Franti Tells Sweet Little Lies and the Jacket Jacks It: Langerado Day Two* - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-11-2007, 03:26 PM   #1
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Franti Tells Sweet Little Lies and the Jacket Jacks It: Langerado Day Two*

By Andy Smith, Contributing Editor

Tell me that the rain won't fall today
Tell me that the tax man lost his way (oh, oh)
Tell me that the hurtin ain't gonna hurt no more
Tell me that somebody stopped the war (please tell me)

—Michael Franti, “Sweet Little Lies”

Michael Franti, lead singer of Spearhead, whispered his sweet “Lies” into my ears and pumped many other tracks from the tremendous and relevant “Yell Fire.” An album released in the middle of 2006 and being supported with a tour that will last most of 2007, Franti has come a long way from the Beatnigs and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

Even though it’s steamy hot down here in Sunrise, nobody is complaining about the sunny weather. “I’ve been freezing my ass off all winter,” Franti admitted in the Saturday press conference. “I’d never been to a festival until I played at one,” confessed JJ Grey, lead singer of Mofro.

Franti agreed, “The first festival I played at was in Germany and called the Lorelei. More interesting and influential though was when I was 12 years old, and I went to see the Commodores. My friend’s Mom had to take us. So there was Mrs. Wizner, she had grey hair. And there was pimp standing next to us dancing, and at one point, he leaned over to Mrs. Wizner and handed her a joint. I remember Lionel Richie coming out from underneath the stage with a white piano singing ‘Once, twice, three times a lady,’ and I was hooked. Someday I would have a white piano, but the closest I ever got was a big afro.”

At what’s being called the unofficial opening to an entire festival season, Franti followed his heart to talk about the hardest places and somehow make it all better. Just past sunset, Franti provided us a private show, as up close and personal as you can get with fifteen thousand of our best friends.

At the end of the Spearhead show, I had to high tail it to the main stage. The Saturday headliner for the whole pineapple of peace and strummed up strawberry lightshow was the Louisville, Kentucky heirs to rock, also known as My Morning Jacket.

(Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Photo credit: Jonathan Marx Photography/

To put this in perspective, Saturday night mainstage was the slot that Radiohead held at Bonnaroo and is an enviable and venerated spot, one that even Trey Anastasio and Widespread Panic (the Friday and Sunday headliners respectively) could not steal. With the foresty backlit ambience and a hyper happy Jim James, Carl Broemel, Two Tone Tommy, Patrick Hallahan, and Bo Koster took the place apart. All morning at the merch tent, people who had never ever heard them were demanding CDs like “Z” and “Okonokos.” The Jacket jacked it. Move over plantations, retirees, Disney and Dolphins, and the whole tourist industry; apparently, the band owns Florida now. Allegedly, this was the last show until a new studio album, and the group went out in superb style.

(Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket. Photo credit: Jonathan Marx Photography/

I started to scrawl the set list in my journal, but I lost the book. Then I lost my mind. The Jacket can do that to you if you’re not careful. The first song I heard was “One Big Holiday,” an apt summation of what the festival means for the “knew” nation of twenty-something wanderers who can’t seem to ever get enough of the music, the tours, the shows.

Thanks to some other attendees, though, I have some choice notes on the Jacket. On Friday (which seems like two years ago now), Melissa and I compared our intended itineraries, which inevitably led us to talk Jacket.

Melissa: “My Morning Jacket—you’ve never seen a guy rock so hard. And that lead singer is delicious.”
Me: “His name is Jim James.”
Melissa: “Jim James is delicious.”

Today at the media tent, I met a writer who recited to me from the scribbles in her notebook. So, Sara Kiesler from DeLand, Florida jabbers about the Jacket:

“All day I was trying to decide between Bisco and MMJ. After dancing my ass off to Soulive, Yerba Buena, Mofro, and Blackalicious, I was really looking forward to something to chill to. That’s what I was expecting coming into the Jacket.

But what I got was this textured rock band, reggae band, groove band, and the best performers I have seen since Umphrey’s McGee at the Canopy Club. You did not see a single person in the crowd not feeling it, dancing, and getting blown away by the sheer talent and energy. Nothing else at this festival even compared.

(Two Tone Tommy and Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket. Photo credit: Jonathan Marx Photography/

U2 meets Porno for Pyros meets Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin meets Wilco meets Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips and even a little Violent Femmes.”

Since there’s no pool here and the “No Swimming” signs around the serene water here warn of wild alligators, I decided at dawn to leave for the beach. After an impromptu dawn trip to baptize myself in the Atlantic and meet with a psychic priestess on the beach, I scurried and hurried back to Markham Park to break camp, donate to the food drive, take a shower, meet the photographer with my “phresh” Jacket pictures, find my camera, and get back to the media tent in time for today’s press conference.

As I write, a hard rock band called Pepper are killing it on the mainstage. It’s time to save this shit, power down the ‘puter, and go swallow my last dose of mind food for the weekend. Monday is going to be rough, but it’s been entirely worth the effort to see, be, and feel this love.

For more information on the Langerado Music Festival, please visit its official website:
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