Sunset Junction, Saturday: One Perspective

tinysunsetjunctionThis was my first time back to the junction in a few years. Ever since Sonic Youth played in 2002 I’ve either been out of town or hiding in fear, recalling back-to-back years of parking woes. This year I’m pleased to report we had no problems finding a great parking spot. I’m not telling you where it is, so don’t ask.

Although very skeptical about the “requested” $10 donation vs. prior cover charges (i.e. one canned good or nothing whatsoever so long as you run fast and be sure to have a good time), we grudgingly ponied up the cash, made it inside the gates by 5:45 and were soon ducking Babylon, feeling no way and steady jammin to da braata outside Aurelito and Shakespeare’s mobile sound system.

Vendors. Plenty of vendors! Everyone from killradio to amoeba records. One of my favorite vendor booths was situated near Edgecliffe: the annual oki-dog tent. I had absolutely no idea that oki-dogs were available in ranges from 4″ up to 31″…picture a folded, juiced, pastrami-stuffed tortilla literally longer than my arm. It made my day.*

Did not hear the Walkmen. Where were the Walkmen? Lead singer Hamilton Leithauser’s explanation later that night at Spaceland: “We were supposed to play the festival today, and we blew it. We fucking blew it.”

Before leaving we caught part of Richard Street’s show near our exit. The “three-time Grammy award winner and former lead singer of the Temptations” and his crew were clearly having a ball on stage, seamlessy pairing the red wine goodness of finely-aged soul with the strong cheese ridiculousness of hokey crowd interactions. The music was tired, but the stage show kept people giggling.

In my book Aurelito and Shakespeare continue to do no wrong. It’s no exaggeration to say I’d eagerly pay upwards of $11 just to stand by their truck and dance all night. SJ promoters take note: I&I Productions should be pushed larger on the bill! These guys are what a street festival should be all about, not giant stages with has-been Motown artists, revival acts and quasi-mainstream pop washups.

Scattered Photos:

Following the street festival I got to check out the Walkmen (as mentioned, didn’t see them during the day) at their sold-out Spaceland gig. Great, great show incorporating new songs and plenty of textbook scream-sing-along standards. I have two incredibly blurry photos from this show. This is what happens when Audree gets sick from travelling and isn’t available to take her signature close-up concert shots…

The Blurred Walkmen:
crystal-clear photo of hamilton leithauser and the walkmen

*this paragraph is total bullshit.

aurelito reaches high
Aurelito adds a speaker to the stack outside the 1969 Dodge raggamobile

It is possible to smoke a cigarette while playing your bike as an instrument