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Fear and Loathing at Vegoose
DAY 1 - Saturday, October 27th
Viva Vegoose! Battles just hit the Snake Eyes stage, but we're still digging through a box of costumes at our pad. A Judge? Tina Turner? A Boy Scout? Anna Nicole Smith? A Rastafarian wearing a prisoner's uniform?? Micah repents for the sinning he did at Blues N' Brew's by donning a Monk outfit while I chose to dress as a person getting devoured by an anaconda.
As we rush to Will Call, I'm delighted to discover a parking lot scene almost on par with a Widespread Panic show. "Dollar Natty Lights! Ice cold Beer!" cry the punk rock kids hanging out of their truck.
Grilled cheese stands, makeshift bars, and one of the widest selections of glass pipes line our path. We're offered Bubba Hash and Afgan Gooey without provocation. Their selling strategy: just walk around waving a gigantic bud in front of the faces complete strangers. Drug dealing must not be a felony in Vegas if you're wearing a costume.
Thank goodness we made it in time to watch Blonde Redhead finish a smoking set (we do have to interview them in a couple hours after all).
We grab a couple of $7 Hefeweizens and wind through an ever evolving sea of costumes. Look at Scooby Doo! Ghost Busters! Marvin the Martian! Oh, no...not another Where's Waldo. There must be six of them here today. Tons of Captain Jack Sparrows and Hunter S. Thompsons too. We approach STS9 performing on the Joker's Wild stage and join the dancing crowd by doing our version of the Hippie Shuffle. We must have fit right in, 'cause two teens asked us for acid. "I feel so cool now," admits Micah the Monk.
We catch a bit of Atmosphere before heading to see "Flava Flaaaaaav" and the rest of the Public Enemy crew. Dressed in faux army fatigues, the group calls for everyone to chant " Fuck George Bush", "Fuck Dick Cheney", and "Fuck Condoleezza ". We wanna stay for the craziness, but we've got to find the press room and interview Blonde Redhead in our ridiculous outfits which actually seems like the normal thing to do at the moment.
There is a massive line around every corner of the Double Down bar. We ditch it to check out the bar at the Impersonator Cafe. Alice Cooper and Mr. T impersonators welcome us at the door. Score...no line and $6 cocktails! Forget beer, it's Cube Libres and shots of Patron from here on out. Johnny Mathis serenades us as we try to figure out what to do next: Ferris Wheel? Haunted House? Oooh oooh...M.I.A. is on the stage right next door.
Gun Shots sound tracks and Salt-n-Peppa dance moves galore, M.I.A. is tearing it up. I've got to master her moves, especially the "Lawn Mower"/"Tootsie Roll" combo. On second thought, I'll leave it to the pro. We're loving her take on New Order's "How Does it Feel," while reciting the lyrics to The Pixie's "Where is My Mind." Minutes later, the stage is packed with fans dancing and waving their hands in the air. A glance at the clock reveals that Iggy Pop and The Stooges are up. We're off...
"This is for all the people in the dirt like dogs," declares Iggy-the-tyrant. Micah's got a prime spot in the photo area as Iggy climbs the drum set, jumps down, and swings the mic around like a lasso. I never thought that I'd see Iggy perform. Shouldn't this guy be dead by now?
Back to one of my favorite spots of the whole festival, the Impersonator's Cafe. Two rum and Cokes and two shots of Patron please. Can we get some limes? "We're fresh outta limes, hon." Noooooooooo! "What's worse, being fresh outta limes or fresh outta Patron?" Amen, Bartender. Amen.
Micah wins a drawing for a Sprint Smart Phone! We celebrate by grabbing a couple of greasy slices of cheese pizza and listening to Thievery Corporation play Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe HeartÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a Lonely HunterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
It's the moment I've been waiting for all day, DAFT PUNK. Loads of fans are dressed like robots. Two chicks went all out wearing proper Daft Punk helmets that retail for $65,000 a piece (I'm envious). I can't believe how close I am to the LED pyramid right now.
This is going to be amazing. Human. Robot. Human. Robot. They start off slowly with "Robot Rock" and progress to my personal favorite, a dirty version of "Technologic". This performance might even beat the one at Coachella 2006.
We're stuck outside our pad in a gated community 'cause we accidently threw away the gate code. 5012? 8313? 2512? What the heck was it?! I see a car drive out, so I jump out of the car-still in my snake costume-and wave it down. She's of no real help, but we figured it out in the end. Time for some late night grub, wine, and the Jacuzzi.
DAY 2 - Sunday, October 28th
Today's attire is a little less crazy. We decided to dress "Festival Festive" instead of full out costumes, since we're going to an STS9 afterparty at the House of Blues. As we pull into our parking spot at the venue, I see a friendly face exiting his van. I say hello and ask if he's excited about today's line up. "Yeah. You guys looking for any 'shrooms? I've got 50 bags and 20 bags." I haven't even stepped out of the car yet.
We stop to see our favorite bartender for Patron shots and watch a little bit of "Britney Spears" singing "IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" as she tosses a fake baby to men in the audience.
Beside the fake wedding chapel where couples can get "hitched" by impersonators stands a sexy-themed haunted house in 3D. We sneak in our drinks past the security guard and wait in line for 40 minutes, chatting with kids who drove in from Phoenix and Salt Lake.
Finally, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our turn to enter. We put on our 3D glasses and follow our instructions to walk slowly with our hands on the back of the person in front of us. After the blatant advertising for Axe deodorant, swirling neon paint and black lights illuminate our way past scantily clad women in dark corners.
Muse is on fire, but I decide to bolt for UNKLE which might not have been the wisest decision.
We gear up for Rage Against The Machine. Security tells us that press can't take photos or video of the show from the designated press areas. So, we try to do it guerrilla style in the pit. It sounds like a good idea, but after the band opens with "Testify" the crowd gets too violent for me.
Like a cowardly soldier, I retreat to the flanks. I can see Micah getting sucked in...that's a brave soul. Just before Rage plays "Killing In The Name Of," I get a text: "I dropd my vidcam keep eye out!" Uh oh. That cam belongs to Kotori's Editor in Chief and had a ton of today's footage. I take a deep breath and make my way back into the war zone of RATM fans. I see shoes and mobile phones getting trampled on, along with T-shirts, hats, and driver's licenses, but no camcorder. That's life I guess. Some days you win a phone, some days you lose a camcorder.
We head back to the car, purchasing a mixed drink in the parking lot and a provalone grilled cheese sandwich on wheat with garlic salt (the Dead Heads know how to make them just right). We keep truckin', off to the Las Vegas strip...