Wanderlust Festival Diary: Part Three

by Gordon Elgart on July 28, 2009

If you look right above that dome, you can see the lake.

If you look right above that dome, you can see the lake.

Sunday at the Wanderlust felt like one long, sad goodbye.  The whole drive home to Oakland was hanging over my head the whole day.  Can’t drink.  Can’t party too hard.  Must drink enough water so that I feel good enough to make the drive.  Have to leave early enough to get home for work.  All of these things can really bring a guy down as he heads up the funitel to another sun-soaked day of music.  How long could this feeling last?

I arrived at the top of the mountain as Amanda Palmer was playing the first notes of her first song, a cover of the Bright Eyes song “Lua.”  I was disappointed that I missed the Honey Brothers.  I’d seen Adrian Grenier walking around all weekend, and really wanted to check out his band.  But I slept too late and needed to pack, eat breakfast, post Part Two of this diary, and check out.  So I didn’t make it.  Lucky for me I’ll get another chance to check them out: they’re playing The Independent on September 12.

As for Amanda Palmer, she rocked.  She played another cover, a sad reading of “Billie Jean.”  She played “Coin Operated Boy,” which surprised me.  I wasn’t expecting any Dresden Dolls material.   I read a review of the show that listed her setlist, but failed to mention the three songs from her current album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I find this somewhat ironic because she had such trouble getting this album promoted by the record label, and now major media sources like NME are leaving the songs out of their article.  For the record, she played “Astronaut,” “Runs in the Family” and “Ampersand” as well as what they listed.  It was a great set, and it made me forget that I was leaving today.  I settled in to enjoy the afternoon.

Next up was Mates of State, who I adore.  I’ve seen them many times, know all of their songs, and I can’t be a very good judge of their performance.  Did they sing well?  I have no idea; I was singing, too.  Did they connect with the audience?  They connected with me.  I talked to someone afterward, and she said that they were “cute.”  She meant this as a bit of an insult, I think, but it’s also true.  They are cute.

Broken Social Scene played next, and the big game to play with them is wondering who will be there with them.  I’m terrible at recognizing musicians, so I’m not going to be the best at playing this game.  I know Kevin Drew was there; I know Jason Collett wasn’t.  Brendan Canning was definitely there.  A woman named Lisa sang with them, and I used Wikipedia to determine that it was Lisa Lobsinger.  Other than that, I have no idea.  Here’s the thing though:  it hardly matters.  Everyone who ends up on stage with them is a great musician, and their songs breathe and soar in a way that allows for everyone to shine.  They’re an absolute joy, and time just flies when they’re on stage.  When they said they were about to play their last song, I was surprised.  Didn’t they just start?  It seems so rare to get to see them these days; I hope they come back around soon.

Finally, there was Andrew Bird, and he was amazing.  He was the perfect blend of man, music and mountain.  I spent some of his set watching from the side of the stage, some of it watching from up high on the mountain, and other of it sitting in tall grass under a shady tree.  He’s perfect from every vantage point.  I had never seen him live before, so I had no idea he was a live looper, had no idea he was such a good whistler, and had never seen the amazing Leslie he performs with.  I’m absolutely definitely going to see his next solo show back home.

Spoon played after Andrew Bird, but there’s that whole day job thing, so I missed it for needing to get home.

Wanderlust Festival was amazing, both in the music and the people.  Part Four is coming up soon, and that will be a collection of the photos of Wanderlust.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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