Editor's note: Two weekends ago writer Ryan Ritchie traveled with Long Beach band On Blast as they gigged at the debut of the annual Goliath Festival in Mexico City. He submitted a report on the gig, which West Coast Sound will be running in installments this week. What follows is part two. To read the first chapter, click here.
“We love Mexico City. This next song's called 'War.'”
Maybe it was the after effects of the previous night's party, but Blair, Brown, Raab and Kiddoo were noticeably quieter at breakfast than they had been all trip. Before, they were loud, loose and slightly spacey, but those free spirits were replaced with a more centered, focused and present vibe.
“I think it was probably just being hung over,” Blair said. “Honestly, I felt comfortable and confident throughout the whole weekend. I really didn't feel nervous at all.”
“I felt like shit,” Kiddoo said. “Going through my mind was, 'Andy, why the fuck did you do this to yourself?' It seemed so fucking stupid to party hard when I had the biggest show I ever played in my life. I wanted to enjoy the experience, but I was almost passed out throwing up. My stomach was sore and I couldn't eat, so I couldn't get nutrients. And drinking espresso shots was not going to work out.”
Language barrier aside, Goliath operated like any American festival. Rocker kids wore t-shirts of bands old and new (Nirvana, the Strokes) while Hollister dominated the preps; lines for the port-a-potties stretched longer than the Rio Grande; drinks were overpriced; acts on the main stage were delayed an hour and the backstage VIP was littered with gorgeous women.
With nearly two hours to kill before showtime, On Blast did a group interview for a television program. More standard questions were asked, but this time, the foursome was asked to sing “Jingle Bells” to close out the segment. Like good boys do, they followed the attractive interviewer's request and sang in unison.
Singer/songwriter Chetes was halfway through his set when Blair, Raab and Kiddoo roamed the tiny area directly behind the stage. Downstairs, near the row of three port-a-potties, was Brown, pacing, dancing, swinging his arms through the air like a child pretending to be an airplane.
“I was trying to get in the zone,” Brown said. “I always try to do that, but I don't like doing it in front of people like that. But I didn't have a choice.”
Chetes finished his set, the house music pumped the Pixies “Debaser” and the dash to get On Blast's gear on stage within the allotted 20 minutes began. Stagehands asked where Kiddoo and Blair wanted their risers while Brown roamed the massive stage. Raab tuned his guitar, oblivious to the thousands of people staring at him.
Minutes before On Blast was set to perform, a soundman told Kiddoo his acoustic guitar wasn't working, which was interesting considering the six string worked just fine the day before. This snafu meant the group couldn't play “Optimistic” and left Kiddoo wondering if the supposed technical problem had more to do with someone trying to shorten On Blast's set in order to make up for being an hour behind schedule.
The crystal clear Mexican sky was in the midst of morphing from blue to pink as the house music ended. Without a light show, an emcee or anything to signify a proper introduction, On Blast was ready, whether they knew it or not. Brown grabbed the microphone and paced, not saying a word. A few seconds passed before the 28-year-old singer mumbled something. Then the beginning to “All I See” kicked in.
Tomorrow: On Blast's massive performance at the Goliath Festival