Langerado 2008 | Day One Review, Photos So Far

As we posted before, Drew Gerlach was our man on the scene at Langerado 2008. It turns out that he couldn’t stay for the entire thing, but he’s filed this report so far and sent a huge amount of photos. Check it out.

The best thing about living in an area that hosts a major concert festival is the fact that you get to come home to a hot shower and your own bed. As enjoyable and interesting camping can be, nothing rejuvenates the soul like your own pad.

That being said, unfortunately, because of unforeseen thunderstorms, tornado warning, and horizontal rain, Thursday was a wash. With lines over four hours long, after getting off of work late, there was no chance to catch Claypool or Dark Star Orchestra like planned. Based on my discussions with other fans, I missed out immensely.

But Friday was a completely different story. Leaving at 10:30 am to fight the long lines, I made the hour drive from South Florida into the swamp to find that, miraculously, there were no lines. I was parked and on the festival grounds within 15 minutes. Unlike Thursday, the weather was gorgeous with a nice breeze, with gusts of 15 mph, and the temperature peaking around 85 degrees (although at points during the day it felt closer to 90 degrees). As dusked approached, the thermometer dropped and our entire set of out-of-town guests got a taste of why we live here all year round.

The crowd was awesome today. Everyone was very mellow, chill, and just looking to have a great time. At one point or another, you would run into somebody who had way too much drink or may have partook in too much illegal activity. But by 5pm, they were mostly passed out in the back of the crowd peacefully sleeping until the late night. You did see a bit of crowd surfing as the day went on and a few mosh pits erupted during the 311 and Beasties set. But surprisingly enough, fans in the general vicinity of these happenings forced these people to stop. What was truly great about this was the surfers and moshers obliged on almost every occasion until “Sabotage” came on — then it was pure pandemonium.

Instead of providing you a play by play, I’m going to give you a quick run down of the positives and let downs of what I saw.

Biggest Surprise:
This has to be a tie between 311 and Brett Dennen. I wasn’t too excited about seeing 311, thinking they would be just a decent band. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The pure, raw energy they brought to the stage had the whole crowd jumping up and down in unison. For an hour and a half they ripped through all their best songs rarely stopping to rest. The highlight of this show was listening to “Amber” as the sun set over the ‘Glades.

Brett Dennen’s silky smooth voice and reggae vibes was personally for me — a perfect kick-off for Langerado. Ever since hearing about this cat in Rolling Stone and purchasing his CD, I was looking forward to hearing him live. Based on the crowd that quickly joined in after the first few songs, I wasn’t the only one that was caught off guard by his well-crafted live set.

Biggest Disappointment:
The Roots. I’m sure some people walked away from this set and thought they were great, but I wasn’t feeling it. After waiting an extra 35 minutes because of system malfunctions, one of the band members came out and yelled, “What’s up Langeroo?” When a band comes out and calls out the wrong name for the festival, that’s the first warning they are totally not into the show. I stuck around for the first 40 minutes of the show and walked away hugely disappointed. I saw them a few years ago at a small venue in Gainesville during my college years, and it didn’t even come close to comparison.

Biggest WTF, Blow Your Mind, Hot Damn Moment of the Evening:
The band formerly known as !!!. I caught four songs from this band before leaving early to get up front for The Roots (which I obviously regretted). Watching and dancing along with a huge group of people to their dance-rock style has definitely forced me to get more into this band. With the only visible light coming from the stage and being completely surrounded by the Everglades trees, it was amazing to see an ocean of humanity grooving to the beat. In my humble opinion, there was only other one band that could keep the crowd moving like this: STS9.

Diamond in the Rough band:
Sam Bush Band. I was eating a cheese steak minding my own damn business when this band’s bluegrass and country-rock sound pervaded my eardrums. I don’t know how they sound via the CD/MP3 medium, but if these guys are playing your town and you haven’t a thing to do, definitely go see these guys!

What can I say about the Beastie Boys that you don’t already know? Nothing. These guys brought it all, switching between a 15 to 20 minute instrumental set from their latest, The Mix-Up and 30 minutes of kicking Beasties rap with Mix Master Mike laying down the beats. The highlights of the show included them ripping through “Tough Guy,” hitting a couple of old school hits, and an encore featuring “Intergalactic” and “Sabotage.”

Read on for more photos. All photos © 2008, Drew Gerlach (all rights reserved).