First, let me say that this is a festival of firsts—first time I've been here not as a performer (yes, Fly Moon Royalty) since I was in my early teens, first time without my usual crew of friends and loves (solodolo), and first time flexing the fact that I'm with staff, pretty much (everyone is wearing special green wristbands on the house staff, but I have a GA band on with a few specific "look I'm suppose to be here" items). All things different and still rather kool.
It's Friday and I'm here at 10:30 a.m. getting credentials and trying to figure out where to enter. By 11 a.m., I'm up in the armory meeting with Michael and Andrew of AEG and being inside the insides! Everything is shot lists and specifics. Hella specifics. I almost feel intrusive. Clearly, this is not a club I am actually in, but I'm gonna keep my chin up cuz I won a contest judged by Stranger writer Charles Mudede, scored a beautiful SX-70 Land Camera, and I did not pay to get in.
Me? I'm here for fun! I have three interviews arranged, one more that I know of to come. One with a young lady, ZZ Ward, today. I looked her up briefly—looks like country, blues and pop held hands behind the school, made out, had a four-way with hip hop, and now they all kinda kick it, etc.. She plays today so I'll have more on her later. Her description vs what I watched on her Vevo doesn't give me enough to make a real statement. Anyhoo...
I wore my big curly hair. I'm already sweaty. It is a Friday afternoon!
Noon: We took a tour of the grounds. I am already nervous because I have a GA wristband on with a photo pass sticker (I do have this “preferred staff” thing on too that tells someone I’m kinda legit, but still). Perhaps I know nothing of how “Press” works. Before, I only had to meet someone somewhere to answer questions about whatever music I was working on, so , yeah… we shall see what this looks like soon enough. Gates open at 2 p.m., so there’s that. It’s 1:18 p.m.. My phone is charging and I will be ready for business.
Random thoughts: Why is there so much pressure to be cute and these dudes look like they just grabbed shit out of the drawer and put it on, sometimes without even blessing it with an iron. Ugh.
4:23 p.m.: I watched a lil bit of Peach Pit, took a few shots. It was aight. The youngsters, in all fashion of almost naked, were all about these guys. They're pretty cute, so okay. In that same vain was Jason McCue. He was the young man who won Sound Off this year. He was charming, but the old man in me was like "okay, kid, I heard ya. I'm out." I went back over to Mural stage and listened to J Grgry as I also knew some heads playing with him. I was mad entertained! He came out airbrushed in pink and gold, like wild candy or an award statue you might win at pride! He has this voice similar to Bono and he wears the same shades. I got into that set for sure.
I took some sweet shots of him including this Polaroid which will be done processing tomorrow. Also, shots out to Brady Harvey and Morgan Schuler for showing me the photo pit ropes. And shots out to Pearl for cutting a quick rug with his big sis (me) on a hot ass afternoon.
Why did I wear this wig??
6:15 p.m.: Hung out with DeVon at Jorja Smith, catching up. Jorja's voice is very much in the Rihanna lane, accent of England driving a smooth sound. I was pretty bored watching her tho. She's a beautiful child, but I'm about that "grab the crowd and shake em with feelings" and she was just too smooth for me.
Next up was Johnnyswim. My gawd!! Dude's voice is religion, and the people were taken to heaven on this group's harmonies! Damn! I was not knowing. At. All. Abner and Amanda. Folk soul rock. They are the good southern fried chicken dinner that a grandmother made on Sunday in the actual South!
8:15 p.m.: I am still here, still awake. My feet are ready to be out of my shoes for sure. I’m currently in the staff area, hiding from the masses. I can overhear conversations around where people can and cannot be—things like that. Since I last checked in, I caught the sweet sweet sounds of the hotness that is Chicano Batman, and OH MY GAWD, GIRL! That band is the shit! I was thoroughly entertained to my very soul. The lead singer basically exercised the demons out of the people and brought us all out into the light, and then he kissed and blessed us all. I knew that I was going to be amped for that set, but I didn’t know I was gonna be “moist” (my daughter hates when I use that word, lol)… I even did something I do not do—I bought an album at a festival (Chicano Batman's), and I know they kick up the prices, and I know why, but it was more than worth it.
I couldn’t catch the whole set because next, I was to have a quick q&a with contemporary blues-pop-artist ZZ Ward. She was mobbin' in a leopard print pants suit with stiletto heels and a smooth black hat. She was super sweet, for sure, and I got some sweet snaps with her. I’m actually going to go over in a few to catch her set. I’m piqued… country blues pop with a hip hop swagger. More words to come!
But before I go, I did happen to catch a bit of Big Sean. I definitely felt like a black mom in the pit! Mind you, I’m up in here with an iPhone 7plus like I’m taking “REAL” photos. So, I’m in there and there's so much smoke machine smoke. Like super excessively hella fuckin' smoke.
It was beyond difficult to grab even a kinda decent picture, but somehow I managed to grab a few that aren’t too shabby. I also got some video footage of him, but my highlight was actually the sign-language interpreter- HE WAS LIGHT-SKINNED THUG PASSION WITH SIGNS! I taped him too! He wasn’t as filthy as that famous sign language woman who does the hip hop shows; no, but you can tell that he was here for Big Sean. He better go on head!
Okay. My wig became more comfortable and cool as the evening got darker. I just wanted y'all to know. I went out to catch ZZ Ward's set. Y'all, the girl showed out in them stilettos for sure!
Here's what I'll tell you about ZZ Ward since I had the chance to pow-wow with her: she's a huge fan of hip hop, so much so of Kendrick, and we all can agree that he is definitely leaving his whole handprint in gold on everything! He also has a track with ZZ as well so that's a thing! And when asked of, my favorite Q to hit folks with: "If your sound was a hangover dish, what would it be?" Her response? "Hash browns, fully loaded! Sour cream, cheese, all the fixins—period! Don't serve me no limp hash browns, Jack!"
Yeah, she slayed and the people took it into them self like a scene from The Craft! It was fun to watch people getting their life to their jam, singing all the words they know, and giving no fux!
9:30 p.m.: I had a choice to make—take yo tired behind home and get off these feet, or stay and at least try to capture a bit of Flo Rida, at least to see if he was gonna make everyone actually get low low low low low low low low. Yah. I did write that out.
So, he came out about half an hour late, but I had entertainment via Morgan Schuler and the young bitties who apparently got to kiss Flo Rida once and he's "recovering from that kiss—that's why he's late" hahaha (and yah, that laugh was sarcastic). I mean, me and Morgan chatted it up, but these youngsters... some looked like they weren't even born when Flo Rida made that "Low" track.
Anyhoo, when he finally came out, there were glitter-fitted dancers and all the hype with booty cheeks to match (the dancers of course)! He started with that Right Round song that you used to hear often on the radio and the chi'rren were PUMPED! Even with my earplugs, I could not escape the hyphy nature of the crowd and Flo Rida himself, but I do question if his mic seemed low on purpose or not. I mean... is he a nostalgia guest yet? Is it not that old yet? Somebody tell me cuz I have no idea. I just know I heard him on 103.7 and that's all throwbacks.
I caught the whole first track, and when the next one began, my body was done! It was time for granddad Boo to take it home.
11 p.m.: On the dot. I am at home. My body is screaming, rather "scrying" as ArtStar has coined so appropriately. I hate my legs. You can probably imagine my face. The ultimate in tired black mom: "I done went out here and was on my feet all day and not nare one of y'all saved me a damn plate!"
I'm going to bed. Girl bye.