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Share a Solid Sound Memory, Any Year


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I am gearing up for what will doubtedly be another magical and unforgettable Solid Sound Festival, and I find my head is full of memories from SSF's 1 through 4. Memories like:

 

Standing on the walkway just outside of the Airstream Trailer, looking over the grounds toward Joe's Field, contacting a friend I'd never met in person who was also there...and then we saw each other, one up in the air, one down by the picnic tables, and waved happily. A few minutes later we had crossed the space and met each other.

 

Or that memory of Jeff in his Nudie suit, being dunked in the dunk tank that contributed donations to a reading program or library...I forget, but it was a good cause for North Adams, and Jeff was such a good sport about being soaked with all that undoubtedly chilly water...

 

Or posing for pictures at the so-cool mop tree (across from the broom tree)

 

...or just that wonderful Friday night dinner with about a dozen friends from all over appearing to happy calls of greeting as each arrived, and the giddy anticipation of what lay ahead ...so many friends to see, all swirled up in magnificent music and art and every other good thing that we knew the next few days held...that feeling as it begins is such an incredible rush, isn't it?!!

 

Tell me what you remember. Ooh, Samosa Man with his song and dance of happiness and deliciousness!

Ok I'll shut up, you talk.

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The freight train rumbling by in the middle of Wilco's set. I think that happened twice?

 

 

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That was memorable.

 

SS4: Standing, mesmerized by the video images projected on the walls of Courtyard D as Real Estate played a late Friday night set, after Wilco's set ended. Slight chance I had ingested one Lagunitas more than necessary.

 

SS3: Sam France of Foxygen climbing the scaffolding on the Courtyard C stage, and getting yanked down by a stagehand. Slight chance he had ingested one Lagunitas more than necessary.

 

Every time, hot dogs at nearby Jack's Hot Dog Stand. Celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. As my vegetarian daughter discovered, their entrees are for carnivores only.

 

SS2: Thinking, during his set, how fortunate my 3 daughters were to be able to see Levon Helm play.

 

Catching a North Adams Steeplecats game (New England Collegiate Baseball League), the night before SS2 started.

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That was memorable.

 

SS4: Standing, mesmerized by the video images projected on the walls of Courtyard D as Real Estate played a late Friday night set, after Wilco's set ended. Slight chance I had ingested one Lagunitas more than necessary.

 

SS2: Thinking, during his set, how fortunate my 3 daughters were to be able to see Levon Helm play.

 

Yes! And Yes! That Real Estate courtyard set to the video projections was mesmerizing.

 

The Levon Helm Sunday afternoon set was a highlight of all the SS's. I have a nice shot of Levon and Glenn playing together. I cherish that photo.

 

 

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Just passing through the courtyard during Lucius's last or second to last song and thinking "Oh, this actually sounds pretty cool." I had never heard them before, but I've now been to a dozen or so of their shows.

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These memories of yours are bringing back so many of mine! Keep them coming! :dance

 

Who remembers the meetup foul-up at SSF 1, where the backroom at The Hub got double booked? No matter; we took our party around the corner to the Mohawk Tavern and had a wonderful Friday evening icebreaker, many of us meeting for the first time in person. We were all ridiculously giddy with anticipation...and it turned out to be better than we'd hoped it could be! That weekend was amazing start to finish.

 

There's a reason so many of us are repeat visitors to our favorite theme park. North Adams keeps calling us back!

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Perhaps my "best" SS memory, probably because it's recorded and I get to re-live it. 

 

The 2013 All Request show. After having SS in 2010 and 2011, with a hiatus in 2012, I had no idea what to expect for the all-request show, but when they hit the stage and launched into "The Boys Are Back in Town, I cracked up laughing out loud. There could not have been a better first song for the all request show. The boys were indeed back in town. I still break out into a big smile every time I listen. Always makes me happy to hear that.  

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Perhaps my "best" SS memory, probably because it's recorded and I get to re-live it. 

