Gaslight Anthem on stage at DeLuna Fest 2012. / Kira Ramos/GoPensacola.com
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Day one of DeLuna Fest is in the books. Most of the mainstage acts were pretty great, pleasing the ever-growing crowds as Friday afternoon wore on.
It's fairly clear, while looking at the lineup, that very few musical or adventurous chances were taken for this year's event. On day one, festival organizers knew Pearl Jam would draw a big crowd and deliver. Ditto Ben Folds Five, Fishbone and The Gaslight Anthem.
There is something to be said for sticking to the tried and true. But on day one, there were no musical discoveries for me.
Now, this may also be because I have been planning my schedule for weeks. Nobody was going to convince me that I needed to skip The Gaslight Anthem to see Band of Skulls (though I heard they put on a great show too). Still, the lineup contains very few buzz bands, the ones where festivalgoers walk in and say "you have to see them. They put on an insane live show."
I don't know, maybe I'm quibbling just to quibble. I mean, my day started with Fishbone covering a Sublime song and dedicating the song "Lyin' A** B****" to Mitt Romney. That's pretty entertaining.
The Gaslight Anthem was next, making every one of their Bruce Springsteen-meets-punk songs sound like classic anthems. Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder even joined them for a cover of his band's song "State of Love and Trust."
After that, it was Ben Folds Five, who ripped into some of their classics with a jazzy playfulness that is sorely missing in the lead singer's solo work. Then Guided by Voices came, the sole blemish in an otherwise stellar day. The set wasn't their best, but it picked up steam toward the end as lead singer Robert Pollard downed more and more from his tequila bottle.
But Pearl Jam picked up Guided by Voices' slack, bringing the goods with the classics (“Even Flow,” “Why Go”), the newer songs (“The Fixer,” “World Wide Suicide”), and the various covers (Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive," The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Dead Moon’s “It’s OK”).
Still, I have been to many music festivals, and the sets that stick out are often the ones where festivalgoers are spreading the word, championing an unknown band. There wasn't much of that on day one.
On the other hand, maybe a fellow concertgoer summed it up best. As Pearl Jam was walking off the stage after its epic two-hour, 20-minute set, a fellow concertgoer said "I'm from Seattle, and this never gets old."
I guess some pleasure can still be found in reliability.