Issue 4 Contents


WBCN River Rave, Saturday, June 8th

I'll admit it, I was skeptical from the beginning. "How can you have a "River Rave" in an area without a river, and a lineup without any techno music?" But since Lollapalooza isn't playing any place locally I had to have faith in WBCN and go to the Rave.

I called the Reverend McStretchy, told him to gather the flock and get the cooler ready. McStretchy can sense party people, so he's great to bring to large events like this. Once we went to the Newport Folk Festival and he managed to smell out some guy smoking a joint in his car. Then he managed to talk his way into the car. Then, by pleading for "cooperation and love for your fellow brother," he got the guy to smoke his last two joints with us.

Anyway, I bring McStretchy to these events to help promote a good time. He never pays me back for tickets, but it's worth it. Since this year's lineup seemed pretty cool - Sonic Youth, Lenny Kravitz, Everclear, The Presidents of the USA, Cracker, Semisonic, Pulp, Lush, Dishwalla, Gin Blossoms, Tree, and a bunch of others. WBCN wouldn't give Whatever a photo pass, so we had to use Rev. McStretchy and his "man of God" act to get a disposable inside. (WBCN was cool enough to let us in for free, but couldn't give us photo access.)

We arrived just in time to watch Semisonic. If you don't know who Semisonic is I guess you can picture Gin Blossoms before they had a hit. Although they're a three-piece they still have a pretty fat sound and rock it pretty nice for the kiddies. I watched most of their set, then went to meet McStretchy at the beer tent.

I didn't get very far along the obligatory summer show strip mall, when I found McStretchy. He was standing on a chair yelling about "injustice" in front of a Jose Cuervo booth. It turns out that the booth was giving away free NON-ALCOHOLIC margaritas, which really grated the good Reverend the wrong way. I guess he got one, had a sip, and almost died from the sugar content.

From that minute on, McStretchy made it his personal goal to shut down the "fake buzz pushers." He taunted the Cuervo people until some biker dude informed him of further injustices being handed out at the Kahlua White Russian tent. Which, it turns out, was right next to the fake ecstasy tent. McStretchy went after them all, even going so far as to tell kids to buy drugs on the street. At one point he even offered to go find a dealer and get some real ecstasy for people. Since I didn't feel like getting arrested, or talked into eating any "herbal" ecstasy, I went inside to watch Dishwalla.

Dishwalla is actually a "grunge" band. It was like watching Pearl Jam, only it wasn't. They aren't actually a bad band either. I didn't know any of their songs, but people seemed to like them. They rocked - but not real hard - and people loosened up and settled in for the long day ahead. Nobody went crazy for Dishwalla, but only because they were on so early.

After their set I went in search of McStretchy, but no luck. I did manage to get a wrist band allowing me into the official "mosh area." Wrist bands were good for only two bands, then you had to go get another one. Sure it was a stupid idea, but it got me up front for Everclear.

Everclear has really started to grow on me. They've really been touring the hell out of the East Coast and it seems to be doing them good. Alex seems to be enjoying his summer, and the other guys in the band are starting to open up a bit. The bass player even did a cool cover of "Sin City."

Anyway, while I moshed in the designated area I also took a few photos of Everclear. Security almost busted me but some photography intern or something told security I was his brother so they let me slide.

I split to walk around during the Gin Blossoms. Sure all the chicks stayed, but I can't compete with a VH-1 rocker so I thought I'd find McStretchy and see what trouble he was up to. Try as I might, I couldn't locate him. Usually he's on whatever strip has been set up, passing out pamphlets, or as he puts it, "gathering the sheep." I went back and forth a few times, but no luck.

Tree was kicking some serious ass on the second stage, so I stopped to check them out. People were moshing up a storm so I joined in and sweated it up for a while. It was fun, except when some moron threw his coke up in the air and sprayed everybody. You'd thing when you have to pay $4.00 for a coke people would try to hold on to them.

After Tree I ran into some people from work, so I hung with them during the second running of Lenny Kravitz through an arena in less than two weeks. Lenny has the "Unplugged" thing down - `cept he's the only one not plugged in - and they only play for like half an hour. Other than that he still rocks. His funky tunes get people going, and even though he begs and begs for people to sing along with "Let Love Rule" at every show it still comes off ok.

Sonic Youth sauntered out a few minutes after Lenny split. It was a strange opening act for them, but their set was the central spot. Most people didn't split like they did last year at Lollapalooza. Instead they stayed and were treated to an awesome set that Included a really ripping long version of "Diamond Sea." Although they don't demand attention like Lenny, Sonic Youth does get attention when people sit and listen.

I ditched my friends and scammed my way into the moshing area by jumping over a few rows of seats. People didn't really thrash to the Sonic set all that much, but it was mostly because the music had mesmerized them.

Thurston thrashed and smashed his guitar around with unusual fury and Lee Ranaldo did the same. Although Sonic Youth still reject the whole corporate-rock band thing, Thurston can't help look like a teenage kid playing air guitar when he thrashes and beats his guitars around.

Anyway their set ruled and as I was leaving to go check out Pulp for the second time in 24 hours I even ran into Lee Ranaldo heading over to see Jarvis too. Lee was very excited to see Jarvis, and had to tell like 50 people he didn't have time to sign posters, T-shirts, and other crap, `cause he wanted to see Pulp.

When we got there he ditched me for the scrawny little English guy doing bad goose step Monty Python and acting all important. We hadn't missed much since Pulp was late taking the stage, probably since Jarvis was stoned out of his skull. He flapped and posed for the girlies who all knew exactly when to scream "I love you" at him.

Although I didn't really enjoy the scene, Pulp was still ok. Considering it was a choice of watching a skinny English guy on drugs, or an older Patti Smith play "Smoke on the Water" with her kid. I had a few beers walking around between the two acts, looking for McStretchy and hoping he didn't get arrested for soliciting while under the influence again.

The Presidents of the USA took the stage as the beer vendor shut down for the night. The promised Cranberries set was a video with some stupid message from Bono. Most people were disappointed. It was pretty lame considering it had been billed as "live via satellite," and it turned out to be nothing better than Mtv on wheels.

The Presidents goofed it up and had a good time, while Lush put on a more erotic set. Or maybe it was the other way around- I'm really not sure. By 9:00 I was pretty tired and just hanging out on the grass. I couldn't find McStretchy anyplace, but that's fairly normal for him.

After "Lump" and a bunch of other Mtv hits, Cracker went on. I hung out to see if they were really as good as everybody says. I guess they were, but I didn't stick around for the whole set. Lots of folks were heading back to their cars, and I decided I might as well beat the rush too.

The vibe on leaving early at this unofficial Lollapalooza was much different than last year's. Instead of droves of Courtney worshippers ditching out on the Sonic Youth set because their Queen was done, this year they sat through Sonic Youth. Cracker didn't really lose that many people compared with the exodus of last year, so I hope they're not mad. I also hope Sonic Youth does another episode of the Simpson's so people will continue to sit through their sets- its so much more enjoyable.

(Oh, McStretchy claims that he was doing some real ecstasy with the crew from Pulp. I don't know if I should believe him - but he did end up taking a bus back from NYC the next day, so who knows??)