Monday, May 16, 2005

HFStival 2005 summary

For photos from the HFStival, go here.

HFStival 2005 was this past Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland. The HFStival is a huge alternative rock concert, and in its heyday (like, say, last year) used to be a two-day event. It's about so much more than just the music, but for now that's what I'm going to focus on. I saw these bands:

They Might Be Giants were campy fun, and were surprisingly well-received. I'm a fan from 16 years back, but I didn't expect so many people to be into "Particle Man" and "Anna Ng". I had always assumed that "Fingertips" was just a series of clips stitched together in the studio, but they played a live version.

Interpol seemed like a bunch of kids from New York dressed in retro-New Wave skinny black ties playing retro-New Wave music. Jen likes them, and so did my sister.

Echo & the Bunnymen were the only disappointment of the day. They came onstage to thunderous cheers, but the lead singer (Mr Echo?*) immediately apologized for his laryngitis. They began the first song - according to my sister, he began singing it twice - and then he gave the "cut" sign and walked offstage, with the band following shortly after. A few minutes later they came back onstage to more cheers, and he apologized again and jokingly asked if there was anybody in the audience who knew the words to one of their songs (I don't remember which.) Many hands shot up, but he decided to give it another shot himself, and again cut and walked off after just a few lines. This time, when the band packed it in, the crowd erupted into boos. If you're going to cancel a festival appearance, it's better to do it before you go onstage - schedules can always be adjusted. And if the band had played just one song with the lead being sung by a fan from the audience, the performance would have gone down in HFStival history. Too bad.

Garbage were fantastic. I love Shirley Manson and want to marry her. At one point after she spoke for a longish while to the crowd in her beautiful Edinburgh accent, one of the two redneck hippie stoners behind me turned to the other and said, "She must be from Canada or something." (I don't think these were the same guys who, upon seeing footage of The Ramones playing at a past HFStival, with Joey Ramone at the microphone, asked - in all seriousness - "Hey! Why is Howard Stern singing with a band?")

New York Dolls were interesting. As a legendary club band, I don't know if they've played a lot of shows with 20,000 screaming fans. Buster Poindexter looked like he could take some health advice from Keith Richards. Still, he seemed genuinely delighted in the crowd reaction.

Social Distortion was cool. They played their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire", which was very cool.

Good Charlotte is still thought of as a local band in the Baltimore area, even though they broke onto the national scene a few years ago. They are old vets of the HFStival, and haven't forgotten their roots.

Billy Idol stole the show. He wasn't just the surprise hit of the day, he was the biggest hit of the day. At a festival show, you get a lot of people who are into each band, but Billy Idol had the entire crowd united. I've always thought of Billy Idol as a sort of Billy Idol parody, with all the snarling and posturing, but he was actually a fantastic performer, better now than he was 20 years ago.

Coldplay had the unenviable task of following Billy Idol. They were a huge crowd-pleaser, too.

Foo Fighters
wrapped things up for the night. They performed a lot of their hits and some new stuff, too. Dave Grohl looked very shaggy and haggard, but I think that's the retro-70's look that's popular these days.

*This is from a joke on The Young Ones, in which Rick (the anarchist) decides to complain to his representative in Parliament. When it is pointed out that, as an anarchist, he doesn't really have a representative in Parliament, he asks who he could write. One of his roommates suggests the lead singer of Echo & the Bunnymen. So he begins his letter "Dear Mr. Echo..." This has nothing to do with my nom de blog, by the way.


marc said...

Interesting that "Mr. Echo" was there to begin with. The NY Dolls?!? I think maybe 2 or that gang are still around (Buster Being one) the rest died of drugs (what else?)

That line about Howard Stern Singing with The Ramones... Priceless!! Oh these kids!!!

and yes, Billy Idol can still do it.

Anonymous said...

Who is the actress in the Cradle of Love?

The girl in the video is called Betsy Lynn George.
We don’t have any other information about her, as management no longer hold her file.
You might like to try this link taken from the Internet Movie Database,+Betsy+Lynn

Above from Billy's fan site.

D.B. Echo said...

Thanks a lot! That's one more nagging question ticked off my list - and one more question I could have gotten answered easily if I had just asked the folks at the Billy Idol fan site!