Festival

Dispatch from a Road Trip — The Smokers Club Fest — Day Two

Welcome back Weederinos (please read that in the voice of Ned Flanders).

I am back and ready to recap day two, aka the best day of The Smokers Club Fest, aka the day that had me cry like a baby not once, but twice during the show, aka the day that will live in infamy, aka…

Whatever, you get it. Let’s get to it.
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DAY TWO HIGHLIGHTS

EARL SWEATSHIRT

Photo by Olivia Monahan

This ole weird ass muthafucka did not disappoint me. I have rocked with Earl for years, but I knew from the minute I saw his name that his style, his delivery and his overall performance was going to stick out in this line up more than a big ass twig piercing the skin of your freshly rolled blunt. Earl is melancholy and morose, he is the embodiment of couch lock. He is that PSA weed commercial from the early 2000s, where the kid smoked so much that he melted into the couch, a talking pile of flesh and facial features.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

How Earl managed to be ALL of that, and still keep the mid-day crowd engaged, is a testament to his true artistic talent… or it’s a testament to how lazy stoners are. Once we pick a set, we sticking with it. It’s a long ass strike from one stage to the other. LOL.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

TY DOLLA SIGN

This guy. This fucking guy. This guy is so fun. He clearly enjoys his time on stage and still loves what he does, and that SHINES through so thoroughly in his performance when he is on stage. His smile beams from ear to ear, his hair flies in the air as he jumps from one side of the stage to the other, or at certain points completely off stage and into the crowd. Half rapper, half singer, complete package performer — if you haven’t had a chance to check him out you definitely should.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

You know what I liked about his performance most though? The fact that since I was so damn close, I could see that he had not painted his nails before he got on stage. The black paint he normally sported was chipped and cracked. Even in his perfectly pristine, all white ensemble with the blingiest bootsy-esque glasses, there was just a hint of IDGAF and that made me love him more.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

RAPSODY

Photo by Olivia Monahan

Grammy nominated rapper, and one of the other handful of women on the line up, Jamla’s Rapsody took the stage to a crowd that should have been a lot bigger. I think of all the people on the line up, Rapsody was the wild card for me. She was the one that I eyeballed and tried to figure out how well the early 20 something stoners were going to vibe to her. Rapsody is talented and amazing and beautiful and so many other things, but her music is the kind of music that makes you think. That makes you analyze and process. That makes you delve into the rhymes and breka down the pieces to understand where her thought process came from.

Which is not necessarily what people want after spending the last gajillion hours floating in a THCloud.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

None of that mattered by the time she took the stage. Though I never looked behind me to see just how many people showed up, one thing I learned was that Rapsody already knows exactly how to control a crowd. With a combination of energy, lyrical miracles, and a healthy dose of Fuck Donald Trump war cries, Rap had folks eating out of the palm of her hand by the time the set was up. Bonus for the hip hop heads — she had muthafkn 9th Wonder just chilling on the stage like it was nothing. Like he isn’t one of the most legendary producers of all time just hiding in plain sight.

FLATBUSH ZOMBIES

Photo by Olivia Monahan

I won’t pretend that I rocked out to Flatbush Zombies much. I heard amazing things about them, and know hella folks that ride for them tough, but they never really captured my attention.

Until I caught them live. They now have a life long fan.

As much as I love hip hop, and how much it will always have my heart — I grew up on all kinds of music and have gone to dozens and dozens of concerts in my life time. Many of them were rock concerts, where you could spend two hours watching insane lead singers scream, mosh, crowd surf, and leap through the air like a bitching ballerina. Hip hop is so many things, but often times it can devolve into a man on stage, instructing me to throw my hands in the air. The pubescent nerd in me who spent hours at Rage Against the Machine concerts, or getting trampled at AFI always felt like that was the thing that was missing from hip hop shows.

