Donnelly: Kanrocksas Day 1, Friday August 5, 2011

Oh, it was hot all right…

Thousands of music fans flocked to the Kansas Speedway this past weekend to partake in one of the weirdest named festivals ever: Kanrocksas.

When I first arrived I noticed the main stage was packed out with half naked twenty-somethings pumping their fists in the air. 

Who was playing?

It sounded like a DJ, spinning tunes at the Granada or something.  Nope, it was none other than Bassnectar, spinning records for probably the biggest crowd of the festival.

What happened to live musicians?

They’ve been rendered obsolete. 

Or so I thought until the sun went down and I wandered to the second stage…

Around 9:30 on Friday, festival veterans The Flaming Lips took the second biggest stage, called Stegosaurus Rex for some reason. 

Frontman Wayne Coyne entered the stage by way of his favorite conveyance, a giant inflated hamster ball, and proceeded to roll it out into the crowd, raising his arms and pumping his fists every so often.  Anyone that’s been to a handful of festivals over the years surely has seen this spectacle before – it seems the Lips have been pulling the same stunts for a decade or more now. 

Maybe it’s time to get some new toys?

I mean, their light show is always pretty cool, with the images of naked women dancing and eyeballs flickering, and shark mouths.  And, of course, there were the 30 or so girls on either side of the stage, dressed in short skirts and dancing throughout.

But that’s pretty much the same thing they had going on in 2002 when I saw the Lips at the first Bonnaroo.

Once the band started playing, they almost immediately launched into their biggest commercial hit, "She Don’t Use Jelly," probably to keep the interest of the somewhat un-festival like crowd.  Unfortunately, it was a really slow, quiet, meandering kind of version, with Coyne pausing early and often to urge the crowd to sing along. 

"Come on guys, come on!" Coyne said, probably 50 times during the set.

By the time the band really started hitting their stride, Coyne informed the crowd that they only had two songs left. Most bands at Kanrocksas played just 50 minute sets, making it tough to really get in a groove. I mean, by the time you play three or four songs, it’s halfway over.  At least the headliners Muse and Eminem played for an hour and a half.

On the nose. 

Predictably, the Lips pulled out their closer to end the performance, the beautiful "Do You Realize?"  As I listened to a song I’ve heard live probably ten or twelve times, it still hit me pretty hard. That is such a good song, it almost made up for the Reader’s Digest set. 

I would probably pay money to see them play just that one song live. 

As the final chord struck, Coyne bid everyone a good night and revealed his excitement for the upcoming Eminem set at the other end of the infield. 

"We’ve never played with Eminem before, so we’re going to hustle over there to catch his show!"

A few moments later, right on schedule at 11:00, the main stage video board lit up with an Eminem advertisement. 
Kinda weird, I’d never seen that sort of thing before at a festival.  It was a Lipton BRISK ice tea commercial, with a cartoon version of the rapper. This was followed immediately by graphics with subtitles explaining the genesis of Eminem’s newest album, "Recovery," as the man himself stormed onto the stage. 

He started the night off with "Won’t Back Down," and soon touched on some favorites like "Kill You" (complete with graphics of an assault rifle firing into the crowd, skulls, and blood dripping everywhere), "The Way I Am," and "Stan." 

I say "touched on" because Slim Shady only played two songs all the way through, the encores "Lose yourself," and "Not Afraid."

Overall, Eminem’s set was adequate. He definitely brought energy to the stage, and his crowd was one of the biggest of the festival no doubt. 

But I’d be lying if I said it was a memorable show.  Other than the Lipton commercial, that is.

And for the main headliner of the weekend it was surprisingly easy to get up close to the stage, much more so than other festivals I’ve been to, so I’m guessing the attendance wasn’t quite what the promoters were expecting. 

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34 Responses to Donnelly: Kanrocksas Day 1, Friday August 5, 2011

  1. HARLEY says:

    Lets put glaze in the bubble.
    that way he can’t create any problems for anyone.
    This is about the worst review I’ve ever read. what was he reviewing. all this guy
    did was tell us what the groups sang. That’s not a review. Glaze knows how to write
    a review that gets people stireed up. This guy will put everyone to sleep.
    Hern ia….lets let glaze do all the concert reviews from here on out. I thought
    his review of kansasrockapaloozasas was quite interesting.
    This donnelly guy should be writing childrens books…the ones that put the kids to sleep.
    Boring!

