The Bounce Festival 2013 Review: Thoroughly Bounced
Published: July 5, 2013
By: Tooesday Behr Photos courtesy of The Bounce Festival
A new festival venue can be like a new set of shoes. They need to be broken in, worn down a bit and then looked at after the dust has settled and the company logo has worn off the insert. If they fit, you may just buy another pair. For festivals those shoes take the form of ticket sales.
This year The Bounce Festival moved from the little village of Belden Town – now home to Emissions, a West Coast Bass Culture event -- on Hwy 70 to a piece of private property in Twain, California a handful of miles up the road. After being on the property for five days, embedded as a pseudo-member of the security team and tramping around like I owned the place I sat down and spit out my thoughts on a bloody napkin with the innards of a Bic pen.
In sheer acreage, the new spot was decidedly larger than its former home, enough to fit 8,000 people or so comfortably. The Feather River drives through the place on the west side, bubbling and gurgling like a man with a hole in his chest and trains drive through the other side on a stretch of track that takes cargo from San Francisco's bay area and sends it somewhere to the north. In the heart of the space are groves of pine and scrub brush and some very recent roads with makeshift campsites sprinkled about. A large meadow supplies the rest of the camping area and the property has a slew of old lumber company buildings and mills. Old, rusted-out trash could be seen just about everywhere but the crew did a decent job cleaning up what they could. Some of the buildings look like time forgot them. Probably a good a thing for a Northern California backwoods throwdown. At least it added to the ambiance.
I started my first shift on the only stage open on Thursday night, The Grand Artique. My work consisted of watching faeries dance around my golf cart; gyrating like they dipped into one too many honey suckles. Not a bad spot to work until 5am and see how the festival got off the ground.
People sing it, but I can attest that there isn’t a party out there like a Black Rock City Allstars party, mostly because of their numerical superiority. The eight, nine or 12-person group -- who can really count them all -- came out and got Bounce off on the right foot. They were shameless, chain sporting, fur coat wearing, bear hood rocking Hip-Hop Burning Man stars blasting huge 808 beats on glassy electronic samples. I found myself saying, “Now that’s how you start a music festival” at the end of their set. It was that much fun and all the early arrival kids mobbed the stage like it was 1999 and Prince was singing in Times Square.
I was a bit delirious from the seven-hour drive from Humboldt County but one other set really stood out. If you see the two young thunder cats known as The Originalz on your festy lineup or on the billboard at your hometown club, don’t miss it. This group, consisting of Troy Prokopowich (Subatomix) – trained in classical music and theory – and Michael Derek Rivera (Mumble D. Squintz) was formed to make a sweet glitch/bass fusion that is super fun in the wee hours.
After a few hours sleep Friday morning I switched gears and headed for the beach. Big Tony, a bearded giant viking of a dude, and his crew put up an amazing stage named The Lookout down by the river. It was a work of art made from recycled materials and a few sheets Tony’s wife snatched from the thrift store she works in. Popping tags for stages = epicness. The art covering the stage was all hand drawn and the detail was exquisite.
The first selecta to get me from my perch on the beach to kicking up dust in front of the stage was Boggan. This red headed, bearded behemoth puts the dirty in dirty ass bass music. A friend tells me that Boggan in Austrailia is slang for red neck and is commonly used as a jab. Other than that I don’t know shit-all about this kid other than he rocks, is from Reno, NV and half way through his set he said in what sounded like a dab induced drawl, “Hey, this is a party. Let’s get to it.” Priceless.
After that it was silly time with the Fungineers, most of the Beats Antique set on the main forest stage then back to the beach for 10 minutes of The Polish Ambassador, back to main stage for the badasses known as BoomBox, back to the beach for EPROM and then back to the main stage to see the magnanimous Rob Garza. All were exceptional.
Overall a well planned out night of bass bouncing, booty shaking bonanza type shenanigans.
On Saturday I awoke to my friend Squirrel, also known as Buck Wonder, peeping in my tent and asking what day it was. I took this as a good sign and went to the beach, got naked and stayed there for several hours with my dreaded Canadian Queen Alicia. (She’s a bad ass.)
Five things stand out other than that.
One. I wrote a story last year called A Grizzled Star Rises about Bounce headliner GRiZ (Grant Kwiecinski). A lot can happen in a year and I hoped that the early 20’s Detroit native was going to knock my socks off. One of the big reasons I came to Bounce was to see where his performance was at. His set, in a word, was Uh-Fucking-mazing. The dude bled stage presence all over the crowd like a horror flick. He wiggled and danced and sang and played sax and yelled and screamed and danced and played the saxophone some more. He jumped up on the DJ table at one point, stood up and screamed at the crowd with the full solstice super moon spraying him down with celestial light like Banksy with a spray can and a blank wall. Angels sang, I kid you not.
I could go on for an hour but the overall consensus is that this kid farts magic dust and blows minds on the regular. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Speaking of which. I saw him back stage with David Satori from Beats Antique. They met for the first time while Satori was carrying Zoe’s four-foot, seven-point antlers she wears during a few songs. They shook hands, talked a bit about Chi-town brass sections and then Satori got on his bus. It was a moment.
Two. Vokab Kompany. If you haven’t, do it. Live hip-hop wild-style with so much bass it’ll make you wanna slap your momma.
Three. I took the march back down the hill to the Look Out Stage for Bart and Baker. These two classy, bow tie wearing French gentlemen were electro-swinging it up and I had to turn to my house-head friend Weston Call – camping coordinator at Bounce -- and say, “I now officially like your music.” Then we boogied for an hour like caterpillars on a fixed diet of speed and tequila.
Four. NastyNasty did a sunrise, superhero alter-ego type set as Kidnapped. Incredibly good.
Five. G-fucking-Jones. Holy bass-slangers Batman. You are going places kid and I like your style. Keep up the great work.
Ah, Sunday. That day of the festival where some of the more work-oriented people are packing their dust covered jalopies and roaming back to the Bay so that they can represent the more motivated side of festivalgoers.
I was not one of them.
Getting to the end of a four-day fondue covered Rageasaurus Rex weekend is not for the faint of heart and for those of you who don’t know, Monday is the real last day of the festival. And yes, it’s a competition.
In short, Sunday saw Smasheltooth and Andrew the Pirate kill it in a fantastic joint set. Love and Light whomped through the weird hours of the night before Bass Science got groovy and started breaking necks. JPod beat chefed all over everyone’s faces and Pumpkin washed it all down early Monday morning. All in all it was glorious debauchery on a galactic scale.
By the end the shoes were incredibly broken in, torn and dusty. The Bounce staff was flexible and lax in all the right places and professional in all the others. The venue was the Garden of Eden with some dust blowing around and trains running at all hours of the night but hey, who’s sleeping anyways.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Bounce start looking like some of the bigger EDM festivals in the near future. Management seems to have direction, vision and apparently enough cash to keep the lineup fresh and the property improving. Keep it on your schedule for next summer.