We The People Festival at L.A. Historic Park
I don't care what kind of music you came to see, thirty four bands, in thirty two acres of space turned a hot weekend in Chinatown into a non stop sonic binge.
Last saturday, thousands of fans from all over So Cal trucked into the dust bowl parking lot across from L.A. Historic Park for the ___annual We The People Festival. In case you didn't catch that little reference to the Constitution, the event was designed to do two things: entertain and inform. In addition to rocking your socks with legendary acts like Sen Dog of Cyprus Hill, EPMD, Suicidal Tendencies and the maniacal stylings of Les Claypool, the hope was that some of you festival goers would be snared by one of the grass roots political action booths lining the walk way between the two main stages. I guess if Tom Morello rocking out next to a huge video monitor flashing violent war footage and churning oil rigs can't get you to give a crap about voting in the upcoming election than nothing can.
Besides Morello, lending his folky, semi-awkward solo project The Night Watchman, other major acts to grace the the stage included RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Dilated Peoples; Barrington Levy; Eek-a-Mouse; DJ Premier; Z Trip and Bass Nectar. With the sonic diversity of a mini Coachella, WTP did a great job of wrangling up a notable headlining roster.
However, the festival's aim for rock'n'roll unity was nearly dashed before the gates even opened due to a delay that lasted over an hour for reasons that no one seemed to be able to share with the people in line. Nothing pisses off a crowd of concert goers like waiting in L.A. heat. At one point, security was even passing out ice cream to quell the rebellion outside, which made me cringe since I knew it would buy the festival organizers about five minutes at best.
When the crowd swell finally got inside the gates all was forgotten, swept away by the curiosity of captivating opening acts from the local area.
One of the best sets belonged to L.A. psychedelic howlers West Indian Girl. Fronted by vocalist Mariqueen Maandig and guitarist/ vocalist Robert James, the bands slow crashing wave of soul echoed past the festival back drop of graffiti tagged free ways, heavy traffic and Chinese restaurants.