  2. smartman says:

    Rock a bye baby
    Harley’s right! Not your best effort Matthew. You are certainly capable of far better review writing.

    To make it easy, did you read the reviews by Finn and Brownlee in the Star? Aside from the blowjob stuff about production values would you agree with the artist performance reviews?

    I’ve talked to a dozen people that were there from 12 years to 48. The common theme was that the event smoldered but never caught on fire.

    Lots of parallels and irony between this event and the US Festival. That’s the real story here.

  3. Eric says:

    A little homework
    ‘Around 9:30 on Friday, festival veterans The Flaming Lips took the second biggest stage, called Stegosaurus Rex for some reason. ‘
    If you’re a music writer/critic shouldn’t you have been following the biggest local music festival of the Summer? There was a well know contest (if you would have been following the Kanrocksas facebook or any other writings about the festival) for people to name the stage. I disagree with Glazer doing more of the reviews though. His review on the concert was awful too.

  4. Jim Beam says:

    Review Sucks
    First off, it was STAGEosaurus Rex, Matt. You could’ve read at least a few of the media materials they put together for you.

    There was also the Ad Astra stage for smaller acts and the Critical Mass tent for DJ’s and Electronica performers.

    The heat sapped a lot of the intensity and excitement from what was an OK lineup. It wasn’t great but was filled with plenty of opportunities for new music discovery; members of our entourage were excited to go home and seek out more music from acts like Grace Potter, Kerli and the aforementioned Bassnectar.

    The speedway setting was pretty cool but strangely off-putting at the same time. I think the empty grandstands buttressed right up against the performance grounds contributed to a lot of the “empty” look and feel of the festival. In between some acts if you were in a right spot on the grounds you would not feel like 35,000 people were also in the same 1-mile radius as you. At night the lonely stands and dark press/suitebox loomed over the area and made us feel like we had broken into a deserted building to hold some illicit rave.

    At night the wind blew and the moon hung brightly over the festivities in an almost cloud-less sky. Those moments during Eminem and the Muse sets were most memorable and beautiful. You got a sense of pride, as if to say, “This is happening in KANSAS! I am watching this in my own backyard!”

    The sound, lighting, video and staging of the shows were top-notch. The festival sprung for the rental on the actual stage from Coachella – they wanted a rig large enough to accommodate the shows Eminem and Muse planned on, and the production definitely benefitted. Sound was loud and clean from all angles and despite the loud dB’s did not leave me with a ringing in my ears, nor did it make conversation completely useless – the mark of a great sound engineer.

    One place where the festival lacked was the VIP section. Most of the time it was a lonely, desolate place – then I found out for good reason: frankly that there were NO reasons for anyone to be there other to escape from the commonfolk to use an air conditioned bathroom. Sure you could grab a $7 beer or a free banana or chill to sounds of some local radio jock doing his best Girl Talk impression, but at the end of it VIP wasn’t much to sneeze at. For all of the work that went in to the fan experience I found it completely lacking in this “upgraded” area.

    Perhaps the team spent too much time (and possibly money) on those amenities and experiences – as Tim Finn pointed out – when they could’ve put those resources into a few more acts. Also, I like the way Lollapalooza has done VIP before… a backstage area with free food and drink and elevated viewing stand CLOSE to the stage – or even give VIPs access to a center stage “mosh pit” type area where they can see the show up close.

    Overall I’d give Kanrocksas 2011 a B. Nothing over the top exciting about it, and only little things to improve on. WIth talk of next year already on the table and some of the acts they’re chasing you can bet the next edition will have a little more fire behind it.

    Just my opinion – and possible a better review than the guy who (hopefully doesn’t) get paid to do reviews on this website.

