After such a good time two years ago at this event we could not help ourselves and holy crap what a lineup! Same crew as 2013 (me, Marvin, Ken and Bob) and the addition of Joe in from Portland, but unlike last time we actually knew that Marvin was coming. This time the venue was at a place called Gibson Ranch instead of Discovery Park and we were able to “camp.” The plan was for Marvin to drive out from Salt Lake City and meet up with Bob who would already be in the Bay Area due to attending the 49ers/Seahawks game for Thursday Night Football and then meet up with me, Ken and Joe who were flying in on Saturday morning. Since all of us were flying Marvin was in charge of bringing tents, sleeping bags, etc. After we all met at a Walmart on the way to load up on supplies (mostly alcohol) we were on our way. The first band any of us cared about was Suicidal Tendencies, scheduled to be on at 2 pm, since we had missed them earlier in the year at Epicenter. Since our flight landed at 10 we figured we had plenty of time to get settled but all the little things add up and we now found ourselves waiting in a long line of cars to get into the place and more specifically the campground. Very poor organization caused us to wait in our car (a rented super small shitbox of a Mazda) for what seemed like forever before we could get “escorted” to our campsite. By the time we got to the campsite and set up tents, etc. it was about 2. We quickly decided that we did not care all that much about Suicidal Tendencies after all. In our defense we could hear them perfectly from where we were. We were trying to save money by drinking at the camp spot but Helmet was up at 2:30 and attendance was non-negotiable. After some quick work of beers we went in and Helmet greeted us with all the songs you would want them to play (mostly from Meantime, Betty and Aftertaste). Next up was P.O.D. who continue to surprise me with each passing time I see them. Then we had to find our way to the “fourth” stage which Clutch was playing at for some damn reason. Clutch was touring for the excellent new album Psychic Warfare. I made a bet with Joe that they would not play anything from their first three albums and I was right. It did not matter because they have so many good songs to choose from otherwise. More beers and back to one of the main stages for Seether. I believe by this time most of us had gotten separated from each other and when there is a concentration of that many people in one place cell signals do not work. I believe at this point I was just with Bob and some gal came out of nowhere and would not leave us alone. We finally shook her and watched Breaking Benjamin which was pretty alright.
Our original plan was to get an eight of pot to bring but when that did not work out we settled for two decent sized joints. This meant we had to ration one for this day and one for the next day which meant we had to strategically time ignition. For me this was the moment: Marilyn Manson was coming on. I have seen him many times but he is always splendid and now he had another excellent album out – The Pale Emperor. This set is one I have only seen him play a few times and can only be described as fierce. Not a lot of talking, every song just ripped you a new one and then he was gone. This version of his band is the tightest I think I have seen since the departure of John 5. I was tripping out because I could not tell if Twiggy was on the stage or not. If not it sure as hell looked like him.
Next up was Slipknot. I REALLY like their new album .5 The Gray Chapter so I was really excited to see them as well. By this point I was a little drunk and stoned but holy fuck did these guys rock. After finding our way back to the campground me and Bob were greeted by our missing buddies for a nightcap. Marvin informed me the previous day that he forgot one of the sleeping bags so I shoved a pillow and blanket in my carry on (talent) and planned on just sleeping in the reclined seat of our rental car. This is easy when you are drunk. Joe ended up sleeping in the passenger seat because we were up forever talking and laughing our heads off since I do not get to see him very often anymore. Today was a good day.