LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE8/22 SUN
Awesome City Club
Truly Awesome Indeed!
Before the concert began, the MC warned the audience that it might rain today, and that they should be careful not to slip and fall. He also reminded them of the markers on the ground; to remind them to obey social distancing. The hundreds (as opposed to the usual thousands) in the cage at the front of the stage were obviously doing just that; as most of the other fans just hung out spaced out on the hillside facing the band.
To a gentle instrumental hip hop track, and a grid of bright blue lights behind the stage, Awesome City Club walked into view, and more fans started to file into the stage-front cage. Almost all decked out in matching shades of white and green, the members of the group smiled at their fans and waved at them. Then, on a predetermined cue, the drummer counted them in, and the ten-member supergroup dove into a signature funk-filled feel-good track; as their backup dancer in a sailor suit projected bubbles from a plastic toy gun that she refilled from a rainbow-colored kiddie pool at her feet. Immaculate heavenly harmonies infused a lovely breakdown; so beautiful that they could have been auto-tuned. Then, after eight bars of this, Awesome City Club were off on a groove again, with the festive crowd before them dancing in their sun hats.
After a quick “Arigatou” from one of their female backing vocalists – and hearty applause from the audience – Awesome City Club drove into an even more lively escapade, propelled by snare hits on every beat of each and every bar. Smiling broadly at center stage, in loose-fitting green and white garb, their bearded guitarist delivered feel-good palm-muting on his Telecaster as he smiled like nothing in this world could ever be better. And, truly this show is nothing short of fantastic. As the blocks of light to the back of the stage glow and flash in a sunny yellow, and the trees around the audience beam in lively green, and a soothing cool breeze blows over our skin, this is the type of concert experience that most humans hope for. The main female vocalist, in her blue bob haircut, and festive flowing green dress tapped at a ribbon-garnished tambourine and smiled as if to say, “yes, it’s true, we are finally having the time of our lives”.
Twelve minutes into their set time, the male bearded vocalist/guitarist in the white and green checked shirt assumed vocal duties for a track that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bruno Mars album, and the blue-haired vocalist strode the stage waving her hand from side to side; with which the audience wholeheartedly complied. A close-up of the string section behind the band – on the stage-side screens – added to the overall heavenly atmosphere. The audience even started blowing bubbles themselves; as a plethora of large ones could be seen coasting outside the cage.
Twenty minutes into their set, the bearded lead singer gave up his Telecaster to a roadie and started a funky duet with the blue-haired vocalist, which kept the party going like Awesome City Club never stop. The thirty-two round spotlights above them – and the set of twelve behind them – danced in rainbow colors; reinforcing the “happy day where nothing can go wrong” kind of vibe. And, almost as if by the power of positivity, the clouds above seemed to say that it might not have to rain today.
About half way into their set, the supergroup delivered a track with Salt-N-Pepa-like vocals, and the entire band performed synchronized dance steps with a now-standing string section; like so many disco-era supergroups of the 70’s. In the cage, and all the way up the hill behind it, thousands of fans danced away as if the pandemic and AIDS itself had never really happened. This is the truly awesome healing power that music holds, and that is why thousands of people flock here every year. During a breakdown, the blue-haired vocalist called out, “Everyone, are you enjoying yourselves?” to which, of course the crowd was not supposed to answer (at least not vocally) but thousands of people within earshot of the stage waved their hands and pointed at their beloved group; in an undeniably positive reply. One girl in a sun hat and shades even DANCED her way into the black metal cage with a male companion who smiled as he followed her.
With twenty-five minutes left in their set, the keyboardist started a song off with a marimba-like intro, to which the audience replied with syncopated cries of “AH!”. A dancer emerged on stage right in a rainbow tutu, and performed a theatrical performance that added to the song like a music video IRL.
With only twenty minutes left to perform, the male lead singer asked the audience if they were enjoying themselves, to which thousands applauded. And, the blue-haired singer pointed to a specific audience member and smiled in recognition. The male vocalist then said he thought it was time to deliver a number with an eye on the future, and they rocked out on a slightly-reggae flavored anthem with a distinctly J-pop chorus, colored with Prince-like harmonies.
For the very last number of their set – with a resplendent violin-section intro – both the male and the blue-haired vocalist strapped on a guitar (the latter using an Acoustasonic Telecaster). Then, the former introduced the number saying it was a song hoping that we all work towards a beautiful future together.
Thousands of fans swayed from side to side for this last slow ballad, and the myriad blue and white lights above the band pointed towards an idyllic future. Then, even the gathering cloud cover parted in the middle, as if by magic, and strong rays of sunshine illuminated both the band and their faithful crowd. One lone fan kept their naked arms up in a V for the repeating chorus, for nearly a whole two minutes. Then, the tune died back down to the violin-intro for a short breakdown, and built back up for a crescendo of an instrumental chorus on a loop. As all guitarists rocked out happily, and the backing vocalists sang like angels, the tune worked its way to a triumphant climax, as the crowd cheered them on. When the final notes started to die out, the adoring audience clapped for their heroes, the blue-haired vocalist thanked the crowd, and then named her band, as her fans continued to applaud while the band took their bows and left the stage.
[Photo: 10 All photo]