Good Vibes for my Birthday

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During the week I turned 32. Not a huge milestone, and let’s be honest, there’s only one fundamental thing you need to do to reach this point (or really any point in ones life) and that is to successfully manage not to die.

To most, this wouldn’t seem like a huge achievement, and believe me – I have a lot more ambitious goals and aspirations other than simply staying alive… but given the last 12 months (and the 30 years prior to that) it sometimes surprises me that, for the most part, I’ve managed to clumsily fumble my way through 32 years and 3 days (and counting) unscathed.

After a wall full of Facebook birthday wishes, dinner’s with parents and friends, cake at work and a few bottles of wine inbetween – it came to the birthday celebration I was looking forward to most – Good Vibes 2011.

Due to poor organisation on my part, the day started a little later than anticipated, but a healthy breakfast of KFC and a quick visit to the shops managed to get that all sorted and I was on the road.

The first thing that hits you when you go to any Aussie summer festival is the lack of clothing worn. There were sooooo many pairs of denim short short shorts around that if you stitched them all together you might just manage to make a full pair of jeans!

Now don’t get me wrong – I like looking at girls butts just as much as the next guy (and trust me, there were a lot of very fine butts to observe), but I just don’t see the appeal in these shorts. It almost doesn’t seem to matter how good your legs and/or butts are – very few chicks actually look good in them. Then there’s the pockets that hang out the bottom. The second you try and put things in these pockets, it looks like you’re sporting a colostomy bag. I’m desperately hoping that others agree with this because if not, I’m starting to sound like my hair looks – old.

Anyways, onto the festival – I arrived in time to see the end of Tim & Jean’s set and quickly headed for the alcoholic slushy stand. In 38 degree heat with limited shaded areas – it’s important to stay hydrated! Wandered around a bit more and caught some of Koolism’s set followed by another couple of very tasty slushies which lead me to a nice shady spot on the hill to listen to Hungry Kids of Hungary.

While sitting on this hill I found myself pondering the festival layout. Things like where the stages, toilets, bars, stalls and food areas were positioned and ways they could have been re-arranged for better access and accoustics. As I was playing my own little version of Sim Festival and enjoying the fumes wafting over from a nearby group of people smoking, I realised my latest round of slushies had vanished and I was starting to feel hungry.

A big plate of the Curry Hut’s Satay Special, a healthy dollop of hot sauce and now onto beer I was ready for some Friendly Fires and a bit of Mike Posner’s cheesy pop. Then over to listen to the mellow vibe served up by Kiwi’s with horns (you don’t see a lot of bands bring-out the brass these days) Fat Freddie’s Drop.

More beers and I think another slushy or two… by this stage I had lost count… Nas & Damian Marley came on. Marley has the longest dreads I have ever seen! But before they could finish, I wanted to get over to the main stage to get a good spot for one of my favorite groups of all time – Faithless.

This meant listening to the last few songs of Kelis. At one stage her milk shakes may have brought all the boys to the yard, but now it just seemed like she had run out of her own songs to sing and was just covering and mashing-up a bunch of other random stuff.

Once she had finished, I shuffled my way to the front and got myself a great spot ready for Faithless.

Before I go any further, I just want to try and explain how much I like Faithless. My taste in music is very eclectic and I listen to a LOT of different stuff. As a result, I always find it tricky to say who my favorite band or singer is. There are styles of music I like better than others and there are albums that mark definitive times in my life which can and will never be forgotten. But often as artists and bands evolve, their sounds change and sometimes I only like an album or two, which, in my mind, doesn’t categorise that group as being a ‘favorite’.

That being said, I like ALL of Faithless’ albums and their music has accompanied me through many experiences. Some good. Some bad. Some have been half-way around the world. But all very memorable and all very special.

So to finally see them perform live is something that is difficult to put into words. But I’ll try.

The stage was setup with a lights, projectors and a jungle gym of drums – one drummer seated, the other standing and often jumping around. Lead and bass guitars jamming out the tracks, back-up singers (which took the forefront on a few tracks) with Sister Bliss sparkling away behind her wall of keyboards and Maxi Jazz’s toned yet somewhat skeletal form shirtless with a suit-jacket.

The set-list incorporated a good mix of their old classics like Insomnia and God is a DJ (both of which my feet barely touched the ground while they were playing), to some of their more political tracks like Mass Destruction and Bombs not to miss their newer (but just as good) songs like Tweak Your Nipple and Not Going Home.

It was pure energy, bliss and joy from the moment they walked onto the stage all the way through to their final encore of We Come One (which had the crowd waving their fingers and singing along with like a church choir).

Amidst all the rock-star energy and excitement, Maxi still manages to be one of the most humble entertainers I’ve seen.

For so many reasons – this will be a night I will never ever forget.

Faithless Pete

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