The Fairplex in Pomona is basically the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds that underwent a name change in 1984 and host to the largest county fair in the world. I drove up with Bob and a guy he works with to get scorched by the sun and a pretty solid lineup.
The first band we gave any shit about was Street Sweeper Social Club which was Tom Morello’s new project with Boots Riley from The Coup on microphone duties. I did not have the benefit of really listening to their newly released self-titled debut album before we saw them because I only learned of them at all very shortly before the show. In an article written by Alex Young in Consequence of Sound Morello described the project/album as “revolutionary party jams. It’s got huge steamroller riffs combined with depth, charge, funk, while Boots unloads clip after clip of incendiary rhymes rich with satire and venom.” Boots Riley added that “this is a time when the working class is being fleeced left and right. More families will be homeless and more people will be jobless. They’ll need something to listen to on their iPods while storming Wall Street.” The music was all those things. I only wish I had the benefit of getting to know the songs prior to seeing the performance.
Wolfmother was up next and I had just seen them open for STP less than a month before this. They were awesome again but essentially put on the same show as the first time I saw them.
Alice In Chains was the first band I really really wanted to see again. This was to be my third time seeing them with William DuVall singing but now they were only a month away from releasing the excellent Black Gives Way to Blue so we got to hear “Check My Brain” and “A Looking in View” in addition to the classics. It was a little strange to see them in full daylight but they killed it.
Linkin Park was up next and I had not seen them since the two times I saw them back in 2001 when they were touring for Hybrid Theory. At this point they were a full on hit factory and their newest album was their third album Minutes to Midnight. They were touring pros by now so the set was very tight and they looked like they had gained some confidence after years on the road.
Closing out the night was the almighty Tool. I do not care how many times I have seen them they still blow my mind. It’s like an old friend that you haven’t seen in awhile and I had not seen them for almost two years since I saw them in Spokane. Tool is an experience. The visuals are on par with the epic nature of the music and the whole thing can very easily put someone into a trance like state. The pot that I smoked did not do anything to counter this feeling. The newest album was still 10,000 Days but I was in hog heaven. Adam Jones has a way of playing guitar sometimes where he appears to be staring into the crowd fixated on one spot as he is pulling off these badass rhythms. We were watching from his side of the stage and I was right in his stare zone, which was messing with me in my state of affairs. Also of note was that Maynard performed on crutches due to an injury. Not that it affected his performance since he stays in the back of the stage anyway, but that is pretty cool he did not call off the show.