Concert Review: Buzzardfest @ Blossom Music Center, 5/18/96

If there was one thing you could count on in the 1990s, it was the destination festival. Sure, big music festivals had been around since seemingly the invention of rock ‘n roll, but the ’90s added a twist with Lollapalooza. Instead of a genre festival (think blues, metal, folk, etc.), or some giant benefit concert that attracted lots of big name acts, Lollapalooza took the concept in the direction of “let’s see how many disparate acts we can cram into one day.”

As the ’90s went on, instead of giant traveling concerts, alternative radio stations got into the business of putting on their own annual festival to show off the bands currently in rotation/being pushed by major labels. Hence, Buzzardfest. Here’s the line-up for this particular show:

The Tragically Hip, 311, Candlebox, No Doubt, Holy Barbarians, Poe, The Refreshments, Triple Fast Action, Berlin, The Nixons, Berlin, Goldfinger, God’s Child, Dash Rip Rock

Let’s see, you’ve got some ska/punk, some alt.rock, some straight-up rock, some new wave and whatever the hell Poe is classified as.

My draw for this show was seeing the Hip and Candlebox, which is ironic because as Candlebox closed the long night, my college roommate Charlie, his little brother and I left halfway through their set out of boredom, most likely due to the fact that their second album Lucy was a huge letdown compared to their singles-strong (Far Behind and You, of course) debut.

Most of the afternoon was spent bouncing between the main stage and the side stage, trying to avoid the duds. Mainly, that would be No Doubt, who had reached a level of annoying that years of avoidance have only recently started to reduce to acceptable levels. I still, however, cannot listen to Don’t Speak without wanting jam my ear with a fork.

At one point, we trudged over to the side stage just as The Refreshments were starting their set. As there had been rain the day before, the ground was a bit moist, making the sod easy to pull up. I’m not sure who instigated it, but at some point, concert goers started flinging chunks of earth at the band, knocking out instruments and finally the lead vocal microphone. I’m not sure if the band even made it through much of their set before giving up.

My main reason for going was, as I mentioned, to see The Tragically Hip, who never seemed to find their groove and seemed out of place with the rest of the acts. To be honest, this was a first and, as a remind myself to remember, last festival show. I’m often tempted by the line-ups at modern Lollapalooza shows or Cochella or Bonnaroo, but ultimately I don’t have enough ADD to want that sort of experience.

I should mention that, as far a music venue bathroom experience go, Blossom used to (don’t know if this is still the case) have one of the most disturbing in existence. Instead of a simple urinal trough, they had a massive round tub in the middle of the room with a primitive water fountain in the middle, which meant that at crowded times, you would have to urinate with some urinating across from you. Just one giant circle of urination. Disgusting.

TRAGICALLY HIP SETLIST
Grace, Too
Springtime In Vienna
Nautical Disaster
Flamenco
Fully Completely
Ahead by a Century
Don’t Wake Daddy
Fire In The Hole

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