 

The 2013 All Request show. After having SS in 2010 and 2011, with a hiatus in 2012, I had no idea what to expect for the all-request show, but when they hit the stage and launched into "The Boys Are Back in Town, I cracked up laughing out loud. There could not have been a better first song for the all request show. The boys were indeed back in town. I still break out into a big smile every time I listen. Always makes me happy to hear that.  

followed up by the Pavement song! i tried to ballot box stuff a different one ("Silence Kit") but was equally happy that "Cut Your Hair" was selected. that was a really fun evening.

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When I think about SSF, I mostly think about quality time with my father, who attended the first 3 with me (and the benefit show at Mass MoCa on one of the off-years).

 

My fondest memories are for SSF1. It was all so new, and to experience that with fellow fans and the band was really exciting. I think about chatting with John and Pat while waiting for coffee. Standing next to Nels in the Hunter and talking about what a joy the festival was. I think about that relentless rain, and how someone in Joe's field orchestrated a photo op, arranging us by the color of our ponchos. Music-wise, I think about seeing Jeff solo for the first time on that Sunday morning -- still one of my favorite Wilco-related shows. 

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I'm sure a collective memory for many here, standing in the pouring rain while the band played Radio Cure and the power went down for a second and the audience totally carried the moment, "Oh distance has no way of making love understandable".  It was a moment of pure glory.

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followed up by the Pavement song! i tried to ballot box stuff a different one ("Silence Kit") but was equally happy that "Cut Your Hair" was selected. that was a really fun evening.

 

I had 2 ballot stuff campaigns going. Marquee Moon. And with a bunch of friends, Tweezer. MM was sort of a no-brainer, I was not surprised they did it (especially after having then recently read that Tweedy had taken guitar lessons from Lloyd). Tweezer was a long shot, but I'd still be chuckling today if they did that. There were quite a bunch of folks requesting Tweezer. 

 

When I think about SSF, I mostly think about quality time with my father, who attended the first 3 with me (and the benefit show at Mass MoCa on one of the off-years).

 

My fondest memories are for SSF1. It was all so new, and to experience that with fellow fans and the band was really exciting. I think about chatting with John and Pat while waiting for coffee. Standing next to Nels in the Hunter and talking about what a joy the festival was. I think about that relentless rain, and how someone in Joe's field orchestrated a photo op, arranging us by the color of our ponchos. Music-wise, I think about seeing Jeff solo for the first time on that Sunday morning -- still one of my favorite Wilco-related shows. 

 

That first SS was special, for being the first and a step into the unknown, and for being so small and intimate. The Tweedy show on Sunday was a perfect way to close it out.

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My fondest memories are for SSF1. It was all so new, and to experience that with fellow fans and the band was really exciting. I think about chatting with John and Pat while waiting for coffee. Standing next to Nels in the Hunter and talking about what a joy the festival was.

 

yeah, the first year was so much more relaxed, and the band members were often out and about, checking out shows and generally just walking around the grounds. now they tend to stick to the backstage area in the building between Joe's Field and the larger courtyard stage.

i esp enjoyed the opportunity as press to attend the press conference the first two years and ask questions. got one of my favorite offstage shots from that as well.

 

p967163453-4.jpg

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yeah, the first year was so much more relaxed, and the band members were often out and about, checking out shows and generally just walking around the grounds. now they tend to stick to the backstage area in the building between Joe's Field and the larger courtyard stage.

i esp enjoyed the opportunity as press to attend the press conference the first two years and ask questions. got one of my favorite offstage shots from that as well.

 

p967163453-4.jpg

Love that shot Tim!

 

I don't know if this qualifies as a "memory," but the other thing I love about the first SS are the two Tinnitus Photography photos framed and hanging in my office with the SS booklet. 

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My most memorable single snap of time, music related: Watching Tommy Stinson (Tommy STINSON!) join Wilco to play Color Me Impressed. It was as if the world had stopped and my favorite musicians got off the train together to play my favorite song. Wow.

