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August 23, 2003. Boodstock Festival, Boudy u âimelic


Now this was more like it. Very much more like it. Hundreds of cheering, dancing, jumping fans, a headline engagement, autographs...the kind of thing every fourteen-year old dreams about when he plugs in his first electric guitar.

Boodstock takes place in a meadow the size of a football field in South Bohemia. It happens around the same time every year and is organized by Honza, our drummer friend who plays in ProWizorium, as well as Agartha, basically a 60s blues-rock cover band.

By virtue of being foreigners, I guess, we were the headliners, with the largest type font on the poster. Unlike Prestenice, we got a prime time slot (9:30 pm) and unlike Hamilton Ranch we didn’t take the stage under adverse circumstances and stretch the songs out to ten minutes each.

It took a few songs to get our act together. Once we got around to “Sex,” though (song four or five out of our total set, and repertoire, of seven) the music was tight enough. To the best of my recollection, that was the song that got the kids excited. During the beginning of the long instrumental break, with the simple drum-n’-bass pattern, they started to clap and jump with the beat. “Oh YEAH!” Barry shouted as usual during the part, very loudly into the mike. “Oh YEAH! Oh YEAH! Oh YEAH OH YEAH OH YEAHOHYEAHOHYEAH!...” And we were off. The crowd stomped along, feet pounding the dirt and fists punching the air. Oh YEAH!

The best response we got, not surprisingly, was for “Na Sracky”, which a few skinny teenagers had actually been yelling for on stage edge prior to our start.  “TAKTO NEJSEM JA!!!” screamed what looked like a sea of people in front of us during the refrain. Jesus, this damn song is turning into a religious movement or something.

We didn’t end with that one. Instead, we departed following “Skatalogical”, which for the first time live we actually played accurately and tightly. That one has a nice, lingering rock and roll ending, so it was a good one to leave the stage to. They were yelling for an encore (little kid fantasy, fourteen years old, plugging in his first electric guitar...), but there wasn’t much we could do with only seven songs, all of which we just played. (No, we don’t play the game many bands here do, in which they reprise a song they’ve already played during their set – that’s cheating!).

The festivities didn’t end there. Two hairy kids I’d spied in the front rows had already made it backstage, and started spewing praise on us. Thanks! Since my Czech is more conversational than the other Jointers, I was the one talking to them in between bouts of packing away equipment. Martin and Honza were their names, and we really got them somehow. They wouldn’t stop with the compliments. I don’t think I’ve ever said “thank you” in Czech more than I did that night.

They even asked for an autograph! Wanna-be rock star fantasy #3...so I obliged them, fetching a pen from my backpack and, believe it or not, autographing their forearms. TO MARTIN/HONZA, THE JOINT, ERIC, (SIGNATURE) I scratched on their skin. In the midst of this talking and autographing, the band following us – KISS Czech Republic Revival – began to set up onstage. Part of their show, authentically enough, was several big fireworks, which required darkness in the stage area. So at the same time, I had to help get our stuff backstage, talk to our newfound fans in Czech, try not to stare at a Paul Stanley (Pavel Stanislav?) lookalike standing in full costume and make-up in front of me and autograph a pair of body parts...all in the dark! My teenage rock star fantasies never came close to picturing a weird sensory combination like that.

I was so happy after the show. All I needed was to walk around and glow. I drank a few beers, copped a klobasa from Barry’s food trailer, and downed two dixie cups of frozen margaritas (at a rock festival?) during my wandering. At one point, I drifted down to the stage to catch Votchi, an interesting semi-hard rock act featuring a flute player, and was accosted by a young Czech kid. Jirka was his name and he had a very English accent and a ton of praise for my band. So I dug out the “thank you thank you”s again, this time in my native language. I thought he was going to ask for me to sign a limb, a la Honza and Martin, but no, he was happy simply to express his gratitude. Nice guy. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to get his e-mail – so Jirka, my man, you’re now on our mailing list and hopefully we’ll see you at the next show.

Boodstock was the last in our summer chain of festival/party appearances. Following this will be more songwriting in the studio and hopefully some recording, at long last. Our plan is to play one show every month until around the end of the year, in order to have enough time to come up with new material. Few bands can make it far on only seven songs, no matter how many arms they autograph.

I’m glad our summer ended this way. Now, onto the next chapter in our saga...





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