A few weeks ago, my friend John mentioned that he'd been hearing rumors about a reborn HFStival. To folks of a certain age - say, late-20s to early-40s - HFStivals were synonymous with incredible music, awesome cameos, and the type of delirium that overexposure to the sun, dehydration and possible eardrum damage that stews into a wondrous bouillabaisse. Some of my best concert experiences happened at HFStivals - INXS, Foo Fighters, Prodigy, James, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Siouxsie and the Banshees, drinking with John Stewart, hugging Jewel and then watching her get smacked in the mouth - the list could stretch for pages, if I wanted to name all the incredible acts I've seen, thanks to my erstwhile employer.
Hell, here's No Doubt rocking out in 1996. Look at the vitality in this shot.
Yeah. I took that.
So, lo and behold, the rumor mill ground up some fine-powdered truth. Imagine my excitement and surprise when I found out the HFStival is back, baby! The date has been set - September 18th. They've got a place - Merriweather Post Pavillion. Two stages - a local and a main stage. The lineup is out - and it's not exactly overwhelming. From WHFS HD2's website, here's the link, and tell me which of these main stage bands sets your 2010 heart a-flutter. If this was 1997, this lineup would be solid. Hell, bring back Clinton/Gore and let ole' VP Al clean up this mess in the Gulf. It's 2010, however, and I think Third Eye Blind is the only band that has had a hit in the last decade. The Local Stage is fine - Jimmies' Chicken Shack, Fools and Horses, Jah Works, Honor By August - those are some quality acts. But the main stage... wow.
I swear, it's like a Midwestern State Fair of Alternative Rock. I'd expect this lineup to grace the Nebraska State Fairgrounds next year with Bachman Turner Overdrive, Kansas and The REAL Beach Boys playing the next night. Everclear will always have a soft spot in my heart - after all, I got to hang out with them in the 1996 HFStival, and Art Alexakis has more daddy issues than all the characters in "Lost." Lit? My Own Worst Enemy is a good tune, but they could never duplicate the success of that song. Presidents of the United States of America? Fun for a few songs, but I saw them back in their hey-day, and didn't make me say "hey." Fuel - two hits, and then wanted friggin' Chris Daughtry of American Idol to be their new lead singer. WEAK. And really, has a band ever gotten more publicity for saying "placenta" than Live, or, in this case, the remnants of Live?
As for Marcy Playground - they had ONE song. ONE. And, it's not even a good song. "I smell sex and candy, here. Who's that lounging in my chair?" Wow. Bob Dylan must be scared of that poetry.
Who came up with this Hot Tub Time Machine splatter-pattern of late-90s detrius??
I'm sure a few thousand people will show up, and they'll listen to the bands, and bemoan that HFS is gone, crying about the state of local radio as they stash their iPods, and the people who obstensibly run HFS HD2 will trot out old favorites like Weasel or Johnny Riggs and everybody can pretend it's 1998 again and everything rocks and they will tell themselves that they still rock. But isn't this merely a lame money marketing ploy to bring together some past their prime musical acts and call it an HFStival when the true title of "Has-Beens, Used-to-Bes and Never-Weres Invade The Suburbs" is so much more appropriate?