tom Petty song and “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys to honor MCA.
After the Switchfoot show, my son tried unsuccessfully to maneuver the crowd and get some grub from a food vender. He returned empty-handed. One awesome and touching bit between the acts, was that WFNX’s Henry Santoro and Paul Driskell came onto stage and spoke a few words. They thanked 92.9 for inviting them to take part at EarthFest. And mostly thanked those of us in the crowd that supported FNX and listened during it’s 29 year run before it was sold to Clear Channel.
The Spin Doctors were interviewed by Radio 92.9, including questions about their new album and their twenty year career, including their Sesame Street performance. Although the lead singer did not spring a back flip, they still sparked the stage with much energy.
Between the shows, it became uncomfortable to sit down, as passing people tottered around blankets, towels, and my feet. A couple of people nearly stumbled onto my son. I thought I may start biting people who basically fondled me to get by and find some tiny spot of grass to stand on. By the time the Doctors ended, my son stood with his arms folded, glaring through his long strands of hair. After nearly getting singed by a gothic chick’s cigarette, I asked him how he was holding up. He said his back hurt, he was tired of being rammed by people trying to find a spot, and tired of smelling weed. And the weed smelled like straight up doo-doo. I’ve experienced my fair share of Mary Jane’s fragrance at outdoor concerts, but damn Boston, y’all’s pot is really skunked. And I could totally tell who was smoking it as they passed by me, causing my throat to roll with slight gags. The Boy wanted to go home, but compromised that if I helped squeeze him through the crowd and find a resting place outside of the Hatch Shell, he would go find us something to snack on.
So I packed up the bag and slithered through the people with the Boy in tow. We did find a shaded area close to the river and laid down the beach towel there. The spectators were now much more interested in cramming onto the field for Third Eye Blind than getting goodies, so the Boy quickly returned with some kettle corn. But leaving the Hatch Shell field proved to be both beneficial and a let down. It was much less crowded, ane the people around me simply sang the lyrics to “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” instead of belting them out at the top of their lungs. But once one steps out of that field, away from the shell shaped stage, the sound is less than alluring. Mostly basey thumps, and I could not understand what the people said over the mic. Yet the drummer’s dub step bit pounded perfectly throughout the Esplanade.
But my son brightened up and was much more comfortable. We enjoyed good conversation on the walk back to the train station. We bought cold drinks at the CVS across from the MGH station and waited a bit for the herds of people to cram the subways. While waiting for the train at the outside dock, people threw a spongey ball back and forth over the inbound and outbound tracks, until someone underestimated the toss. The ball spiked down onto the tracks. Someone considered going to get it, but needed education that at least two of the wires on the tracks would kill him.
So, to wrap things up. And estimated 500,000 music lovers crammed around the Hatch Shell to jam out to 90’s bands making a come back. Loads of people, loads of cheers, loads of fun. I jumped and cheered until basically being fondled by people trying to squash onto the field. Marijuana really stinks. Saw some great tattoos and watched the interesting folk of the Boston area (dressed like zombies, hippies, or wearing the mouth piece of a gas mask as a head band). I ate a Cliff Kidz organic chocolate brownie granola bar that wasn’t all that bad. I want something else to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life, baby.
May go next year if the band line up is good. But might wear a zombie apocalypse t-shirt or wear a shirt that says “I Bite” so New England knows to give me just a bit of personal space.
If you’d like to see way better pictures of EarthFest, click here.
My favorite Massachusetts radio station, 101.7 WFNX Boston’s Alternative Radio, was sold this week to Clear Channel. Articles stated that even though this station is historic, it simply could not afford to be on the airwaves anymore. And long time radio personalities like Julie Kramer and Adam 12 are out of a job.
Historic? Yes. Even though the call letters have changed, this station is credited for introducing bands like Nirvana to the East Coast, and Florence + the Machine and Mumford and Sons to the U.S. WFNX lended hands in many festivals around the Boston area, including the Clam Bake, Harpoon Fest and recently, the Seaport Six. They hosted a free Green Day concert in 1994. Every year, a couple of DJ’s traveled to Ireland for St. Patty’s Day and set up camp at Coachella Valley during their giant music festival. And FNX is also credited for introducing a little band called U2 to the United States.
