Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme Brings Podcasts, Comedy & Music Together
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the third annual Festival Supreme, at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on the USC campus, was the air conditioning. I noticed it from the zig-zagging line to enter and immediately thought this would be a much different experience than I anticipated: there would be a reprieve from the 100-degree weather outside. I had thought myself destined to suffer heat and humidity the entire day long like Jack Black’s character in Tropic Thunder. Alas, Festival Supreme attendees were spared by the A/C Gods.
As I walked into the main hall upon entering the festival, Toby Huss (Pete & Pete, King Of The Hill) was beginning a refreshing jazz rendition of “California Uber Alles” by the Dead Kennedys. A large neon sign mimicking the “Welcome To Las Vegas” sign caught my attention, instead reading “Welcome To Festival Supreme.” I made my way through the air conditioned theater and into a parking lot baking in the sun, where food trucks lined an alley offering $6 tacos and $13 vegetarian options.
The One and Only PPL MOVR came as advertised. I think they knocked me into a different dimension for a split second with their loud pounding music. This band of ancient species rocked hard with moving riffs. SNWBLL, K-PO, and Q ensured their human members stayed on point through a hard-hitting set much enjoyed by the small yet growing crowd.
Back in the air-conditioned Karma Chameleon Stage, Dan Harmon hosted his podcast “Harmonlive.” I can only imagine this is the first festival from which a podcast broadcasted live as part of the festival. Soon thereafter in the theater, Puddles Pity Party exhibited Puddles the sad clown. He sang somber love songs in Spanish and English. Later, Puddles could be seen rocking out to Rocket From The Crypt, where he was still doing just so-so. The Karma Chameleon Stage was packed the entire day, in part thanks to the talented list of entertainers and the A/C.
Also on the Karma Chameleon Stage, Nathan Fielder screened “Nathan For You” which premieres on Comedy Central this week, and Amy Poehler played a caricature of an Amy Poehler from an alternative universe – one more cynical and politically active. She stood on stage smoking a mock joint and discussed the truth she was speaking on her nationwide tour before inviting somebody out from the audience so she and Jack Black could sing them a song.
Neil Hamburger told some good jokes: “What do Ocean’s 13 and 2Pac have in common?” he asked. The crowd replied: “What?”
“They both were shot in Vegas,” Hamburger riposted.
Aubrey Plaza walked off the stage after leading the crowd in a seemingly cathartic chant, “We’re all going to die, we’re all going to die” on the Karma Chameleon stage. Outside around the same time, Big Freedia led a mass-twerk off, where after Henry Rollins discussed why he was in the movie Jack Frost, citing his strong work ethic. “I want to be very busy my entire life; then I want to die.” He was on the smaller Komodo Dragon stage where acts like Nick Thune, Andrew W.K, and Dan Deacon performed throughout the day and night.
Rocket From The Crypt’s Jon Reis made it be known they were from San Diego multiple times, playing a diverse set from throughout their discography. The San Diego band’s leader, Jon Reis, mentioned how, for him, playing parking lots was stressful. He pulled a clock from the side of the stage and showed the crowd. “There’s a fucking clock counting down; that’s stressful.” The San Diego band continued their set, going over by three minutes and ultimately the sound guy pulled the plug before they stopped. “There’s an ulterior motive here for us,” the music veteran said, “We don’t really give a shit what you think. We just want to play.”
Tenacious D played a set of eclectic jazz from 8:00 pm-8:30 pm in The Jesus Lizard Lounge, which was set up in the main auditorium. Before walking out onto stage, Jack Black repeated “Fuck the jazz gods” into the PA. This was likely one of the better attended and well-executed performances of the day, featuring a classic mix of jazz selection with a dash of comedy.
Everyone knows The Darkness, and the crowd was excited to see this band who flew out to Los Angeles from England for Festival Supreme. At the very least, the crowd was stoked to hear “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” live and the band did not disappoint, sounding energized as if they had not played the tune countless times before.
Headliners Die Antwoord, who also came to the United States solely for Festival Supreme, packed a punch. I did not know what to expect from their live performance, but the experience was body shaking. Literally. The band’s bass bumped so loud it knocked my back into alignment. The South Africans were full of energy and brought up the mood of a crowd that had been at the event since the early afternoon. The group’s set was easily the best attended of the day. A flux in college students seemed to pile into the festival into the evening and night. They played all of the songs and created the feel of a happening and at-capacity dance club. All around, men and women moved their hips and danced to the group’s hypnotic beats.
Halfway through the group’s set, Jack Black came on stage to lead a song with his acoustic guitar about how big Die Antwoord rapper Ninja’s penis is. As the set came to a roaring end, Yolandi Vi$$er moved both of her hands through the air over her head as if to create a rainbow and said slowly in her high-pitched voice: “Beeee Happpppy,” putting a spell over the crowd. Then she jumped off stage repeating, “pew!” into the microphone, as she does.
And with that the event came to a close. Hacked covered it thinking there would be more of a podcast element to the festival, but the lack thereof didn’t matter. Being out in the sun for a good ole’ fashion festival was just what the doctor ordered. Having brought together a diverse group of artists, musicians, actors and actresses, Festival Supreme was a mix of Comic-Con and Coachella, sans the strict security and corporate gloss. I look forward to what the festival has store in 2016.
Images from the writer and Shutterstock.