Last years showers were fairly good, so I thought I would do a quick review on this years showers. So here it is: Cold, low pressure, and cramped – but the line moved quickly and I felt refreshed afterwards, so it was all good.
… and that’s all I have to say about that.
On the Saturday morning I meant to get up and go to the morning meeting at the mainstage, but instead I slept in (totally accidentally – I actually ended up missing all 3 morning meetings, just because the bed I had was so comfortable). Instead of this, James and I made our way to get some breakfast, and then headed to the dome to see Wayne Alcorn – his topic was ‘Growing Your Youth Ministry’ and Wayne was top notch. Among his main points:
Be passionate – if you want people to get excited about your youth ministry, be excited yourself
Don’t ask people to do things you won’t do yourself
Get the youth involved, because they will get more into something if they take ownership of it
Winkie Pratney was a little weird – his talk was titled “The Beatitudes for the Matrix Generation”, and it was heavily centred around multimedia. A large portion of it was spent explaining a new website he has just set up (http://www.ultimatecore.net/) and a lot of things to do with that. On the plus side, he showed 2 things that were interesting – in this order:
1. For part of his talk he was explaining about Daniel Bedingfield, and how he was writing all this music, and then hit it big with ‘Gotta Get Thru This’. Apparently Daniel was interviewed by Madonna (probably the only job she could get after the failure of ‘Swept Away’ – maybe Guy Richie was filming it), and part of the interview went something like this:
Madonna: “So what is the song ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ about?”
Daniel: “Its about saving yourself, sexually, for marriage, for that one person, and getting past all the urges.”
Madonna: “Whoa! What a concept!”
(On the plus side, this exchange ranks among the best exchanges of the last 20 years, right alongside Jules and Vincent discussing foot massages in Pulp Fiction)
2. In another part of his talk, U2 came into the conversation, and he showed a clip from U2’s big Boston concert, around 1991. Absolutely stunning – Bono sings the end of one of their songs and then leads the crowd into worship. Whats more, it was a standard U2 concert, not a worship concert.
As you could understand, it was fairly hot at Parachute – after all, we were in the middle of a large field, in the blazing hot sun. For myself, I was sweating like a pig. It should be pointed out that I hate public pools – I’m a tad self-conscious about my body, so I tend to not go to any public swimming pools, and very rarely take my shirt off in front of anybody. But when they mentioned the plan to go to WaterWorld in the centre of Hamilton, I was all for it. The water was so cooling, and it was just great to fully immerse yourself in water when its so hot outside.
(and aside from the fact that the chlorine level was so high it was like swimming in an actual chlorine tablet, the pool was remarkably clean. Bonus points to the staff for removing any “things” that may have been in there)
LATE 80s MERCEDES
When we returned from our swim, we only had a few minutes before Late 80s Mercedes were on stage in the Palladium. For those of you who are unfamiliar with their work, Late 80s Mercedes are a band from Hamilton, who play swing-style music – the thing is, they play swing-style versions of modern songs, and take the piss out of them as well – for example Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie In A Bottle’ and the Theme from ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ (to the tune of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’). I should also point out that they are Phill’s absolute favorite band.
Their gig today was in the Palladium, and the event was the Op Shop Ball. There was a fairly large crowd in there, and we got fairly close, all things considered. They did some great songs – including the 2 mentioned above, and a great version of Maroon 5’s ‘This Love’, as well as throwing some Rage Against The Machine rapping into a bit of a jam song they were doing. They also played the theme from ‘Love Boat’ – an odd choice, considering. One of the highlights musically was their original song, which I think is called ‘Save My Soul’ – just a great song.
The best thing about Late 80s Mercedes isn’t their music though (even though they are awesome musicians). Their stage presence is second to none – for the entire length of their gig, they were all running all over the place, like a bunch of little kids that had each drank 5 Red Bulls. Whats really crazy is that there was 10 people on the stage – the singer (Clint), guitarist (James), bassist, drummer, keyboardist, percussionist, 2 saxophonists and 2 trumpeters. Just plain insanity, but when it all added up, it was probably one of the most entertaining shows of the weekend. Highlight Track: ‘This Love’ – a great version of the song, and their replacement lyrics are awesome too.
