Thousands of urban urchins took hits on bowls and marveled at their shroom trails while sitting on the steps of City Hall during the LA Weekly's Detour festival this weekend. Like the end of Ghostbusters, where New York City is thrown into biblical chaos by the demon overlord Zoul, The Detour Festival likewise transformed what is normally a staid stretch of Downtown, that between the LA Times building and City Hall, into one of the best and messiest al fresco gatherings of the year. We knew it was going to be an awesome night when we arrived to overloaded porta potties (always a sure sign of a partay) and spotted a kiosk serving only artichokes. God bless LA…

Speaking of God, he was nowhere to be found after VHS or Beta, Weird Science and Shepard Fairey took over a church and played beats to the club kids, some of whom were spotted most disrespectfully making out in the confessionals. Ten Hail Marys upon thee!

As for the bands, we went home very happy – Blonde Redhead played a mind-transporting set and we loved the beautiful Kazu Makino's shorts-under-shirt-dress combo. We dug Basement Jaxx' dancehall-ragga style MC, but when oh when will they start playing stuff from their first, and best album, again? Beck gave an awesome and eminently crowd-pleasing performance, and received special bonus points for hiring a crazy dancing man to get his freak on on stage.

The musical highlight of the event came courtesy of New Yorkers !!!, who tore it up in front of a crowd of lunatic dancing kids, whipped into a frenzy by co-frontman Nic Offer, his high-energy posturing and curly locks recalling an early-era Robert Plant.

!!! Geek Fact: According to Wikipedia, the band's name (pronounced chk chk chk, but you knew that of course) was inspired by the subtitles of the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, in which three mouth-clicking sounds of the Bushmen were represented as “!!!”. So now you know.

Anyway, Chili Pepper John Frusciante, who we saw milling around, was dancing like a crazy man backstage (!!! opened for the Chilis at the UK's Reading festival this year). And even the homeless people outside wanted a piece of the !!! action – it took no less then five security guys to pull away a bum who was desperately clinging to the fencing, trying to get in.

 We ran into !!!'s Nic Offer at the schmoozetastic Detour after-party, held in a secret basement bar nearby. It was decked out kinda like Banksy's elephant's living room, complete with fireplaces, comfy couches and a rather unfriendly dog. Offer complimented my roomie Alexis Florio on her legendary dance moves, which he said he had noticed while he himself was performing on stage. High praise indeed.

But the real highlight of the evening came when our very own Kelly – who is STILL not responding to my Myspace messages, the betch – performed her break-out YouTube hits 'Shoes' and 'Let Me Borrow That Top' right before !!!'s set. Not all the !!! fans were in on the joke at first, but by the end of her 10-minute performance, Kelly had them at her feet, leading them in a “fuck yoooooo” catawal that shook City Hall in a way no politician ever could…

Kelly for Mayor, anyone?

Posted by Caroline Ryder

LA Weekly