Contributing Writer : Garret K. Woodward [TheRFW.com/blog/Garret]
Contributing Photographer : Andrew “Dirty Santa” Wyatt [TheRFW.com/blog/DirtySanta]
Within the music scene, the only true constant is the mere fact there is no consistency.
Chaos (and the idea of flinging oneself into the jaws of the beast that is reality in its purest form) is your friend. You cannot survive unless you are willing to perish amid the unknown, wild, and mesmerizing experiences unique to being a slave-to-the-groove.
Taking the reigns from the unforeseen demise of the storied Rothbury 4th of July extravaganza, the inaugural presentation of Nateva provided for an ambiance of organized debauchery amid the mystical woods of northern Maine.
Though I had planned (last year) to once again be in Michigan for Independence Day, my reality soon became a long, sweaty, and bumpy ride from Upstate New York to the back-roads of rural New England- the origin of America.
Pristine lakes, lush forests, hefty local accents from those full of grit, pride, and welcoming arms towards those foreign to the surroundings. In essence, the exact physical and moralistic traits this country was founded on.
Nateva provided those in search of a melodic beacon-of-light with a weekend of unique performances (Keller Williams side-by-side with moe. Friday night for a cover of “Deal”), up-and-coming prodigies (The McLovins sardine can showcase within the Port City Music Hall stage during their sweltering mid-afternoon set on Saturday), universally adored duos (Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band tearing through The Beatles “I’ve Got A Feeling”), unbelievable stage antics (The Flaming Lips absorbing all of our sadness, loneliness, and frustration only to mold it into a euphoric happiness at the hands of confetti guns, balloons, and a brand of optimistic rock-n-roll unseen in this mad world), and utter disappointments from those once revered (George Clinton & P-Funk’s meltdown on Sunday, complete with a sloppy stage presence, erratic vocals and perhaps a vast departure from the P-Funk of yore- which left the crowd wondering what has happened to the King of Funk, should he finally throw in the towel?).
The calming, yet claustrophobic electronica presence of STS9 and EOTO pulled my eyes wide open, in awe of a glimpse of not only possibility and grandeur, but also the evolution of mankind. Their futuristic beats, paying homage to our ancestors, echoed off sacred land with a howl to creation and its greatest assets- humanity, rhythm, and dance.
Sunshine radiating over the carefree and innocence converging. The night sky sprinkled with innumerable diamonds. Late night shenanigans transitioning into early morning sunrise frolicking. Warm bodies embracing under cool covers. Weary heads and sleepy eyes drifting into their own imaginations- for tomorrow is another day.
Once again, the culmination of raw emotion and pure intentions fell across the feet of Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. The duo, always relied upon as a source of strength and vision, stepped up to the occasion and brought forth their latest offering, Furthur- a formidable, freewheeling machine harkening back to the past beauty (“Samson and Delilah” / “Eyes of the World”) and cradling nature (“Jack Straw” / “And We Bid You Goodnight”) bestowed by the Grateful Dead.
Nateva, who transformed an old fairground into a ball of energy illuminating the northeast, possesses a curiosity long lost by Bonnaroo, a spectacle short-lived by Rothbury, and a hopeful sentiment of comradery found few and far between in this unpredictable and often merciless existence.
Furthur – Nateva Festival – Oxford, Maine – July 4, 2010
Set I: Celebration> Samson and Delilah>
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo>
Cold Rain and Snow> Ramble On Rose>
When I Paint My Masterpiece>
Cumberland Blues, Casey Jones
Set II: St. Stephen, Jack Straw
Dear Mr. Fantasy> Eyes Of The World>
Days Between> Help On The Way>
Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad
And We Bid You Goodnight
Encore: U.S. Blues