“TIME TO DIE NERDBOY”
So here’s what happened. After Late 80s Mercedes played, we went back to our tents, and I needed to go to the toilet. On my way back from the toilets, I passed a pale-as white guy who was dressed in all black clothing, with black shoes, and straight black hair (as you do when you’re a goth – he may have been wearing makeup, but I’m not sure). I looked at the print on his t-shirt, which had a picture of a caricature holding a pair of scissors with the words “Time To Die Nerdboy” above it.
Why do I mention this? When I looked at the goth’s hands, I noticed that he, too, was carrying a pair of scissors.
Needless to say, I avoided walking straight past him.
They have this one ride at Parachute called “Super Loops”, which is basically a circular ride – a giant round roller coaster, which you sit in, and go round and round, upside down, and so on. Last year, I was a little too worried about being able to fit into the ride (given my large stature), and even more worried about potentially throwing up afterwards (which would’ve been gross AND embarrassing). This year I went on the ride, and was pleasantly surprised – not only was it fairly harmless, as far as rides go, there was also a fairly good view from the top – except for it being upside down, that is.
Definitely good fun – if you’ve seen the ride I’m talking about and thought “HA! I don’t THINK so!” then let me recommend you re-think whatever you’re thinking.
Agent C were the first band in a 3-part Hard Rock Showcase (along with Cell and Zebulun), and James, Seth and myself stopped to watch them – before James and I headed off to see Day of Fire, that is. Agent C were a new band for me – I’ve never seen them live before, but I have heard the name – but I can say I was surprised. They came out with quite a heavy kind of sound, but they kept it tight and melodic, and they played some great songs. If I had to compare them to someone, I would say Lostprophets – just heavy, but the singer was really good with his melody lines. The bass player was playing mostly with a distortion effect on his bass, which was effective as well – made the music all the more heavier – but he did break out into some standard bass sounds as well.
The real highlight of Agent C was their cover of New Millenium Homes, one of the more disappointing Rage Against The Machine songs on their last originals album, The Battle of Los Angeles. When they announced they were doing a version of it, I looked at Seth – he was delighted, but I was sceptical – however, my opinion quickly changed, as I realised how good their version was. It was absolutely fantastic.
(Out of curiosity, has anyone ever embodied the term “crazy lead singer” any more than Zack de la Rocha, formerly of Rage Against The Machine, has? The man caused a couple of riots, organised and protested against censorship by standing naked outside the censor’s headquarters, organised a guerrilla concert on the steps of the US Stock Exchange, forcing it to close down, and ran guns for a Mexican revolutionary army. I don’t think there is another singer who is as insane as Zack, but I am willing to discuss it). Highlight Track: ‘New Millenium Homes’ (I’m a sucker for Rage songs)
New Zealand’s premiere Christian hip hop band were up next on the mainstage, so we went down to have a look – I’ve never been really impressed with live hip hop, but Rapture Ruckus didn’t do too badly. We only saw about 15 minutes of their set, but in that time they did their best song, ‘Enough’ (not affiliated with Destiny NZ, as far as I know) and then did a medley of classic hip-hop songs – including, Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, House of Pains ‘Jump Around’, and the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Where is the Love?’.
On the down side, they did a couple of things which I’m pretty sure they picked up off Grits the night before – including Grits’ patented “You think they ready? I don’t think they ready!” speech, and the t-shirt-throwing thing as well. Aside from that, I can’t say I was disappointed by Rapture Ruckus.
(One other thing that happened was this: I was watching Sam de Vetter on stage – he’s the brother of a mate of mine from church, and a damn good percussionist – and he was getting really into it – absolutely smashing a couple of cymbals he had amongst his percussion kit. All of a sudden one of the cymbals fell over – thinking he might panic, I watched Sam’s face – he didn’t even blink, I don’t think – just turned and hit a different cymbal, and waited till the end of the song to pick it up. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is professionalism). Highlight Track: ‘Enough’ – the only song of theirs I heard.
DAY OF FIRE
It would be a fair comment to say that, out of all the acts at Parachute (some 110), Day of Fire were one of the 2 or 3 I was most looking forward to. James and I were already quite near to the stage, but we tried to get as close as possible for these guys. When they came out on stage, the crowd went nuts – and they immediately launched into one of the harder songs on their album, “I Am The Door”. Absolute pandemonium in the crowd – even one of those pits where guys run through and try not to die. The second song, “Time” was just as crazy as well.