Pure, unadulterated lack of fucks.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

Flatbush Zombies came on stage with so few fucks to give, that we actually ended up owing them a few by the end of it. There was such a degree of difficulty involved in trying to capture a good picture of them because there was barely a point where all three of them had their feet on the ground at the same time. I couldn’t tell you the names of all their songs, or even all the songs that they played. I could barely tell you their names (besides Jewice, he’s dreamy)

What I can tell you is that these muthafuckers are nuts in the best way possible, so don’t miss the chance to catch them live.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

ISAIAH RASHAD (The Penultimate)

If you know me at all, you know how I feel about Isaiah Rashad. I refused to eat, despite not having eating since 11 that morning, until Isaiah was off stage. I sat in VIP for almost an hour after Flatbush, not caring to go and watch whatever other act was on the stage across the park. I checked my cell phone every 20 seconds to make sure I had enough battery to capture everything that I could. I was ready.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

When he came out, it was impossible to hold in my scream. The folks in the press pit must fucking hate me sometimes. No matter how ready I am, there is almost always a point where I turn from media to fan, and become engrossed in the musician, the music and the performance unfolding in front of me.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

What I wasn’t ready for was the tears that silently streamed down my face at the last song of the set. In a surprise move he had brought out EarthGang, JID and Hugh Augustine, and they all ended the set together with 4r da Squaw, which is THE song that saved me from a really ugly place.

“Alright now I got the moon and the stars, below my feet, so low I speak. So I don’t wake them, praise the Lord the God in me, who made me spoiled with rotten teeth. So I perform the prophecy, and on the norm the plot could be to be expressing who we are, and addressing who they aren’t — and doing what they can’t, and won’t.”

Waterworks.

Which brings us to the final highlight: KID CUDI

PAUSE

There is only one more bone I have to pick with The Smokers Club Fest. Who had the genius idea of pitting Dom Kennedy against Kid Cudi!?!? Their sets pracitcally overlapped, and there was no way in gawds earth that I would miss three songs of worth of being close enough to Kid Cudi to actually say his name and have him hear me….

REALLY YALL!!?? I will forgive the lack of parking, the fuckery of the shuttle systems and all that — but pitting Dom and Cudi against each other is just plain mean.

UNPAUSE

KID CUDI — The Ultimate

I am not a crying person. It is not something that happens often, at the drop of a hat, or even when sometimes it might feel warranted. I am the type that finds crying to be frustrating because it shows folks I am human. Ew.

Similar to a few other people on this list, this was not the first time that I had seen Kid Cudi. I had been lucky enough to catch his last tour when it came to Sacramento and I was more than a little disappointed. The acoustics in the venue sounded so awful that half the time I could barely comprehend what song he was playing until it was about to hit the chorus. This was the opposite of that experience. This was transcendent. This was a show that shook my bones with bass, and imbued my brain with rhythm.

Photo by Olivia Monahan

Kid Cudi was everything I needed him to be and more. I couldn’t imagine this festival ending on a better note.

The Results:

This may have just become my favorite festival of the year. It’s early yet, and I have so many more to possibly cover (including Smokin Grooves next month), but this one may take the cake. Sunday was definitely a far more jam packed line up for my own personal tastes, and it seemed that the festival goers agreed with me because the attendance numbers were exponentially higher than they were on Saturday.

OH!!! I almost forgot. This was the officially the first festival in California that I have been to where I did not have to hide my weed. I walked into a concert with multiple blunts rolled, and the cops searching me could only smile and tell me to be safe and stay hydrated as I walked past them.

If that shit isn’t beautiful — I don’t know what is.

What you should do next:

Go check out Goldenvoice. (www.goldenvoice.com)

Sign up for their email list and be absolutely astounded by the amount of shows that they are bringing to the music loving community on a consistent basis. Start saving your money for Smokin Grooves. Get ready for Summertime in the LBC. Learn more about them, ESPECIALLY if you live in Southern California. They have so many shows going on this summer that I can’t keep track.
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Until then, you know where to find me.

IG: @thelivstyler
FB: www.facebook.com/thelivstyler

IG: @themashup
FB: www.facebook.com/themashup

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Olivia Monahan

May 7th, 2018

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