I love to get down with great music and videogames, so when Sony offered me (and three Dtoiders) the opportunity to head down to Columbia, MD, and play some PS3 games while taking in some live music at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest, I couldn’t say “yes” quickly enough.
The event began at 11 AM, and though our bus didn’t get to Columbia until around noon, it wasn’t a problem; none of the acts I cared about were to begin playing until almost 3 PM. So I asked a woman in the press tent about the PlayStation setup, and headed over to check out what Sony had in store for festival-goers. A smaller-than-expected white tent greeted me; at the entrance stood ten or fifteen onlookers, while a similar number played the games on offer inside.
I figured I’d be singing along to a bunch of the artists slated to play later on, so I decided against going up and melting people’s faces with my voice. You’ll just have to come to Dtoid NY karaoke for that. All in all, though, the tent seemed pretty busy throughout the day, probably since there were some healthy gaps during bands’ sets in the schedule.
Brooklyn-based indie rock band The Hold Steady played the West Stage next, and they put on a great show. I’ve only recently started listening to them, so I wasn’t familiar enough with really any of the songs to sing along. But I did recognize a few songs like “Stuck Between Stations” and “Slapped Actress,” the latter of which they closed with. I’m definitely eager to see them indoors now -- I’m always impressed by a band whose live set sounds as good as, or better than, its studio album.
But I was the most excited about seeing Weezer, a band that I’ve loved for a while but had never seen in person. And they brought the goods, playing a wide variety of songs from their lengthy discography and focusing on The Blue Album, which I happen to think is just a perfect rock record. They opened with an awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” which, as a classic rock fan, I enjoyed immensely. The massive crowd helped out on the backing vocals in “Island in the Sun” (“hip hip”) and sang along with classics like “Say It Ain’t So” and “Buddy Holly.” The band ended with another cover -- this time of The Clash’s anthemic “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” -- and Keyboard Cat came on the video board to play them off!
I didn’t get home until after 6 AM today, but hey, who cares? Live music in the summer is impossible to pass up, if you ask me, and it’s even better after you’ve consumed a 24-oz. Belgian-style wheat ale. I’d like to thank Virgin Mobile for putting on such a great show, and Sony for sending me there. I hope they hold another one next year!