The Donnybrook Writing Academy selflessly braved the rain, the cold, and the thin mountain air to drink free booze in the media tent with rock stars. Here are Angora Holly Polo and Ivyy Goldgberg, Esq.'s top moments of Monolith Music Festival:
10 PM, FRIDAY NIGHT: Hot Tub at Monolith Pre-Party
PHOTO BY JON BIELECKI
Ivyy- So because we're like total VIPs, JB and I took advantage of our incredible media status to go pre-party with the Monolith folks over at the Gothic theater on Friday evening. Holy moly, have you ever seen a crazier group of badass bitches? No. No you have not. Wearing ripped leggings and leotards covering all 150 to 180 pounds of their bodies (I'm not talking out of school here, they announced their weight to the crowd when they were looking for volunteers to hold them on their shoulders for a chicken fight), these chicks got absolutely crazy for a half hour, ably backed by two DJs who looked like the IT department in your office. JB called them MC Fat and DJ Old in his review over at Empty Reviews, and I thought that was hilarious so have stolen it.
Ok, so, Hot Tub, right? Our friend Graeme was stoked on the band, and before the show he warned me that I might want to have a couple of drinks in me in order to truly appreciate the craziness of the show. So I blame him for the fact that I had four Jack and Cokes and almost couldn't move for a good couple of hours the next morning.
3:30 PM, DAY 2: Watching the Dandy Warhols, and then hassling them to take photos with us.
PHOTO BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO
Ivyy- What consummate professionals. These guys have a great sound for sitting in the sun on a crisp Colorado afternoon. Also, I MET one of them!!! Angora and I totally ambushed the drummer during Glitch Mob and asked him for a photo, even though he pointedly said many times how much he was enjoying the music and how much he would like to continue to enjoy the music without anyone hassling him!! Awww, rockstars are so cute sometimes in their pleas for anonymity!
Angora- I take photos up front for Dandies since they were one of the first bands I loved outside of the mainstream, my love most strong around the days of Come Down. Every one of them is super hot up close; Courtney executes every move with an ecstatic, I'm-so-cool-it's-orgasmic sneer. And it works, it really works.
After hassling drummer Brent DeBoer for pics with him, I meet Plucky from Spindrift, and he tells me stories about working with Anton when he was in Brian Jonestown Massacre. Man, that Anton hijacks every conversation, and it was even my fault this time--but he's certainly an enigma. Spindrift, as I later discover, plays dark, psychedelic spaghetti Western music. Which is all stuff I love: psychedelia a la Brian Jonestown (man I love those recordings--live, notsomuch); I love spaghetti (it's like my favorite thing to eat!!); and in terms of Westerns... I was once known to watch all eight hours of Lonesome Dove in one sitting.
2:20 PM, DAY TWO: The Pirate Signal
PHOTO BY PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES
Ivyy- Onward to The Pirate Signal, the second of Donnybrook's Most Fuckable this week, and one of my favorite shows of the festival. Yonnas Abraham has the perfect combination of badass charisma and dorky 'i'm-just-happy-to-be-here' awkwardness. And one of the MCs he raps with is wearing a shirt that says "Why are all these haters surrounding me??", which is now on Ivyy's birthday wish list. (Editor's Note: Ivyy's birthday is coming up next week, so be sure to buy her lots of presents!!!)
Angora- Later in the day in the artist tent, we find out that Yonnas was born on the EXACT SAME DAY as Donnybrook Snobcaster Father Guido Sarducci IV. Same year and everything. Soul-mate-hood is forged; and double birthday parties are planned!
8:45 PM, DAY ONE: The bizarre photo pit environment during Of Montreal
BLURRY PHOTOS BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO
Ivyy- For me, they should be called Overblown Expectations (zing!). Everyone was all "OMG Of Montreal is gonna be CRAZY!" So I'm watching, and, I'll say it, hipsters: it is decidedly not crazy. Then again, I'm decidedly surly right now, so maybe I'm not the best judge. But whatever, my sound and sane judgment is not why you're reading this, right? Right.
Angora- The photo pit before Of Montreal is like the Twilight Zone. The three men surrounding me are acting strange, like they are on drugs or something. When I enter the photo pit, they all turn and stare at me with big eyes and introduce themselves, which is highly unnecessary in photo pit etiquette--even I know this, and I'm a complete fraud (aka, not a real photographer). One of them asks me, "Do you consider yourself a visual engineer?" "Yes," says I, rolling my eyes on the inside. "What do you got there?" says he, glancing down at my impressive photo equipment. This is all it takes for me to launch into a stammering confession, that I have no idea because I borrowed the camera and photo pass from Donnybrook's real photographer because I'm the editor and I can do that, and I just really wanted to be up close for Of Montreal. I ask him what he has, and he pulls out..a cell phone.
He's taking photos with his cell phone and pointing out the composition to me, extolling upon his photographic genius. The waving, preening, screaming 16-year-olds in the front row surely think they're going to be in Rolling Stone when the camera points their way; I'm starting to think they're letting anyone in. People on drugs without photo passes who have camera phones, par example.
And it's not even a nice cell phone.
