Mountain Aire FestivalAngels Camp, CA
- Saturday, May 25, 2002
- Mountain Aire Festival Angels Camp, CA
by Ray Paczkowski
A full yellow moon rose over the Sierras tonight. The same moon clocked our gig in San Francisco. What’s 300 miles to the moon? San Fran to Angels Camp, CA. From blacktop, glass and steel to mesquite and beef on the hoof.
Pulling into the Mountain Aire Festival first day, Cyro put it pretty succinctly — “you don’t have this in New York City.” An old International bus squatting like the vanguard to tent city, the clean dry air of Calaveras County and the rumor of…something. This place burns every decade or so. Dry grass and scrub pines, landscape wide open to the wind. Easy to imagine a wildfire racing through, crazed cattle stampeding. Mayhem. Not today.
The stage here sits in the middle of a corral, eight foot green rail fence, the kind you can step up on, lean over and watch a pissed off bull throw his rider. Good day for a rodeo.
The band has been working on a kind of controlled mayhem lately. Groove is still king, but how far can we go away and still be there? Playing to our own rodeo, and the sawdust kicked up by stomping feet comes and goes in a cloud as the music waxes and wanes.
So different from San Francisco, in a closed room the sound has nowhere to go but into itself. Outdoors, the air and the people and the hillside soak it up, like we could never get enough. And all day and night the music comes off that stage. Git along little doggies.
The night before was a walk along the old Sonora rail in horse country. Not many trains anymore; or horses, really. Still got the moon, though.