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Summer in the Air

[whitespace] San Jose bands Stunt Monkey and Smash Mouth shine in sun at Live 105's BFD

By Sarah Quelland

Summer is definitely here. One of the first big music festivals of the season, LIVE 105's sixth-annual BFD concert, took place at Shoreline Amphitheatre July 18, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Dragonflies and butterflies skimmed over the crowd while planes from Moffett Field practiced remarkable stunt maneuvers overhead well into the night, gearing up for the next day's air show.

At least 19 bands performed on three stages (the Levi's Local Lounge Stage, the Dysfunctional Stage and the Main Stage), including Lit, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Cake, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Blink 182, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imperial Teen, the Living End, Silverchair, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Orgy, Pennywise, Skip Holiday, Dealership, Diesel Boy, Swingin' Utters and Stunt Monkey.

A PlayStation Tech Tent, X-Games/Got Milk? skatepark, autograph booth, Howard Stern tent, community action zone and the Subsonic dance room also contributed to the festive atmosphere of this all-day event.

San Jose's Stunt Monkey kicked off the day on the Local Lounge stage. Local promoter Eric Fanali and his "ninja sidekick" (known simply as "Max") worked backstage for the poppy punk trio, tagging the sizable crowd with Hostess snack cakes, Blow Pops and other treats while the band played. Closing with "Bake a Cake," Stunt Monkey brought out a big cake with BFD scripted in red frosting, which was chucked into the audience, covering everyone in cake and starting a food fight.

Lit was the first band on the Main Stage. These newcomers offer distinctively heavy pop, and the band's album, A Place in the Sun, contains one catchy hit song after another. Lit's image is a cross between '50s greaser and cocktail swinger, and its slick stage was set with amps covered in plush red upholstery with a Cadillac emblem on the center, a leopard-print-covered snare drum and three zebra-striped rugs on the floor.

Unfortunately, the audience was still sparse at that early point in the day and most were only familiar with Lit's single "My Own Worst Enemy," which was the band's closing song. But while performing "Four," "Miserable," "Zip-Lock" and other songs, the band had substantial energy and good sound.

Smash Mouth also put on a good set. Though from the San Jose area, the band never had much of a following locally, even before it got signed to Interscope. While some bands focus on the club circuit, Smash Mouth seemed to have a broader vision and never made a huge effort to endear itself to the local scene.

Smash Mouth's sophomore effort, Astro Lounge, was the make-it or break-it move of its career, and the album has met with critical acclaim; the band has definitely broken through the one-hit wonder barrier. In good spirits and with beer in hand, lead vocalist Steve Harwell addressed the audience: "It's good to be home in the Bay Area." Interesting that the band followed that statement with the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" Just a little dig perhaps at the area that shunned them while the rest of the MTV culture enthusiastically celebrated songs like "Walking On the Sun" and "Can't Get Enough of You Baby"?

The thing about big shows like this is that it's impossible to catch every act. After a long day, the Red Hot Chili Peppers (newly reunited with guitarist John Frusciante) capped off the event with a fairly short and straightforward set.

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Web extra to the June 24-30, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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