80/35 2012 day one blog
80/35 2012 day one blog
I've updated this blog to correct the name of The Avett Brothers' 2007 album and their home state.
I thought it was hot at last year's 80/35, but yesterday put heat in a whole new perspective.
With temperatures topping 100, the day was one hot, sweaty mess. Luckily, that messiness didn't seem to rub off on the festival itself on the shortened first day.
Starting things off was the Canadian punk rock act F****d Up. The closest 80/35 has had to punk in the past was Titus Andronicus last year, but F****d Up is a couple notches up on the intensity scale from them.
Frontman Damian Abraham spent almost the entire set wondering around in the crowd, singing, hugging, high fiving and generally whipping the crowd up. They were pretty much the perfect act to warm up a festival crowd, even if the crowd for their set wasn't huge. They got a mosh pit going at 80/35. That's not something I ever expected to see.
I hope they're return, because I suspect seeing them in a space like People's or Woolly's would be very intense.
Seedlings and Dustin Smith & The Sunday Silos both had good size crowds on the free stages in the 5 p.m. slot. Both stages had the advantage of having a good portion of shade, though the shade for Seedlings, provided by a large tree on 13th Street, kept everyone about 50 feet back from the stage.
Dinosaur Jr. returned to Des Moines for the first time since they played Lollapalooza in 1993. I suspect a good portion of Friday's crowd was still in diapers for that show. Frontman J. Mascis let his guitar and lyrics do most of the speaking for him, remaining largely silent between songs. Bassist Lou Barlow was the more vocal member of the two, engaging with the crowd and calling out the sun several times on the heat.
The sun refused to comment.
I'd have to say Dinosaur Jr. was probably the most air guitar worthy act 80/35 has ever had. Loud, buzzy and drenched in feedback, they seemed to draw in a good number of the more indie-minded and jam-focused crowd.
The last time The Avett Brothers played Des Moines, it was for a crowd of around 700 at Hoyt Sherman Place in 2009. Headlining 80/35 this year, the crowd was easily 10 times larger. In fact, project manager Amedeo Rossi and DMMC president Justin Schoen said this was the biggest day of the festival (and pre-sales for Saturday were even higher).
The North Carolina quintet started things off with "Paranoia in B Major" off of the group's 2007 album "Emotionalism." It was the beginning of a nearly two hour long set that didn't have the spectacle of last year's headliners, but all of the energy.
The Avett Brothers have a very different sound than any past headliners, and they exhibited the ranges of their own sound Friday night. Songs like "Signs" and "Traveling Song" could have come straight from Nashville, while "Murder in the City" and "Headful of Doubt" could come from a band with significantly less twang.
Brothers Seth and Scott Avett followed up "Murder in the City" with "Tin Man" letting the stage go dark and gathering around one microphone to sing harmonies together. It's the kind of intimate feel you don't expect in front of a crowd of 9,000 or so.
Maybe I've just been to too many concerts, but I've grown very cynical about encores. They've become predictable, with bands normally holding back two of their three biggest hits so that fans have that "Oh crap, they haven't played 'You Shook Me All Night Long'" moment of panic. It's made nearly every encore seem pre-planned and not driven by audience demand, but rather expectation. Because it's what is supposed to happen at the end of the show.
I liked what the Avetts did, ending their regular set with their biggest hit, "I and Love and You" and using the encore for "Laundry Room" and "It Goes On and On." It felt like a bonus, not simply what was expected.
None of that acts let them heat slow them down Friday, and hopefully that trend continues Saturday. Friday was intense, both in terms of weather and the music performed.