To absolutely nobody’s surprise, it was another beautiful day in San Diego for Day Two of KAABOO. The Tubes from San Francisco starting things off to a mixed age crowd at the Trestles stage Saturday afternoon. Fans crowded the front areas of the stage on both the GA and VIP sections as The Tubes started their set. As was the case yesterday, the Trestles stage dealt with minor sound issues, this time relating to the lead mic, though it was eventually solved and the set began.
The four piece band jammed along for their opener before getting into their first song, before lead singer Fee Waybill sauntered out in a black and white pinstripe zoot suit singing “C’est la vie.” The sub-genre of surf rock was an all too appropriate way to start off the day here in San Diego. Look hard enough, and you could even see a few fans doing the twist. From there, Waybill called on the crowd to help him sing yet another Tubes classic, “The Monkey Time.” Suffice it to say; everyone was getting down to a tubular version of “Jungle Boogie.”
After monkeying around with The Tubes, the crowds were ready for The Knocks. The New York-based band started right on time with some booming beats at the Grandview stage. Like moths to a flame, anyone within earshot immediately started dancing their way to see Ben Ruttner and James Patterson drumming and singing on stage. The NYC duo got the crowd waving their hands with little effort as their electronic dance tunes, and spacy synths filled the airwaves. Fan of the band or not, The Knocks put on a set anyone could enjoy.
From there, it was time for Machine Gun Kelly. To a crowd with middle fingers raised to the sky (the hype man’s idea, not the crowd’s) MGK stormed the stage. Donned in all pink with a black-clad live band behind him, MGK rolled right into his rap-rock flavored set. It was all very Kid Rock, and the crowd seemed to be enjoying every second of it.
The crossover star had his energetic fan base packed like sardines at the front of the Sunset Cliffs stage as he raged around to thumping drums. His live band was a nice touch and seemed to vibe well with those in attendance. In a lineup full of unusual acts, Machine Gun Kelly’s brand of hip hop felt right at home.
Keeping with the hip hop theme, next up on the agenda was Logic at 4:25 pm. The Maryland rapper handled the packed crowd well playing songs off of his highly praised recent release, Everybody. His Gatling gun flow translated perfectly for the live show getting people of all ages to groove to his self-produced tracks.
Like MGK, Logic also utilized the live band to give his set a bit more flavor and spontaneity. As his backing band drummed and played the piano, Logic conducted the crowd through his set. He rolled through hits like “Everybody,” “Killing Spree,” “Super Mario World,” and “Fade Away” to a crowd who knew nearly every word. Which was an impressive feat considering how dense the artist keeps his songs. The highlight of his set, however, came when Logic hopped over to the sign language translator and had him translate a live freestyle. As soon as Logic launched into his signature hyper speed single breath flow, the crowd went nuts, and the poor guy signing could hardly keep up.
From there, it was time to check out Garbage on the main stage at 5:10 pm. It was just starting to cool down when Shirley Manson and crew took the stage to a fairly packed and excited crowd. The band started things off hot with “No Horses” and its thumping bass line. Manson looked like a literal ball of fire with bright red-haired and tights to match as she serenaded the crowd in her dark and ominous droll. The guitars behind her built to a crescendo sending the crowd spinning before closing out their first song.
Even as she silenced the crowd after “No Horses,” fans couldn’t help but cheer in admiration. And then immediately, Garbage tore into “Sex is not the Enemy.” Manson then addressed the crowd in her lovely accent to thank everyone for supporting live music and proceeded right into the ghoulish “I Would Die For You” and the headbanger of a track “Empty.”
By the time Jane’s Addiction’s set rolled around, KAABOO was bursting at the seams with attendees. Oh, the pros and cons of a Saturday festival day. As far as the eye could see, lines upon lines. Need a coffee to recharge? Line. How about hitting a food truck to refuel? The line was long there as well.
Luckily, it was beginning to cool off, so fans of all ages seemed a slightly more forgiving. With little warning, Jane’s Addiction took the stage with a rolling bassline and some crashing cymbals. The sun began to drop, and the band was off running into a high-energy set. On the sides of their stage, the LA-based band had three women in lingerie climbing the scaffolding as Perry Farrell as company stormed through their first song of the evening “Stop.” Once finished, fans erupted in applause from all sides of the Grandview stage. From there, guitarist Dave Navarro’s legendary shredding led things into “Just Because.” Attendees from the front barrier to back home the bar was rocking out along with the band, banging heads, waving arms and swinging hair.
And speaking of swinging, things only got more insane as Jane’s Addiction’s set drew to a close. With two songs remaining, Farrell called forth two “Suspension Artists” to join him on stage. Before he could finish explaining that these two women had literal hooks in their backs, both girls were hoisted in the air by said hooks and began singing along to the music. Now there’s something you don’t see every day. Though it was slightly gruesome, it was also impossible to look away. And as the sky turned orange under the setting sun, both women kept swinging as the band brought their set to a close a few minutes early with the fan favorite “Jane Says.”
With the visual of flesh hooks still seared into their minds, festival goers made their way to the Sunset Cliffs stage for Ice Cube and his brand of West Coast hip-hop. The LA-born former NWA MC gave attendees a heavy dose of boom bap with tracks like “What Is A Pyroclastic Flow?” “You Know How We Do It,” and everyone’s favorite club banger, “You Can Do It.” Everyone from the front gate too well past the soundstage was getting down and putting their *ahem* backs into it.
Though Logic and MGK held it down for the hip hop community, neither artist’s performance could compare to Cube’s. Even though he’s an old figure in the world of hip hop, his presence commanded attention in a way that the younger rappers could only hope to achieve. Cube wrapped up his set with fan favorite “It Was a Good Day,” sending everyone towards Muse, dreaming of Fatburger.
Muse is without a doubt a fantastic festival band. Their discography is full of epic and anthemic songs that sound even better when blasted to a sea of people from all different walks of life. And boy did they show. Fans swarmed the blacktop sitting in front of the Grandview stage, hoping to catch a glimpse of the “Knights of Cydonia” and a sliver of their epicness. Suffice it to say; none walked away disappointed. Though they arrived 25 minutes late, Muse rocketed right out of the gates with the pulsing “Dig Down.”
From there, lead singer Matt Bellamy, who was rocking the hell out of a pair of glowing blue shutter framed glasses, shredded on his similarly colored glowing pipes blue guitar. The mesmerizing tunes drew fans closer and closer like a mob of zombies smelling fresh brains. And then things began to explode into a crescendo.
Next up they blasted right into fan favorites like “Plug In Baby” amd “Hysteria.” For many though, that was as much as they could watch, for it was time to catch the headliner of the evening, P!nk.
P!nk started things off with a bang, literally, and sent a handful of pink fireworks soaring into the sky above the main stage. Though it was an invigorating way to start a set, she hardly needed it. Much like Ice Cube, P!nk is a veteran of her trade, and she acted like it for every minute she was on stage. She felt calm, cool and collected, confident in every note she sang and word she spoke in between songs. Even though she claimed to be suffering from a cold, she seemed completely in control of the crowd and the evening.
To say P!nk played a few fan favorites would be an understatement, only because to the crowd every song was a fan favorite. From “Just Like A Pill” and “Trouble” to “What About Us” and a No Doubt cover with “I’m Just a Girl,” everyone within earshot was belting out the lyrics and singing along. However, even artists as well known and well loved as P!nk have their classics, so when her band began playing the opening for “What’s Up,” things cranked well past 11. From little kids in strollers to grandma and grandpa, everyone was dancing and singing along to “What’s Up.” It was the sort of moment that will make Day Two of KAABOO hard to forget.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz