That’s a rap from Pozo
April 26, 2016
By COLIN JONES
Life is a series of contradictions and ironies, and I don’t mean those sophomoric ones from that catchy Alanis Morissette song. My favorite one lately is being true to yourself while getting out of your comfort zone.
Hello people, how can I do both? Obviously, there are certain experiences I don’t need to have to know I don’t want them. Jail and buttermilk immediately come to mind.
So it was with some trepidation that I ventured out to the Pozo Saloon for their euphemistically-named House of Holistics Higher Grounds musical festival last weekend. Perhaps I missed the memo that declared getting stoned and drunk out of your mind to be holistic.
Anyhow, as hip and cool as I try to be, I’m really neither and these events with hip, cool youngsters usually expose this bitter truth. Plus, that stoner/party culture is not really my scene, I’m a dabbler at most. Still, my curious nature sort of relishes these first-world adventures.
But I digress. My friend Samir used to work security there so he assured me and fellow college buddy Lance that we could get in. We got there pretty late, found a secret parking spot nearby and luckily ran into his friend Levi Beanway, the man behind these ever-popular Pozo concerts under LB Productions, who graciously let us into the backstage concert area.
I ran into a few familiar faces and met some new ones like Tim Reed, who built the wonderful Vina Robles Amphitheater, a blonde groupie who kept asking me for a smoke (old-school kind) and an on-duty Cal Fire guy who looked more out of place at the romper room than I did.
Sure I felt a bit like an outcast, albeit a privileged one transported into a fantasy world of stoners, strippers and rappers shooting hoops, drinking, eating, vaping, dancing, chillaxing. Buckets of beer were iced and the girls were minimally-clothed, hot and very young. Intimidating yes, but even if they weren’t, any conversation I could possibly muster surely would have lasted less than ten seconds. It was kind of like being invisible in a foreign country, if that make any sense.
Not to mention the music, or lack thereof. Sure we all love Snoop Dogg, a cultural legend destined for the rock and roll hall of fame. But with a pounding bass and a repetitive, unimaginative shtick that barely held my attention, it was back to the beer bucket for me. What little I saw of Wiz Khalifa impressed me a lot more.
Needless to say, the real entertainment was backstage at the saloon compound. Lance meets a woman who sells designer handbags in LA. Some dude is raining threes at the outdoor basketball set up. Turns out he later gets into a scuffle with a large bouncer type. Tatted skin and herb illuminate the fresh, full moon night sky in the sticks.
Also, it was kind of strange to see the gangster-type entourage mixing with bearded rednecks but therein lies the beauty and genius of what Levi and his mom Rhonda have created at this iconic, unique venue. It’s rappers one week and country /western the next, which speaks volumes about the ever-shrinking racial discord in America those Trump-types keep artificially hyping. That same ole divide and conquer the masses crap.
Hovering above it all is the power of music and its unshakable ability to create a few hours of community by willingly, and not cheaply, squeezing 6,000 people together on a hot, dusty field in the middle of nowhere.
For one night backstage in Pozo, I was happily everywhere and nowhere at once.