  5. Bad Ass jew, Berkowitz says:

    Different Angle
    Glazer made it hard to follow up. He gets the unfiltered story out and the sparks fly. Oddly he only saw one band, Eminem, this man saw it all. If you go to Hearnes facebook there are about 40 more Glazer comments, mostly hating on him, everything from “crook, womanizer,his bad dad, too not being nice enough to some black comic nobody ever heard of, its great stuff.

    Like Glazer or not, the guys a live wire on most things. I feel this was a good review on the music, not the event.

  6. Matt says:

    More to come…
    I’ll have some more Kanrocksas stuff soon, including reviews of music for day two, a bunch of pics from our badass new photographer, Katie, and a little more about the physical setup, vibe, etc… stay tuned.

    Eric, good call on the stage name, that one slipped by me.

  7. Pengala says:

    Wow…
    If it’s as riveting as Day 1’s review I’ll be sitting by my computer hitting refresh all day.

    Not.

  8. Robertoe says:

    an observation
    http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2011-07-31_1798112330485748/tv/looney_tunes/elmer_screwy.wav

    Previously, Maureen referred to Hearne’s FB wall. Yet when one goes through Hearne’s FB friends, there’s no Maureen.

    Now Berkowitz refers to Hearne’s FB wall yet he’s not amongst Hearne’s FB friends. Hmmmm. Berk also failed to respond to a luscious Mermaid setup.

    I think these are both real life folks but someone else has grabbed their personas and is posting here under their names. I’m increasingly convinced there’s lots of this going on- especially the characters who gush over Glaze.

  9. harley says:

    talked with my psychic this afternoon
    here’s what she said…
    1. don’t buy stocks today
    2. don’t wear a coat today
    3. berkowitz is strange. Who in their right mind would pass up a hotty like
    mermaid…I had my chance and passed her by so i can deifintely understand bad ass.
    4. Maureen is phony…and so is her boyfriend raymond (weird name)
    5. Don’t bet on the chiefs.
    she’s mostly right..

  10. Robertoe says:

    .She’s just not worthy!.
    Can’t wait to see Mermaid’s reaction to this. Hey Mermaid! Harley and Berk both had a chance with you and they both decided to pass! I’m betting you didn’t know you were ‘in play’ with Harley. Oh wait…. maybe it was JoJo back then.

  11. chuck says:

    Robertoe
    So, the bad ass jew, berkowitz never called teh mermaid?

    Did he ever meet her?

    Maybe the guy is married.

  12. Robertoe says:

    mystery berk
    Chuck, you’re a regular here. You should have seen the whole sequence. I’ve become friends with Mermaid. We have loads of fun as wingmen/running buddies (when her car operates properly and ex boyfriends, thugs and such don’t sabotage it!). As a result, its my job to set her up. But she has very lofty money… status symbol…. materialism….celebrity….gold doubloons requirements. Whereas any intelligent down to earth cute sluty babe will do for me. So its not really a balanced wingman relationship. 🙁

    So anywho, Berk was posting on here how he’d like to take her out. So I got it all set up with her. She didnt want to meet some badass she’d never met 1 on 1 so I was gonna get a date and proposed we’d meet at a nice restaurant. It’d be like a double date. I posted my email address and proposal more than once and all Berk had to do was respond! He didn’t! So they’ve never talked or met. If Berk is married (which is what Mermaid suspected) why is he posting overtures on a very public message board? This doesn’t add up. I think Berk, Maureen and several other posters on here are phantom bogus posters.

    Meanwhile Mermaid laments. Although I do think Glaze is setting her up with Tommy Chong or some such thing this Friday!

  13. chuck says:

    Interesting. 🙂
    Ex boyfriends/ thugs trash her car???

    Sounds like she should be more realistic and date the Robertoe!

    It would be like a Jennifer Anniston chick flick where you see the ending during the opening credits, but watch it anyway because your a sentimental sap.

    NOT ME!!

    I mean I WOULD NEVER WATCH THOSE KINDA MOVIES!!

    I’m jsut sayin that I’ve heard those are the kind of movies Jennifer Anniston is in and I have heard people like them, not me though.

  14. Hearne Christopher says:

    I think it was an excellent review. Wanna read a snoozer? One that won’t tell you a fraction of what Matt’s did? Try the Star’s.

    This wasn’t really targeted to you anyways, gramps. Come on!

