As I write this on the Monday morning after the Anti-Pop Music Festival has ended, I'm in a bit of a daze. Not so much because there's a hurricane going on outside, but because after six days of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a few dozen concerts, I'm absolutely exhausted. In fact, last night, as the storm was blowing up against my window, I had a dream that my roommate (who happened to be Brian Dennehy) just returned from getting storm supplies, only to have a bag of PBR swag. "Pabst is sponsoring the hurricane," he said.
"Well, where's the beer, dumbass?" I asked. "Those coozies aren't going to do any good unless we have beer."
Yeah, it was that kind of week.
It must be said simply and unequivocally that the inaugural edition of Anti-Pop was a success. The organizers hit their attendance numbers, the bands were impressive and the audiences were impressed. Most importantly, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. There were some cancellations and last-minute shufflings due to that damned Pabst-sponsored hurricane and the lack of a publicized timetable made it difficult to get from show to show in a way that maximized exposure to different acts, but on balance it was an incredibly well-run affair that put a lot of great music in front of a lot of people.
HIGHS AND LOWS
Allow me to quickly run down what I thought was good and not so good about Anti-Pop.
Good: Having Spacebar rock me so hard, I felt like I was a little girl.
Bad: Feeling like a complete tool while interviewing Lou Barlow on stage. Thankfully, Barlow made up for it by being a great interview subject and, later, putting on an equally impressive acoustic performance that had the girl behind me crying when he started singing Sebadoh's "On Fire."
Good: Having The National rip my head off with their emotional bombast.
Bad: Wanting to rip the heads off the members of Anberlin. Their Christian faux-core rocks, but they collectively have the worst haircuts of any band in Orlando.
Good: Atmosphere kicking 1,000 people's asses in the middle of a downpour.
Bad: Seeing Andy from Pabst and Baptiste from The Social more in the past week than I saw my wife and kids.
Good: Hank III. 'Nuff said. That there was a street team for an audiobook company (in wolf suits) made it good and weird.
Bad: Missing Inkwell.
Good: Losing a bet that the audience would clear out after 25 minutes of Buckethead. Two hours later, The Social was still packed with people digging his psychedelic shred.
Bad: Hanging out in a bar with Joe Escalante from The Vandals but never getting up the nerve to introduce myself.
Good: Finally getting up the nerve to ask Carla Kihlstedt from Sleepytime Gorilla Museum if her string trio might ever play here.
Bad: Her telling me as nicely as possible that it's sort of unlikely. (Which, of course, gives me a goal for next year's Anti-Pop.)
Good: Astronautalis rocking it with a full band; Astronautalis rocking it alone.
Bad: Complaining about how worn out I was and bitching about how six days was too much, only to be disappointed that I wasn't going to get to do it all over again today.
THE STORY OF WTF?
It wasn't surprising that Axis magazine decided to completely ignore Anti-Pop in their magazine as they probably view it as some sort of competition to their Florida Music Festival (Lord knows Orlando couldn't possibly host two annual music festivals six months apart).
But the Sentinel did dish up some decent coverage of Anti-Pop, including a full-page feature previewing Atmosphere's performance the night before it happened. Oddly, it was written by one Michael Tedder, who was credited as "an Orlando freelance writer." That may well be true, but Tedder also happens to be the managing editor over at Axis. Whether the Sentinel didn't want to share that with us, or if Axis didn't want to be seen promoting Anti-Pop, it's a bit fishy.
(In other Sentinel weirdness, what's up with Jim Abbott's crusade against Ashlee Simpson? Jim, we know Ashlee Simpson is a tool. It's cool, man.)
Will someone please buy me the new Stevie Wonder "digital box set" that's on iTunes? Please? It's only 190 bucks and totally worth it. Thing is, I spent all my money on PBR this week.
Also on iTunes, one of the Orlando scene's best friends, Bing Futch, has been rockin' a podcast you can grab from the iTunes Music Store for free. It's called All Florida Indies and he's been putting 'em out about once a week for the last three or four months, shining a spotlight on a wide range of Florida artists. Good stuff.
NO, DOWNLOAD THESE
This week's make-your-own podcast:
The Katamari Zoo: "Scorching Savanna"
Dick Dale: "Tidal Wave"
The Legendary J.C.'s: "Trouble" (live)
The Wildhearts: "Vanilla Radio"
Chicago: "Free Form Guitar"
Rachid Taha: "Safi"
Sloan: "Marcus Said"
Nina Simone: "In the Dark"
Sebadoh: "Fantastic Disaster"
Misfits: "Death Comes Ripping" firstname.lastname@example.org