Taking the Mask off of Sin City at Vegoose 2006
As I sat and listened to Toubab Krewe, I couldn't help but think of the language of music. The vocabulary and accents were ringing through my head, reminding me of the peaceful nature of mankind. The notes melted together like a true melting pot, not the segregated version we've been told about for so long. But one with true meaning. A blending of cultures, ideas, and of people. These were the opening rhythms of Vegoose 2006, and they opened something inside of me.
What brought me to this museum of eccentric consciousnesses? Luck? Fate? Cosmic chaos? It's hard to tell. But it was easy to realize that I was in the midst of an abnormal weekend in Las Vegas. The weather had just begun its change from the sweltering sand oven of summer to a chilly autumn playground. The sun was shining bright, just enough to give me a warm sensation on the back of my neck. The music being played was as eclectic as the people's faces around me. It sounded good and felt good. I was at home. If only for two days.
The grass seemed to melt under my feet, planting me into the ground. I could sense my soul taking root as the sound waves came at me from all angles. I felt like I was in the company of angels. Not just the musicians, but also the sea of eyes, ears, and swaying bodies in the audience. There was peace in the air. A brotherhood and sisterhood that only music could reawaken inside of our souls. And there I was, soaking it in like a sun bathing polar bear. This vibration was unique in Las Vegas, with its casinos, strip clubs and honking taxi cabs. The haunting sensation that usually hangs over the city had dissipated to reveal something deep and genuine.
Jolliness and smiling faces greeted me like a long awaited visitor to a prison inmate. Laughter, the smell of sensimilla, and dreadlocks were floating through the crowd. Any direction I turned I could see people dancing. The dancing was really surfing, using the sound waves of the music to bounce and bend with gravity through time and space. While you danced, time would take a cigarette break and let you taste the sweet nectar of infinity. The flavor would change with the music...one moment sweet, then the next salty...then it would be spicy....and then sweet again. The musicians became the chefs of this cosmic dish, and the audience was eating it up all weekend long. We sampled some of the finest modern musical recipes. My personal favorites were those served up by Fiona Apple, Damian Marley, Cat Power, the Raconteurs, and Toubab Krewe. But others relished in many of the other bands performing, and there was plenty of music for everybody's tastes.
Vegoose was a festive festival, held just on the cusp of Halloween. Which meant plenty of amusing and creative costumes. I saw Jesus, Moses, a wolf, the Scooby Doo crew, and Picasso's blue period, among others. For those who weren't in costume, it was a place to take their social masks off and let loose. There were no fights to be seen ruining the vibe, and the peace pipe was freely being passed back and forth to anybody willing to partake in its healing smoke.
It was the music that brought everybody to Vegoose 2006, but it was held together by the threads of humanity, the love we have for one another, and the realization that we can coexist in peace.