  15. Hearne Christopher says:

    Come on smartman! You’re pointing to reviews by a buncha (fellow) 50-somethings? Please.

  16. Hearne Christopher says:

    He missed a radio naming contest? That is pretty awful

  17. Hearne Christopher says:

    Some interesting details and some starnge attitude. Thanks for the input!

  18. Hearne Christopher says:

    Agree. Matt knows his shit

  19. Hearne Christopher says:

    Sounds like a plan!

  20. Hearne Christopher says:

    I’ve got 5001 friends on that one Facebook. You trolled thru the list and couldn’t find who you THINK might be whomever? Come on, ‘toe.

    Tell you what, I’ll poke around.

  21. Hearne Christopher says:

    I can tell you that I’ve met and partied with Maureen. She’s friends with Johnny Dare’s ex girlfriend

  22. Hearne Christopher says:

    Says he’s dating, remember? Keep up!

  23. Robertoe says:

    i think not
    Thanks Chuck but I think Mermaid and I are both content with our wingman roles for each other. Don’t tell her but I’m actually kinda looking for a cuter gal with a better body and no fins or fish scales.. Plus status symbols and the car a gal drives is really important to me and she’s just not up to my unsabotaged Ford Taurus.

  24. chuck says:

    I’m not buyin it Hearne.
    All the guy has to do, is give her a call and tell her he is flattered but he is otherwise occupied, then make some lame remark about two ships and ring off. Even if it goes REALLY bad, he is on the PHONE!! He would be ok.

    BAD ASS JEW, BERKOWOTZ: *dialing phone*

    MERMAID: *phone rings, goes to message* “Hello, this is Debbie leave a message and I will call you back. If this is Bad Ass Jew, Berkowitz, I am so glad you finally called. I am ovulating. BEEEEEEEEEEP……”

    BAD ASS JEW, BERKOWITZ: *faints*

    See, in that scenario he doesn’t even have to talk to her, wait, maybe…, oh my god!!!

  25. chuck says:

    Cue the hate mail.
    Just a joke Mermaid, no need to go crazy and hit the mysoginistic, misanthropic, slog button on your keyboard.

    I think he shoulda touched base is all.

    🙂

  26. chuck says:

    Mermaid
    BTW, good luck with Tommy Chong, I’d bring some Cheetos.

  27. harley says:

    Robertoe/mermaid/hern ia…I’m doing great
    bad ass probably made a good move. Seems like a smart guy and passed on mermaid.
    Wouldn’t want to take her home to mom and have to explain why he was dating a
    shicktza (non jewish girl). lol
    Robertoe describes her as a gold digger. I refer to women who are into those things
    as “mooches”. They bring nothing to the table except body and looks.
    So he passed …but I still think the whole things strange.
    I passed also. Just my personal decision…no big deal..I’m sure mermaid has had many many
    men come after her. she is hot….no doubt about it. Didn’t want to get involved in the drama of
    the times.
    So i’m doing great. Still enjoy readinig the posts here….and commenting.
    nO big deal robertoe….things always work out for the best…but if you are looking for attrractive..
    intelligent….classy…..articulate…..well groomed…..fit woman…you need to get out of those
    places you’ve been hanging out in. Come on out south and see the quality we’ve got out here.
    Lots of smart upscale women looking for guys like you. but ditch the taurus.
    ALSO HERN IA….i should remind you I am younger than you are. Referring to me as
    gramps isw so old…..you and glaze must be brothers. I worked for my success…didn’t
    get itv handed to me. You’re just another wanna be in this city. Now go back to your bedroom.

  28. Robertoe says:

    babes
    Harley,

    I’m doing fine with my Taurus and little bevy of babes in Midtown. I’m allergic to Johnson County.

    I do like Jewish gals. Caryn and I have gone out for about 10 years now.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/66193597@N06/6025223071/in/photostream

    She’s Jewish north ‘burbs of Chicago. That’s made for a really great get outa town different world social life. And I’ve got a few stories with her that might even rival a Glaze escapade. Wait a sec. No they don’t. But when I first started dating her she was dating a disbarred lawyer Silcilian mafiaesqe tizio. She used to drop him off at the airport and pick me up in his car and I’d drive it all weekend. It was like a test. 😮
    And Glaze…get this! She’s exactly my age!

