Hmmm… the music blog is covering sports now, you ask? Not quite. Reverb co-editor and pop music hipster, Ricardo Baca, gave us a little wiggle room on this one. Taking full advantage of Baca’s generosity and blessings, photographer Jennifer Cohen and I headed up the hill to soak up the flavors of ESPN’s 14th annual Winter X Games on and off the mountain — and drenched we got.
A few years back, Dave Letterman commented to the effect that there’s something a little more pure and organic about the X Games next to the Olympic Games. Hey, I’m the first to “whoop-whoop” the television with every U.S. Olympic victory, but at its core, Letterman’s remark is right. X Games athletes ride, ski and, sheesh, snowmobile with abandon. They’re expected to surpass previous records of air, speed and tricks and have one year to get there, not four.
Athletes like boarders Shaun White and Lindsey Jacobellis and Big Air skier Bobby Brown ooze raw, how-in-the-hell-is-his-head-still-on-his-body energy. They’re the sickest rock stars we saw all weekend. But they weren’t the only ones.
On sun-soaked Saturday afternoon, 50 Cent hunkered down in parka and hoodie for a 30-minute “concert” for around 5,000 fans. The most impressive part of the gratis quickie was how skillfully the security team herded a few thousand teen fans eager to get to the lift for a post concert ride.
From Buttermilk, we shuttled to the other side of the mountain to check out the electronica/indie duo Ghostland Observatory. I recently read a review of their live show that described their music as “the love child of Queen, Michael Jackson and Daft Punk.” I would throw the Faint into that mix as well.
The concert, at the base of Aspen Mountain, was another welcomed freebie for metallic gold leggings, teens and twenty-somethings, who made the most of the trash/recycle boxes by turning them into makeshift sleds. Next to some mind blowing SuperPipe, there’s nothing more exciting then seeing a drunken doofus careening down a ski slope toward a crowd of three or four thousand people. Mostly, though it was a slightly tipsy crowd either dancing their asses off or completely mesmerized by Ghostland’s FAA-licensed lasers.
Once Ghostland wrapped up, we hoofed it a few short blocks to the Belly Up and the ESPN party. Falling ass-backwards into this one was the gem of the day, as we caught the Mighty Mighty Bosstones cranking out their third wave ska. The band played for close to two hours in signature suits and neckties with ubiquitous dancer Ben Carr. We had heard Paris Hilton was there, and although we didn’t see her, we think she may have been with the guy in the fur coat.
A big nod to ESPN and the 1,500 people they brought in to pull this event off. They did so professionally and with a great attitude.
And by the way, for all you Shaun White fans who missed it: “Flying Tomato” is so five minutes ago. He’s “Animal” now.
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Jackie Lomibao is a Lakewood-based writer and regular contributor to Reverb.
Jennifer Cohen is a Lakewood-based freelance photographer and contributor to Reverb. Check out her website.