10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Only one festival day has passed but it feels like three. Morning yoga started without me, and missing it has sadly become the most reliable milestone to keep track of the days. I’d be most likely to attend 3 a.m. yoga if there was such a thing. Instead, Tipper was my unofficial yoga class, pumping out enough violent bass chiropractics last night to align the chakras of the next town over. One way or another, I found a good workout.
And all things considered, I feel fantastic on just a few hours of sleep. We closed the night by looking through our stash of photos, wrapping our heads around everything that happened before leaving our camp to search out more. More, more, more; a haze of dancing and beautiful people and wandering and talking and more dancing.
My handheld recorder caught a few moments from that adventure, but they are less than impressive. I was on a quest for truth and candor, and what I got was a handful of stupidly intoxicated conversations. I listen to the first one on the recorder:
“… sanskrit [unintelligible] when you’re speaking [unintelligible] vibrational charges on sand, knowmuhsayin? If you’ve ever listened to Morimoto’s [sic] experiences with water crystals, and how it affects your body? It’s the same concept… but the whole point… is to restrict it for you to have a false understanding of your experience… solidified… when you [unintelligible]. Even if you can [loud crash]… sorry, I’ve been… drinking a lot of vodka.”
People are proud they haven’t slept yet and proclaim it without being asked. I’m right on the edge of doing so myself. Guilt is setting in the longer I lay in the tent, knowing all the beautiful things that will pass me by if I don’t get up and start moving.
Some things can’t be ignored. Breakfast is one of them, and unfortunately our ice cooler is now a bog of floating produce, including a disintegrating carton of eggs. There have been plenty of comparisons between LIB and Burning Man, but the Playa this is not. There’s an REI fifteen minutes away by car; we’re not exactly roughing it.
So maybe we did dip out of the festival to grab some In-N-Out, but all the same I don’t want to act like some spiritual tourist. Aside from yoga and poi workshops, I’m captivated by the 1 Giant Mind Experience at the Lightning Stage, a mass meditation done with the intention of generating enough good vibes to broadcast them across the festival grounds. I run into a neighbor who is just returning from it. Did it work? “Yeah… I think so.”
Saturday’s lineup is the most sleepy of the three, which says a lot about LIB 2012. Bluetech and Janover are going to be great Lightning Stage warmups, with EOTO sure to bring some fire before the grandiose show of Lucent Dossier Experience and The Glitch Mob. I can’t wait for Star Slinger‘s set on the Bamboo Stage, and if I feel the need to get extra rowdy there’s plenty of hard-hitting DJs like An-Ten-Nae, Sugarpill, and Jupit3r. And I don’t even need to see the Woogie Stage in person to confirm the dance party isn’t slowing down in the hands of Alexi Delano, Jesse Rose, Sammy Bliss and Tim Xavier.
But the Temple is calling this afternoon. More formally known as the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, it is perched at the back corner of the festival grounds and accessible by a long ramp and a breathtaking lake view. It takes a little motivation to leave the pleasures of the festival and camp grounds, so unlike the surprising Lumi Lounge or the consistently popping Smart Gallery (no matter the time of day, there is always exactly 100ish people dancing), the Lucent Temple isn’t something you just conveniently walk past. It beckons for your full attention.
The schedule states that next up is “BASHAR ‘Channel: Extraterrestrial Intelligence – Riding the Cutting Edge.’” Well what kind of space funkateer am I if I miss this one? I’ve been surrounded by 36 hours of constant noise, so the calm Temple is like a splash of cold water on my face. I walk as quietly as possible around and within the exquisite altars and gorgeous installations; one is an interesting gazebo with bells, cans and cymbals that clank on their own through some kind of automated Arduino system.
Bashar is not quite what was expected. He is seated on stage with his eyes closed the entire time, and a reverent crowd has their eyes and ears completely open. Apparently, he’s channeling the voice of a wise extraterrestrial being (who “subsists entirely on the energy of creation,” he says), and he speaks about the beauty of human existence in a passionate but frustrated tone. He acts like he’s teaching basic car maintenance to a group of monkeys. All the same, the crowd laughs along with his prods and jokes about the human experience; this could easily be a class at Naropa.
