Live 105ís yearly summer festival BFD appeared on the calendar last Friday, June 11, and with a lineup that included The Beastie Boys, The Strokes, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dizzee Rascal, The Streets, The Stills, Death Cab For Cutie, Bad Religion, The Von Bondies, and CommuniquÈ, it was definitely not a day to miss. Unfortunately, with The Killers hitting the stage at 12.45 PM, that mean getting there bright and early. So thatís where I started.
Walking up to the second stage just as the Vegas quartet were launching into their first tune, I nestled in next to Howie Miura, who had flown up for a field trip, as well as local superstar Roland West, to enjoy the rest of the set. Almost identical to their set at Coachella, The Killers fired through much of their brilliant debut, Hot Fuss, which finally hits shelves tomorrow. Of course, ìMr. Brightsideî and especially set closer ìSomebody Told Meî both ramped up the crowdís energy, but the entire record is a keeper, as anyone who has spent any time with it can surely attest.
After running into Kari Crowley attempting to babysit her band and finding the president of the Richard Marx fan club, Carlyn Kessler running around like a headless chicken, it was time to enjoy the Smithsian sounds of The Stills. The boys from Montreal played a solid set, with ìGender Bombsî and ìStill In Love Songî taking top honors. After The Stills it was time for a beer (a running theme throughout the day, no doubt), and then off to the local stage to see Oakland four-piece CommuniquÈ. Also releasing a wonderful record this week, Poison Arrows, CommuniquÈ showcased that release, along with throwing in the excellent ìCross Your Heart,î from the A Crescent Honeymoon EP. Time for more beer and then off to catch the second show in two days from The Von Bondies.
As this performance was outdoor and to a larger crowd, the variance in The Von Bondies show made it all worth it. I caught up with Phil Costello, Gaby Skolnek, and Scott Perlewitz and watched the Detroit rock crew bring it for the kids. ìCíMon CíMonî got a pit going in the front, which is always amusing. Time for more beer garden madness and then a bit of Davey Havok of A.F.I.ís DJ set. Started chatting with Chris Applegren of Lookout! for over thirty minutes on an outdoor path, so heard Death Cab from there, and what I heard was great. Wish I could have caught more of the set, but sometimes conversations take precedenceÖ
More beer and then it was time to get dizzy. Dizzee Rascal, that is. The rapid-fire spitting and rhymes aplenty had the Subsonic Tent rumbling. Sound issues aside, the set was super-engaging and reminded me of how good Dizzee could be live. Computer problems then threatened to cancel The Streetsí show, and Dizzee announced to the crowd that Mike Skinner and his Birmingham City FC jersey would not be performing, which caused half the tent to empty after Dizzeeís set. However, Skinner and posse sorted their hard drive issues and played a blinding set, but one that suffered from sonic bleed from neighboring stage where punk rock kingpins Bad Religion were enthralling their fans with over two decades worth of material and at the same time educating the kids with their super tuneful punk explosion. Catching part of both sets, I managed to get my musical fix, but it would have been nicer to see both acts not head-to-head, for one, and further apart spatially, so as not to bleed over each other. That said, though, both The Streets and Bad Religion sounded great and the main stage was now the focus of the rest of the evening.
Backstage beers (what else?) followed during Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Violent Femmes, as I watched both sets from monitors in that area. However, as the special guests of the evening, The Beastie Boys, took the stage, it was time to go up front and center to see if it was gong to be a Beasties classic gig or one more along the lines of their disappointing recent $2 shows. Luckily, it was closer to the former, as the MCA, Mike D. and Ad-Rock, danced around the stage and sang along to beats dropped by Mix Master Mike. The 45-minute set was over far too soon, highlighted by ìSure Shot,î ì3 MCs And 1 DJ,î ìBody Moviní,î and ìRoot Down,î but with an encore of their new single, ìCh- Check It Out,î they were off, leaving the packed house screaming for more, and hoping to get it on the Beasties next tour.
And with that, I called it a day. The Strokes still were yet to play (and I probably pissed off Bill Burrs and the lovely Cheryl Kovalchik), but after a day of drinking in the sun, it was time to get a burrito on the way home and take a long nap. BFD 2004 was perhaps, the greatest in the 11-year history of the Live 105 show. Sean Demery, Aaron Axelsen, Robin Rockwell, Party Ben, Disko Shawn, Spud and the whole crew put on a great gig that theyíll be hard pressed to top next year. At least they have 363 days to get on itÖ