As for the shows and DJ’s, 101.7 has seen a few changes. When I first moved to Mass about five years ago, the Sandbox was on the mornings. It boasted movie reviews, including 80’s movies radio personality Fletcher had never seen. Henry Santoro news sounded over the dawn airwaves since 1983, and he was co-hosting the Breakfast Show when it was sold. The “My Song is Better than Your Song” competition was always an interesting joy during the morning commute. Late at night, one could listen to local bands (Boston Accents) or brand spankin’ new tunes. In the late afternoons, Adam 12 and Jim Ryan usually got into some sort of playful tiff on the air at the switch of the shows. My favorite show was the Leftover Lunch with Julie Kramer. She served daily retro dosages of David Bowie, The Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, etc.
Right now, rumors are flying as to what tunage will spill over the airwaves once the switch is completely final. But I do not believe it has been officially announced what kind of music WFNX or 101.7 will now play. I would like to point out that Boston and Massachusetts have plenty of rock, variety, and pop stations. But we have now lost our one, truly alternative station. Sure, there’s 92.9, but they’ve even started playing Guns ‘N Roses (which we can hear on three other channels). Hopefully it will keep its alternative sound and continue bringing underground sounds from across the Atlantic to the U.S. Because there are a lot of us that don’t want to hear Katy Perry all damn day long.
WFNX, I will miss the Leftover Lunch, streaming music on my computer at work while doing paperwork, and the most awesome call letters in radio history W F N X. I belive it was the Silversun Pickups that described it best when stating they liked saying FNX, because it sounds like “cursing on the air.” When I moved to Mass, you all introduced me to new loves such as Mumford and Sons, Florence + the Machine, and the Black Keys. You got me better acquainted with the Dropkick Murphys. And I thank you all for that.
I cling to hope that the crew can make new memories, and that WFNX will somehow live on.
I nearly cried today during lunch when learning of the loss of Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch. Known as MCA, he played the bass guitar and belted out rhymes in a scratchy deep voice.
But I’m not blogging today about MCA’s bio. I write about how much I love MCA and the Beasties.
I am truthfully saddened by this loss to the music world. I was obsessed with the Beasties in junior high school. Posters of them lined my walls and I clipped out magazine pictures to paste onto school folders and notebooks. The Beastie Boys was perhaps the first band I loved that repulsed my mother when the rap/rock album License to Ill blasted into the mainstream. I played the License cassette every day after school. Here is how I first remember the Beastie Boys, completely rude and crude (well before their spiritual Free Tibet days, and sensitivity towards women) with MCA donning a leather jacket and baseball cap.
Image from allposterimages.com
But it took me a bit of time to get used to their more funky sounds in the following album, Paul’s Boutique. But when the early 90’s brought sounds like So Whatcha Want?, the Beastie Boys were propelled into the more alternative music scene. Since then, they’ve made amazing comebacks with songs like Sabotage, Intergalactic Planetary, Body Movin’ and Make Some Noise. Here and then, the Beasties would jam out to their original punk sound, keeping me and other fans listening faithfully. All they while MCA’s raspy voice wonderfully contrasted Mike D’s and Adrock’s higher pitches. MCA’s voice has remained distinct in the world of rap, proving not to be some monotonous droning sound.
Their music videos were usually very enjoyable and sometimes caused a few laughs. I am a fan of the Sabotage video, where they are dressed like 1970’s cops with thick fake moustaches. Other times they are dressed like Divo or in crazy matching suits, or have actors like Elijah Wood and Jack Black portray the Beasties.
I have jammed out to the Beastie Boys’ rap and rock sound, alternative, funk, and punk for at least 25 years now. Truthfully, I hoped for a few more albums. I wanted to hear more new ear candy from the Boys for another decade, showing the newbies how its done. I was thrilled about their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although I have never considered them to be rock. But they changed music for the better. And even though Adam could not attend the induction, it is fortunate he was able to receive this honor in life.
Seven years ago, I was finally able to see them in concert at the Red Rock amphitheatre in Colorado. Although this venue is more suitable for rock or classic sounds, I still had loads of fun. They dressed in matching suits, rapped, played their instruments, and pleaded for the crowd not to re-elect President Bush. Ad-rock simply sung the famous opening word, “Noooowwwww….” from Paul Revere, all three Beasties went silent and let the crowd continue the song. We sucked. I went absolutely nuts when they played Sabotage.
To me, losing MCA hit like I’ve lost all three of my Beastie Boys. For each of them is irreplaceable. My heart goes out to Adam’s family and the surviving Boys, Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Hororwitz (Ad-rock).