I climb up to the top of a wooden tower and howl in celebration with a group of revelers as the sun begins to slip behind the mountains. A sizable group is quietly doing sunset yoga near us. It’s fun to be obnoxious at a festival, but it’s so much more rewarding when mixed with the subtext of serious personal development.
I realize I’ve missed some awesome workshops already. “Infused Jewelry with Sound” lets you seal your favorite song into a hematite stone. There’s a DIY LED workshop covering the basics of soldering and assembly. There’s also classes on making your own beer, your own dried fruit, and constructing a sacred space. But as time passes, I learn to let go. A new friend instructs, “Walk your path, and what will be will be.”
Bluetech is a personal favorite of mine, and it was great to see he paired up with Amazon Voice to deliver a set that strongly featured his mission to protect the Amazon. Check out the Spirit of La Salva compilation for some great remixes and a worthy cause. Janover is always puts on an impressive show as well, a warm smile on his face as he rockets across the strings of his hammer dulcimer.
Being the all-improv group that they are, EOTO is hit-or-miss, and their high-energy delivery exacerbates this condition. After the clownish playfulness of Fou Fou Ha, Michael Travis and Jason Hahn geared up to deliver with an awesome flower-pedal stage design and a huge load of what they do best. Hahn is a badass, and he hammered away at bongos so powerfully it sounded like machine gun fire; the photo pit feels like a WWI trench as I duck and run through it. I declare success.
The Lucent Dossier Experience was just that — an experience. It was a lot to take in. There would be aerial dancing full of serenity and grace followed by a brutally confusing vaudevillian act, mocking the trite condition of modern life. And unlike the extremely electronic-driven tone of LIB, the live band provided the soundscape with the power of their own hands.
Then came The Glitch Mob, who absolutely tore up expectation. Up until this point, I hate to report, they had been more of a punching bag than just about anyone at LIB this year. They killed it last summer at Re:Generation (a pretty similar environment to LIB), but fell slightly flat the next week at Red Rocks (co-billing with Lotus didn’t quite work in their favor, IMO). They brought out the same stage design as last year, and my heart sank a little.
However, I couldn’t be happier they did it. All confusion and reservation melted away in my mind, and I had one of the most profound déjà vu moments of my life. The Mob went all out at Red Rocks, but something just felt a little artificial. I can’t even point to anything they did differently at LIB, only that I felt like I just got it this time around.
Like most Glitch Mob fans, I continue to hold onto old Mob material very tightly. I think it just took Lucent Dossier to warm me up to the idea of ribbon dancing and big theatricality, along the mindful vibe of the audience, to finally understand what they are all about now. Even the title of their latest album We Can Make The World Stop made sudden, incredible sense (I always suspected it was a Carlos Castaneda reference).
If the Lightning Stage was the hub for spiritually challenging experience, the bar was set a little lower at the Bamboo Stage. I was positive the crowd here was twice as drunk. We left Lucent Dossier just in time to see An-Ten-Nae close out with “Dirty Money.” I’m sure you could draw some connection to that and an anti-corporate, pro-soul message, but I gave up trying to equate Lightning and Bamboo mentalities when he closed by saying “Damn, I’m so hard right now. Thank you!” Haha.
With an awesome array of couches and mattresses spread across the backstage lawn, it was the place to be to catch LIB artists in a casual atmosphere. Sugarpill was the first we encountered, who rivaled Nit GriT for “Massive Dubstep Set of the Weekend” (though Minnesota makes this a three-way tie). For all the adolescent fun radiating from the Bamboo Stage, Star Slinger rounded it out with some seriously smooth jams. He is super polite, a soft-spoken UK superstar who seemed to approach each track like a classical violinist.
Friday’s buzz became Saturday’s body high. We chilled by the Buddha Lounge bus until there was no more night left, when the daylight prompted another trip to the Temple for a Kalya Scintilla and a generous gift of free tom yum soup. That was magic. A nearby sign read “Fuck You – It’s Magic.” Like I needed to be told.