    And I certainly didn’t say Mermaid was a Gold Digger- your words, not mine. She just has very high standards on who she’s gonna date. Nothing wrong with this! Her line from last Friday as we chased around town in a futile pathetic quest for romance: “Come on Robertoe. I’m THE MERMAID! I gotta have celebrity status!”

  29. Hearne Christopher says:

    Gramps was a combination of your lifestyle, mindset and age. I worked fior my success to, bro. Building up the Pitch from a record store rag. Sixteen years with one of the highest read columns in the Star and one of the highest paid writers.

    You go back to bed; I spent almost all of last week in it playing sick.

  30. Jen says:

    finally an actual review
    Hey Glaze – take a cue. Next time you write a “review” you could actually talk about things like…the music! Or the production! You know, basically something besides yourself.

  31. harley says:

    come on hern ia…..stop the bullshit already
    daddy gave you money….this little site doesn’t pay the bills…most is probably trade.
    You built up the pitch. BFD…tell that to the others who made it a one time successful
    rag alternative newspaper…..I’m sure you did everything…maybe the people who worked with you
    on that rag have something to say about your comment. If they read it…i’m sure they’ll be
    hanging your ass out to dry with that comment. Nev er read the pitch…never liked it…
    so i can’t say much about it. but i do know that others might contest you on that statement.
    and you made the star…hardly….without the star you’re stuck with 1 writer and yourself trying
    to comment on the things wrong with the pieces.
    The star made you. Without 400,000 or more readers you’re just another hack trying to make
    himself believe he’s something he’s not. Look at you and whitlock and the rest of the guys (except jopo)
    who got the ax. all trying to fill in for the good old days when the star gave you hundreds of thousands
    of readeers for what were really bad journalism. Now look at you…you run a small website…
    stop the bullshit. You never had to worry about payroll/money/paying bills/ like me or
    glaze did. It’s been a long smooth ride without any bad turns in your life. Daddy made
    sure of that.
    Once the star cut you out you had no audience…just this site and despite what you or your
    sole writer says its still a minor/minor player in thecity.
    Youve carried a chip on your shoulder since the star cut you out. More stories about the
    star than any other subject….which is fine since you have a huge axe to grind.
    And talk about “hate”….you’ve been the biggest hateer ever. constantly hitting everyone with
    cheap shots…not just people at the star but anyone and everyone you could…both professionally
    and personally.
    Stop the b.s….I’ve seen better con men than you and glaze combined. This aint about hate…its
    about using what little influence you have left after the star cut your ass off to further your own
    little agenda. Now go back to bed…hopefully mommy will bring yousome nyquil so you can sleep
    well and get all better…if not…maybe you’ll get some ice cream if you behave.
    You are not self made….yelling you’re the most read writer and paid writer at the star is so old school…
    but that was “the old” days. I don’t sit and remember shit 20-30-40 years ago. You do. Hey old man…
    hang with glaze…maybe he can get you some american pussy!

  32. chuck says:

    Harley, I swear, you are all over the road
    Tiger Woods old lady musta just whacked ya in the head with a driver.

    Wow.

    Its like the bi poller coaster.

    Fun stuff and everything, but I swear , “Hey Sybil, is Harley in there?”

    Christ. 🙂

  33. Hearne Christopher says:

    Harley, you clearly don’t know diddley about the Pitch. Lotsa people pitched in when it was a record rag, true. But who talked Hal Broady into moving it out of the record store, not changhing it’s name on a whimsical contest, not shutting it down? Who hired the first real editors adding news and fine arts? Oh yeah, including CJ.

    Anonymous loser speculation aside, of course…

  34. Hearne Christopher says:

    Fascinating to watch my life unfold in your post. So (un) insightful. I suppose that’s why the Sun snapped me up, and other publications courted me (I write for two now you seem to have forgotten). And why we have a quarter million unique visitors each month and paying advertisers.

    But go ahead, it’s your fairy tale, H Man. Rock with it.

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