I'm right at the feet of the fantastical Kevin Barnes, so close, actually, that it's excitingly uncomfortable. Without the fringes of fluttering hands and the crazed cheer of the crowd between me and the show, it'd oddly quiet and monumentally everyday--and in that, it's especially exciting. Kevin Barnes is so perfect and pretty in his glam sailor outfit, with his pristine little dance movements and his glitter eye makeup. His face is stone serious and unfriendly. My camera lens zooms in so close, I feel like I'm invading his private space. I am all up in his business. This rock photography rules--fuck writing about the shows.
Then a lot of weird shit happens. It's more theatrical, silver-masked throngs of people creeping around Kevin Barnes in black bodysuits, children opening Christmas presents to find smoke billowing out and gas masks.
Ivyy- Hmmm, maybe I spoke too soon? Did I just see a couple of fuzzies having a chicken fight onstage?
Angora- Then a man dressed up as a tiger holds another man upside-down and simulates devouring his cock (like, actually eating it). This is the gayest thing I've ever heard of happening, ever, on the planet Earth. This is so gay that I want to make sweet gay love to everyone in the crowd. I am so enraptured with this entire show. When I finally emerge from the photo pit, I'm back in the real world, and I hear the show isn't that great from afar. Huh.
Ivyy- You know, this show isn't that great from afar. Huh.
3 PM, DAY ONE: These United States
PHOTO BY PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES III
Angora: The boys are in rare form, although they're always in rare form, so I suppose it's not rare. The WOXY stage is crammed full of people. OK, so I'm biased, but each time the show reaches an even higher level of awesome. The band has always had great songs, tons of talent, and enough to pedal steel to kill a horse, but the most exciting part is this stage where they're breaking through to people who aren't into that genre due to the sheer energy of the show, each time both more tight and explosive. I'm especially impressed this time around by Robby Cosenza's propulsive drumming (I'm going to request a signed drum stick)--he's a total madman. Since I'm their publicist (or one of them), friends who hadn't seen them yet approach me for the rest of the day, gushing--even ones with wildly different tastes.
Also, someone is smoking a doobie in the crowd at the show. For some reason this makes me smile, to know we've tapped into that demographic.
2:00 PM, DAY TWO: The Grates, a band which contains the cutest girl in the world.
PHOTO BY PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES
Ivyy- Ok so we finally get into the park, just in time for the start of a set by The Grates. Hearing their music pre-Monolith, I was super un-interested in this band, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how fun they were in person. Also, (and every guy at Monolith will tell you this), their lead singer is SO DAMN CUTE. When she jumped onstage and started smiling and waving her blonde hair all over the place, I definitely did NOT stifle a wave of jealousy. I definitely did not.
Angora- Agreed. She is so cute, I want to put her in my pocket and feed her cupcakes all the time and put bows in her hair. I think other people have other things they would rather do with her....
3:00 PM, DAY TWO: Monotonix: Hairy Telavivians give an, ahem, er, intimate perfomance.
PHOTO BY PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES
Ivyy- Hanging in the back for Monotonix. I'm a little nervous about what's in store for me, as I realize during the sound check that the drum set is being set up IN THE AUDIENCE? WHAT? That's CRAZY!!!!! Mrs. Goose and I are hanging out together, and she suggests we keep an exit handy, and idea which I find ingenius....
...until the band starts playing IN THE AUDIENCE. WHAT? That's CRAZY!! I know!! Suddenly, where I once was 10 rows back with an escape route, I now have a hairy Israeli dripping sweat on me and singing in my FACE, son, and the guitarist/bass drummer is 12 inches from me and my video camera. (OMG did you say VIDEO CAMERA? Yup. Here ya go...)
Monotonix, described by some as a Tel Avivian brand of Gogol Bordello-meets-Zeppelin, is so amazing! Imagine bringing a Stooges show into the crowd, without the glass. Sweaty lead singer Ami Shalev, hairier than five Borats, is rolling around the crowd in itty-bitty pinkish terry cloth short shorts. I'm sure more than one person got a niiiice flavorful teabagging.
The entire floor of the Southern Comfort stage is wavering from the crowd bouncing up and down--not exaggerating. Now Shalev is singing on top of the crowd with the illusion that he is walking on water. I think he's standing on a drum which someone is lifting up over their head. Then he takes advantage of this precarious, god-like position and slowly bends over and....he moons the entire crowd! and his ass is really hairy!--and he's doing improper things with the microphone--I'll just say, I hope the next band brought their own mics.
9:30 PM, DAY ONE: Watching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from a foot away
PHOTOS BY ANGORA HOLLY POLO AND PRIMERO VICENTE PANTALONES III
Karen O is magnificently beautiful in her weirdness, in the rain. I think that she's one of the best frontpeople out there; she's sexy in a strange kind of way, she's ballsy in her movements and expression, she has a punk rock edge to her, and she does these graceful almost Kabuki-esque movements in her extravagant, flowing (and functional!) poncho. She stops with her arms raised, devouring the energy of the crowd and making them go even more nuts--moving slowly also makes for way better press photos. Then she freaks out and stomps on the floor, sending confetti shooting out into the crowd. Again, I'm an arms-length from all of this in the photo pit, watching the confetti float up into the vast crowd filling up Red Rocks. From where I'm at, Monolith looks like a success.
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