DeLuna Fest 2012
If the Friday of DeLuna Fest 2012 was any indication, then Saturday was sure to satisfy. Another perfect day in Pensacola Beach awaited throngs of music lovers at the front gates as the festival opened. Attendance definitely seemed to swell considerably from previous numbers, considering that it was the weekend. Several boats dropped anchor nearby throughout the day, catching the sounds from the beach as the drifted off shore. Not a bad vantage point at all.
Whether you were being lulled by the catchy pop-rock sing alongs of Austin’s Saints of Valory, former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, or Welsh band The Joy Formidable, Day 2 brought something for everyone. Seminal punk/reggae/jazz/blowyourpantsoff hardcore band Bad Brains gave all the punks, young and old alike, something crunchy to chew on. Singer H.R., dressed in a white suit complete with a long white veil and hat, was in a state of ethereal Rastafarian bliss. And the full crowd was more than ready to follow him there. Hearing “Re-ignition” live, with that sinister nasal tone Mike Patton made popular later on, was more than enough to send a little surf-punk-kid-at-heart into a tailspin.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts took to the Windcreek stage around sunset. The crowd gathered was very large, especially considering this was the second stage. Ages ran the gamut, but everyone sang along like it was 1981 to hits like “I Love Rock & Roll,” Gary Glitter’s glam rock anthem “Do You Wanna Touch Me?” and even her first band The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb.” Jett and the Blackhearts also played a couple new tunes before the crowd sang her “Happy Birthday.” At 54, she is still true to her roots and, as evidenced here, ready and able to bring something special to a performance.
Following this performance on the same stage was Band of Horses. The band started the set with “Knock Knock”, the first single from their fresh-out-of-the-oven 4th studio album Mirage Rock. Die-hard fans were singing along to “NW Apt.” and everyone was floating right along as the band closed with the spacey “Is there a Ghost” and the soaring epic “The Funeral.” It was during these last few songs of the set that reinforced just how big this group can sound, causing many to wonder why they weren’t playing on the main stage before the night’s headlining act.
Band of Horses
This crowd immediately vacated this area to head over to the main stage to join the already waiting mass of sun-soaked people there. Just like the day before, tons of festiver-goers had been waiting at the front of the stage since the festival opened at 11am– a solid 10 hours before the headlining act was due to perform. And who were these people standing under the gaze of the hot sun all day to see? None other than the Foo Fighters.
Was the 10 hour wait worth it? As soon as Dave Grohl and the rest of the band tore into “White Limo,” from 2011’s Wasting Light, it was fairly evident that it was definitely worth it. Grohl paced the stage for the entire show, like a lion in a cage, stopping only when he needed to growl something into a microphone, as he did for the second song, an extended version of “All my Life,” complete with false ending. The set was a good mix of new and old songs, all presented with an energy that, if harnessed, surely could power the entire festival site. After “My Hero,” Grohl noted his surroundings, “…this is a beautiful place to play a long fucking rock show! Whaddya think about that shee-it?,” promising to stop talking and play as long as they possibly could.
A few more songs and it was time for the band intros. Grohl is a really funny guy, if you didn’t already know, and he had the crowd doubled-over at this point. Even mentioning the touring keyboardist, Rami Jaffee, also the keyboardist for the Wallflowers, who were playing the next day. He playfully poked at this double-dipping by saying “maybe now you can afford to buy that other headlight, bitch!” as drummer Taylor Hawkins referenced the song with the recognizable kick-snare-kick-snare beat. Hawkins was introduced last and after he, in turn, gave Dave Grohl a pat on the back he took over lead vocal duties for “A Cold Day in the Sun.” Hawkins later finished off an epic “Monkey Wrench” with a bit of a drum solo before the band went right into “Hey, Johnny Park!” without skipping a beat.
And that’s when the music died. Literally. The PA cut out and there was a deafening silence. The crowd made almost no noise and the band clearly no idea that there was an issue as they were still doing their thing on stage. Obviously, the band’s stage and in-ear monitors were working just fine. They looked like mimes up there, doing their best rock band impersonation. And it was really good. Maybe 10-15 seconds later, and the PA kicks back in. A few seconds later, dead again. This happened 4 or 5 times before speakers came alive again for the last 2 chords of the song. When they’re done, someone from the crowd or in his ear let Grohl know what he just missed. Seeking clarification, he says to the masses “Did we fucking rock that shit so hard that we broke the PA?” Yes!
After getting assurance from his A1 that all was good, the band moved on. Hawkins again sang lead for Pink Floyd’s soaring guitar epic “In the Flesh.” After ending the main set with “Best of You,” the band came back out for an encore beginning with “Times Like These” with Grohl solo before the rest of the band joined in for the end of the song. Next, Dave introduced indie rock icon Bob Mould, who sang with the band on “Dear Rosemary.” He stayed on as they went into Florida’s favorite son Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.” Next, Joan Jett joined the band on stage as Grohl wished her Happy Birthday and implored the crowd to sing along. After the band ripped through her “Bad Reputation,” Grohl exclaimed “Goddamn it I love you Joan Jett” and you could tell that he meant it. Then he said “This song’s about Jimmy Buffett, it called Margaritaville….kidding!,” and he began to strum the warped open chords to their mega-hit “Everlong.” A fitting end to a long day and a great night.
All Photos Credited To Barbara Sheridan Photography