 

Not a memory per se, but my daughter was 3(?) at the first SS. We debated whether she should come. We brought her and we've never looked back. Every year her relationship to the music and the festival changes.  It's pretty profound to think of the festival as a piece of fabric weaved into our family.

 

The two of us have a pretty special bond over Theologians and New Madrid, both of which have been her favorites for many years. I just might shed a tear if they play those, at which point my daughter will say "what's wrong with you, daddy"? Nothing honey, not a damn thing...

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One of my favorite memories is SS 2. As the gates opened and we were walking towards the breezeway. The whole band and their family's happened to be strolling in from the back bridge area and we all merged together. I started chatting with Jeff on what to expect with their set. It was all very cool and casual moment and great way to kick off the fest for me and my wife.  

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A couple more:

After the Sunday show of SS '13, friends of mine asked me to join them for dinner. They didn't have a long drive home but I did. I went out anyway, and we went to a Mediterranean place down the street from the Mohawk Theater. The food was good, and we were entertained by the owner's daughter (8-ish years old?) who came by our table so often to dance or be silly with her kinda-shy friend. It was great to have a quiet, casual, relaxed meal after the hubbub of the event. I ended up leaving town around 9:15pm for a 3+ hour drive home. But I had the company of the rising supermoon bouncing off the back of the Berkshires on my way across Williamstown and Hancock and then on my way down Route 22 in NY. It was a perfect weekend of perfect summer-kickoff weather, and a great night to be driving down the countryside with the windows open and a tape of the covers show playing on the car stereo.

(Unfortunately said restaurant was closed by 2015 =/   )

SS '15 Sunday evening, having said goodbye to friends parting ways for distant places, I sat down in the lobby to decompress for a few minutes after a weekend of being rained on, long periods of standing by the front of the stage, arriving early for the book-signing, and just three days of scheduled music and events, finally a chance to relax with no where to be - I was staying over Sunday night this time. Anyway, as I sat down the most calming come-down music is playing in the lobby. I let my camera run in video mode as staffers came in and out of the front door, packing up boxes and breaking down display tables. The video (linked here) isn't much of  a video but the music is my lasting memory of that weekend - it seems to be a cover of Patsy Cline's Sweet Dreams. If anyone recognizes the artist, please let me know!

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I really wish that this was in a location more conducive to me getting to go, it sounds awesome.  Oh well, living in the Chicago area I can't complain about anything Wilco related!  Maybe someday I'll take the plunge.

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That's a great photo, Tim!

 

Another favorite memory was at SSF2 or maybe SSF3...They all run together in my head!...we had just watched the Autumn Defense turn in a terrific set in Courtyard C. Afterward, a friend and I approached to talk with John and Pat. I had a bag of my homemade beef jerky (a SSF tradition) and offered them some. About then cameras came out and pictures were wanted. John and Pat, ever gentlemen, posed graciously. My friend stepped beside John to pose and I framed them carefully. Beautiful smiles on a beautiful day...except I had to give one bit of stage direction:

 

"John, could you stop chewing for a sec?"

 

Hahaha. My own fault for doling out the jerky before pictures! John froze and fixed his smile and I got a wonderful picture, you can't even tell he has a mouth full of beef jerky. But I laugh to myself when I see that photo!

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The knee-bend of joy for sure!

Welfare!

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Solid Sound 2013 - My friend and I went together, hit up a walmart to buy some supplies - chips, salsa, cheddarwurst, and 30 rack of Coors Light. 

We woke up feeling really dehydrated the second day after sleeping at the Solid Ground campsite but immediately started cookin' cheddarwurst and drinking Coors Light at around 9am. Only to have the mayor of North Adams drop by. 
"hey guys! What're you up to?"

"Drinking beer and eating cheddarwurst" 
"...really?"

Nice guy. talked to him for a few mins about how the festival is helping the local economy. Great time 

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