what’s the frequency, Wolfgang?
D was not quite sixteen when he went to his first rock concert. He remembers vividly having a dream in which a friend offered to take him to see Metallica live. The next day, this same friend, who sat in front of D in English class, turned around right before the bell and asked if D liked Green Day, and then said she had an extra ticket to see their show. The dream remains D’s only brush with clairvoyance while the concert, which in addition to Green Day also featured The Offspring, Soul Asylum, Ben Folds Five, Third Eye Blind, Fuel, and STP’s Scott Weiland, instantly infected D with an insatiable appetite for live music.
Attending the Frequency Festival sixteen years and several hundred shows later, D still felt the same energy and excitement he experienced as a teenager, though the concert also made him feel his age a bit. Like when Imagine Dragons, who have been around for only five years, said they would cover a band that they considered one of their greatest influences and then performed a rendition of Blur’s Song 2, whose release D remembers quite clearly. Or when NOFX took the stage and made light of the fact that they had become caricatures of the young punks they had been when they first started making music.
A younger D would have showed up early to see bands he had never heard, and would have stayed late, most likely joining the throngs of concert-goers who camped our for the duration of the festival and flocked to the night-park after the bands finished playing to listen to DJs spin techno, house, and dubstep. With S and Munchkin cooped up in a Vienna apartment while he was rocking out, D only went to see the artists he knew, and left early to make sure he would not be stranded by a lack of transportation.
The festival was held in St. Polten, a half-hour train ride outside Vienna, and to get from the apartment to the concert D had to take a bus to the metro to the inter-city train, followed by a shuttle bus to the festival grounds. The whole journey took more than an hour and a half. Without a smart phone or any German, D was quite proud of himself for managing to navigate the commute without getting stranded somewhere along the way.
Though he only saw nine acts over the course of three nights, they were well worth the effort. The first night, Snoop Dogg brought the house down by not only performing all of his best-known songs but also reprising many of hip-hop’s greatest hits from the last two and a half decades. The next night, D muscled his way to the railing to see Millencolin (a Swedish punk band he adores), the Broilers (an excellent German punk band whom he saw for the first time), and Ska-P (a Spanish ska-punk band who are among D’s all-time favorites and the main reason he first became interested in the Frequency Festival).
Concert fatigue had clearly set in by the last night and many festival-goers departed before the music stopped. D also came home earlier than he had the first two nights, though not before seeing Gogol Bordello, who are about as eclectic and entertaining an act as there is on the concert circuit today (as these photos hopefully suggest).