All in all, Day of Fire were probably my favourite band of the weekend – to see such a change in their singer, Joshua Brown (who 5 years ago was singing for a band called Full Devil Jacket, was into drugs, women, rock and roll, and all that other bad stuff), that during the set he was openly praying, and even offered to pray for each individual person at their signing session later that night – I mean, this is the type of stuff that doesn’t happen at other concerts – absolutely priceless, its like the singer of Nickelback offering to sit down and have a coffee with each person, one by one, after the show. It just doesn’t happen – except in the kingdom of God.
Highlight tracks included ‘Rain Song, ‘Detainer’, new song ‘Burying Me’, and my personal favourites ‘Jacob’s Dream’ and ‘Cornerstone’. The music itself was unbelievably good – and Joshua Brown has pulled a Dave-Grohl and gone and gotten some permanent musicians to play in his band (for their debut album, it was him, his buddy, and 3 of his mates, who he called in for a favour). Overall, Day of Fire get a 10 out of 10, and this comment: better live than on CD – which is probably the best compliment you can give a band. Highlight Track: Too many to name, but ‘Corenerstone’, ‘Time’ and ‘Rain SOng’ come to mind, as well as my personal favourite ‘Jacob’s Dream’
“MAKE IT LOOK LIKE AN ACCIDENT”
So after Day of Fire was Audio Adrenaline – Jimmy and I went to get a drink, and instead decided to just go and get some food, and chill out for a bit. While we were in the Village area, we caught up with some of the guys (Dylan, Ben, Dave, Zinny, Phill, etc). We’re sitting at a table, and this guy comes up, handing out fliers for a hip-hop act called EPR, who are playing the following night, while Jeff Deyo is on, unfortunately. Which prompts the following conversation:
Dylan: Whats the bass player like?
The Guy: He’s pretty good.
Dylan: Is he as good as this fella? (pointing at me)
The Guy: I dunno – come along and you can say “HA! You’re not as good as this guy!” (again, pointing at me)
Ben: What will you do if we don’t come?
The Guy: I’ll stab you. And make it look like an accident. Like you fell on the knife. Like you tripped and fell.
The lesson, as always: weird people hang out at music festivals.
MEETING JOSHUA BROWN
At 11.00pm, Day of Fire were doing an in-store appearance at the Parachute Music store, so I made my way up there (forgetting to take any kind of material for getting their autographs, like, for example, the 2 notebooks amongst my luggage). I ended up going into the store, buying Wayne Alcorn’s CD from the morning talk I went to (since I forgot to take my notebook there, too) and got a second paper bag (for free).
I lined up for about 20 minutes and finally got to the autograph table where the band was signing autographs, and making cheesy comments like “You’re the fifth Chris I know!” (that actually happened) and asking if the weather is always this good in New Zealand (yep, that actually happened too). I had to wait awhile to speak to Joshua, the singer, as he was praying for somebody – to tell the truth, he had me right there, because I was thinking he might’ve said it, and then not done it. How wrong I was!
When I got to talk to Joshua, I found that he was probably the nicest guy I had ever met – friendly, just a real warmth about him, and when I was talking, he was really listening, if you know what I mean. I told him about how he had inspired me to get back into song-writing, since I had used to be a fan of his old band, and it was awesome to see that he had been saved too. Then we laughed about seeing Metallica at Parachute 206 because they get saved, and how awesome that will be. Then he offered to pray for me, which I said no too, and I thanked him and went on my merry way. One of the best celebrity encounters of all time (and definitely my best brush-with-greatness).
(I didn’t even mention here that the bassist’s name was Dusty Beach – I wish I was joking)
LATE 80s MERCEDES (AGAIN)
When I got back to the tents, I relayed my story to the others, but I don’t think they believed me. Ah well. Then we heard Late 80s Mercedes start up on the Deluxe stage, which was about 50m from where we were, so we went over to have a listen. When we got there they were playing the theme from ‘Mission Impossible’, which is always pretty cool. They also did a version of Robbie Williams’ ‘Strong’ and they did their cover of ‘This Love’ again, as well as a generic swing song. I don’t know what else to write, they were just as good as earlier. Highlight Track: ‘Strong’ – it was hard to sing along to, but it was worth it.