Gnarls Barkley @ Alice's Now & Zen Festival in San Francisco (8/17/06)

Kevin Keating
What an interesting mix of people at Sunday's Alice Now and Zen festival in Golden Gate park! I guess it shouldn't have been much of a surprise after looking at the concert line-up, but it was almost shocking to see such a varied crowd. I think it was Blue October's semi-goth crowd mixed with 20-something hipsters blended slightly with a more pop, mainstream crowd who have fallen in love with Gnarl's Barkley's "Crazy" top 40 single and mixed-in even more with the B-52's boyztown gay crowd. I'll be honest with you, I'm not a huge fan of Alice 97.3 radio. In fact, I barely listen to the station, but it is programmed in my car radio. Not because it's a top station, but because there are so few choices I have to choose from. But I am a fan of Gnarls Barkley, and more specifically Chris Vrenna and Clint Walsh, the duo otherwise known as Tweaker, but who are also on tour with Gnarls Barkley as GB's live drummer and guitarist. As you might have read below, it's only been a couple of months since Gnarls played their opening US show at San Francisco's Fillmore, but they returned to play at this year's Alice Festival -- most likely a label trade for additional spin's on Alice Radio -- but that's what it takes to get added in today's state of FM commercial radio. Just like their show at the Fillmore, they came onto the stage dressed in costume -- this time as Ninja's, and played through most of their only album, St. Elseswhere. Considering how much they've been touring and how little material they have to perform, it's amazing that they're not tired of playing the same songs over and over, but if they are, they certainly didn't give that impression. It looked as if the band is still having fun and were trying to make the most of the afternoon in SF. After Gnarls left the stage, there was a short set-change and The B-52's soon took over. Why in the hell were these guys/girls headlining the show when they haven't put out an album in over a decade? I have no idea. Judging by the huge numbers of people who left after GB, it was clear that the artist schedule should have had the B-52's opening for Gnarls. A better line-up would have left the B-52's off it altogether.

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